St Anne’s, Hessenford
St Anne’s, Hessenford was built in 1832 as a district chapel-of-ease in St Germans parish to serve the growing population in Hessenford. It was consecrated on 26th September 1833. In 1871 it was rebuilt as a church, in the early English style and has a fine barrel-vaulted roof. The church now comprises chancel, nave, aisles, with a small tower and spire. It did not contain a bell, so the church became renowned for its shotgun weddings because a volley was fired in lieu of a peal.
The stained west window is a memorial to a Mrs Abraham. The registers date from 1832.
The parish of Hessenford is in the St Germans Registration District, and has been since 1st July 1837.
Both the church and its setting are wonderfully beautiful and calming. It is suggested visitors leave their cars near the Copley Arms before walking up the hill by the side of the pub. The churchyard is adjacent but very high up on the NE side.
St Anne’s Church, Hessenford and Hessenford Hall
Following a change to the service timetable across the Parish for 2016, St Anne’s now has one regular Sunday church service on the 2nd Sunday of each month. This is supplemented with additional services at special times of the Church year. Up to date details are on the monthly newsletter, Group Parish website and on the Church and Village notice boards. Services are usually at 9.30am unless stated otherwise. There is a regular parish prayer service in St Anne’s every Thursday morning at 9.30am which is a time of peaceful reflection for anyone who wants to attend. Sunday services take place in Hessenford Hall from January to the end of February.
Last winter the Council have done some labouring in the churchyard, chopping down trees, levelling some of the more precarious and dangerous graves and thinning back the boundary hedges. Unfortunately there has been a lot of leaching from the rain we have had and several gravestones are unstable and some have toppled over. The Council will make safe any that are near paths so that they do not pose a safety hazard. During the summer we may try to get a group of willing volunteers together to do what we can within our own resources to try and fix up some of the damage. If there is anyone across the Parish who would be willing to coordinate this little group and prioritise the work, we would be eternally grateful. If you or anyone you know has the time, skills and inclination to be able to help please let me know. We will choose a couple of ‘work days’ to start with and then hopefully people can pursue their own tasks at a time that suits them.
The memorial garden is now being used for the burial of ashes and there are two lovely benches so you can sit and reflect, enjoy the view or just catch your breath before climbing further up the hill! The gate into the Church yard has kindly been repaired, stripped and treated. The underground dispersal system for the lightening conductor has been replaced and the electricity supply to the Church now comes in underground, reducing the risk of weather damage. The removal of the old plaster has been a godsend and the Church is dry inside. A team have climbed into the steeple in an attempt to replace the bell ropes. They discovered that the steeple is split into 2 chambers with the bells in the upper chamber, level with the louvres. There is no internal access to this as the floor boards are heavily nailed down. They cleaned out the debris from the birds, blocked up 2 large holes which the birds were using to get in through and found a small brown long eared bat roosting. We need to access the top of the steeple from outside at some stage, to replace the bell ropes, mend the rotten louvres and clean out the bird mess. If anyone has the means for us to get up there to do this, please let Fiona know. The organ has been inspected and recommendations made for repair, maintenance and tuning.
Following the degradation of the retaining wall between the Church and Lowena Cottage, the laurel hedge has been removed, the wall has been reduced in size and replaced by a graded grass bank. Permission was sought to remove the Yew tree (which has a TPO upon it) which did sit atop this wall and was increasingly precarious. This has now been largely felled and new growth is coming from the base.
Hessenford Hall. The revamped Hall seems to be a popular, particularly the kitchen. We are grateful to St Nicholas Church in Downderry who lent us money to offset the overrun in price of the roof repairs. We are slowly paying them back. A grant for funding to weather proof the porch, update the outside lighting and to replace the back door (which is constantly water logged) has been awarded, and a local resident has volunteered to carry out the work. Please spread the word about the Hall being available for all at a very reasonable price
Hire charges – £12 for a morning, afternoon or evening session with sensible reductions for short periods.
The Hall, like the Church, is properly insured by Ecclesiastical and this includes personal accident insurance providing bookings are regulated and approved by the PCC; to make sure that the activities are covered by the policy. This is why we have a simple on-line booking system to keep a track of everything that is going on. Click here to book the Hall or call Fiona on 01503 241008 if this is too much hassle. If you wish to use the Hall for something that is not normally recognised you will be advised to take out your own insurance cover.
The Committee is listed below. We are always on the lookout for volunteers to take on a position on the committee so if you would like to influence what goes on and contribute please let one of us know:
Chair: Nigel Sylvester-Thorne
Secretary: Rob Humphreys
Treasurer/Bookings: Fiona Bristow
Member: Dave Moore