Curriculum Kernewek

Cornwall Agreed Syllabus 2011

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+ Guide to the Diocese and Cathedral

In 597AD, Pope Gregory the Great sent Augustine and 40 missionaries from Rome to Britain. They landed on the east coast and Augustine established an archbishopric in Canterbury. During this time of mission, a series of synods were held to resolve the differences between the practices of Rome and those in Britain, including the matter of Easter (which had been celebrated on a different date in Britain). Although some differences in practices continued across Britain, the emerging English (Anglo-Saxon) Church developed close relations with the Pope, and adopted the practices of the Roman Church.

Distinctive practices continued in south-west Britain until the area came under the influence of the emerging English (Anglo-Saxon) Church, which established dioceses and parishes as it grew. A Diocese or See is a geographical grouping of parishes under the care of a Bishop and these areas often reflected earlier administrative boundaries. In 909, the Diocese of Crediton was created out of the Diocese of Sherbourne to cover Devon and Cornwall and in 926 King Athelstan gave St Germans, near Saltash, a cathedral. By 1050, the Diocese was moved to Exeter and a cathedral was built there.

The Diocese remained unchanged through the upheavals of the Reformation and the creation of the Church of England until 1876, when, after 30 years of intense lobbying, the Cornish Diocese was re-established. The campaign for a Cornish Diocese was in part motivated by the benefits that a separate diocese might bring to Cornwall but it was also a response to the rapid growth of non-conformism. In 1851 census revealed that although around half of Cornwall's population (174,611) were attending churches, only around a quarter (47,555) were attending Anglican churches. The majority, nearly two thirds (113,520) were attending Methodist chapels with other denominations making up the rest. The clergy found these figures alarming and the building of the Cathedral may have been an attempt to increase the profile and activities of the Church of England in Cornwall.

The boundaries of the Diocese include the whole of Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly plus two parishes in Devon. There was much debate over where the cathedral should be located. Bodmin had been the medieval ecclesiastical centre of Cornwall, while the original Cornish See of St Germans also put forward a claim. Eventually the site of the Parish Church of St Mary’s in Truro was chosen, which had been in use as a place of worship since at least 1259. The cathedral architect, John Loughborough Pearson incorporated the parts of the old parish church, into the new Cathedral. Truro Cathedral was the first cathedral to be built on a new site since Salisbury was started in 1220. For over 650 years no one had attempted to emulate the great cathedral builders of the medieval era and the builders of the cathedral used modern building techniques to create a similar style. Edward White Benson became the first Bishop of Truro in 1877 but the Cathedral was not opened until 1910.

The Diocese of Truro and the Isles of Scilly:

+ is one of 44 dioceses in the Church of England.

+ covers an area of approximately 1,370 square miles.

+ includes over 300 churches in more than 200 parishes across the whole of Cornwall (plus two in Devon) and the Isles of Scilly.

+ has had 15 Bishops in total. The 15th Bishop of Truro, is the Right Reverend Tim Thornton, who was welcomed to Cornwall in March 2009.

+ has just under 100 stipendiary (paid) clergy and 50 or so self-supporting (non-stipendiary) ministers.

+ is divided into two pastoral administrative areas, called Archdeaconries- the Archdeaconry of Bodmin and the Archdeaconry of Cornwall.

+ Archdeaconries contain groups of parishes called Deaneries. The Archdeaconry of Bodmin and the Archdeaconry of Cornwall each contain six Deaneries. The Archdeaconry of Bodmin includes the Deaneries of Trigg Minor and Bodmin, East Wivelshire, Stratton, Trigg Major and West Wivelshire. The Archdeaconry of Cornwall includes the Deaneries of St Austell, Canmarth North, Carnmarth South, Kerrier, Penwith, Powder and Pydar.

+ has a Diocesan Office in Truro which acts as a resource centre for the parishes and their communities, providing support and advice.