A ROOFLESS Cornish church has been handed over to a community group after a 30-year campaign to save it.
Ownership of Holy Trinity Old Church, St Day, was passed to the St Day Old Church Community Interest Company (CIC) by the diocese of Truro after a ceremony on Monday presided over by the Archdeacon of Cornwall, the Ven. Bill Stuart-White.
Holy Trinity was forced to close because of structural problems in 1956, since when it has been abandoned and vandalised until the St Day Old Church Appeal was launched in 1988, in the hope of saving it.
The CIC plans to turn it into a community space for theatre and the arts, and also as a venue for education.
Archdeacon Stuart-White said: “I am really very pleased that we can now hand this building over to the community, who have wanted it for several years, and hope that it will play a pivotal role in the life of St Day.
“It has not been a straightforward journey as there are always lots of complexities involved in arrangements like this, but thankfully, with goodwill and a desire to see this happen on both sides, we have got there.”
Sir John Betjeman said that the church, which dates from 1828, looked like an “ecclesiastical toy fort”. It needed stabilisation works before it was safe to be used as a community venue.
The chair of the CIC, Bernadette Fallon, said that she was delighted that church had been acquired from the Church Commissioners and could now be converted.
She continued: “We are particularly pleased that St Day and Carharrack Community School will be using the building for various activities.
“There is some work to do — nothing very major — before the church can be used and enjoyed by the public, and we are confident we can obtain the necessary grants to do the work. We will ensure that the building’s listed status will be protected and enhanced. The church will eventually have a covered performance area, and will be a stunning venue for all sorts of community events.”
A historic buildings specialist for the Church Commissioners, Adrian Browning, said: “Although a ruin, St Day Old Church is of interest because of its historic associations with the Cornish mining industry, and we look forward to seeing the CIC’s plans come to fruition, and the building once more becoming a focal point for the community.”
ST DAY OLD CHURCHRestoration begins as floor tiles are cleaned near the apse of St Day Old Church