Zennor church

Zennor 01It is hard not to enthuse about St Senara in Zennor, which usually finds itself at the end of any alphabet. Its granite solidity is mirrored in the surrounding houses: some of which have granite coins large enough to be worthy of local giants. This is a church which has weathered many Atlantic gales.

Simon Jenkins gives it a rather mean one star. Was he influenced by the lack of Georgian monuments or High Victorian restoration? We give it rather more, and not just because of the Tinners’ Arms across the street. Every visitor we take there enjoys it. The best way of approaching it is on foot along the Coffin Path.

Zennor 22Zennor is embedded in Cornish legend. The highlight is of course, the mermaid carved on the bench end (thoughtfully placed in the south transept where the sun can catch it).  We have no room to recount the legend of Matthew Trewhella and his mermaid (we recommend the Charles Causley/Michael Foreman book), nor of Dolly Pentreath who competes with John Davey as the ‘last speaker of Cornish’ (did they mean ‘as their only language’). His plaque is on the outside of the church.

There are other highlights though: two lovely fonts, one of which may have been moved here from Glasney; a wheel-headed cross; a squint which works very well in giving a view of the high altar; a coffin rest which is at the end of the Coffin Path; and a most interesting and unusual WWI war memorial which features soldiers with reversed arms. And then there is the most wonderful wild, Bronze/Iron Age landscape all around.

One star indeed.



A journey through the landscape and history of Cornwall