When the foundation stones were laid on 20th May 1880 by the future King Edward VII it was the first Cathedral to be built in England since Salisbury in 1220.
Designed by John Loughborough Pearson it is built mainly of Cornish granite in the medieval Gothic style with the more decorative features made out of the softer Bath stone.
One of its more unusual features is that it includes part of the original Tudor St. Mary’s Parish Church and is a church within a church with the Dean of the Cathedral also being Rector of St Mary’s.
Being a Victorian building without centuries of history behind it means that it isn’t a magnet like some of the country’s more well known churches, but that doesn’t mean to say that it’s not worth a visit.
For the price of a pint you can buy a short illustrated guide to the Cathedral which will give most visitors all the information they need.
The highlights include the stained glass (particularly the three Rose windows), The Reredos, Baptistry, Cornubia painting and my own particular favourite - The Way of the Cross terracotta frieze.
There is no charge to go in but as with all these buildings the ongoing costs are enormous and therefore donations are more than welcome but if you buy the guide you would be doing your bit to help keep the place going and also be doing yourself a favour by finding out that there’s more to this Cornish landmark than you might have expected.
The Cathedral is an Anglican cathedral and was the first all-new Gothic cathedral to be built in Britain for 600 years and is the largest example in the British Isles of the Gothic Revival architectural style fashionable during the nineteenth century. Foundation stones were laid in 1880 by the Prince of Wales, who later became Edward VII and the first section of the cathedral was consecrated in 1887, with the remaining work completed in 1910. The walls are made of Cornish granite and the statues are carved in Bath stone.
Monday to Saturday: 7:30 am to 6:00 pm
Sunday: 9:00 am to 7:00 pm
Admission Free, but a suggested donation of £5 per person (or £3 per child) is recommended.
The Truro memorial was originally a testimony to Truronians killed or missing during the First World War (182 names), later additions were the Second World War (106 names) and later still 1 name from the Falklands War and 1 from the war in Afghanistan.The memorial is a dressed granite, mostly rock-faced with a bronze statue of a foot soldier in battle dress raising his "tin" helmet in the air.
The centre is a good source of Information on local and national attractions, Advice on planning excursions and activities, Local and national accommodation booking service, Advance purchase Eden tickets, A wide selection of gift ideas, CDs, maps, guides, books, stamps, walking and cycling touring guides, and souvenirs.
Cornwall Tourism Awards Bronze winner of Tourist Information Centre of the Year 2007.
Cornwall Tourism Awards Silver winner of Tourist Information Centre of the Year 2006.
April to October
Monday to Friday: 9:00 am to 5:30 pm
Saturday: 9:00 am to 5:00 pm
November to March
Monday to Friday: 9:00 am to 5:00 pm
The Coinage Hall goes back to a time when Truro was chosen as a Stannary Town, this is where smelted tin was assayed before being exported. The present Victorian building is on the site of the original 14th century Coinage Hall. Today the Coinage Hall is home to a small number of retail outlets including Pizza Express, Charlotte's Tea Rooms and the Antique Centre.
The City Hall, which includes the Mayor's Parlour and Truro City Council Offices was built in the 19th century and is of Italianate design. The building has an impressive clock tower, which was given by an anonymous donor after the original clock tower became the victim of a fire in 1914. Truro Tourist Information Centre is also within this building.
Monday to Thursday: 9:00 am to 5:00 pm
Friday: 9:00 am to 4:00 pm
Come-to-Good is a small village, the origin of whose name is uncertain but may be a (probably ironic) reference to the presence of a group belonging to the Religious Society of Friends, commonly called Quakers. The thatched Meeting House, completed in 1710, is sparsely furnished (by comparison with many other places of worship) and reflects a Quaker tradition of simple meetings in silence, awaiting inspiration. The building is still used for meetings, (although open to visitors at other times). On the wall is a copy of the Lord's Prayer in Cornish, related to Welsh (and less obviously to other Celtic languages). The language, after a 20th century revival, is probably now spoken by a few thousand people. Interestingly, although its relationship with Welsh is a close one, there are only a few identical words in this text, (e.g. bara = bread). However, there are many others with a distinct similarity.
This is a beautiful building, built in the traditional Gothic style. Surprisingly it was built much later than it would seem, between 1880 & 1910, and had to be built at an angle to fit into the site in the centre of the city which had existed for hundreds of years.
Following the success of the initial Bristol to London railroad in 1841, demand was great for further extensions of this new mode of transportation. Among the results of this demand, was the extension of the railroad into the resort and tin-mining areas of Devon and Cornwall, with construction on this section starting in 1853. The success of the entire rail system in this part of England was thanks to the design efforts of Isambard Kingdom Brunel, one of the most famous civil engineers that England has ever produced. The remnants of two of his original thirty-four timber viaducts required between Plymouth and Truro (built on granite piers) can still be seen in the city, although it is only the granite uprights that remain beside the replacement structures. This photo shows one of the masonry supports of the 1859 'Carvedras' viaduct that were built 66 ft. apart to bridge the valley, with now-removed timber structures raising the level of the tracks a further 35 ft. in the air, almost up to the level of the existing granite and brick 1902 viaduct visible in the background here. The timber viaducts had to be phased out because of the expense of maintaining them. The 3rd photo shows the actual 'Truro' viaduct on the other side of the hill dividing it from the Carvedras viaduct, also showing it's left-over masonry pillars beside the in-use portion (this one was upgraded in 1904).
