St Philippe de Torteval

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Torteval Church from an old postcard

The church of St Philippe de Torteval is the parish church of Torteval, Guernsey.

The original church, demolished in 1816, stood in the same churchyard but a little further to the east.

The name of the parish probably originates from the twisting valley that runs down from the church to the east coast near Fort Grey, and it is likely that the church probably stood on or close to a sacred spring.

The resources of the parish, which must always have had the fewest inhabitants, were not only unable to provide any of the gifts which enlarged other churches but were not even able to keep it in good enough repair to ensure its survival. The States of Guernsey paid for the rebuilding and employed the architect John Wilson, who designed the very differently styled St James the Less in St Peter Port.

Torteval Church was originally planned as a Calvinist-style chapel but has now been refurbished in the Anglican manner and the spire, which can be seen from afar, is unusual in that it is a round tower.

Alone among Channel Island parishes, Torteval possesses a medieval bell that has survived both the Reformation and the demolition of the church for which it was cast. The church has a peal of 3 bells.

The Priaulx Library holds microfilm copies of the parish baptisms, marriages and burials registers, which date back to 1684.

References

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