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St Eval Parish Council

The Building       

This 13th century church stands quite alone: visible for miles around, surrounded by disused runways of RAF St.Eval - an important coastal command airfield during the 1939-45 war. The splendid tower, 60 feet tall, was built during the summer of 1727, to replace an earlier tower that fell into disrepair in the mid 1600s. The church was enlarged in the mid 16th century and there is the remains of a medieval screen and an elaborately carved part of the Rood Screen base. The pulpit has been recently restored and the date 1638, together with the name of the Minister and Churchwardens can be seen on the base stringers. The Font is very plain and is from Norman times, as is one remaining window in the North wall. There are 23 carved bench-ends dating from the mid 16th century and at the back are 3 original pews.

The contribution of the Royal Air Force to preserving and beautifying this ancient place of worship forms a fascinating chapter in the story of a building which goes back to Norman times, when the Church was first built on the site of a Celtic shrine.  A very interesting church in an unlikely situation. 

St Eval parish is renowned in Cornwall for its association with the RAF.

The churchtown which used to comprise of a small cluster of five houses in addition to the outlying Glebe Cottages, no longer exists and the church stands in the middle of an airfield built in 1939 for monitoring U-boat traffic. RAF St Eval would have had up to 2000 personnel during the period of the Second World War.

The parish church of St Eval dates from the 13th century

The beautiful stained glass window was presented by the RAF as part of their refurbishment of the Lady Chapel in 1989. This was to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the opening of RAF St Eval.

The sundial above the south porch is from 1724.

An interesting story surrounds the cross which is displayed on the wall here. A Shackleton of 205 Squadron was lost in 1958 off the Malaysian coast. A local fisherman observed the crash and memorised the details, burying the body of the single survivor on an atoll and marking it with this cross. The cross was brought to St Eval in 1972.

St Eval Aerodrome

Vertical aerial view of RAF St Eval, Cornwall. Two badly-damaged hangars and numerous bomb craters around the technical site and adjoining fields attest to the many serious raids mounted by the Luftwaffe on this important Coastal Command airfield in 1941. Note the attempt to camouflage the airfield and runways as hedge and field patterns.

Aerial view of the RAF Coastal Command airfield at St Eval in Cornwall, 18 July 1942. Bomb craters left by previous Luftwaffe raids can be seen.

Courtesy of Imperial War Museum © IWM (HU 92963)

St Eval Parish Church