Little Petherick

Cornwall Information & Accommodation Guide

Little Petherick, in Cornish, Nansfenten - 'the spring in the valley', is a village and parish in north Cornwall.

The official name of the parish is St Petroc Minor (distinguishing it from Padstow or Petrockstow).

Little Petherick stands in the wooded valley of Little Petherick Creek, a tidal tributary of the River Camel. Upstream of Little Petherick the creek is not tidal. The village stands on the A389 Wadebridge-Padstow road which crosses the creek at the east end of the village.

The Saints' Way passes through Little Petherick.

Credis lies within the parish. It was once the location of a small copper mine. The mine employed forty men and the shaft at Credis was thirty fathoms (55m) deep.

Quarrying was another active industry in the parish.

Also of historical interest are the remains of Little Petherick's old mills. Little Petherick used to have several mills.

The remains of the mill's old sea wall that trapped the tides are still visible.

Little Petherick is now mainly engaged in farming. The old sanding tracks can still be seen leading up from Credis Creek. These were used to drag beach sand unloaded from boats and then spread on the fields as fertiliser.

Little Petherick parish is joined with St Issey parish.

Parish Church of St Petroc

The parish church of Little Petherick is dedicated to St Petroc. Petroc was a 6th century Celtic Christian saint who is associated with monasteries at Padstow and Bodmin. It was originally built in the 14th century. The church was rebuilt in 1745 and the Molesworth family have since been notable benefactors. It is now Grade I listed. It was restored in 1858 by the Victorian architect William White.
The pinnacles on the tower of the church are believed to have come from St Cadoc's Chapel at Harlyn.

In 1908 the church was again restored, this time by Ninian Comper. The rood screen, reredos and high altar of the church are all the work of Ninian Comper. He was employed by a great benefactor of the church, the antiquarian, Athelstan Riley (1858-1945), who played a major role in the Anglo-Catholic movement in the early 20th century. Athelstan Riley lived at St Mary's. The front exterior of the house has a carving of the Virgin Mary and Child. St Petroc's Hymn was written by Athelstan Riley.

There was a chapel at Trevibban and another near where the church now stands. This chapel was dedicated to St Ide. Some of the carved stones from the chapel are reputedly to be seen in the village.

St Petroc's Hymn

Saintly Confessor of the faith of Jesus,
He whom in Cornwall venerate the faithful,
Spurning earth's pleasure, bound himself to follow
Holy Religion.

Godly and prudent was our holy Petroc,
Peaceful and learned. To his faithful preaching
Constantine hearkens; even beasts draw near him
Slocked by his kindness.

Sowing the gospel where the sea and the river
Mingle their waters, long he dwelt among us,
Passing to Bodmin, there to God his maker
Rendered his being.

Now dwelleth Petroc with the Saints in glory,
But, ever mindful of the soil he planted
Though parted from us, poureth supplications,
Pleading for Cornwall.

Wherefore in chorus thankfully to Godward
Raise we our voices, loud in jubilation;
Praise be to Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
Now and for ever

Other interesting features include: a 17th century Flemish relief in bronze, in the north chapel; the monument to Sir Roger de Lemporu, dating from the 13th century and Andalusia, the Hon. Mrs. J. A. Riley, née Molesworth (d. 1912), ca. 1916.

Tradition tells us that St Petroc passed this way before settling at Bodmin. Until 1830, Little Petherick parish was a Bishop's peculiar and within the episcopal manor of Pawton.

A former Reverend of the Parish from the 19th century has an unusual tale told about him. The Rev. G W Manning had a coffin made from a broken ship's mast which he then used every night, to sleep in.

An area of road between Little Petherick and Padstow is said to be haunted by the ghost of a robed monk-like figure. Some say it is Saint Petroc himself.

Little Petherick's charming churchtown and picturesque church make it a good place to visit and enjoy a taste of traditional Cornwall.

Place-names within the parish: Tregonna; Ballaminers - from the Cornish 'Melynow Meneth' meaning 'Hill of Mills'; Trevibban; St Mary's Woods.

Family History

For a searchable database of Parish registers and records including baptisms, births, burials, marriages, etc. for Little Petherick

ATM / Cashpoints

Tesco, Sarahs Lane, Padstow. This is approx. 2 miles away. The ATM is free to use.

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Little Petherick is situated 2 miles (3 kilometres) south of Padstow and 6 miles (9 kilometres) west of Wadebridge.

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