The church is prominently sited on the main street, in the centre of the hilltop village of Gerrans. The village adjoins the former fishing village of Portscatho, and the spire is an important landmark, seen from both the sea and the surrounding countryside. The church itself it set within an oval, raised churchyard, or lann. The current form of the church is a nave and chancel under one roof, a N transept and S aisle, with a tower and spire at the W end.
The restoration scheme of 1849 to 1850, carried out by William White of Truro, involved the rebuilding of almost the whole church. It was, however, carried out in a manner sympathetic to the vernacular style, using local materials and reusing the original windows. The result successfully suggests the continuous development of the church since the 13thc..
The only feature remaining from the Norman church is the font.
Gerrans, one of the four Roseland parishes, lay within the important episcopal fief of Tregear. Tregear Manor, the capital of this fief, lay about a mile to the north of the church. The church was rebuilt by the Normans, probably to a cruciform plan. A tower was added in the 14thc., and the church was extensively altered in the 15thc. leaving nothing of the former church. An octagonal spire, an unusual feature on Cornish churches, was added to the tower in the 17thc., apparently as a navigational aide for fishermen and sailors.
The church fell into serious disrepair until it was restored in the mid-19thc..
The Norman font is thought to date from the mid-12thc., and is a simplified version of the Bodmin type. The bowl is square on the outside and circular on the inside. Each face of the bowl has an arcade of four round-headed arches in shallow relief. It is entirely constructed of granite. The bowl is set on a thick round central shaft; this now rests on a square base, which is thought to date from the Victorian restoration scheme, as may the four narrow pillars at the corners.
|Diameter of central shaft||31cm|
|Diameter of outer pillars||8cm|
|Height of base||29cm|
|Height of bowl||27cm|
|Height of central shaft and pillars||34cm|
|Internal depth of bowl||22cm|
|Internal diameter of bowl||51cm|
|Width of base||63.5cm|
|Width of bowl at bottom||57cm|
|Width of bowl at top||60cm|
P. Beacham and N. Pevsner, The Buildings of England. Cornwall, New Haven and London, 2014, 210-11.
J. Betjeman, Cornwall. A Shell Guide, London, 1964.
C. Henderson, The Cornish Church Guide and Parochial History of Cornwall, Truro, 1925.
https://historicengland.org.uk/listing/the-list/list-entry/1328952 accessed 15 May 2016.
A History of St Gerrans Church: the Ancient Church by the Sea (produced by the Parochial Church Council).
N. Pevsner, The Buildings of England. Cornwall, Harmondsworth, 1951.
N. Pevsner revised E. Radcliffe, The Buildings of England. Cornwall, Harmondsworth, 1970.
E. H. Sedding, Norman Architecture in Cornwall, London, 1909.