King Charles the Martyr

Picture of Constatnine Church

King Charles the Martyr

King Charles the Martyr is the parish Church of Falmouth.

The church was founded soon after the end of the Civil Wars by Sir Peter Killigrew, a staunch Royalist and principal landowner in the area . He promised to give sufficient land for church and churchyard  if Charles II would sponsor the work; he also requested a charter to build a new town, to be called Falmouth, and the new king agreed to both proposals. Sir Peter helped to finance the building by obtaining contributions from courtiers, including the Duke of York, later James II, and the Dowager Duchess of Devonshire.

Work began in 1662 and continued until 1664; it was consecrated by the Bishop of Exeter in 1665. It has been described as “...the last expression of Gothic combined with Renaissance.....it is unique as far as Cornwall goes...” .¬†

The town grew and prospered; in 1688 it became a Packet Station and several memorials record the exploits of the captains and the passengers of these ships. The rector benefitted from the shipping activity as, in return for flying a red flag on Black Rock as a warning to vessels entering the harbour, he was paid, until 1840, a due of sixpence for each vessel.

As the town prospered, so the church was altered and extended.