Tympanum over the north west-front porch, Truro Cathedral, Cornwall by Nathaniel Hitch (1845-1938). [Close-up of central group] In the porch to the right of the deeply recessed double entrance, Jesus is shown preaching the Sermon on the Mount to his disciples and other listeners. Click on all images, including the linked close-ups, to enlarge them.

Tympanum over the south west-front porch. [Close-up] This one, over the left porch, shows the parable of the loaves and the fishes: note the basket of bread, also the large fish on the ground, in the close-up. The choice of this parable seems particularly fitting for a Cornish diocese, close to the sea.

Carving above the entrance. [Close-up of roundel]

The author of The Cornish See says only that the area above the doorways is "enriched with sculpture" (13). Hitch may have been responsible for these figures as well as the tympanum sculptures and the larger figures of monarchs and bishops which have been specifically ascribed to him (see "Nathaniel Hitch," 6). These figures are more quirky, individualised and fluid — less "dull" (Pevsner 233). They show Cornish saints, and, in this roundel, the freeing of a serf at Bodmin by one of those saints, St Petroc. The other quite elaborate stone-carved patterning might have been the work of the cathedral's stone masons.

Related Material

Photographs by Robin Banerjee, and captions and formatting by Jacqueline Banerjee. With many thanks to Sarah Hughes and her team in the education department at the Cathedral for identifying these images. You may use the images without prior permission for any scholarly or educational purpose as long as you (1) credit the photographer and (2) link your document to this URL in a web document or cite the Victorian Web in a print one.]


The Cornish See and Cathedral: Historical & Architectural Notes. Heard and Sons, Truro; London: Hamilton, Adams, and Co., 1887. Internet Archive. Web. 24 January 2012.

"Nathaniel Hitch: Architectural Sculptor and Modeller." Truro Cathedral website. Web 28 January 2012.

Pevsner, Nikolaus, rev. Enid Radcliffe. The Buildings of England: Cornwall. London: Penguin, 1970.

Reid, Colin. Cornwall's Cathedral: A Short Guide. Hudson's Heritage Group and Truro Cathedral, 2011.

Last modified 12 March 2012