St. Ives Church, St Ives

St. Ives Parish Church (also known as the Church of St. Ia) is a lovely 15th-century church on the harbor of the popular seaside resort of St. Ives in Cornwall.


History of St. Ives Church

The site of St. Ives Parish Church has been a place of Christian worship since the 5th or 6th century, but construction on the present building began in 1410 and was completed in 1434.

The church is dedicated to St. Ia, a female missionary from Ireland or Wales in the 5th or 6th century. Legend has it that she sailed into St. Ives on a leaf.

What to See at St. Ives Church

The 80-foot tower of St. Ives Church is made of massive Cornish granite stones brought by sea from Zennor. The base may be from an earlier church. The tracery of the tower window is 15th century but has 1863 glass, depicting the story of Dorcas (Acts 9:36-43). The two bells date from 1830 and the clock from 1935.

In the churchyard just south of the tower is a very weathered 15th-century cross, with a carving of God the Father upholding the crucified Christ. Gargoyles and grotesques, also 15th-century, guard the exterior of the church.

The Church of St. Ia has a north aisle, south aisle, and a fourth aisle on the north called the Fishermen's Aisle. It has plain glass windows, enabling fishermen to keep an eye on their boats in the harbor while in church.

At the back of the Fishermen's Aisle is the baptistery, with a 15th-century granite font. Figurative carvings on the pedestal represent the demons cast out by baptism. The baptistery itself is mostly 20th century, with a checquered pavement made in 1956.

The nave has a beautiful wagon roof with diagonal molding, curved bosses and vine patterns. Just above the wall are charming statues of saints and angels holding biblical verses - those on the north side relate to redemption while those on the south relate to the Church and the Bible. There are further four angels in the baptistery, which were restored in 1996.

The piers of the arcades are not made of granite as in most Cornish churches, but of sand rock. This easily-worked material accounts for the finely-carved capitals. The piers lean out a bit, which may result from subsidence or might have been purposeful to represent the sides of a boat.

The rood beam, with painted figures of Mary, John and the crucified Christ, dates from 1932. It replaces the rood screen destroyed by Puritans in 1647.

The reredos on the high altar is made of alabaster. The statue on the right represents St. Ia, patroness of the church. The east window was blown out by an explosion at Hayle dynamite works in 1904 and was replaced in 1905.

The choir stalls have 15th-century panels carved with charming human figures, which may have originally been part of the rood screen. The fine bench-ends are typical of 15th-century Cornish woodwork with its deep cutting.

The pulpit is made from original bench-ends and replaces an earlier three-decker pulpit. The sounding board of the latter is now the lid of the font.

The Lady Chapel in the south aisle, also known as the Trenwith Aisle, was added c.1450-1500. The parclose screen dates from 1931.

Quick Facts on St. Ives Church

Site Information
Names:St. Ia Church · St. Ives Church · St. Ives Parish Church
Dedication: St. Ia with St. Peter and St. Andrew
Status: active
Visitor and Contact Information
Coordinates:50.212566° N, 5.479898° W
Address:St Andrews Street
St Ives, England
TR26 1AH
Phone:+44 (0)1736 796404
Email:[email protected]
Hours:Open weekdays during the day
Lodging:View hotels near St. Ives Church
Note: This information was accurate when first published and we do our best to keep it updated, but details such as opening hours and prices can change without notice. To avoid disappointment, please check with the site directly before making a special trip.


  1. Personal visit (July 30, 2007).
  2. Brochure provided by the church.

More Information

Exterior view of St Ives Church from southeast. © Holly Hayes
View of St. Ia's four aisles from the east. © Holly Hayes
The nave with wagon roof, looking east. © Holly Hayes
The rood beam (1932), wagon roof and high altar. © Holly Hayes
View west towards the entrance from the nave. © Holly Hayes
The 15th-century arcade and wagon roof with angel statues. © Holly Hayes
Finely carved capital in the north aisle. © Holly Hayes
Carved angel on the 15th-century granite font. © Holly Hayes
Demons on the pedestal of the font. © Holly Hayes

Map of St. Ives Church, St Ives

Below is a location map and aerial view of St. Ives Church. Using the buttons on the left (or the wheel on your mouse), you can zoom in for a closer look, or zoom out to get your bearings. To move around, click and drag the map with your mouse.