The following description is lifted directly from [Polsue 1868]. It must be read in the context of that date. Other extracts are available online.
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THE parish of Zennor is situated in the deanery and hundred of Penwith; it is bounded on the north and east by the sea and Towednack; on the south by Towednack, Gulval, and the detached part of Madron; and on the west by Morvah and the sea.
The estimated tithable lands of the parish amount to 3184A. 1R. 22P., thus subdivided,—1077A. 1A. 22P. arable; 835A. 1R. 14P. commons; and 1271A. 2R. 26P. furze, c1iffs, crofts, and moors.
The living is a vicarage in the patronage of the Bishop of Exeter. The tithes are commuted at £368 11s. 11d., namely, to the vicar £201 23s. 9d.; and to the impropriators,— Mrs. William John £163 13s. 2d., Mrs. Gilbert £2, and Mr. John Stevens £1 5s.; a glebe measuring 18A. 0R. 12P. is attached to the advowson.
The parish contains by actual measurement 4229A. 0R. 18P.; of which the public roads measure 16A. 3R. 20P.
Vicars:—John Merrake or Marrack, vicar in 1536; Samuel Sweete, buried July 4, 1655; Richard Fowler, buried Sept. 11, 1669 ; Anthony Randall, buried Oct. 17, 1683; Benjamin Johns, vicar in 1692, buried Nov. 26, 1710 ; John Oliver, inducted June 11, 1711; William Symonds, 1733; William Borlase, buried 1756; Jacob Bullock, inducted August, 1756; William Borlase, inducted August, 1768, buried at Madron, Nov. 1813; William Veale, collated in 1824, resigned, and died in Sept. 1867; Henry Stoneman, admitted March 7, 1837; and the present Vicar, the Rev. William Borlase, A.M., great grandson to the antiquary, instituted in 1852.
The church is dedicated to S. Senara; it consists of a chancel, nave, north aisle, and south transept. The arcade has six semi-circular arches supported on octagonal pillars of granite. The transept formerly opened into the nave by two arches supported on a central pillar, but these have been removed and their place occupied by a beam of wood. The bowl of the font is octangular, the sides being ornamented with quatrefoil paneling; it rests on a square chamfered shaft, and a basement with circular projections at the angles. Near the porch is a Norman window 3 feet in height, the breadth of the light being 6 inches, with a splay of 3¼ feet. On one of the old bench ends is the carved figure of a mermaid. The entrances are a south porch and a north door.
The tower has three stages, and is 49 feet high to the battlements; over the west window, the tracery of which is of Catacleuse stone, there is an ogee-headed niche. The belfry contains three bells;—the first is dated 1717;—the second is inscribed Sancte Johanne ora pro nobis; and the third Sancta Maria ora pro nobis.
The following epitaph is from the churchyard:—
Hope, fear, false-joy, and trouble,
Are these four winds which daily toss this bubble,
His breath’s a vapour, and his life’s a span;
Tis glorious misery to be born a man.
The rectorial tithes of the parish, then valued at £8 12s. 2d., formerly belonged to Glasney College. There are remains of an ancient chapel on the Barton of Kerrow; its site is still called the Chapel-field. There was another ancient chapel, of which there are still remains, on the isthmus connecting the Gurnard’s Head with the mainland; the altar stone, a flat piece of granite, is still there. There was a holy-well or baptistry close by. It is not known to what saints these chapels were dedicated.
The manors of Boswednack and Treryn or Treen, latterly the property of William Arundell-Harris, Esq., in whose family they had been vested for many generations, were purchased by the late Davies Gilbert, Esq., and are still the property of his representative, the Hon. Mrs. Gilbert, of Trelissick.
The manor of Trewey is the property of the representatives of Messrs. Grove and Cornish.
The farm of Treneglos or Treveglos, anciently belonged to a family of the same name; through the marriage of Isabella, daughter and coheiress of Roger Treneglos, 8 Richard II., 1384, with James Gerveys of Helston, the estate became vested in the Gerveys family until circa 1661, when Elizabeth, daughter and heir of Richard Gerveys, carried the family property in marriage to Charles Grylls, Esq., of Court in Lanreath, whose lineal representative, Col. Grylls, of Lawharne House, S. Neot, sold this estate to Mr. Branwell of Penzance, the present owner.
Trevail formerly belonged to Lord Willoughby de Broke, through whose daughter and coheiress it eventually became the property of Harry Powlett, the sixth and last Duke of Bolton. Through the marriage of his eldest daughter, Lady Mary Powlett, with John 5th Earl of Sandwich, and of his second daughter, Lady Katherine-Margaret Bowlet with the first Duke of Cleveland, this estate, with much other Cornish Property, became vested in the representatives of those ladies, in whose possession it remains.
