Roche Rock & Hermitage

Roche Rock & Hermitage

The settlement of Roche sits on a prominent ridge on the northern edge of the St Austell Downs, close to the headwaters of the Fal River, Cornwall’s longest river. The area appears to contain a large number of local springs, river sources and holy wells, as well as a supposedly magical pool near Roche Rock, itself a striking rocky pinnacle of tourmalinised granite, and a geological Site of Special Scientific Interest.

Roche Rock appears from prehistory to have had a long standing as a significant local religious centre. The earliest evidence for activity in the area was found only recently when housing development to the north of the rock uncovered remains of pits containing Neolithic pottery and other remains. Settlements in the vicinity take their name from this remarkable natural feature.

The name of nearby Tregarrick, first coined in the early mediæval period, means ‘the farming settlement of the Rock’ and Roche itself is a Norman-French name meaning simply ‘Rock’. The abundance of antiquarian descriptions and illustrations of the site indicate that the site has retained its iconic status to the present day.