Blisland is a beautiful moorland village with many historic granite houses grouped around an extensive rectangular wooded village green, an unusual feature in Cornwall unlike other counties in Britain. Here’s your complete guide to the history of Blisland as well as the best things to do in this quintessentially Cornish village!
Blisland on Bodmin Moor
The village of Blisland can be found on the north-western fringe of Bodmin Moor, just five miles from Bodmin, in an area that is densely packed with prehistoric monuments. It was recorded in the Domesday Book (1086) as Glustone, and is a gentle oasis from the more rugged and hostile landscape of the nearby open moorland.
The photograph above shows the Trippet Stone Circle that can be found on Blisland Manor Common and dates back to the Bronze Age. Below is the mysterious King Arthur’s Hall which is thought to date from a similar period. Both sites are just a couple of the numerous ancient monuments that can be visited in the vicinity.
The Village Green
As previously mentioned a village green is a rare sight in Cornwall and this one in Blisland is magnificent, not to mention one of the largest in the county. An expansive area covered in daffodils during the spring months and a small park with swings for children to play on.
Some of the sturdy granite buildings set around the Green date back to the 16th and 17th century such as the Mansion House on the northeast edge of the Green, which also has a 12th-century arch that has been reset into its northern wall.
The aptly named 17th century Churchgate Cottage is located, as you would expect, at the entrance to the Church of St Protus and St Hyacinth and adjoins the Old School which was erected in 1842.
The Church of St Protus and St Hyacinth – The Jewel of the Village
‘Of all the country churches I have seen in the West, I think that Blisland is the most beautiful.’ Sir John Betjeman
The crowning glory of the village must surely be the Norman Grade I Listed Church dedicated to St Protus and St Hyacinth, the only such dedication in England and that Pevsner describes as ‘One of the loveliest churches in Cornwall, of compelling and varied interest.’
The 12th century church was altered and enlarged during the 15th and 16th centuries. By the Victorian period it was in urgent need of restoration and this task fell to F C Eden. He was commissioned by the then rector, a member of the Edward-Collins family who funded the project, to create a new interior whilst retaining the medieval barrel vaulted roofs
The rood loft and rood screen were constructed in 1894-96 and are very reminiscent of the Puginesque style of the slightly later restoration by Sir John Ninian Comper at the Church of St Petroc Minor at Little Petherick.
F C Eden was to continue restoring and improving the church interior at intervals over the next few decades through to 1930.
Despite creating the High Altar in an ornate Italian High Renaissance style, which contrasts strongly with the Jacobean pulpit, the Gothic Revival Rood Screen, and the breathtaking simplicity of ‘the great west window letting light stream in’ (as described by John Betjeman), the overall effect creates a magnificent feast for the eyes.
…and finally The Blisland Inn
Before you leave the village be sure to visit the quirky Blisland Inn that serves traditional pub grub and ales that are unique to the village. Once inside, you’ll soon discover a myriad of beers, ales, soft drinks, and hot beverages. The decor is a delight to see and the pub serves food at varying times throughout the day, as well as a Sunday roast on the weekends!
Trewint – Visit John Wesley’s Cottage where he stayed over when preaching in the West Country. Free to visit (though donations are always welcome), this pretty cottage is steeped in history and lies just off a major thoroughfare.
King Arthur’s Hall – A pleasant walk to see this much underrated mysterious ancient monument.
Lanhydrock House – A National Trust property that offers a glimpse into the upstairs/downstairs social divide in a late Victorian country house.
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