The following description is lifted directly from [Blight 1885] but note that the text was prepared for the Gentleman’s Magazine 1862-64 and is largely unaltered. It must be read in the context of that date. The drawings are by the author.
ST. GULVAL (or St. GUDWALL) CHURCH, embosomed in foliage, is pleasantly situated about a mile from Penzance, on the northern shore of Mount’s Bay. It has chancel, nave with transept and western tower, south aisle and porch. On the south side of the chancel are sedile and piscina, and in the north wall a credence, all having arches of Decorated character ; those of the sedile and credence being cinquefoiled, the piscina trefoiled.
The transept, as at St. Levan x, is divided from the nave by two arches with plain octagonal piers.
A small well-sculptured corbel-head projects from the spandril between the second and third arches of the nave, and on the moulding of the third arch are traces of ancient painting; the figure remaining looks like the termination of a crocketed and finialed canopy, with a lettered scroll on either side.
The tower, a very plain granite structure, has three stages carried up on nearly the same plane to the parapet, which overhangs, with a hollow mould; and at the angles immediately under the parapet are sculptured figures, probably intended for the four Evangelists.
The belfry windows, each of three lights, have a kind of geometrical tracery without cusps. The mouldings of the western doorway consist of three rounds and two cavettos; and the plinth mouldings (a round and chamfer), which in other towers of the district stop at the springings of the arch, are here continued boldly as a hoodmould over the doorway.
The staircase is contained in the thickness of the north wall, with an entrance from without; an inner doorway is blocked up. The tower-arch differs from any other previously noticed, being a plain soffit-arch with chamfered imposts, and underneath (as if an afterthought) responds with a moulded arch.
The very simplicity of the tower renders it worthy of notice. There are three bells of late date; one bears the following:—
“ILE . RING . ALLWAYS . MY . MAKERS . PRAYES . 1675.”
Between each word is stamped the head of Charles II., with the superscription, CAROLUS II. DEO GRATIA, like a coin of the period, and about the size of a shilling.
The general form of the font resembles that at St. Burian , having a pedestal consisting of three-quarter rounds at the angles, with a cavetto between each. At one angle of the bowl is an angel; the others have shields curiously sculptured.
This church was reseated and partially restored in 1857; and some good stained glass memorial windows have recently been inserted. A curious old cross stands in the south-eastern corner of the churchyard z.
(z) See “Ancient Crosses, &c., in West Cornwall,” p.51.
[The book continues with Ludgvan.]
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