Burian, St.

BURIAN, ST., a parish, in the union of Penzance, W. division of the hundred of Penwith and of the county of Cornwall, 6 miles (S. W. by W.) from Penzance; containing 1911 inhabitants. This place, which is of very great antiquity, derives its name from a collegiate church founded by King Athelstan, in honour of St. Buriena or Bæriena, who had an oratory and was interred here. Athelstan bestowed on the church the privilege of sanctuary, and other immunities. The college was in existence at the Conquest, and the establishment consisted of a dean and three prebendaries till the Reformation, when the lands with which it was endowed were seized to the king, and there was no longer any support for the prebendaries; but the rectories of Burian, St. Levan, and Sennan, remained to the dean, forming his sole estate. In 1663, Seth Ward, Bishop of Exeter, possessed the deanery in commendam, and it was so held by his successors till the year 1709: the dean is independent of all bishops, and has no superior but the king. Of the collegiate buildings the church only remains. The parish comprises 5468 acres, of which 1570 are common or waste: the soil is of light quality, resting on a substratum of granite; the surface is undulated, and the scenery in many parts picturesque. The village is neatly built, containing many good houses, and there are several small hamlets scattered over the parish. The living is a rectory, with the rectories of St. Levan and Sennan united, and a royal peculiar, valued in the king's books at £48. 12. 1., and in the patronage of the Crown: the consolidated tithes have been commuted for £1050. The church, which is situated on an eminence nearly 400 yards above the level of the sea, is a spacious structure, with a lofty tower 88 feet high, forming a conspicuous landmark to mariners; it was repaired in 1812, when a handsome carved screen and other relics of antiquity were removed. Near the south porch is an ancient cross, and there is another close to the churchyard. On the estate of Boslevan are some vestiges of a chapel, called the Sanctuary. At Boscawen, Rosemoddrep, Chyangwanga, and other places in the parish, are Druidical remains.

Transcribed from A Topographical Dictionary of England, by Samuel Lewis, 7th edition, published in 1848.

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