Royal Peculiar

A Royal Peculiar is a place of worship that falls directly under the jurisdiction of the British monarch, rather than a diocese.

Legend has it that the Saxon King Athelstan stayed for a night in St Buriana’s small Oratory (of which nothing now remains), the night before he sailed to conquer the Isles of Scilly. He vowed that if he were successful in his expedition, then he would endow a church here on his return. He was successful and our church was endowed (charter date October 6th 932).

In 1301 the Bishops contested the claim that St Buryan was a Royal Peculiar in the courts but the Crown won. We remained a Royal Peculiar until 1850 when an act of Parliament restored jurisdiction over the Parish to the Bishop, the Crown resigning all the peculiar rights: it also abolished the Prebends of St Buryan.