The parish of Saint Colan is situated on a stream called the Ryalton near the North Coast of Cornwall and is in the rural Deanery of Paydar.
The Patron Saint.
The authenticity of the Patron Saint is hard to determine but legend has it the St Colan (or Colanus) was a Welsh saint of the 7th century. There are only two other churches dedicated to this saint one in Llangollen in North Wales the other at Llollen near Quimper in Brittany. It is said that for a time St Colan was Abbot of Glastonbury and afterwards travelled further afield preaching.
1250-The church erected by Walter Bronscombe Bishop of Exeter, and later by him assigned to the Augustine Canons of his college at Glasney near Penryn. In an other account it is stated the church belonged to the Cardinhams and was given by them through Bishop Bronscombe t o Glasney College in 1276.
The patronage was transferred from the Bishop of Exeter to the Bishop of Truro when the Diocese was reconstituted in 1877.
The church was originally of cruciform shape enlarged in the 15th century.
The Font is octagonal and ornamented with Gothic tracery.
Only the base of what once was a fine screen remains.
The Rood stairs can still be found in the South wall.
1884-The east window filled with stained glass, depicting the Ascension as a memorial to John Creser who was vicar for 34 years.
There are also two windows depicting the raising of Jairus's daughter and the Sermon on the Mount placed in the North Aisle as memorials to the Creser family.
In the South Wall are other windows depicting the Last Judgement and the Raising of Lazarus in memory of the Cardell family also of John and Elizabeth Rowes of Trebudannon.
Other memorials include two Brasses. That on the North wall is mounted on a slate slab depicting Francis Bluet with the date 20th May 1572 and Elizabeth (Colan) his wife , with effigies of both, standing on either side of an impaled shield of arms, and below figures of13 sons and 9 Daughters. the verge of the slab bears the incised inscription, and below the brass an admonition as from the deceased.
The second Brass on the South Wall of the sanctuary is that of John Cosowarth (or Cosowartha) Receiver General of the Duchy of Cornwall in 1575, this brass was originally set in the floor. In this Cosowarth Brass is a bullet hole and there exist two legends about this -the first being that a Cromwell sympathiser fired at the Brass. The second story says that a rejected suitor fired at a lady as she was being married to someone else of her choice, the bulletfortunately missed her and striking the Brass.
Outside the church and adjacent to the porch can be seen the Colan Cross-this cross was missing for many years but was rediscovered in 1908 by Dr W.J Stephens of the Old Cornwall Society. The cross was found by him to be serving as a gate post in a near by hedge and plans were made to re-erect it in the churchyard. However objections to this proposal were made by the owners of the land on which the cross stood-they wished it placed on or near their family graves. It was not until 1970 with the efforts of the Newquay old Cornwall Society the cross was placed in its present position and re dedicated on Trinity Sunday of that year.
The small building near the main gate is said to have been used as a store from which bread and ale were distributed to weary travellers.
Across the road from the main gate can be seen an old well. Across a few fields to the South West is a hamlet named Lady Nance at which there is another Holy Well. Tradition says that on Palm Sundays the congregation from Colan church proceded to the well at Lady Nance carrying in one hand their Palm Crosses and in the other an offering for the vicar. The Crosses were then thrown down the well-if they floated then the thrower would live for another year-if they sank then the thrower would die within twelve months.
A few yards down the west road from the main gate is the Barton of Colan, now a farm house. this originally belonged to a family of that name as early as the year 1500 when, lack of a male issue, it was divided between the da ughters of the last male heir. the Barton and land then passed into the ownership of the families Bluet (or Blewett) and Trefusis. the Bluets lived at the Barton and to perpetuate the name of Colan several children were baptised with that name.
A certain Major Colan Blewitt is said to have distinguished himself as an active officer in the service of Charles 1; four of his brothers are also recorded as having been engaged in the same cause. that part of the Barton which belonged to the Bluets was purchased sometime in the 17th century by the Hoblyns of Nanswhydden. The Trefusis part of the Barton was purchased by the representatives of the Earl of Radnor in 1620. The whole of the Barton eventually became the property of the Reverend Robert Hoblyn.
To the South beyond the hamlet of Mountjoy is the Barton Coswarth (or Cosowarth). the family Coswarth is recorded as having flourished before the Norman Conquest at which time the family name was Escudifer. Sir Samual Coswarth the last male of that name, left a daughter Bridget who married a Henry Minors Esquire. Ann their daughter and sole heiress married in 1698, Francis Vivian Esquire a captain in the army. The issue of that marriage was an only daughter Mary: who carried the estates of Coswarth, Minors , and Vivianin marriage to Sir Richard Vyvyan Bart, of Treowarren thus uniting the two branches of a family which had been separated for at least three centuries. Little now remains of the ancient manor of Coswarth, excepting the hall and a large mullioned window. Extensive repairs and additions have produced an attractive building now occupied by a local farmer.
A short distance to the North of the church is the estate known as Fir Hill. In 1899 the trees at nearby Tregoose were identified as Lombardy Populars over 400 years old and this inspired the then Squire Hoblyn to plant firs at Fir Hill which then , it is recorded became a show place. Until quite recently there was at Fir Hill a Manor House(described elsewhere as a pleasant villa residence)to which the Hoblyn family moved when their home at Nanswhydden was burned down in 1803. Since the First World War the family become widely dispersed and the Manor House has since become a ruin due to a stream undermining the foundations. No heir to the Hoblyn estate has been found to date but many hopeful claimants have come forward over the years. At present time the Hoblyn estate is in the hands of the Treasury Solicitor.