Grade II - 15th Century
The village of Warbstow clusters beneath one of the most dramatic hill forts in Cornwall, Warbstow Bury. The Iron Age Bury with its ramparts and ditches, is well worth a visit in its own right, commanding as it does superb views to the Cornish coast, and far off into Dartmoor.
The Church is dedicated to St Werburgha, the daughter of the Anglo-Saxon King of Mercia who became a nun and set up several religious houses in the North of England in the seventh century. Exactly why she should be patron saint of this parish is unclear but when the Saxons held the hill fort it may have been that the chief set up a shrine to his favoured saint and which later reverted to that of the Norman church.
The church to be seen today is the product of fifteen century enthusiasm for rebuilding and reordering when the church was widened, but is probably the third place of Christian worship to stand on this site, the previous buildings being first Saxon and then Norman. The present church building has altered little in the past four hundred years. A feint inscription over the North Porch door bears the date 1601 and above the inner doorway is a little niche that would have once held a statue of St. Werburgha.
The church inside is very simple and it is easy to see its development from the Norman building which the fifteenth century builders enlarged. The font, however, remains Norman and is made of polyphant stone from nearby Hicks Mill and on the South wall of the sanctuary is the oldest window which has also survived from the Norman building . Interestingly, an early example of recycling can be seen in the pig sty across the road from the church gate which contains an identical Norman window no doubt rescued from the rubble of the fifteenth century renovations. The modest little organ, too, is a rare example of the early eighteenth century.