One of Truro's most impressive attractions is the long Carvedras granite and brick railway viaduct built in the west end of the city to span the valley in which most of the city nestles. Built in 1902 to replace an earlier stone and wood viaduct of the same name (see the next Tip for more details), this one continues to play a vital role in transportation for rail traffic further into the tip of Cornwall.
My wife's parents live on the northwestern outskits of Truro, so I would almost always park our rental car at their house whenever I went to visit the downtown area of the city. From there, it was only a 15-minute walk, which took me beneath this viaduct and then alongside the small River Kenwyn as it flowed toward the town's small harbour at the start of the Truro River. I marvelled at how much nicer these old granite structures look than the smooth concrete and steel affairs used today!
Although an overcast day and long after the colourful flowerbeds had passed their glory, I detoured off The Leats on one of my city walks in order to have a closer look at Truro's Victoria Gardens. Located on the gently sloping hillside beside the River Kenwyn, this relaxation area was opened in June, 1898 to commemorate Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee (60 years of rule in 1897). It is very nicely landscaped with exotic trees, shrubs and flowers. There is also a pavilion which can be used as a bandstand and, during the summer, concerts are held on Sunday afternoons. Just up the hill a bit from the pavilion is a cute little cottage (second photo) that was donated to the city in 1902 by one of its Aldermen to commemorate the coronation of King Edward VII following the death of Victoria. I would like to come back here for a better look at the plants and flowers during the summer season!
Although downtown Truro is quite small and the traffic can get congested at times, I still found it to be a pleasant city to enjoy on foot. There are quite a few places where the streets are given over to pedestrians only and also a network of paths leading between the shops, so it is quite easy to take short-cuts. The old centre of the town (photo) around Boscowan Street is interesting with it's cobblestones and width, built to accommodate the herds of cattle that used to be driven into town on Market Days. Also located here is a Tudor-style stone building built as a bank in the mid-1800s, but now housing shops. It is still known as the Coinage Hall building because it is built on the site, dating from the 1300s, where smelted tin produced in the surrounding area was assayed for quality before being sold and exported.
The second photo shows some typical Christmas decorations near Lemon Street. Quite nice I thought and I was also interested to see the local custom of mounting small Christmas trees in holders attached to the front of buildings. We came across this custom in several locations during our drives in Cornwall and Devon.
Cornwall boasts it's very own impressive Anglican Cathedral, located in its only city, Truro. This happened to be the where the first Bishop (1877-1883) was located when the new diocese was created, and he went on to become the highest authority in the Church of England when he was appointed as the Archbishop of Canterbury (1883-1896). It seems that Bishop Edward Benson was a man of influence, because this Cathedral was the first new site to be started, in 1880, since the Cathedral of Salisbury in 1220! The familiar old style is retained in the Gothic Revival design of this beautiful cathedral, which is visible from just about anywhere in Truro. Construction was essentially completed with the Dedication of the Western Towers in 1910. The original architect was John Pearson, with the work being finished following his death by his son Frank.
A unique feature of this Cathedral is that it incorporates parts of the much older parish Church of St. Mary's into it's construction, in order to prevent the demolition of the older church. The first photo gives a distant view of the Cathedral from the valley hillside and the other three are closer views of different features of the Cathedral.
If you don't feel like a brisk walk along the cliffs of the north coast, then head the other direction out of Truro and you will shortly be along the coastal waters of the English Channel side of Cornwall. This area is generally of lower elevation and beautiful in a different sort of way with its forests, fields, gentle hills and numerous bays and inlets. During a June, 2000 visit, we maximized our use of the warm summer days by taking some walks in this area only a few miles south of Truro near huge the Carrick Roads estuary (see my 'General' tip for it's location).
While walking along a footpath between the tiny villages of Restronguet Passage and Mylor, we were amazed when we came across what looked like pre-historic Rhubarb plants, possibly escapees from 'The Day of the Triffads'!! It turns out that they are called Gunnera and are also known as Prickly Rhubarb. The second photo shows us relaxing a bit further along the trail as we gaze over the fields toward the nearby coast.
My little walk into Truro brought me, as soon as I had passed beneath the railroad viaduct, onto a very interesting pedestrian footpath called 'The Leats'. It ran between the a stone channel used to contain the River Kenwyn on one side and the sloping valley wall comprising Victoria Gardens on the other side. The end nearest the viaduct is very nicely landscaped as well, as can be seen in this photo. The Leats soon brought me to the very centre of Truro, where there are several other pedestrian alleys leading between the various shops.