St. Ives Parish Church Cornwall: History

Choir Stalls






High Altar

Choir and Nave

The CHOIR STALLS have 15th century panels which may have been part of the original rood screen. The man in the cocked hat, the woman with her coif and the blacksmith’s tools are said to be the work of Ralph Clies, the village blacksmith.

The three-manual ORGAN by Hele and Company of Plymouth was given in 1907 was restored by Lance Foy of Truro (with David Briggs as consultant) in 1991. It is encased in fumed oak, carved by Pinwells of Plymouth. Look for the small fish swimming in and out of the carving.

Look up to see the WAGON ROOF which is beautifully carved with diagonal moulding, curved bosses and symbolic vine patterns. The painting and gilding of the woodwork (1962) highlight the workmanship. The FIGURES of apostles, angels and saints remind us that heaven and earth meet in this building.

The PIERS are not of granite as in most Cornish Churches but sand rock probably from across the bay at Godrevy. This easily worked material accounts for the attractive carving of the capitals. The piers lean outwards, perhaps caused by subsidence, the weight of the roof or, it was traditionally thought, to represent the sides of a boat.

The BENCH ENDS were restored in the 1940’s and are typical of 15th century Cornish carving with its deep cutting. In some instances one bench end has been made out of two. The Churchwarden’s bench-end was locally carved to match in 1948.

The rood screen at the entrance to the choir was destroyed by the Puritans in 1647. Access was by the small door high in the wall and the turret staircase previously called the Organ Tower (now closed) in the Lady Chapel. The rood, or crucifix, was placed over the screen which divided the chancel from the nave. The ROOD BEAM dates from 1932: Mary and St. John stand alongside our crucified Lord.

The HIGH ALTAR REREDOS (below) is of alabaster. The statue on the right of the crucifix portrays ST IA our patron saint, a missionary who came either from Ireland or Wales in the 5th or 6th Centuries and gave her name to the town. Legend says she sailed into St.Ives on a leaf, but this may simply symbolise the difficulties she had to overcome to pursue her vocation.

EVERY SUNDAY the local congregation meets at this altar to share in the EUCHARIST or thanksgiving for all of God’s blessings and for the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

The EAST WINDOW above the altar was blown out by an explosion at Hayle dynamite works in January 1904 and promptly replaced in 1905.

The THREE RED CHANCEL LAMPS given by past Sunday School teachers remind us of the threefold Trinity (God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit).



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