Collegiate Church of St Endellion

Image courtesy of Judith Pollinger

In Brief

Type: Religious attraction
Suitable for: Churchgoers and history buffs
Address: The Collegiate Church of St Endellion, St Endellion, Port Isaac
Price: Free
Dog friendly?: Yes

Labelled ‘one of the holiest places in England’ by some religious folk, St Endellion Church, which is properly known as the Collegiate Church of St Endellion is certainly worth visiting if you’re looking for a slice of history, a sprinkling of myth, a good helping of architecture and a spoonful of tranquillity.

In St Endellion, just outside Port Isaac, lies this serene church that takes its name from Saint Endelienta, who was one of 24 children of King Brychan, who, it is said, evangelised the district in the fifth century. Another tradition has Saint Endelienta down as a goddaughter to King Arthur. There are two wells situated near the church that are associated with the saint. The church itself is a large building from the 15th century that was constructed in Perpendicular style and contains excellent examples of wood and stone carvings over hundreds of years.

Former Poet Laureate Sir John Betjeman once wrote about how magical the approach was for him on his way to this ancient collegiate church, which lies about a mile away from the sea and is surrounded by lush fields and beautiful views. A memorial to the much-loved poet, who died in 1984, is attached to a wall at the church. Also inside the building are 15th century wagon roofs to the chancel, nave, aisles and porch, as well as some elegantly carved 17th century chairs. There’s a 12th century font in here and some of the 17th century altar rail is still apparent in the modern pulpit.

There are two annual St Endellion Music Festivals which are recommended. And the Sung Eucharist is worth attending on a Sunday at St Endellion as incense is used in this traditional ceremony but the best way to experience the church is during a quiet day when you can admire its architecture, history and grounds. Plus, a new hall has opened that caters for ‘the arts and spirituality’ which is worth checking out. This is a holy place that’s steeped in history so, while taking a break between ‘Doc Martin’ and ‘Fisherman’s Friends’ film locations, travel just a couple of miles outside Port Isaac and seek out Saint Endelienta in all her ancient serenity and glory.