There was a buzz of anticipation as over 200 people gathered on the evening of Friday 11 January for the launch of the St Germans Priory Trust.

Two years ago the future looked bleak for St Germans Priory, then known as St Germans Parish Church. The Parochial Church Council (PCC) was struggling to keep up with the repair work required to maintain the building, let alone to make it a warm and welcoming resource for the local community and visitors alike.

With the support of the Diocese of Truro, a willing band of enthusiastic local volunteers have developed a ground-breaking plan to look beyond the immediate challenges and see the opportunity this building holds for the nation, as well as the local community, for the next millennium.

The vision is to return this important building and surrounding grounds into an effective community resource as well as retaining it as a place of worship. It will become a welcoming visitor attraction and educational centre providing:

  • a unique learning environment for schools from across the county;
  • a focus for historic and archeological research;
  • opportunities to learn about the origins of Christianity in Cornwall;
  • exciting trails and projects for children; and
  • a new tourist destination in Cornwall.


The themes of education and community were evident from the very beginning of the launch evening, with music provided by the pupils of St German’s School. “The church is huge, it’s really old, with history everywhere,” they sang. “The giant steps are made of stone; the organ’s as big as a bear!”

Bishop Tim extended a “welcome to people from different places”. He explained how if they could talk, the stones of the building would have quite a story to tell. “It has not always been like this,” he said. “It has seen many changes. One constant is that it will keep on changing.”

Introducing the plans, Priory Trust chairman, Martin Edwards, assisted by team member, Richard Hopper, emphasised how the project was about transformation and sustainability. Through engagement with the wider community and in partnership with local enterprises – the school, the shop and the Port Eliot Estate – the building “would be made fit for purpose, not only as a place of worship, but one in which everyone would feel warm and welcome”

Speaking from a Church Buildings Council (CBC) perspective, Dr Joe Elders spoke of how he had been “amazed” at the church’s beauty. “The CBC’s involvement is to catalyse community spirit and to help provide a focus for spirituality, culture and art, tourism and community use,” he said. “St German’s Trust should be shared by many– not just the worshipping community – and put back at the centre of the community where it belongs.”

There are now seven working groups that have been set up to explore different aspects of the project plan with a view to beginning the ‘capital works’ by the end of this year. These groups cover:

  • user requirements;
  • history & heritage;
  • schools & education;
  • energy & services;
  • funding;
  • legal; and
  • PR & comms.


The launch ended with an opportunity for people to meet the experts in these different groups and to volunteer to help with specific aspects of the project.

Follow progress on the St Germans Priory website, or on its Facebook page,