the tower, newquay
In the beginning Holy Mass was celebrated occasionally for the small group of Catholics in Newquay in the Private chapel of ‘The Tower’ (now part of the golf club) a house owned by Lady Molesworth. Alternatively catholics went by pony and trap to the Carmelite Convent at Lanherne in St. Mawgan Village. Great efforts were made to organise a weekly Mass and in 1902 the Canons Regular from Bodmin agreed to send a priest over every Sunday to celebrate Mass.

In 1903 Lady Molesworth donated part of her estate for a site for Church to be built upon and Miss Elis of Hayle donated £500  for the building itself.  Miss Elis came to live in Cornwall in 1901 and after devoting her life to her blind mother and sick sister, she was left a considerable fortune by her Mother. In the ensuing years she became a great benefactress to the Church in Cornwall.

the tower, newquay
To the great joy of the small community the church was completed and opened on Trinity Sunday 1903. The Architect was the Very Reverend Canon Scoles of Baisingstoke and the builder was Mr. Cornelius Carrivick of Helman Tor (one of the oldest Catholic residents in Newquay).

In 1906 the gallery for the organ and choir was erected. In 1911 a substantial porch was built, to protect the entrance to the church from the winter storms. In 1914 the Right Reverend John Keily, Bishop of Plymouth opened the new sanctuary and Presbytery and in 1938 the Parish Hall was built. 1981 saw the church extended once again.

People ask why the church is situated at the far end of town, rather than in a more central position. The answer lies in the fact that when the church was originally built it was in fact central to the little fishing village of Newquay. In those days it would have been impossible to imagine that the pilchard (main fishing industry of the area) would depart and tourism begin to flourish spreading eastwards and inland becoming as it is today.


Talk by P.J Shaw to the English Catholic History Association at Prideaux Place, Padstow, 7.5.09