St Pol de Leon HLF project

This video shows the various aspects of the project.



Sacrifice, Peace and Reconciliation

the sculpture is unveiled by Colonel Bolitho

Greater love has no one than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. those words are recorded in John's Gospel and spoken by Jesus to His disciples.

Those words may be new to some here this morning and for some they will be all too familiar, perhaps we have heard them at the annual remembrance Sunday service. I would suggest to you that when we have experienced the loss of a loved one, a colleague or a brother or sister in arms, the impact of those words carry a greater meaning.

The life of a serviceman or woman is such a collage of experiences ranging from sheer exhilaration right through to being down right scared. Woven through the fabric of that life is always humour, that ability to find the funny side, even in the midst of the most testing circumstances. It is that ability to see the funny side that enables us to get the job done and come out the other side intact. There is generally an inter service humour when the Army, the Navy and the Royal Airforce serve alongside each other, they each have a particular language style

For instance, Take the simple phrase "secure the building". The Army will post guards around the place.

The Navy will turn out the lights and lock the doors.

The Royal Marines will kill everybody inside and set up a headquarters.

And the Air Force will take out a 5 year lease with an option to buy.

Over the past few months a group of veterans have been working to create a fitting tribute to anyone affected by armed conflict over the past 100 years. Their design brief was based on three words, sacrifice, reconciliation and peace. As a result of their service members of the group have been trying to find that inner peace for some time now and I believe the process of creating this tribute will help them to find that peace.

All those involved have had absolutely no sculpting experience before joining the project and I think when you see the finished piece you will agree their achievement is an impressive testament

to their ability draw on their strength of character and tenacity to deliver a unique piece of art.

To my knowledge this type of project has not been undertaken anywhere else in the UK and I am delighted it has taken place here in Paul Village.

It has been an emotional journey for all of us as we wrestled to achieve a design which conveyed just what we wanted to communicate to all who visit the quiet garden. Armed conflict is something which changes the lives of all who get involved. At its worst lives are cut short but for all, their lives are changed by the things they have experienced. The good news is there is hope of a brighter future, inner healing is possible when we look for the positives which are all around us and are thankful to be able to enjoy them each day. I applaud the courage of this group of men and women in taking up this challenge and seeing it through to completion. When we create something for all to see we make ourselves vulnerable to criticism.

Theodore Roosevelt once said;

It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.

I started my address with the words

Greater love has no one than this, to lay down one’s life for ones friends. The people of Paul village meet in this building to worship God and to hear from him. I suggest to you that the Church is not this fine building but the people who meet here, and at the heart of that congregation is a faith in the work of Jesus Christ who willingly gave up His life for you and for me. He provided the only way for us to be reconciled to God.

Patrick McWilliam


Work is on schedule for this sculpture to be unveiled in the second week of October

Work on the foundations  

Sculpting the details of the hands




Come along and explore the rich heritage of St Pol de Leon Church in the village of Paul near Penzance, featuring the beautiful unique World War 1 window, and the memorial to the crew of the Solomon Browne lifeboat.

The church is open from dawn to dusk.
Free guided tours of the church every Wednesday from May to October at 10.30am and 2.30pm (wheelchair accessible).

Coffee, cake, and local produce are also available on Wednesdays in the church hall from 10 to 11.30am.

Group tours by arrangement (there is a small charge)

To find out more or to book a group visit, email

St Pol de Leon Church Paul has received a grant of £254,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF), for its “Celebrating Peace through Reconciliation project”.  Thanks to the money raised by National Lottery players will result in the
restoration of a significant First World War Memorial Window.

Commenting on the award, Revd. Andrew Yates, Priest-in-charge said: “We’re delighted that we’ve received this support thanks to National Lottery players. The church contains a number of important heritage items as well as the amazing window such as memorials to the crew of the Solomon Browne life boat and to Dolly Pentreath, the last monoglot Cornish speaker. It’s great to know that we are a step closer to preserving these important links to the past for another century.”



Project Update

Pictures from the Rededication service on May 6th 2018

The restored window


Window Wanderland coming soon to Paul village
Final preparations under way.


Window Wanderland final workshop from Chris Osborne on Vimeo.



Great News! The window returns


The East Window at Paul



The stone work is nearly complete and the stained glass is scheduled to start
being installed at the end of January.
Nearly there!

Stone masons Reuben Marsh and Richard Holliday working on the tracery.

Oral History Project

We are pleased to announce the appointment of Barbara Santi, of Awen productions as the lead on our oral history project.  Barbara will be introducing herself over the next few weeks and finding out more about the heritage of Paul church and the surrounding community and will be starting a programme of training and interviewing in January 2018.   We are pleased to welcome her to the team and look forward to sharing her ideas and enthusiasm.


A packed hall for the North South Theatre perfomance of PALS


PALS performance from Chris Osborne on Vimeo.

The RNLI Banner making workshop was a great success enjoyed by all who came.
If you missed it there is another workshop on Saturday Nov 4th in Paul Church 10am - 2pm just drop in. Enjoy the video.


RNLI Banner workshop 1 from Chris Osborne on Vimeo.

Best practice visit to Penlee House, Penzance

Louise, the director of Penlee House explains the process of organising an exhibition.
Zoe, education and outreach officer talked about her role, and explains the contents of a children's explorer belt.



Pirates on the Prom

On August 27th Penzance tried to regain the record for the number of pirates in one place. Here children attending the Penlee Cluster holiday club pose under the memorial to Stephen Hutchens, Paul's famous sea captain.


St Hilary Heritage Centre. 19th July 2017

A group from Paul experience the 
range of heritage information on 
....and consider the opportunities and
challenges of displays in a
church context.
Chance for a de-brief over coffee
and lemon drizzle cake!


Royal Cornwall Museum, Truro 28th June 2017

A group from Paul visited the
Royal Cornwall Museum at Truro
to experience the World War 1 exhibition “Heart of conflict”.
They met with the exhibition
organiser Susan Roberts to pick
up ideas on best practice in promoting heritage.

To read more about the project click on the image below.

Sacrifice remembered