The Building

St Budeaux Parish Church
Photograph of the Church Building

1500 Years of History

St Budeaux Church was named after a bishop from Brittany. Budoc was the grandson of the king of Brest but had spent some of his childhood living in Cornwall with his mother. He eventually returned to Brittany, became a monk and was then made Bishop of Dol (now known as Dol-de-Bretagne). In about 480 A.D. he sent some of his monks in an open boat over to Britain. They sailed up the Tamar and landed by Ernesettle Creek where they built a wattle church. They were probably visited there a number of times by Bishop Budoc. He died in 500 A.D. and was buried in the Cathedral at Dol.

By 1066 A.D. the church had been rebuilt in stone and dedicated to St Budoc, but until 1482 it was regarded as part of St Andrew's parish. In that year it was made a parish in its own right, and a report commissioned in 1553 by King Edward IV shows it to have been a church with a tower and three bells.

However early on in the reign of Elizabeth I it was decided to rebuild the church on higher ground away from the river. The present church was completed in 1563. Some of the stone was probably taken from the old church and the granite font also probably came from the earlier building. Just six years after its completion, it became the church in which Sir Francis Drake married Mary Newman (1569).

Less than one hundred years later, in 1644, the church was badly damaged as a result of two battles in the Civil War which were centred on the church. It was another 11 years before the church was restored. The church was again restored in Victorian times in 1876, with more minor additional changes being made since then.

A booklet with a more detailed history can be found at the back of the present church.

Illustration from a nineteenth-century print - engraving by T.H. Williams