The following description is lifted directly from [Polsue 1868]. It must be read in the context of that date. Other extracts are available online.

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BURIAN, or Buryan is in the deanery and hundred of Penwith, in the Land’s End district. It is bounded on the north by the parishes of Sancreed and S. Just; on the east by Paul; on the south by the sea; and on the west by S. Levan and Sennen. The parish measures 6,964 acres, of which 5,465 acres are subject to tithes, namely, arable 1,296A.; pasture or meadow 2589A.; marsh, furze, and heath 1,570A.; and woodland 10A. The living is a rectory in the gift of the Duke of Cornwall; and the tithes are commuted at £570.

The church, which was dedicated to S. Buriana, August 26, 1238, consists of a chancel nave and north and south aisles; the arcades are of six four-centred pointed arches of fine granite. The rood stairs are in the south wall, open and complete. Portions of the screen remaining comprising some of the lower panels, and about two thirds of the cornice the latter most elabourately carved, painted, and gilded. The scenes represented are chiefly hunting, warfare between animals and birds, and grotesque heads. On one portion of the cornice are the arms of Godolphin, with the crest on one side. Two bench ends alone remain. In 1814 the church underwent repairs, when the benches and screen suffered the extreme of churchwarden vandalism. It is said that some carved figures belonging to the screen, were to be seen as chimney ornaments in the houses of some of the parishioners, and that bench ends and panels were used as ordinary wood about outhouses. The font is also of fine granite (from Ludgvan), and has on its bowl angels supporting shields, with a Latin and Maltese cross. It has no basement. Adjoining the screen, and within the chancel, are four oak miserere stalls, placed two on each side of the entrance from the nave to the chancel. It is said they were destined for the dean, for the prebendary of Respernell, for the prebendary of Trithing, and for the holder of the ‘Prebenda Parva.’ It has been suggested that when there was a choir one of the stalls might have been for the precentor. Each stall has a moveable seat; when turned up, a rounded ledge is brought forward, which served as a sort of occasional rest for the occupant.

On a piece of an old seat are carved the initials T. G. with the date, 1640.

The chancel window does not retain its original tracery. A smaller square-headed south window to the chancel is blocked, In the north wall a large archway has been built up, and in connection with it immediately under the window of the north aisle there were three stone steps, evidently constructed with the original wall. Their position may still be traced.

The porch is surmounted with battlements, has double buttresses at the angles finished with crocketted pinnacles, and a bold string-course. Within are stone benches on each side, and a mutilated stoup. Over the church door is a bracket.

The tower arch is lofty, and has bold mouldings. Over the tower doorway is the monogram I.H.S., and above this is a good Perpendicular window.

The tower, which is built of wrought granite, is of four stages, is 90 feet high, and has double buttressess at each angle. The newel is octagonal and finishes with a battlemented turret, rising to the height of the pinnacles. There are three bells. The largest is inscribed, “Virginis egegiæ vocor campana Mariæ,” i.e. “I am called the bell of the glorious Virgin Mary;” and dated 1738. The bell has a flaw or crack running through it, for which tradition thus accounts. It was cast in the church village, and before it was hardened, a man jumped from a hedge near the mould, which being disturbed by the shake, rendered the bell imperfect. The next bell has for its legend, “Vocem ego do vobis; vos date verba Deo.” i.e. “I give to you a voice; give ye words to God.” 1638. The third has the names of the churchwardens,—”Mr. Richard Davies, Sampson Hutches—wardens, 1681.[”] Within the tower on the pavement is the ancient tomb before spoken of. The inscription is in Norman-French, and runs as follows:—

+ Clarice: la: femme: Cheffrei: de Bolleit: git: ici: Deu: de: lalme: eit: merce: Ke: pur: lealme: punt: di: ior: de: pardun: averund. “Clarice the wife of Geoffry de Bolleit lies here, God of her soul have mercy; who pray for her soul shall have ten days’ pardon.”

The stone is seven feet long, and has a floriated cross carved in relief on the upper part.

The shape is the same as those commonly called priests’ tombs. The family of Bolleit resided on an estate of the same name in the parish.

Against the tower wall stands another monument thus inscribed:—

Here lyes the body of Arthur Levelis of Trewoof in this parish, who departed this life the 2nd day of May, Anno. Dom. 1671.

This worthy Family hath Flourished Here,
Since William’s Conquest full Six Hundred year;
And Longer much it might But that the Blest
Must spend a Seavenths in a Blessed Rest:
But yet this Gentleman, Last of his Name,
Hath by his Vertues Eterniz’d the same
Much more than Children could, or Bookes for Love
Records it Here in Hearts, in Life Above.

In the church :—

The memory of the just is blessed. On the north side of this church are deposited, in sure & certain hope of a joyful resurrection to eternal life, the earthly remains of the Rev. Thomas Wills, A.B. son of Mr. Thos. Wills, late of S. Issey, in this county. During the period of thirty-eight years he was an able, faithful, zealous, laborious, & successful minister of the glorious gospel of Christ, in comparison of whom he counted all things as loss & dung. While he described the personal glories & official character of the Redeemer as the true God & eternal life, & exhibited Him as the Alpha & Omega, in the great work of salvation, finished for lost sinners who came unto Him, his heart often glowed with fervent gratitude & his lips were endued with sacred eloquence. He was born July the 26th, 1740, & died May the 12th, 1802; ætat 62. In the year 1774 he married Selina-Margaretta Wheler, third daughter of the Rev. Granville Wheler and the Rt. Honle. Lady Catherine Wheler, who survived him, & erected this memorial of a most tender friendship, which, as it was founded on Christian principles death was unable to dissolve & divine goodness will perpetuate in a state of mutual & consummate bliss.

Sacred to the memory of Selina-Margaretta Wills, widow of the Reverend Thomas Wills, and daughter of the Reverend Granville and the Lady Catharine Wheler. She departed this life April the 3rd, 1814; aged 84. Rev, xiv. 13.

In the churchyard are the following curious epitaphs:—

Our life is but a Winter’s day;
Some only Breakfast and away;
Others to Dinner stay and are Full fed;
The oldest only Sups and goes to Bed.
Large is his Debt, who lingers out the Day:
Who goes the soonest has the least to pay.

Sleep Here A While
Thou Dearest part of Me;
   In Little Time
I’ll Come and Sleep With Thee,

Near the church porch, on the right hand side of the path, is an ancient cross raised on five steps. Another cross stands without the churchyard, and there is a tradition that the burying ground at one time surrounded it.

On the estate of Boslivan are some remains of an ancient building, to this day called the sanctuary. It appears to have been much larger than the other ancient chapels of the county. The remains were almost totally destroyed by Shrubsall, governor of Pendennis under Cromwell. There is an ancient cross near this place.

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