The following description is quoted from [Hals 1750] and must be read in the context of about 1730 when it was written. The extract is taken from [Polsue 1868]. Other extracts are available online.
At the time of the Norman Conquest this district was taxed in the Domesday Book, under the juiediction of Alverton, of which more under. In the Inquisition of the Bishops of Lincoln and Winchester, into the value of Cornish Benefices, 1294 Ecclesia de sancti Maddarne is rated £5 6s. 8d. in decanatu de Penwith; prior Hospitalis Johannis percepit in cadem £6 13s. 4d. The meaning of which is this: Henry de la Pomeray, tempore Richard I (or his ancestors) built or endowed this church, and gave it to the Knights Hospitallers of S. John of Jerusalem for the health and salvation of his own soul, that of his Lord the King, and the souls of his father mother, brothers, sisters, progenitors and successors, as it is set down in that charter. In Wolsey’s Inquisition, 1521, it is valued to first fruits £21 5s. 10d. by the name of Madran as aforesaid, without the appellation or pronoun saint. The Patronage formerly in the Knights Hospitallers of Jerusalem at Sithney, subject to S. John’s Hospital of Jerusalem at London, after their dissolution, in the crown, now in Flemen; the incumbent Beleot, and the parish rated to the 4s. per pound land-tax, 1696, temp. William III. £163 14s. Penzance town £139 1lS. 6d. in all £303 5s. 6d.
Who the supposed tutelar guardian of this church, S. Maddarne, was, is past my ability of finding out, either in the legends or martyrologies, therefore refer him to the scrutiny of the inhabitants; only by the way let it be remembered that Galfridus Monmouthensis tells us in his Chroniole that one Madan was a British King in these Parts before Julius Cæsar landed in Britain, and probably that he lived or died here, in memory of whom this parish is called Madran, now Maddarne. Here also is Maddarne Well of water, greatly famous for its healing virtues, of which thus writes Bishop Hall of Exeter, in his book called the Great Mystery of Godliness, p. 169, where, speaking of what good offices angels do God’s servants.
”Of which kind was that noe less then miraculous cure, which at S. Maddarn’s Well in CornwaIl was wrought upon a poore criple; whereof, besides the attestation of many hundreds of the neighbours, I tooke a strict impartial examination in my last triennial Visitation there. This man for sixteen years was forced to walke upon his hands, by reason of the sinews of his leggs were soe contracted that he cold not goe or walk on his feet, who upon monition in a dreame, to wash in that well, which accordingly he did, was suddainly restored to the use of his limbs, and I saw him both able to walk and gett his own maintenance. I found here was neither art or collusion, the cure done, the author our invisible God, &c.”
However, notwlthstandlng this instance of that Reverend Bishop’s, I know no medicinal waters in Cornwall that are constantly and universally sovereign for any disease, but only to some particular persons, at times and seasons.
Alvorton, alias Alverton, in this parish was the voke lands of a considerable manor heretofore pertaining to the Kings and Earls of Cornwall, and under that jurisdiction and names this district of Maddarne was taxed, 20 William I. 1087, as also Paul Parish; it consisted, temp. Edward III. of 84 Cornish acres of land.
Within the confines of this parish, or the said manor, stands Mayne Screffes, that is to say, the written or inscribed stone, being a monument set up of a rough perpendioular stone, in memory cf a famous Cornish-British Prince or King, that probably lived and died here, and was interred near the same, in which stone are yet extant these British and Latin words: “RIALOBRAN CUNOWALL FIL:” (id est, Rialobran the son of Conowall) which contracted Latin word fil. for fillius, shows that it was made there since first the Romans came into this land, for the Britains before had no knowledge of the Latin tongue; which words, if not monosyllables, are compounded either of those particles Rial-o-Bren-Cunowall fil: Extraordinary Royal or Imperial Prince King of Wales son; or rather it ought to bo thus read, Rial-o-Bren-Cornowall filius, viz. the extraordinodinary Royal Prince or King of Cornwall’s Son. For as Rial in British answers to Regalis, Regius, Augustus, Regificus, Basilicus, in Latin, so-c-by itself to nimius, id est, much, excessive, overmuch; and Bren, Brene, to Princeps, a Prince, Ruler, or Chief Governor. However, let it be remembered in favour of the second etymology, that one Bletius, son to Roderick King of Wales and Cornwall, anno Dom 700, was prince of Wales and also King or Prince cf Cornwall. But this funeral monument stone must have been erected before that time; for afterwards it became lawful to bury dead human creatures in towns and cities, lastly in churches and church-yards, though not before.
Landithy, Landegy, Landigey, in this parish, contiguous with the church, which signifies the temple church, was formerly the lands of the Knights Hospitallers of S. John of Jerusalem, now—Flemen, gent.
In this parish at ——— liveth Francis Seynt Aubyn, Esq., sometime Commissioner for the Peace, who married ——— Arundell of this place, whose lands it was, and Crocker, of S. Agnes and hath issue. He is a younger son of John Seyntaubyn, of Clowens, Esq., by Godolphin of Treveneage.
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