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Cornish: Sen Senan
St Sennen's church, Sennen - - 169354.jpg
Sennen parish church
Grid reference: SW358256
Location: 50°4’12"N, 5°41’42"W
Population: 921  (2011)
Post town: Penzance
Postcode: TR19
Dialling code: 01736
Local Government
Council: Cornwall
St Ives

Sennen is a village in the far west of Cornwall, about eight miles west-southwest of Penzance and just under a mile north-east of Land's End, where the village's main road, the A30, from London, ends.

Sennen and its port, Sennan Cove are the most westerly villages in mainland England. Sennan stands above the coastal land, in the wind-blasted granite moorland of the far west of Penwith. Below it is the harbour settlement of Sennen Cove. The Longships Lighthouse offshore on the Longships rocks, winks at the village.

Sennen parish is bounded by the open sea to the west and bordered by the parishes of St Just to the north, St Buryan to the east, St Levan to the south. The main settlements of the parish are Sennan itself, Sennen Cove, Trevescan, Carn Towan and Land's End.


Sennen parish is situated at the western tip of the Penwith peninsula and is exposed to prevailing westerly winds from the Atlantic Ocean. Geologically, it is located on the Land's End Granite, part of the Penwith massif which is one of the five major granite batholiths that make up the spine of Cornwall. Consequently, the parish has a bare moorland-like character with very few trees and no woodland.

The parish population was 829 at the 2001 census.


Sennen parish church is dedicated to St Sinninus but has also been dedicated to St John the Baptist. There has been a church here since at least the 15th century.[1] A visit by members of the Penzance Natural History and Antiquarian Society on their annual excursion in August 1893 translated a Latin inscription on a stone at the base of the font as ″In the year of the Lord 1441 [2, 3, or 4], this Church was dedicated on [the festival of] the beheading of St John the Baptist″.[2] The present church has a chancel and nave, a south aisle and a north transept. A wall-painting depicting two round embattled towers was uncovered during restoration in 1867. There is also a headless alabaster figure once representing the Virgin Mary in the transept. The church has a three-stage battlemented tower housing a ring of three bells.[1]

Old customs

On the old Christmas Day in the 1830s (and before) the farmers of St Sennen assembled for the festivities. One of the dishes was a pie made from four and twenty blackbirds. At midnight the young men went out to see the ‘cattle kneel’ and on their return they threw rushes onto the fire. The number of crackles, or the particular form assumed. told the fortunes of those who threw them into the fire.[3]


Outside links

("Wikimedia Commons" has material
about Sennen)


  1. 1.0 1.1 {{genuki}
  2. "The Annual Excursion. 4th August, 1893.". Report and Transactions of the Penzance Natural History and Antiquarian Society: 82–87. 1893–94. 
  3. Rundle, S. (1884) "Cornubiana". In Transactions of the Penzance Natural History and Antiquarian Society. pp. 347-358.