ST STEPHEN-IN-BRANNEL, Cornwall – St Stephen. 

Restoration 1893-4

(NB: this location is spelt BRANWELL by Fellowes Prynne in his notes.)

The following work was done at this church:

  • High altar panels by Edward Prynne
  • Nave roof lowered, new barrel roof to match existing north aisle, with bosses
  • Sanctuary reordered, granite steps and tiling placed
  • Stonework much restored and refaced (interior)
  • Pews removed, chairs put in – sufficient to seat 400
  • Decorative stencilling by Fouracre of Exeter

The Royal Cornwall Gazette of 4 January 1904 gave an account of the re-opening of the church.  The church is described as a typical Cornish church, with a massive tower at the west end, and much of historic interest, including an ancient font, and a Norman doorway.  Tellingly, the article continues with information gathered from the architect’s report (cited by the paper in a previous article of 27 April 1893):

The church had suffered more from so-called restoration in the earlier part of this century than from the ravages of time.  The levels of nave floor had been completely altered, and chancel steps removed, and the walls which were of originally of faced ashlar work in the fine local stone had been plastered and whitewashed.  The old oak barrel roof to nave had been entirely removed, and re-placed by an extremely ugly and badly constructed roof in deal, with small granite corbels inserted in the nave walls to take ends of principals.  The north aisle roof had also been badly treated by being taken down and flattened, and partially renewed in deal…  The present rector thought it wise to have the whole thoroughly renovated.  [The parish] decided on a complete restoration under the direction of some known ecclesiastical architect.  The work was placed in the hands of Mr. G. H. Fellowes Prynne…

The church had a bit of an issue raising the funds needed, but the article went on to say that

The work that has been done, has been done very thoroughly, and includes the entire renewal of the floors… inside timber and panels in nave roof; restoring windows and glazing throughout; the restoration of the south aisle to its original use as a side chapel…restoration of tower generally.  A handsome new oak altar, made from the architect’s design, has been presented by the rev, A. C. Taylor…the chancel has been restored at the expense of the rector, and brass candlesticks for the altar have been presented by the architect.

The earlier article in the same newspaper, of 27 April 1893, spoke of the decision to restore the church, and that

…the fact that it has been placed in the hands of such a skilful architect as Mr. Prynne is a guarantee that it will be carried out with due regard to the ancient features of the church.

Fellowes Prynne himself wrote:

Although time has wreaked havoc in this ancient edifice, still more harm has resulted from so-called “restoration” in the early part of the present [19th] century. Thus plaster and whitewash cover the walls, an ugly deal roof replaces the old barrel roof of the nave; fine old windows, probably Norman, have been taken out and poor ones inserted in their place…

(Church in the West 29 April 1893)

The total restoration, as listed above, was done at a cost of £1000.


The undated postcard illustrated shows the interior, post-restoration.