Early churches beside the Fal
The most eloquent proof of the importance of the Fal Estuary to its bordering communities lies in the many churches which nestle not only in sight of its waters, but often on the shoreline itself. Today many of these churches are the most picturesque in the country.
The local church of St. Just on the Roseland peninsula, constructed in the 13th century.
Under the laws of Cornish language mutation our parish's patron saint's name, Feock, can be spelt either Veock or Meock depending on its context. In these latter forms the connection has been made with St Maeoc and the village of Lanveoc near Crozon in Brittany. If you are able to look on a map the similarity of geography between Lanveoc on the Rade de Brest to that of Feock on the Fal is also remarkable in itself.
St Maeoc was reputed to have been a disciple of St Samson who originated in Wales and is celebrated in Cornwall having spent some years evangelising here. He eventually settled in Brittany where he was made Bishop of Dol.
The prefix La within La Feock is short for Lan, meaning a religious place and it follows that Feock village originated from a hermitage or small monastic cell somewhere in the area of La Vague near the Feock well. La Vague represents another mutation of La Feock. The lane which leads from the church to La Feock used be called Vague Street and the term Vague was used in past times to mean a Feock man.
The stream, fed from the Feock spring and well, flows down the hill and originally through the churchyard but was re-routed, within road drains to Pill, in the 1930s because of the drainage problems it caused to the church. The well itself was reconstructed by local people in 1983 after an article which brought attention to its dilapidated state appeared in the Feock Parish News Letter. The original churchyard of Feock has a distinctive round shape which is a feature of the earliest churches in the county.
Many of our neighbouring parishes are dedicated to Saints of Breton origin and some of the more straight forward connections are; St Mawes has the Breton equivalent St Maudez whose island monastery lies near St Brieuc, Mylor is equivalent to St Melor the patron saint of Saint-Meloir-des-Ondes near St Malo. St Budoc was also a bishop of Dol near St Malo. The links of dedication to saints common to both Brittany and Cornwall not only support the strong cultural ties between both regions but also identifies the Fal as a primary passage port at the time.
The ancient churches round the Fal of St Anthony, St Mawes, St Just, Ruan Lanihorne, Lamorran, St Michael Penkevil, Merther, St Clement, Kenwyn, Old Kea, Feock, Perranarworthal, Mylor, St Gluvius and Budock create a spiritual necklace of great significance both to our history and modern day cultural inheritance.
The 13th century Mylor church is located a short way south of Feock parish.
For a more detailed explanation of the origins of Feock consult the publication: 'St Feock; The Saint, The Church, The Parish' written by C.D North and also the "Cornish Saints Series" by Canon Gilbert Doble.
Written by Phil Allen