St Breoke

St Breock Altar and Reredos
Altar and Reredos at St Breock

Altar and Reredos – Photograph (PWDRO 116/69 & 244/5); 1908

The plain altar, adorned only with a Celtic cross, is in contrast to the reredos that contains two pictorial panels (the Annunciation and the Nativity) and figures of four saints (St Petroc, St Piran, St Breaca and St Columba), all sculpted in alabaster, surmounted by an elaborately carved oak canopy. The photograph in PWDRO 244/5 does not credit a carver but the same one in 116/69 has ‘R. Pinwill’ with the ‘R’ changed to a ‘V’, denoting the transitional period in which it was made. However, an article in June 1908 states that the new altar and reredos were designed by Edmund H. Sedding and that while the carving of the wood was carried out by Rashleigh Pinwill of Plymouth, the alabaster work was completed by Nathaniel Hitch of Vauxhall (Church Times, 1908). This sculptor created the magnificent Bath stone reredos in Truro Cathedral in 1887 (Truro Cathedral, 2006) and was later to produce the plaster maquette for the alabaster panel carved by Violet Pinwill for the reredos at Ermington (Jenny Thomas Archive). In the guide (St Breock, undated) it states that the reredos ‘bears four delightful statuettes of local saints, but Saint Breaca is female and patron saint of Breage, and not our St Briocus as was intended!’. The altar is not mentioned and is currently covered with a cloth.


Church Times (1908) St. Breoke Church. 12 June p. 786.

PWDRO 116/69 Photograph. St Breock. Altar and Reredos.

PWDRO 244/5 Photograph Album. Various. Woodcarvings.

St Breock (undated) A Brief History & Guide to the Parish Church of St.Breoke.

Truro Cathedral (2006) Truro Cathedral. Jarrold Publishing, Norwich.