St Enodoc church

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St Enodoc

St Enodoc is famous as the burial place of Sir John Betjeman and is given one star by Simon Jenkins for its dune setting.

It is certainly beautifully situated behind Brea hill, close to the Camel estuary, tucked into a tamarisk-girt churchyard, its little spire peeking above the green surroundings.

Sadly, outside the churchyard, the surroundings is an unnaturally tidy golf course. One only hopes that a stray ball does not disturb worshippers.

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St Enodoc interior

It is early, with the north wall being mostly Norman and the little tower with its slightly twisted spire, being C13. The latter is attached to the end of the north transept.

Inside, the church consists of a narrow nave, north transept and a small south chancel which may have incorporated a former south transept but which never quite extended to become a south aisle proper.

A chapel of ease to St Minver, the church was being invaded by sand when, in 1863, the vicar had it cleaned out and, with the help of JP St Aubyn, repaired to its present state.

St Enodoc 10There are few notable features of the church but none of them really bring it up into the first division:

  • A wheel-headed cross in the porch
  • A C12 simple font
  • The lower section of the rood screen, perhaps over-coloured in its restoration
  • A fine slate monument of 1687 to John Mably and his daughter Alice
  • C20 monuments to Edward Betjeman and three members of the crew of the Maria Asumpta
  • And, of course, the grave of Sir John Betjeman with its fine typography

One must congratulate the churchwardens on the care of the church which is clearly not short of love (and money?). The notice at the entrance declaring that the church will be open daily from 7:30 (!) to dusk is one of which some other churches could take note.

Is Simon Jenkins’ star warranted when compared with some other churches with more to admire … hmm … the homage to Sir John is obvious and fully justified but some might regard the star as over-generous. The setting is, however, quite magnificent and on a fine blue-skied day it is hard to argue against it.

A journey through the landscape and history of Cornwall