North Hill Church is a large
building in the centre of North Hill village or ‘churchtown’
as it used to be known. The church is dedicated to St Torney.
The age of the church is believed to be over 600 years. St Torney’s Holy Well is situated on the nearby River Lynher. The first incumbent is recorded in 1269. In
1292 the parish was assessed for tax
in the sum of nine marks (£6). The patron at that time was John de Moels
Parts of the sanctuary and chancel
are 14th century, or even perhaps earlier than
this, and the rest was built in the late 15th to 16th century. It has been
suggested that St Torney’s and St Anietus in St Neot were built
by the same masons using similar plans. The church was restored in 1868.
The chancel is built of stone
rubble. There are two 14th century ogee niches on either side of
the east window, a piscina and credence, a sedilia in the south wall,
which, though much restored has pillars of polished serpentine and a tomb
or Easter Sepulchre in the north wall with an elaborate 14th
century ogee arch.
Ashlar granite has been used in
the north aisle and fine regular granite ashlar blocks can be found in the
south aisle, south porch (with chamber above) and the west tower. The nave
comprises four bay arcades with slim monolith granite pillars of standard
Cornish design carrying wide arches and original wagon roofs.
north aisle was built in the period 1495-1504. Its building was sponsored
by the Courtenay family who held the Manor of Landreyne
at that time. The evidence and reasoning for this is fascinating and can be
seen here. The south aisle was built a
decade or so later and is so dominated by the Spoure monument that they were almost certainly the
sponsors of the building of this part of the church.
There is an undecorated Norman
font made of freestone standing on a granite base. The west tower and south
aisle are of regular granite blocks and probably worked by the same masons
that worked at St Neot Church. The tower has
three stages, is buttressed on the square, and is finished with battlements
and crocketted pinnacles. The tower’s 3-light
west window has intersecting tracery which is probably late 18th
century but with an unusual band of carved roundels near the sill. The belfry
contains six bells. There is a sundial on the wall of the south porch dated
There are four significant 17th
century monuments in the church. Three are dedicated to members of the Spoure family and one to Thomas Vincent. On the south
wall is a slate tombcover with a skull to Henry Spoure who died in 1603. Nearby is the 1683 memorial to
his descendant Henry Spoure who died in 1688,
aged 10, and next to this is a coloured slate commemorating Richard Spoure who died as an infant in 1623. In the north west
corner is an elaborately carved slate tomb, dated 1606, in memory of Thomas
Vincent (of Battens) and his wife, Jane. Jane died in 1601 and hers is the
earliest death commemorated in the church.
(Sourced in part from http://www.threeriversteam.org.uk/north-hill-church/north-hill-church-historic-features/)