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St Bartholomew Porthleven

In 1839 work began on building the Church on land donated by the Squire of Penrose Estate. The foundation stone was laid in 1840 and the Church was consecrated on 3rd August 1842.  At this stage it was a simple box structure with an apse at the east end to contain the Altar.  Initially it was a chapel of ease but in October 1844 became a separate Ecclesiastical District.  In 1891 there were alterations and a new baptistry was built.  The south door with its rounded Norman style arch leads straight into the baptistry with the font which dates from 1842 and is made of granite.  The baptistry is separated from the main church by a screen of light oak with double doors and a dove of peace engraved in the semicircular fanlight. 

The floor of the baptistry and aisles are of ceramic tiles; with block flooring under the chairs. 

Above the chancel is a hanging rood in the form of a wooden anchor, the central portion is a crucifix ; on the points are the figures of the Virgin Mary and St John the beloved disciple.  This has graced the building since 1918.

The chancel screen is of wrought iron surmounted by a brass rail, beyond the oak choir stalls a set of marble steps leads to the High Altar made of oak and installed in 2008.  The reredos is of painted stone; in the central niche is Christ the Eternal Priest, on the right St Elvan with St Bartholomew on the left.

The East window commemorates the untiring work of Rev T L Williams during the diphtheria epidemic of 1884.  His daughter died and the large processional cross was given in memory of her.  The oriental style lamps came from Jerusalem and represent the “seven lamps of fire burning before the Throne of God.  To the right of the arch is the church banner bearing the instruments of his martyrdom.  On the left is the pulpit of wrought iron, matching the chancel screen, sitting on a rounded base of painted stone.  The motifs in the panels are very appropriate for a seaside parish.

The Lady Chapel is separated from the main church by a triple arcading of granite and was given by Captain and Mrs J L Rogers of Penrose as a memorial to their parents.  This is a simply furnished chapel where there is an atmosphere of tranquillity.  It is rectangular in shape with a panelled apse and a blue ceiling; at the western end is an oak pew with carvings representing local farming and fishing interests. There is a carved chair and lectern and a wrought iron votive stand.


Around the walls of the main Church are fourteen hand-painted stations of the cross.  They are of Flemish design and feature the events of Our Lord’s last walk from Pilate’s Judgement hall to Calvary.


On the North Wall are two stained glass windows dated 1884 and 1904.  Above the screen high on the west wall are two windows depicting St Barnabas and St Bartholomew.

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