The chapel of St Saviour on the headland at Polruan probably dates from the 8th or 9th centuries. It was a prominent landmark for mariners at sea marking the entrance to the harbour. At night a beacon was lit in the tower. It also was a useful lookout point giving notice of approaching enemy ships. The original chapel was small, but possibly enlarged by Sir Richard Edgcumbe in 1488, to give thanks for the safe return of his ships after their voyage to Ireland to administer the oath of allegiance to the Irish Earls, as ordered by Henry VII. A chart of Fowey Haven, drawn in the reign of Henry VIII, shows the Chapel consisted of a tower and a nave, with no less than three large windows.
After 1572 St Saviour’s Chapel fell into disrepair following the dissolution of the monasteries. The Chapel is now an ancient monument, belonging to the people of Polruan, and preserved as an open space by the Town Trust.
Research Julie Antha
Sources: N.A. Ackland & R.M. Druce, Lanteglos by Fowey: The Story of a Parish (Fowey, 1978); F. E. Burdett, The Story of St Saviour at Polruan, (Polruan, 1968)