Cornish Bench EndsCornish Bench Ends – Zoom talk by Dr Todd Gray 22nd January 2022
Dr Gray wrote a book on Devon Church Bench Ends and followed this up with a gazetteer of Cornish Church Bench Ends. His fascinating talk took us on a tour of many Cornish Churches focusing on the differences between the bench ends found in this county and those found elsewhere.
Mostly dating back to the early 16th Century some of these decorative works of art can still be found at over 80 Cornish Churches including:- Altarnun, Boscastle and Zennor. Their unique features include imaginative and extraordinary images of mythical beasts and are hewn from single pieces of oak.
Carving styles tend to be localized, generally within a 10 mile radius, from what Dr Gray has found in his travels. This has lead him to conclude that individual carvers (including Bretons) were at work, although written records to tell us who created these artworks are scarce.
Originally there were around 225 bench ends, today those that remain are in danger of removal and destruction. Todd encourages us to visit our historic churches, appreciate these amazing survivors and help to keep them in place by giving a donation to the Churches which still have them.
Avril Sutton 24th January 2022