The Gurnard’s Head or Treryn Dinas, a bold, rocky headland projecting into the sea in a northerly direction, is about three furlongs in length and one in breadth. The late Davies Gilbert, Esq., was so much struck with the bold magnificence and geological, formation of this romantic promontory that he purchased the estate of Treryn, on which it is situated, chiefly for the purpose of acquiring a property so interesting.
The celebrated Zennor Cromlêh stands in a croft about half a mile eastward of the church; the upright or supporting stones are seven in number, and the enclosed space or kistvaen measures about 6½ feet by 4½ feet. The cap-stone, which now rests with its West end on the ground, measures 18 feet in length, 11 feet in breadth, 48 feet in circumference, and about 1 foot in thickness. “This Quoit” writes Borlase, “was brought from a Karn about a furlong off, which stands a little higher than the spot on which this Cromlêh is erected; and near this Karn is another Cromlêh, not so large as that here described, in other respects not materially different.”
About one-fourth of a mile to the north-west of Bosphrennis is a dismounted cromlêh; the kistvaen is 5 feet long and 3 feet wide; three of the upright stones still remain; the capstone, which is nearly circular and measures 5 feet in diameter and 6 inches in thickness, lies on the ground. Another cromlêh of considerable size formerly stood on Trewey farm, but this has been removed.
Near the boundary between this parish and Morvah, stands Cairn Galva, the two-headed cairn, at an altitude of 623 feet above sea-level. Near the top of the more westerly tor of this interesting assemblage of granite rocks is a logan stone, which readily and easily oscillates. “The carn or barrow at Carn Gollewa, (Galva,) on being opened presented the unusual fact of containing three interior concentric walls. The carn consists of loose stones which as well as those of which the walls are built, are granite, those in the centre enclosure being much decomposed. In the second the stones are more perfect and the wall of better workmanship. The third is not so well built as the second, and the stones are more rounded by decomposition. The exterior of the carn was found to consist of loose stones. At the base black earth is mixed with the stones more than a foot in thickness and in the lower part are small pieces of charcoal. Between the second and third walls an urn was found of course clay, of ancient British manufacture, having on its upper part the common dotted zig-zag ornament. It bad been placed with the top uppermost, but had fallen a little on its side and was much broken. In it were black earth, charcoal, and some burnt bones apparently those of a young person. On a headland adjoining Porth Moina, may yet be seen the remains of an ancient cliff fortification called Bosigran Castle, on the top of which is a logan stone 10½ feet long, 7½ feet broad, and 28 feet in circumference; the adjoining cliff scenery is very grand. A logan stone called the Giant’s Rock, stands between the Church and the sea; it measures 19 feet in length, and 3 feet in thickness, and has rock basins on its top; it logs readily. There is a logan rock on Tregarthen hill, called The Cradle, so named from its shape and the large cavity in its upper surface.
At Bosprennis or Bosphrennis are the remains of certain rudely constructed cells, called Beehive Huts; they consist of two chambers, one circular, 13 feet in diameter, the other a parallelogram of 9 feet by 7 feet. The principal entrance is 5½ feet high, and 2 feet wide; and there is a wide communicating doorway. Foundations of other similar structures may be traced. In the vicinity may yet be seen the ruins of the “Senor Cirque,” figured and described by Borlase; the circle was formed of small stones, with a tall one at the entrance; it is about 75 feet in diameter.
A barrow 100 feet in circumference, stands on an eminence about five furlongs southwards of the church. This tumulus is depressed in the centre, and in the bottom of the depression there formerly stood a cromlêh, the capstone of which was six or eight feet square.
There are Wesleyan Methodist chapels at the Churchtown, Porthmear, and Trendrine; and a Bible Christian chapel at Tregarthen. The villages are the Churchtown and Trewey.
The chief landowners are the representatives of the last Duke of Bolton, the Hon. Mrs. Gilbert, and Messrs. Grove, Cornish, and Branwell. The parish feast is kept on the nearest Sunday to May 6. The head of an ancient granite cross is preserved in the vicarage grounds, and a basement lies in the church path in the neighbouring fields.
The greater part of the parish is not only based on granite, but is, with little exception, nearly covered with boulders, piles, and tors of the same material, some of which display strange, fantastic, and grand assemblages of rocks.
The cliffs of the Gurnard’s Head are nearly perpendicular; consequently it exhibits a natural section of the strata that compose it; these are as follow:—first, hornblende-rock; next, slaty felspar; then regularly alternating beds of this rock and hornblende or green-stone to the number of twenty or thirty. At the most western point of Polmear c1iff, where the two formations come in contact, the granite is traversed by schorl-rock veins. At one place these divide the granite into vertical cubes. In several places large insulated masses of the granite are seen lying in, or protruding through, the slaty rook, and giving off veins in all directions, At Wicca Cove are additional illustrations of the striking phenomena attending the junction of granite and slate.
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