Church of England Diocese of Truro Saint Columb Minor and Colan

How The Church Aquired Its Name

THE LEGEND OF ST.COLUMBA

Long before Newquay became famous as a seaside resort, the whole of this part of North Cornwall bore the name os St. Columb Major and St. Columb Minor. These, until recently were known as Higher and Lower St. Columb.

The church is named after St. Columba. It is not known, exactly who "St. Columba" was. She was certainly not the Columba of Iona, even though our church has a modern west window picturing that saint.

The legend of St. Columba is presrved in manuscript in the University Library of Cambridge. The manuscript states that she was the daughter of an Irish King, and that, In Order to escape marriage with a pagan prince, she took a ship to Cornwall. She arrived at Trevelgue head (porth Island) but unluckily, she had been followed by the Prince. He chased her through the forest which is now Porth Beach. The princess fled up the valley, past Rialton and Treloy until she was captured at Ruthvose, two miles south of St. Columb Major. The Prince cut of her head and where blood fell, a spring gushed forth and the water following the course of her flight, formed the unnamed river which emties itself at porth beach.

The site of the Parish Church is probably a very ancient pagan site. Here, long before the St.Columba legend, came the first Celtic missionaries who exorcised evil spirits and they probably erected the first Christian Church which would have been a rough wooden building.
This Church was replaced more than once, untill in about 1100 A.D. a Norman Church was built. It's outline has been traced from the present chancel step to about the position of the font at the West end of the Church, with North and South walls exactly were the nave arches stand today. Part of the original Norman foundations can be seen at the base of the pillars.