In August 2008, as we always have done, we spent our family holiday in Cornwall. On August 14th, in the late morning, we went to visit the parish church in Germoe, a tiny, tiny village, between Penzance and Helston in the very west of the county. Look for the orange arrow:
The church, like every ancient church in this part of the world, is built on or near the site of a pagan sacred well, in this case St Germoe’s Holy Well, which was renamed in honour of the patron saint of this little church, St Germoe:
Germoe was a young Irishman from around 450 A.D.. This was just after the fall of the Roman Empire, in the so-called “Dark Ages”. Germoe was one of the disciples of St Patrick who came, or perhaps more probably, were sent, to convert the bloodthirsty savages of West Cornwall, such as their fierce War Chief, Teudar, to Christianity. Almost seven hundred years after this, in the eleventh century, the Normans built a church on the site. This original church was then in its turn replaced by a second church in the fourteenth century. The churchyard contains a strange little arched building known as St Germoe’s Chair. Supposedly, it was a shrine covering the bones of St Germoe, which sounds lovely, except that we know that there is no trace whatsoever of anybody’s bones under the structure:
On either side of the church door are the quaintly carved “Germoe Monkeys” which supposedly represent long tailed monkeys of some kind and are said to ward off evil. As far as I can trace, nobody has ever thought it at all unusual that the peasant builders of a remote fourteenth century church should have a knowledge of monkeys:
Perhaps they are not monkeys! It’s very hard to tell after so many centuries of erosion. Most of it since 1900.
At this time, of course, Cornwall was a place where English was not spoken. Few, if any roads connected this Celtic speaking area with England, and the inhabitants of the county regarded themselves as a separate country. So how did they know about monkeys?
Personally, I have always enjoyed the brightly coloured glass windows, straight from a Hammer Horror film. You almost expect Peter Cushing or Christopher Lee to peer through them:
Most spectacular of all in the church, however, is the font. Nothing is known about its origin except that it is very, very ancient:
The stone structure is certainly pre-Norman Conquest (1066) and equally, cannot really be connected to the Celtic era of St Germoe. At this time, deep in the Dark Ages, baptisms are known to have taken place in the Holy Well, as a demonstration to the local pagans of the superior powers of the Christian faith. Any fonts were placed in as low a position as possible, because a baptism in this era always included the washing of the feet.
In my humble opinion, as they say, the font is not at all a Christian font but an object of veneration from a much. much older religion, forgotten for countless centuries, and perhaps older than even the Romans. The faces carved on the side. I believe, are those of their gods, these unknown people from so long ago.
One face has a chip on it, which looks like a tear and must surely represent the sadness of a long forgotten entity who knows that he is divine, but who now has no worshippers to emphasise that fact:
The other face is much more intriguing and always seems so very, very poignant.
To me it always looks like a sad alien, marooned here for ever, unable to return to his own planet.
Perhaps I should contact Giorgio Tsoukalos on Discovery History Channel’s “Ancient Aliens”?
9 responses to “Aliens take refuge in Cornish Parish Church”
Fascinating. Kind of like a Cornish Roswell with an alien survivor.
On another note if an alien entity did crash or get marooned here all those years ago chances would be the local’s place of religious worship would serve some function as they would naturally assume that anyone from the sky would be divine.
Absolutely! When I saw the faces on the font, I immediately thought of that idea of a lost alien. Like most mysteries though, it will probably never be solved!
I love wandering into and around old churches, the stone work, which I hasten to add I know nothing of, always amazes me. The faces of many carvings are so ‘monster’ or even alien like I do wonder if we had been visited and they thought ‘no way’ and left us to it!
Fully agree! They must have taken one look, got back into their flying saucers and zoomed off!
You should send it in to Ancient Aliens. It’s genuinely interesting, especially because of the lack of monkeys. I mean, what could they have been? Perhaps you’re on to something considering whether it’s a relic from a pre-Christian religion. The priest/priestesses of Io shaved their heads, as did the ancient Egyptians (and some ultra-Orthodox Middle Eastern communities still do to this today). Perhaps the Cornish came in to contact with these people when trading tin, or maybe the font used to be an altar and found it’s way to Germoe? Makes you think 🙂
I’m sure the font is pre-Christian, and conceivably, they could have had contact with distant civilisations through the tin trade. Traditionally, the trade was carried out through St Michael’s Mount and Germoe is not very far from there. That’s where the monkeys came in probably. On the other hand, personally, I prefer the crashed and abandoned alien theory. It’s much more interesting!
True! I’m still in favour of the trade routes theory – those Hebrew place names on the South Cornish coast must have come from somewhere 🙂
Fascinating post, John. I’ve always believed we are not alone in this Universe. 🙂 Thank you for putting this post together! Love, Amy ❤