The village of Zennor lies between St Ives and St Just, on the Atlantic coast side of Cornwall. It is about 5 miles away (10 minutes in the car) and sits within some of the most fabulous Cornish coastal scenery.
Zennor is famous for the medieval carving of a mermaid inside the parish church of St Senara, as well as being one of the last places in Cornwall where the residents spoke traditional Cornish.
Legend has it that the mermaid hid her tail to visit the church, enticing handsome local lad Matthew Trewhella into the sea, never to be seen again. Today the Norman church, believed to be on the site of an original 6th century Celtic place of worship, is well worth a visit. On your visit look out for the exquisitely carved medieval mermaid seat and spot the siren on a bronze dial on the tower.
Zennor also has an important literary connection, a former association with the famous author, D.H. Lawrence, who wrote a number of poems and essays here. The author and his wife Frieda lived here from March 1916 to October 1917 at Higher Tregerthen. Being wartime and Lawrence’ wife being a German National, the couple created a considerable concern for the local community who were suspicious of their motives for being in the area and had a habit of interpreting everything they did as being involved with spying and espionage. This panic was no doubt fuelled by U-boats which regularly prowled this area of the coastline.
At one time there used to be a stone quarry in the village, and local granite was used to build much of St Ives and the Falmouth Harbour walls.
If you fancy a beer or a bite to eat, pop in to the Tinners Arms – built in 1271 it has been at the heart of village life in Zennor for over 700 years. Originally built to accommodate the masons who constructed St Senara’s Church, famous for its mermaid, you’ll find little has changed over the years, modern life slips away as you step inside.