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St Just in Penwith, Cornwall

Historical Description

Just, St, or St Just-in-Penwith, a village and a parish in Cornwall. The village stands on high ground, between two wild valleys under Cam Bosavem, near the coast, 4½ miles NNE of Lands End, and 7 W of Penzance station on the G.W.R., with a post, money order, and telegraph office. To distinguish it from other villages in the parish, it is called St Just Church Town, and has two hotels and a weekly Saturday market. Acreage of the civil parish, 7621 of land and 129 of water and foreshore; population, 6119; of the ecclesiastical, 3838. The land is bleak, and to a great extent barren. The rocks are chiefly granite and slate, but they include rich lodes of tin and copper, contain iron, bismuth, hornblende, talc, garnet, opal, and many other minerals, and exhibit features of great interest to geologists. The mines now worked in this district are the Botallack and the Levant, which give employment to a very large number of people, and the workings of which extend for some distance under the sea. Eock basins are in several parts of the parish, stone circles are at Botallack and Tregaseal, and masses of granite, called Giants' Quoits, are between Cam Bosavem and Balleswidden. Roman paterae, urns, coins, and other Roman relics have been found; a Roman Christian monument is in the church, and traces of an ancient amphitheatre, 126 feet in diameter, and retaining till the 18th century six tiers of stone benches, adjoin the village. Tradition says that, in the 7th century, after the conquest of Cornwall, Ethelbert and six other Saxon kings dined in the parish at a stone called Mayne, or at Mean in Sannen. The living is a vicarage in the diocese of Truro; net value,, £300 with residence. Patron, the Lord Chancellor. The vicarage of Pendeen is a separate benefice. The church is a good building of granite and stone in the Perpendicular style, with an embattled western tower, and contains some memorials to the Millett and Chenhall families; the building was restored in 1865. There are Wesleyan, United Free Methodist, and Bryanite chapels, a market-house, literary institution, science and art classes, almshouses, and ruins or traces of three ancient chapels. Dr Borlase, the historian of Cornwall, was a native.

Transcribed from The Comprehensive Gazetteer of England & Wales, 1894-5


The following is a list of the administrative units in which this place was either wholly or partly included.

Ancient CountyCornwall 
Poor Law unionPenzance 

Any dates in this table should be used as a guide only.

Church Records

The register of baptisms dates from the year 1630; marriages and burials, 1599.


Church of England

St. Just (parish church)

The church of St. Just is a fine building of granite and freestone, in the Later Perpendicular style, consisting of chancel, nave of four bays, aisles, battlemented south porch, vestry, and an embattled western tower, with pinnacles, containing a clock and 3 bells: a curious old incised slab bearing on one side the inscription "SELVS HC JACET," and incised on the adjacent side with the sacred monogram, has been removed from the chancel and placed upon a base at the west end of the north aisle: the large chandeliers were given by John Edwards, of Truthwall, in 1746: there are memorials to the families of Millett, Chenhalls, James and others, and memorial windows to Owen Boyle, light keeper of the Longships lighthouse, who lost his life on the 23th Oct. 1877; to Stephen Harvey James, sen. d. 1870, and to Stephen Harvey James, jun. d. 1887: a reredos of Derbyshire alabaster, containing 12 sculptured figures of Cornish Saints in white marble, and scenes from the Annunciation and Nativity, in relief, was erected about 1901, as a memorial to the late William Holman, for 20 years churchwarden of this church: the chancel was rebuilt in 1834, and the church restored in 1865 under the direction of J. P. St. Aubyn esq. at a cost of £2,000, and has sittings for 500 persons: the communion plate consists of gifts by various donors from 1666 to 1747: a burial ground formed from land purchased of Major Pascoe R.A. was opened April 12th, 1829, and another, the gift of the late Rev. William Hodgson, was completed in 1890 by the erection of a stone wall, and consecrated by Dr. G. H. Wilkinson, bishop of Truro 1883-92.

St. Just, St. Just in PenwithNave of St. Just, St. Just in Penwith
16th c. wall painting in St. Just in Penwith church16th c. wall painting in St. Just in Penwith church

Directories & Gazetteers

We have transcribed the entry for St Just in Penwith from the following:


Online maps of St Just in Penwith are available from a number of sites:

Newspapers and Periodicals

The British Newspaper Archive have fully searchable digitised copies of the following Cornwall papers online:

Visitations Heraldic

We have a copy of The Visitations of Cornwall, by Lieut.-Col. J.L. Vivian online.

RegionSouth West
Postal districtTR19
Post TownPenzance