St Mylor, Cornwall

After a busy week of early starts and late nights, en route home and very much looking forward to dinner. Flicking through letters I notice that the first Postkarten postcard has arrived from Cornwall.

I haven’t been to Cornwall but I think about the sun and the breeze from the sea. Turning it over it is from Giovanna and Phillip. “… During a lovely walk we discovered this beautiful church in Mylor.”

Something about receiving a hand written postcard, it fills me with much happiness which is a bit indescribable.

Caption: “St. Mylor church, near Falmouth, Cornwall. Founded A.D. 411, the present picturesque stone church dating from the 12the century stands at the mouth of Mylor Creek on the Fal estuary. Photographer John Pallent”


The legend of Melor

Melor was the son of Prince Meliau of Cornuaille. When he was seven, his uncle, Riwal murdered his father Meliau to seize the throne. Riwal also desired the death of Melor but the council of bishops, the Breton Barons intervened. Instead of killing the young heir, Riwal had the boy maimed, cutting of his right hand and foot. According to Celtic tradition, anyone who was unable to ride a horse or wield a sword was no longer eligible to rule.

A silver hand and bronze foot were fitted to Melor and he was then sent to a Quimber Abbey under the care of Cerialtan. As the boy grew, his metal limbs began to work organically and grew with him and to be as though they were real. Legend has it that one day when Melor was playing with a toy catapult and shot a bolt through a rock. When he plied the bolt from the rock, water sprung and is now known as the Meilars, near Pont-Croix, in Finistere. When Melor reached fourteen, Riwal ordered Melor’s guardian, Cerialtan to kill him and bring him his head. Whilst he slept, Cerialtan decapitated him. In the night, Cerialtan woke his own son, Justan, so they could flee with the severed head. As they were climbing the castle wall, Justan misplaced his footing and he fell to his death.

Cerialtan pushed forward until he reached Kerlean, where exhausted and dying of thirst he lay down Melor’s head and rested. He cried with anguish about how his actions led to his son’s death and now his own. The dead head of Melor spoke and said, ‘Cerialtan, drive thy staff into the soil and water will spring up’. Cerialtan tired and driven by thirst, drove his staff in to the ground. A spring appeared and the staff took root branches growing rapidly to form a magnificent tree. Cerialtan revived from the spring continued onto Riwal’s palace and delivered Melor’s severed head. Riwal delighted offered Cerialtan all the land he could see from Mount Frugy. Cerialtan climbed the summit but upon reaching the top was struck blind. Melor’s body was buried at Lanmeur where the spring had formed and a church was built as a shrine.  Melor’s feast day is 1st October.

The cult of St Melor in Brittany grew and there have been a number of places and churches dedicated to him including St Mylor church in Cornwall which is pictured here. By the 19th Century the church was in disrepair and renovation began.  A 17 foot celtic cross was found and used as a flying buttress for one of the church walls.  Mylor village has long been connected with shipping.  The churchyard at St Mylor contains many graves including those of several ship captains.