St Mary & St Julian

Maker Choir Stalls Screen
Angel on the Choir Stalls Screen at Maker

Altar Rails – Newspaper article (Western Morning News, 1945); 1945

Another otherwise unrecorded item in Maker church is the subject of a newspaper article in October 1945. It reports that the Bishop of Truro visited Maker church to dedicate new sanctuary furnishings, including altar rails given in memory of Lieutenant R. L. V. Little, who died in action aboard HMS Aurora in October 1943. The rails were carved by Miss Pinwill of Plymouth and feature coloured plaques representing the arms of HMS Aurora, the ship itself and a naval crown in gold on blue. A faculty petition was submitted in December 1944 for the erection of memorial oak altar rails (CRO D/R 22/5).

Choir Stalls Screen – F. Minchinton & K. Green (pers. comms); probably 1953

After his retirement in the mid 1950s, Hubert Minchinton, head carver to Violet Pinwill, took two of his grandchildren to Maker church. He told them that he had helped carve the screen dedicated to the Edgcumbe family. A visit in November 2013 confirmed that a half-screen separating the nave from the choir stalls bears a hallmark of the Pinwill company – two semi-kneeling angels in prayer. It is dedicated to Piers Richard Edgcumbe, who died in action near Dunkirk in 1940. The only son of Kenelm and Lilian Edgcumbe, Piers was second cousin once removed and heir presumptive to the 5th Earl of Mount Edgcumbe (National Trust, 2013). After the loss of Piers, his father and mother became 6th Earl and Countess of Mount Edgcumbe, respectively, in 1944. The inscription describes the parents as such and therefore the screen must date to after their succession. Featured on the screen are the arms of the Edgcumbe family, those of five maternal families, Eton, and Trinity College, Cambridge. A faculty was raised in 1953 to, among other things, ‘erect carved ends to the choir stalls to son of the Earl’ (Warner, 2022 p. 232), which strongly suggests the screen in question.

At the time this memorial was erected and for eight decades afterwards, the burial site of Lt Piers Edgcumbe in Dunkirk was not known (The Times, 2021). A determined and protracted investigation by an amateur historian married up the grave of an unknown officer in the Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) cemetery in Dunkirk with the missing Lt Piers Edgcumbe. The CWGC has confirmed that Piers will now be given a named headstone.


CRO D/R 22/5 Faculty Petition. Maker. Memorial Altar Rails.

National Trust (2013) Cotehele Cornwall. National Trust, Swindon.

The Times (2021) Lost Dunkirk hero’s grave found at last by an amateur historian. 27 February.

Warner, M. (2022) A Time to Build: Signposts to the Building, Restoration, Enhancement, and Maintenance of Cornwall’s Anglican Churches and Mission Rooms. Scyfa, Cornwall.

Western Morning News (1945) Altar Rail Designs. Dedication by Bishop of Truro. 13 October p. 2.