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Zennor Parish

Shown within UK and Penwithmarker
OS Grid Reference:
Population: 217 (2001 Census)
Major Settlement: Zennor
Settlement Type: Village
Secondary Settlements: Pennance, Treveal, Bosporthennismarker, Tregerthen, Boswednackmarker, Porthmeor
Ward: Zennor and Madron
County: Cornwallmarker
Region: South West England
Post Office and Telephone
Post town: Truro
Postcode: TR26 3xx
Dialling Code: 01736
Zennor from Trewey Hill
Zennor is a village and civil parish in Cornwallmarker in the United Kingdommarker. The parish includes the villages of Zennor, Boswednackmarker and Porthmeor and the hamlet of Treenmarker. It is located on the north coast, about six miles north of Penzancemarker. Alphabetically, the parish is the last in Britain - its name comes from the Cornish for the local saint, St Senara.

Local government

For the purposes of local government Zennor elects a parish Council every three years. Higher functions are exercised by Cornwall Council. Until March 2009 the parish was included in Penwithmarker District.

Parish Church of St Senara

The building is partly Norman and partly of the 13th and 15th centuries (the north aisle 15th century). There is a west tower and the octagonal font may be of the 13th century. One of only two remaining bench ends portrays the Mermaid of Zennor.


These include Zennor Quoit and Sperris Quoit (only 400 yards apart). There is a prehistoric entrance grave at Pennance known as the Giant's House and not far away are four round barrows. A little over a mile from Porthmeor is a circle of 11 stones known as the Nine Maidens and at Treen Dinas a promontory fort with five lines of fortification.

The mermaid of Zennor

There is a local legend about a mermaid in Zennor. Matthew Trewhella was a good-looking young man with a good voice. Each evening Matthew would sing the closing hymn at the church in Zennor, solo. A mermaid living in neighbouring Pendour Covemarker was enchanted by the music. She dressed in a long dress to hide her long tail and walked a bit awkwardly to the church. Initially, she just marvelled at Matthew's singing before slipping away to return to the sea. She came every day, and eventually became bolder, staying longer. It was on one of these visits that her gaze met Matthew's, and they fell in love. However, the mermaid knew she had to go back to the sea or die. As she prepared to leave, Matthew said "Please do not leave, who are you, where are you from?".
The centuries old Mermaid Chair in Zennor.
The mermaid told him that she was a creature from the sea and that she must go back. Matthew was so love-struck that he swore he would follow her wherever she went. Matthew carried her to the cove and followed her beneath the waves, never to be seen again.

It is said that if you sit above Pendour Cove at sunset on a fine summer evening you might hear Matthew singing faintly on the breeze.

At St. Senara Church in Zennor visitors may see a carved bench-end over 600 years old showing the mermaid.

Exercise Brandyball

In 1943 No.4 British Commando were involved in a mock seaborne raid codenamed "Exercise Brandyball" which took place on the 300 foot cliffs near Zennor known as the 'Brandys'. The training exercise was deemed one of the most hazardous and challenging of the war, beginning with a seaborne landing, followed by a climb up the vertical cliffs with full kit to destroy the target, an old disused tin mine. On the rehearsal day of 6 June 1943 the weather was not good and one of the boats sank with the loss of two Commandos. These events were filmed by Allied officers as observers from all the services were present, including General Montgomery, the archive now being held in the Imperial War Museummarker. The following day the men decided the operation should continue, it being successfully completed on 7 June 1943.

Patrick Heron

Artist Patrick Heron lived in Cornwall until the age of nine and he returned in 1956 to live at the 'Eagle's Nest' house, overlooking the cliffs near Zennor. Many of the sharp-edged shapes in his works are reminiscent of the aged Cornish coastline, while the rounded shapes recall the granite boulders in his garden. He died peacefully at his home in Zennor, in March 1999 at the age of 79 and many of his works are on display at the Tate St Ivesmarker.


As well as a pub, The Tinners Arms, the village has a small museum (The Wayside Folk Museummarker) with a collection of local rural artifacts and a working water wheel. Adjacent to the museum is a backpackers' hostel.

Gallery of images

Image:Zennor_Church1.JPG|Zennor Church.Image:Zennor_Church2.JPG|Side view of Zennor Church.Image:Zennor_Mermaid_Chair.JPG|Zennor Mermaid ChairImage:Zennor_Head1.JPG|Zennor Head.Image:Zennor_Head2.JPG|Zennor Head.Image:Zennor_Head3.JPG|Zennor Head in the evening.Image:Zennor Quoit (small) (9612120).jpg|Zennor Quoit, about a mile southeast of Zennor village.


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