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 S. Just in Penwith is situated in the deanery and hundred of Penwith; it is bounded on the north by the sea and Morvah; on the east by Madron and Sancreed; on the south by S. Burian and Sennen; and on the west by the sea.

There are two parishes in the county of this name; the other, which forms the eastern boundary of Falmouth harbour, is distinguished as S. Just in Roseland.

It is probable that the both parishes derive their names from Justus or S. Just, who was sent to England by pope Gregory, A.D. 596, with S. Augustine and many other monks, to convert the Saxons. He was consecrated bishop by S. Augustine A.D. 604, and appointed to the see of Rochester by king Ethelbert. In 616 he was made archbishop of Canterbury; and died in November, 627.

Very little is recorded of S. Just, but that little is entirely to his praise; at the command of pope Gregory the Great, he undertook the perilous but successful service of converting the English Saxons; he attained the highest ecclesiastical dignity from the suffrages of those who had been brought by the labours of S. Augustine and his followers, within the pale of the church; and he obtained deserved commendation from pope Boniface the III. or IV., who with one intermediate pope, were the successors of S. Gregory, when the apostolic confirmation of his appointment to the metropolitan see was given, and himself honoured by the investiture of a pall.

The Saxon Chronicle, literally translated, states here Justus the Archbishop forth stepped, i.e. died, on the fourth of the Ides of November; and the tenth of November is consecrated to him in the Roman Calendar. The parish feast however, is celebrated on the Sunday nearest to All Saints’ day, namely November 1.

The parish extends along the coast from seven to eight miles in length, and is from two to three miles wide. It is separated from the adjoining parishes of S. Burian and Sancreed by a high ridge of barren hills which slope gradually towards the rocky cliffs of the sea. The cliffs though not very high are precipitous, craggy, and picturesque, and unapproachable even by small vessels, excepting in very fine weather.

A great portion of the surface of the parish is uncultivated common, yielding but a scanty subsistence to a few sheep belonging chiefly to cottagers renting houses, in right of which they claim a limited share of the pasture. Its temperature is some degrees colder than that of the south coast, being exposed to north and northwest winds. Sea fogs coming from the south are prevalent and somewhat unpleasant, but they are temperate; and unlike those arising from marshes, contain no miasma are not unwholesome. The air is much charged with saline particles, producing verdure through the greater part of both summer and winter.

The soil in general is shallow and light, consisting of decomposed granite and peat-earth, consequently not adapted to produce heavy crops of wheat, but it is good grazing land, and yields fair crops of barley, oats, turnips, and potatoes; the last named especially is extensively cultivated.

The farms are mostly small, and many are hold on lease for lives. The occupiers of them being often interested in mines, the cultivation of the soil has not always been considered so great an object as the adaptation of it to their immediate and more profitable purpose of enabling them to keep a few horses to work at the mines. On the larger farms the system of cultivation formerly adopted was very bad, but of late years it has much improved through the introduction of machinery the use of artificial manures.

A custom was commonly adopted by the farmers of letting cows to dairy-men for about £8 per year for each cow for the season of forty weeks. Many of the miners rented a cow, and not unfrequently one was rented between two families, each family milking her alternately.

As the population became dense the demand for land increased, and consequently rents advanced. Garden cultivation has 1atterly much improved; almost every family raising a quantity of potatoes, which with fish, chiefly salt pilchards, constitute, the staple article of food.

A few years since the potatoe was almost the only vegetable cultivated by the miner, nor was a flower to be seen to enliven his squalid place of residence; now a great degree of neatness prevails throughout, and most of the cottages have gardens well stocked with culinary vegetables, and a tasteful selection of hardy flowers. Some of the cottagers have obtained well-merited prizes at the neighbouring horticultural shows.

S. Just is one of the oldest mining parishes in the county, and many remains of very ancient workings are scattered over it. At the Bunny, near Botallack, the excavations on the surface, are very curious and picturesque. On the tenement of Bosorn, in the side of the hill overhanging the sea, the old workings are extensive, and in many other places are to be traced the comparatively superficial mining of former ages.

On several of the headlands on the sea-shore, Cape Cornwall, Kenidjack castle, and others, are still found traces of ancient enclosures, and the remains of some of those old fortifications so common on all the western coasts. These remains, and the tracings yet to be seen of enclosures of land, now lying waste, lead to the conclusion that this part of the country was thickly inhabited many centuries ago.

Though the mines of this parish have been worked for so many ages, they are not yet exhausted. Among the more prosperous ones have been Levant, producing both copper and tin, Boscaswell Downs, Balleswidden, Parkenoweth, Boscan, Wheal Owls, and Wheal Boys, all tin mines. Botallack has also been very rich; both this and Levant are situate on the cliffs, and have workings many hundred fathoms under the bed of the sea, which, particularly in stormy weather, is distinctly and fearfully heard rolling the boulders over the heads of the miners as the waves advance and recede.

“I was once,” writes a scientific gentleman, “underground in Wheal Cock, a mine adjoining Botallack, during a storm. At the extremity of the level, seaward, some eighty or one hundred fathoms from the shore, little, could be heard of its effects, except at intervals, when the reflux of some unusually large wave projected a pebble outward pounding an rolling over the rocky bottom. But when standing beneath the base of the cliff, and in that part of the mine where but nine feet of rock stood between us and the ocean, the heavy roll of the large boulders, the ceaseless grinding of the pebbles, the fierce thundering of the billows, with the crackling and boiling as they rebounded, placed a tempest in its most appalling form too vividly before me to be ever forgotten.”

No headland along the coast has a more wild and fearful aspect than Botallack. The engine houses are, built on the rocky crags; and the heavy machinery and building materials had to be lowered 200 feet for the construction of one near the bottom of the cliff.

An unjustifiable claim was once made by the government on account of the Duchy of Cornwall, to the right of minerals raised beyond low water mark, under the bed of the sea, which, in whomsoever the right of the mineral there raised may be, can only be approached through the lands which abut on the sea.

The estimated tithable lands of this parish amount to 6250 acres, of which 2500A. are arable, and 3750A. are commons.

The tithes were commuted in 1843 at £851 10s.; namely, to the vicar £486 10s., and to the impropriators, the representatives of the Borlase family of Castle Horneek, £365. Attached to the advowson is a glebe of 13A. 3R. 20P.

The parish contains by actual measurement 7391A. 1R. 25P., of which the public roads measure 63A. 2R. 0P.

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