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Church of St Breaca

The present church building was dedicated to St Breaca on 26 December 1456 having taken six years to build.  

Breaca, along with Germoe, Gwinear, Piala (Phillack), Sinnius (Sithney), Crewenna (Crowan), Elven (Porthleven?), Hya (St Ives), Uny (Lelant and Redruth) and Herygh (St Erth) were Christian missionaries who came to Cornwall from Ireland in the late 5th or early 6th centuries. 

A lost Latin "Life of St Breaca" stated that she was born in Leinster or Ulster.  Her first local settlement is believed to be at Chynoweth, near Trew, before she finally settled where the church now stands.  Her earliest Chapel would have been little more than a tiny wooden oratory housing the altar near to a Preaching Cross where the converts would gather for worship in the open air.  Her burial would have made the site more sacred for her followers, and the circular shape of the "Ian" (churchyard) can still be observed despite enlargement during the Victorian era.

It is likely that the early Oratory was succeeded by a more permanent stone building.  An ancient Celtic Cross is situated near the South Porch.  Whilst there is no evidence that this was actually associated with Breaca herself, it is of interest in that it is made of sandstone, a material not found locally.

A Norman church was built on the site in the early 12th century but very litlle of this remains.  The church was completely rebuilt in the mid 15th century and the present church is much as it was over 500 years ago including a series of wall paintings which were done shortly after the church was completed. 

In 1891 a Victorian restoration of the church took place which reseated the nave and re-introduced a Rood screen.  At this time the choir stalls were added to the Chancel along with the High Altar and Reredos. 

The North Chapel houses the "Father" Willis organ.  This was originally built for Thomas Bolitho at Trengwainton and was presented to Truro Cathedral on his death.  It moved to Breage in 1967. 


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