Irishwoman that was the tutelar guardian of this church, whereas the appellation of Saint, as I have elsewhere observed, at that time was not given to but one church in Cornwall. Besides, this Irish saint is not to be found in the Roman legend, or calendar, nor in Capgrave's catalogue of English and Irish Saints.
This church was founded and endowed by King Athelstan, about the year 930, after such time as he had conquered the Scilly Islands, as also the county of Devon; and made Cornwall tributary to his sceptre. To which church he gave lands and tithes of a considerable value for ever, himself becoming the first patron thereof, as his successors the Kings of England have been ever since: for which reason it is still called the royal rectory, or regal rectory, and the royal or regal peculiar. Signifying thereby that this is the church or chapel pertaining to the king, or immediately under the jurisdiction of him as the supreme ordinary, from when there is no appeal; whereas other peculiars, though exempt from the visitation or jurisdiction of the diocesan bishop within whose see they stand, yet are always subject to the provincial archbishops of Canterbury and York, or other persons.
This church or college consisted of canons augustines, or regular priests, and three prebendaries, who enjoyed the revenues thereof in common, but might not marry; and the lord chancellors of England of old visited this peculiar, which extended only over the parishes of Burian, Sennen, and St. Levan, for the king.
One of the Popes of Rome, about the time of Edward III. obtruded upon this church, the canons and prebends thereof, a dean to be an inspector and overseer over them: whom he nominated to be the bishop of Exon for the time being, who for some time visited this church as its governor, as the lord chancellor did before; which encroachment of the Pope being observed by Edward III., as appears from the register of the writs,