Grampound appears as “Parochia Grampound” in 1327. The town received its first charter in 1332. There was probably a Chapel of Ease here before the church’s first recorded charter in 1370 which was granted to John Pebowe and the villeins of Grampound, renewed annually and in 1375 granted to John Pebowe, his wife and the Burgesses of Grampound during the Bishop’s pleasure and restricted to Sundays and Feast Days.
In 1384 the bishop visited and spent a night in Grampound. In 1426 the church was referred to as St Mary’s, in 1497 as the Chapel of the Blessed Barnabus, the Apostle.
In spite of this, the true patroness was St Naunter, the dedicatee of the Chapel of the Holy Well in Trevillick, situated in perfect countryside to the north of the village. The chapel was visited by pilgrims but now nothing remains except a carved stone built into the wall of a shed on Trevillick Farm.
St Nun’s Church in Altarnun was said to be the burial place of St Nonnet, St Nonna, St Naunter or St Nun, the daughter of the Earl of Cornwall and the mother of St David. She was associated with holy wells, that of Altarnun being used as a “cure” for lunatics.
In Grampound, St Nun’s, as the church became known, survived the Reformation. In 1745 the rector of Creed reported “There is a small chapel at Grampound which is lately put in good repair. ‘Tis dedicated to Zenouter but is commonly called Grampound Chapel. I read prayers there some Sundays in the afternoon, and Wednesday and Friday in Lent, because I could never get a congregation at that time in the Parish Church.”
In 1821 John Trevenon, the rector, reported that the chapel was in a ruinous state, having become an animal enclosure for the market. The whole building fell into disuse. Fortunately, some of the really beautiful carved details were rescued by the Rector of Veryan who incorporated them into the new lodge for his rectory.
Eventually, in 1868, the church was rebuilt in the Victorian Gothic style by the Reverand Phillip Woolacombe, rector of the parish. Some old stone corbels supporting the roof beams may well have been salvaged from the ruin of the original building. The construction is basic but intimate for smaller congregations and it looks often very festive with candles and flowers for the special occasions of the year. It boasts one memorial window to the memory of Henry Pilkington who died at sea in a storm off Chile in 1822.
St Nun’s Church is in regular use and can be visited.