Zennor, Cornwall

zennor cornwall towns

Zennor is a tiny hamlet with church (St Serena's), pub ( The Tinners Arms, a dark very Cornish pub) and a few cottages about half a mile from the sea.

Zennor has on one side high, rocky cliffs, and on the other granite hills (Zennor Hill had a stone quarry which was used to build most of St Ives and the Falmouth Harbour walls). A windswept landscape, which has seen people living here since the early Bronze Age, 4000 years ago, as can be seen from the irregular, small, granite-walled field patterns in the area.

It is best known for the legend of Matthew Trewhella and the mermaid. He was the squires son and a church chorister, and was lured to his death in the dark waters near here at Pendour Cove by the singing of a beautiful mermaid. There is a carved bench end in the church depicting the mermaid.

Habitation here dates back to the early Bronze Age, 4000 years ago, as can be seen in the small irregular field patterns that still exist.

Zennor Quoit was once a very fine example of a quoit surrounded by a stone barrow 14 yards in diameter. Over the years the barrow stones have been used for building, the quoit capstone has slipped, and a supporting stone was removed by a local farmer for use in his cart shed. Indeed the whole quoit might have been taken away for its stone, had not a previous vicar paid the farmer to leave it there.

Smugglers, or Zennor Gentlemen as they were called locally, landed their cargo in the cove below Church town where the mermaid was supposed to have lived. The booklet on the village , written by Joyce Wigley and Dorothy Dudley, records that many of the locals hid their contraband in a Cornish hedge (those high walls along Cornish roads) where they would make a cave behind the wall, and cover the entrance over to conceal it. It could be that the Mermaid story was made up to discourage strangers from going down to the cove.

John Wesley preached to about 300 people here in Sep 1748. He found "much good-will in them, but no life".
There is a large stone just outside the village, said to have been used as a pulpit by John Wesley in the 1750s.

D.H Lawrence lived here with his German wife during the First World War, whilst he was writing Women in Love. The suspicions of the local populace that they were signaling to German U Boats eventually drove the Lawrences away. They had rented Tregerthen cottage.

The Church of St Senara in Zennor dates from Norman times, and is believed to be on the site of a 6th century Celtic church. It was restored in 1890. The original carved oak seats had all disappeared, and been replaced by family boxes. The Parish Registers started about 1590, but the early entries are not readable and the first legible entry is from 1618. At the gate to the church, there is a traditional"coffin rest".

Also in the village is the Wayside Museum - which consists of a 16th century miller's cottage, complete with granite water mill with a traditional Cornish kitchen and an outdoor exhibition of domestic and mining tools. There is an extensive collection of some 5,000 artifacts, which reflect the lives of people who have lived here from 3,000BC to the present. There are large scale maps showing the original Bronze Age field boundaries, which can still be seen in Zennor today.

There is a plague stone outside the Museum which marks the boundary for villagers during the black death - they were not allowed passed the mark.

Zennor, Cornwall genealogical from Genuki


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