The Friends of St Ruan and St Grade Historic Church Buildings
“The preservation of historic buildings is one-way street. There is no chance to renovate or to save a historic site once it’s gone and we can never be certain what will be valued in the future. This reality brings to light the importance of locating and saving buildings of historic significance because once a piece of history is destroyed, it is lost forever.”
Steven Piccione commenting on Jack Neely’s article, “Nine Practical Reasons to Save Old Buildings.”
With your help the future of two of the finest buildings in the community could be saved for posterity.
As Friends we are concerned with the restoration, preservation, repair and maintenance of our church buildings. We are not contributing to the day to day expenses and running costs of the church and you do not need to be a churchgoer to want to see these buildings protected. We all enjoy the opportunity at special times in our lives to worship, be married, be christened, be remembered or just rest a while and ponder in a local church.
PLEASE READ ON IF YOU WANT TO HELP….
A message from the present Priest in Charge of the Parish.
Even in a rural setting like Ruan Minor, with so many special places, church buildings are different. There are other community buildings - places where the community can gather and where community memory is anchored - but none like the church buildings. When people come into one of the church buildings, the enter a different space; ‘other’ space.
Perhaps this is because of their age, often they are amongst the oldest in the parish. (I remember an American friend inviting his mother over to the church where he was Vicar, and she was unable to comprehend a building that was 700 years old). Perhaps it is because of their history; generations of marriages, births and deaths have been marked in these buildings, community has been made here. Or perhaps it is because people have gathered here to worship God – a continuous strand of openness to God in prayer and worship for generations.
Whatever it is, many experience these buildings as different places (where you can find space to discover a different perspective on life), or thin places (where God seems close enough to touch).
For all these reasons and more, I believe that we need to cherish and maintain these buildings well as stewards who will pass them on to another generation.
We are fortunate to have in our parish two fine examples of church architecture. In Ruan Minor the church of St Ruan, dedicated to its patron saint Rumon, dates back to the thirteenth century, was enlarged by the addition of the tower some 300 year later and restored in the 19th century. It is built of dark green serpentine and granite. Grade church, originally dedicated to Saint Grada but also known historically as ‘Church of the Holy Cross’, also dates from the early English period, the tower being added at the beginning of the fifteenth century and much of the old church being demolished in the1860s when a new nave and chancel were constructed.
Both churches boast fine examples of early stonework and stained glass, together with a treasury of ancient relics.
The ruined church of St Ruan Major was originally the parent church of the two Ruan parishes and the surviving features of the old building are of considerable architectural interest. Indeed, the history of the parishes and legend associated with St Grade in particular make fascinating reading.
Over the years local people have cared for the buildings with great devotion however our churches are built of local materials which need constant care and attention to continue to resist the weather, a particular challenge here on the Lizard Peninsula. The buildings are of an age that repairs are always needed in order to maintain these valuable parts of our heritage.
The local community has in the past given generously towards the upkeep of these historic buildings. It is hoped this vital support will continue so that their future will be secured.
You may wonder why central church funds are not used. Quite simply with so many ancient cathedrals, abbeys and parish churches to care for, such funds would soon be exhausted. Some grants and loans are available but local support is essential.
To put funding on a firmer basis, the Friends has been set up. You may not be a regular churchgoer or perhaps not of the Christian faith, but if you are concerned to see these unique buildings preserved you are invited to join.
St Ruan and St Grade now need your help. By continuing to care for your buildings now you will best ensure that they are there for future generations to use and enjoy.
If you would like to discuss the Friends then please contact the Secretary of the Friends Committee Jane Spalding, who will be happy to help (email: firstname.lastname@example.org.).
If you wish to become a member or would like information about making a bequest please contact: The Secretary, The Friends of St Ruan and St Grade Historic Church Buildings, Trenan, St Ruan, Helston, TR12 7JS Email: email@example.com