Saint Just-in-Penwith Things to Do

  • Christ of the Trades
    Christ of the Trades
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  • Carved capital
    Carved capital
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  • Rood screen stairway
    Rood screen stairway
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Most Recent Things to Do in Saint Just-in-Penwith

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    Have a wander round....

    by leics Written Jan 14, 2012

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    Blocked-up Medieval windows
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    ...and look at the architecture.

    The church porch is an excellent example of Medieval twiddliness.

    Don't miss the little house right next to the churchyard. It is clearly very old indeed, almost certainly dating from the early 1300s.

    The Kings Arm pub also dates from that time.

    Look at the rows of terraced granite cottages built for the workers during the mining 'boom' of the 1800s.

    You'll spot quite a few more interesting buildings as you wander round the town centre.

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    Plain-an-gwarry

    by leics Updated Jan 14, 2012

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    Plein-an-gwarry
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    Make sure you have a look at this place, because it's one of the best examples left of an uniquely Cornish custom.

    These 'playing-places' were created in Medieval times for the performance of Mystery plays, Miracle plays, meetings, sports and so on and so forth. They consist of a wide open space surrounded by banks, on which the audience could sit whilst the performance went on in the middle of the 'amphitheatre'.

    St Just's plein-an-gwarry was recorded in the mid-1800s as having banks seven feet high, with stone seating for spectators. The stone seating has disappeared (or now lies under the grass) but it is still a pretty impressive spot.

    You won't find anything like this anywhere else in the UK. The only 'amphitheatres' which remain outside Cornwall are those which were built by the Romans (e.g. at Cirencester).

    So seeing the plein-an-gwarry is another excellent reason for visiting St Just.

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    St Just church

    by leics Written Jan 14, 2012

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    Selus stone
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    This is a fascinating church, dating from the 1300s and set on a very ancient holy site from almost a millennium earlier.

    It i the only church I have seen where the interior plasterwork has been removed (in Victorian times) and the bare stones pointed with a mixture of pitch and mortar. The intention was to reflect the rugged, rocky local landscape and, in a way, it works.

    There's a lot to seek out.

    1. The Selus stone dates from the late 500s/early 600s and bears the Latin inscription 'Selvs hic iacet' (Selus lies here). It is thought that Selus was St Just's brother, Saint Selevan.

    2. 'Christ of the Trades', an early 1400s secco wall painting. It shows a wounded Christ blessing the tools of the parish trades.

    3. St George and the Dragon, another secco wall-painting from the early 1400s, showing St George fighting the dragon.

    4. The stairway leading to the top of the rood screen (a wooden partition which divided the altar area from the main part of the church). In past times sermons were given from the top of the rood screen.

    5. The Anglo-Saxon cross-shaft, intricately-decorated in typical 'interlacing' style. It now forms the lintel of an alcove, but is though to date from the late 700s or early 800s.

    6. A rather beautiful alabaster reredos behind the altar, with the figure of 14 Cornish saints. It only dates from 1894 but is a lovely piece of skilful work.

    7. The detailed carvings on the capitals of the pillars, dating again from the early 1300s.

    If you have any interest in history then a visit to St Just's church is essential. Don't miss the ancient Celtic- style cross at the entrance to the churchyard.

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    Outdoor Theatre, Beach, Telecommunication Museum

    by davidcross Updated Apr 4, 2011
    Porthcurno Beach from the Minack
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    Long title? - yes and quite a long way too -either a car or change buses in Penzance.
    The outdoor theatre is the Minack. I've not been to a show there but its reputation is phenomenal and its setting, which I do know, leaves nothing to be desired.
    The beach is Porthcurno - lovely hard white sand and fine land/seascapes.
    The telecommunications museum is at Porthcurno because it was from 1870 the terminus of the telegraph cable from India and later was probably the main communications centre in the world. Without the museum this would take a bit of believing.
    The phone and website given are for the museum but 'Minack theatre' in Google gives a site for there.

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    Round barrow with a view

    by davidcross Updated Apr 6, 2008
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    I was told this was Bollawal but it seems that 'o's and 'a's are pretty well interchangeable. It's near Carn Gloose [alternative spelling - Carn Gluze.] The distance from St Just is easily walkable but there's a car road if you prefer.

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    A great headland

    by davidcross Written Apr 6, 2008
    From Kenidjack
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    To me Cape Cornwall is one of England's great coastal points. I've never seen the Scilly Isles from it but you can when the view is clear enough.
    Just out from the Cape are two large rocks called the Brissons [rhyming with prisons.] The area is owned by the National Trust and there is adequate parking - off-season at least.

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    St Levan Church

    by davidcross Written Apr 6, 2008
    Early 12th Century font
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    Yes, another church - and I'm not even religious! This one is granite, like all the others in the area, but it has some interesting features.
    The font dates from about 1100 and there are some spectacular pew end carvings. Outside the coffin rest in the north entrance is shaped - most being rectangular. Then there's St Levan's Stone. In early times this stone was venerated. How it became split is a matter for speculation but , if you want to, you can pick the legend about the saint. He tapped it with his staff and it split [it being well known that granite is softer than wood???] and he decreed:

    When with panniers astride
    A packhorse can ride
    Through St Levan's stone
    The world will be done.

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    Carn Euny

    by davidcross Written Apr 5, 2008
    Out from the fogue
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    This may take a bit of finding but it's worth the effort. It's an iron age settlement and it's delightfully peaceful. The sites of the ancient dwellings are very clear but THE thing that makes Carn Euny is the excellent fogue [underground passage.] There are exotic ideas about its use but I'm afraid the most likely is very prosaic - storage.
    Our cross-collie loved jumping across the dwelling sites and playing with Biggles, an old English sheepdog, who was 'helping' a man working there for English Heritage.

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    Zennor - church and headland.

    by davidcross Written Apr 5, 2008

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    The mermaid bench
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    Zennor is a very small village between St Just in Penwith and St Ives. Three things appeal:
    1. The Tinners Arms - this will get a separate restaurant tip
    2. Zennor Head - one of many fine headlands along the south-western coast path
    3. Zennor Church - where some of the features are an ancient font, the 'mermaid' bench and a squint; i.e. a diagonal opening looking through from the south transept to the main altar.

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    St Buryan

    by davidcross Written Apr 5, 2008
    Exterior view
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    To visit St Buryan from St Just really calls for a car, although probably careful study of bus timetables might provide an alternative.
    I would be a long and not particularly interesting walk - although one myth has it that Saints Buryan and Just used to hurl rocks at each other!
    The main feature of the church to distinguish it form others in the region is the splendid rood screen.

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    Botallack - mining remains and coastal scenery

    by davidcross Written Apr 5, 2008

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    Arsenic working remains
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    You could well start at the same place as on my 'favourite valley' tip and keep up high to the right of the valley. This will take you to the coastal path and you simply follow this as far as you want but at least to the mining remains at Botallack. Also see the excellent display of local photographs in the old count house.

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    A favourite valley

    by davidcross Written Apr 5, 2008

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    Remains of tin mine
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    Leave St Just on the Zennor and ST Ives road and take the first left after leaving the town opposite to the hamlet of Nancherrow. Continue from the end of the car road, taking the lower track to the right of the stream until you reach the sea.

    On your way back take the marked track going steeply to the right. You might want to turn left at the top to see more of the cliff scenery but otherwise a right turn will return you to the end of the car road.

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