St Illogan Church History
Church Plan 1804
Notice that the two internal walls on the left of the plan (East End) are quite thick suggesting an earlier, Norman church.
By 1844 the old church building had became too small and dilapidated to serve a vastly increasing mining population, so the decision was taken to replace it.
The new church of St Illogan was built at a cost of £2875 and came into use on 4th November 1846. However, almost two years passed before the Bishop of Exeter turned up to consecrate the building – no wonder Cornwall was soon to have its own diocese.
Interestingly, the dedication to St Edmund appears in several references to the new building but this is incorrect.
The Bell Tower
The Bell Tower is all that remains of the old church building. Everything else was demolished just before the new building opened in 1846. The tower would have gone the same way, but Trinity House refused to allow its removal as it provided a useful landmark for shipping. So instead, plans for the new church included provision for the tower to be reconstructed at the West end of the new building, but the work was never carried out (for the want of £300, so the story goes).
The bell ringing mechanism has recently been replaced by an automatic system that chimes the bells. The sound is very similar to conventionally rung bells, but the stresses are greatly reduced, extending the life of the bell frames and reducing maintenance costs on the old tower