We have a very fine four stage granite Tower which, at 92 feet high and double buttressed at each angle, is visible for miles across the Cornish landscape, and used for centuries by seamen and shipping as a major landmark. Four stage Towers are rare in Cornwall and found in only five places, the others being Fowey, St Columb, St Ives and Linkinhorne. (The picture on the right shows St Buryan church tower C1901, North face showing the Staircase turret)
The Tower is defined by simple string courses with slender, slightly stepped, setback buttresses. It has a pointed arched west doorway, with west window over, consisting of a five-light mullioned pointed arched window with simple cusped perpendicular tracery. The upper stage has a three-light mullioned bell pointed arched openings on each face with simple cinquefoil tracery over.
A canted stair tower rises to an octagonal embattled tower on the east end of the north face lit by slit lights set in the ashlar block perpends. The embattled parapet has corner pinnacles.
The lead roof is a shallow 'W' profile with twin lead valleys running to downpipes that run down through the parapet masonry and then down the east face of the tower. Over the tower doorway is the monogram I.H.S.
The three upper floors inside the tower house the bell frames and ringing chamber. The Tenor bell at 37 cwt. 2 qtrs. 9lbs and the Treble bell at 9.1.11 cwt resting below the four middle weight bells, with the ringing chamber directly below. (The picture on the left shows the Treble and Tenor bell in bell frame
Slit light in tower stairway, and Granite ashlar stairway
The Tower was completed in 1501 after taking 21 years to build using local Lamorna cut granite, (the same stone used to build old London Bridge - now in Arizona). Some of its fine stones weigh over two tons each and gives the tower massive strength. A 1991 survey showed that even with all the bells swinging in the same direction the 90ft tower only moved 0.005 inches.
A string course is a projecting horizontal band set in the surface of the wall.
A buttress is stonework projecting from a wall, or built against a wall to give extra strength
A Light is a panel of glass between two mullions.
Mullion, a vertical post or upright dividing a window into lights.
Cusps are small arching points between two lobes of tracery in a window
Tracery, decorative stonework edging to windows
Cinquefoil, five lobes in the window arch tracery
Embattled, parapet with a series of indentations with raised portions between them.
Ashlar, masonry of large blocks wrought to give even faces and square edges.
Perbends, stones carried through the whole thickness of a wall.
Pinnacle, ornamental steep conical form crowning a tower