North Aisle Holy Well

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 or Mules.

The final service in St Torney's took place on Sunday 17th March 2019, bringing Christian worship on this site for, perhaps, over 900 years to an end ; you can read the report on the final service as published in the North Hill Parish Newsletter for April 2019. The long term planned future of the building has not yet been made public. In the interim, visitors wishing to access the church may do so by appointment. Please contact us at the Local History Group for the latest details on how to gain access.

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.

The 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 by clicking on the link above. 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 1753.

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


St Torney’s Church Guide - The published church guide written around 2000 AD (3.2mb pdf)

Monumental Inscriptions - A list of monumental inscriptions in the church and the graveyard. (2.4mb pdf)

St Torney’s parish registers date back into the 1500s. You can view them as follows:

  • Family Search website - for access to film of the original registers; (you will need to create an online registration, at nil cost, if you are accessing this site for the first time
  • Cornwall OPC Database - to view a transcribed and searchable database
  • The NHLHG group has these transcripts: Baptisms 1630–1900; Banns 1860-1900; Marriages 1555-1900; Burials 1608-1900. If you’d like us to look something up for you, please contact the webmaster

Images of St Torney's Church, North Hill

From a Distance
Memorials Interior Graves

From a Distance


St Torney’s Church tower showing the now demolished cottages St Torney’s Church tower showing the now demolished cottages
St Torney’s in 1965
By Nicholas Condy 1793 to 1857 - this image reproduced with the kind permission of James Ashford of Lewannick

Plan of St Torney's Church

Images numbered above are shown below (click on small image for a larger picture)
#01 to #06 - stained glass windows
#07 to #14 – clear glass windows with stained upper section
#15 to #46 – features, memorials, pews, font, interior, columns, royal arms


#01 – Scenes from the life of Christ #02 – Scenes from the crucifixion #03 – Window dedicated to Charles Edward Rodd

#03 – Arches below the window dedicated to C E Rodd. #04 – Dedicated to Francis Rashleigh Rodd (1839-1924) by his widow, Julia. #05 – In memory of James Rennell Rodd, born 1858, who died in 1892 in Rome.

#05 - The coat of arms of the Diocese of Truro. Above is St Elizabeth and her son, John the Baptist. #05 - Victorian-era fanciful reconstruction of Stigand's coat of arms. Above is St James the Great holding the long staff of a pilgrim from which a gourd of water is suspended. #05 – The coat of arms of the Rodd family and window dedication. Above is St Mary Magdalene.

#06 – Window dedicated to Rodd family members who served in WW1 and those from the parish who gave their lives. #06 – Window dedication. #09 – A clear glass window with a stained canopy.

#10 – A clear glass window with a stained canopy. #11 – A clear glass window with a stained canopy. #12 – A clear glass window with a stained canopy.

#13 – A clear glass window with a stained canopy. #14 – A clear glass window with a stained canopy.


#15 - Charles Rodd; 1807-1885; Rector of North Hill for 51 years #16 - Francis Rodd; 1683-1786 .. and other members of the family #17 - Richard Spoure; 1653-1653

#18 - Incised slates showing Spoure family genealogy dated about 1680 #19 - Henry Spoure; 1677-1688 #19 - Henry Spoure; 1677-1688

#20 - Edward Rodd; 1768-1842 #21 - Renatus Bellot; 1704-1712 #23 - Henry Spoure; c1541-1603

#23 - Henry Spoure; c1541-1603 #23 - Henry Spoure; c1541-1603 #37 - Thomas Vincent; died 1606

#37 - Thomas Vincent; died 1606 #38 - Vincent Darley; 1700-1774 #41 - Thomas Issacke; 1738-1775

#43 - Nicholas Foott; 1743-1799 #44 - Reverend James Trevillian; died 1766 #46 - Reverend John Wollcock; 1736-1797


Decorated ceiling. The Chancel roof was restored in 1868 when it was decorated and painted. Decorated ceiling Charles I royal coat of arms above the south door #30

Pew bench end. The pews were replaced in 1896 but the bench ends are well carved and detailed using a 16th century pattern Rodd family crest on a pew bench end. Norman font #31

Central aisle


Richard Budge Caunter 1796 - 1819 Honor Foott 1774 - 1850 William Foott 1769 - 1844

William Somer Foott 1806 - 1836 George Eggins Knight 1820 - 1883 John Luskey 1737 - 1816

John Luskey 1780 - 1867 William Luskey 1699 - 1776 Philip Sandercock 1803-1883

Charlie Sargent 1871 - 1899 John Strike 1751 - 1823 Walter Sleep 1723 - 1812

Walter Sleep 1780 – 1783
Elizabeth Sleep 1783 - 1783
Walter Sleep 1793 - 1845

The images at the top of the page show (L-R): Tower of St Torney’s Church; the Norman font in the church; figures on the Spoure monument; gravestone of John Luskey.