St Day Holy Trinity (Old Church) has begun an exciting new future in the ownership of the St Day Old Church Community Interest Company (CIC), which has been formed to conserve the fabric of the building and develop its use as a heritage, education and arts venue benefiting the Cornish community – both local and worldwide. As well as providing a wonderful outdoor space for the local community to come together for events and enjoy their heritage, St Day Old Church, sited in the heart of the Cornish Mining World Heritage Site, celebrates its ties with the Cornish diaspora and regularly welcomes visitors whose ancestors called St Day their home.
This evocative ruined building, once likened by poet Sir John Betjeman to “an ecclesiastical toy fort”, offers a unique sense of place:
A much-loved focus for family memories and history.
An inspiring atmospheric space for writers, artists and performers.
An engaging place of discovery and imagination for educational groups.
A romantic gothic venue for celebrations.
A tranquil setting for reflection.
ABOUT THE BUILDING
The church was built in 1826-8 to designs by Charles Hutchens of Torpoint and was one of twelve in Cornwall funded by the Church Building Commissioners from money made available for church building following the Battle of Waterloo. Constructed of local grey granite ashlar in the “Commissioners’ Gothick” style, it consisted of a five-bay rectangular nave, a shallow three-sided apse at the east end and a west tower. Internal galleries around the north, west and south walls meant the new church could seat 1,500 people.
Built at a time when the local population was expanding rapidly due to the booming mining industry, the church proved far too big as mining declined in the second half of the 19th century, and in 1931 the galleries were removed, compromising the stability of the building.
In 1956 the Old Church was declared unsafe due to structural problems and was closed. The congregation moved into the former hall building on the opposite side of Church Street, and that now serves as the parish church of St Day.
By the 1980s the fabric of the Old Church had deteriorated and in 1985 vandalism caused part of the roof to fall in and, as a result, the remainder of the roof was demolished using explosives.
The building was left in a sorry state, full of rubble, for a number of years, until 1988 when the St Day Old Church Appeal Committee was formed to save the building. Some essential renovation work, including a new lightning conductor, was carried out in 1994, and after The Trevithick Trust secured the lease of Old Church from the Diocese of Truro in 1999 the Old Church underwent a major programme of structural stabilisation works allowing public access once more.
The Old Church is grade II listed and situated within a Conservation Area and World Heritage Site.
Before we can reopen the Old Church to the public, some essential repairs were needed to the windows and we are delighted to say that this work was completed in December 2019. Early 2020 will see further work bring an electricity supply to the building, adapt the remains of the vestry area to create a roofed dressing room and store, and to reinstate the original front entrance to the church.
Meanwhile we are working with our creative partners The Day-Light Group to bring exciting community events to the Old Church starting in February 2020. https://www.facebook.com/stdayoldchurch/