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Help and advice for Sennen

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St. Sennen, (Cornish: Sen Senana), is just east of Lands End and is the most westerly village in the county. It is located in the Deanery and Hundred of Penwith. The parish of St. Just is to the north, St. Leven to the south, Buryan to the east; to the west is Land's End and the Atlantic Ocean. The parish rests on granite only. The cliff that bounds Land's End is more abrupt than elevated, not being more than 60 ft. above sea-level.

The name is compounded from Sen-nan (Holy Valley), but is derived from the patron saint of the parish church. St Sennan (Sinninus) was an Irish Abbot who was, supposedly, at Rome with St. Patrick, and came to Cornwall with St. Breage. However the parish is not mentioned in the Domesday survey of 1086.

The parish is very exposed to wind and the sea air. In the 19th century it was a peaceful agricultural and fishing community. The coming of the railways brought increasing numbers of tourists, culminating in the large entertainment complex which exists there today.

The Inn at the Church-Town is known by the name "The First and Last Inn in England". Principal villages in the parish are: Churchtown, Treave, Maen, Sennen Cove, Escalls and Trevescan. On Land's End isthmus, Wesley is said to have composed the verse of one of his hymns commencing: "Lo! on a narrow neck of land".

Most parish and church description(s) on these pages are from Lake's Parochial History of the County of Cornwall by J Polsue (Truro, 1867 - 1873)



Census information for this parish (1841 - 1901) is held in the Cornwall Records Office. The Cornwall FHS offers a census search service for its members.
Specific census information for this parish is available as follows:


You can also perform a more selective search for churches in the Sennen area that are recorded in the GENUKI church database. This will also help identify other churches in nearby townships and/or parishes. You also have the option to see the location of the churches marked on a map.

Church History

  • Anglican.The parish church is located in OS Grid Square SW3525 and originally is dedicated to St. Sinninus (Sennen), but is has also been dedicated to St. John the Baptist.
    According to inscriptions in the present church, the building was in existence by 1440. It comprises a chancel, nave, south aisle and north transcept. The arcade consists of six four-centred arches of porcelain stone supported on four pillars of the same material. At the east end of the aisle is a wall-painting, which was discoveredon removing old plaster in the major restoration of 1867. It represents two round embattled towers finished with canopies. On a bracket in the transcept is preserved one of the 'headless bodies' spoken of by Hals in the 17th cent. This is cut in alabaster and is supposed to represent the Virgin Mary.
    The tower has three stages and is finished with battlements and pinnacles. The belfrey contains three bells, one of which was cast in 1762 and another in 1810.
  • Non-Conformist. There was a Wesleyan Methodist Chapel at the Churchtown, a Bible Christian Chapel at Escalls and a Baptist Chapel at Treane.

Church Records

  • LDS Church Records.
    • The LDS Church batch numbers for Sennen are: C022571, M022571. These are searchable by surname.
    • The IGI coverage for this parish is 1699 - 1847.
  • The Cornwall Record Office holdings: Baptisms 1700 - 1895, Burials 1700 - 1886, Marriages 1700 - 1966, Boyd's Marriage Index 1699 - 1812, Pallot's Marriage Index 1790 - 1812.
  • The genealogical website for the parish contains on-line register transcriptions of many baptisms, marriages and burials occuring in Sennen.
  • Cornwall FHS have published on-line transcripts of:
    • Pre 1813 Marriages
    • 1813-37 Marriages
    • 1813-37 Burials
  • Baptisms.
    • Baptisms 1700 to 1895 in this parish are available on-line through the OPC search Facility (C-PROP).
    • The Cornish Forefathers' Society have published on CD baptisms 1740 to 1840 for this parish which can be purchased on Parish Chest
  • Banns. Banns 1824 to 1911 (with gaps) for this parish are available on-line through the OPC search Facility - (C-PROP).
  • Marriages.
    • The Cornwall Family History Society have published transcripts of: Parish Marriages 1699 to 1837, which is available in CD or downloadable .pdf file formats.
    • Phillimore marriages 1699 to 1812, and marriage transcriptions 1699 to 1911 in this parish are available on-line through the OPC search Facility (C-PROP).
  • Burials.
    • The Cornwall Family History Society have published transcripts of: Parish Burials 1813 to 1837, which is available in Book format.
    • Burials 1700 to 1886 in this parish are available on-line through the OPC search Facility (C-PROP).

Civil Registration

The parish of Sennen has been in the Penzance Registration District continuously from 1st July 1837. There were originally sub-districts at Marazion, Penzance, St Buryan, St Just, St Ives and Uny-Lelant but these have now been abolished. Parishes within the district are: Gulval, Ludgvan, Madron, Marazion, Morvah, Penzance, Perranuthnoe, St. Buryan, St. Erth, St. Hilary, St. Ives, St. Just in Penwith, St. Levan, St. Michael's Mount, St. Paul, Sancreed, Sennen, Towednack, Uny-Lelant, Wolfe Rock Lighthouse, and Zennor. The Superintendant Registrar can be contacted at: Alphington House, Alverton Place, Penzance, TR18 4JJ. Tel: 01736 330093.

Description and Travel

  • ePodunk's Cornwall page - providing general, plus some historical and genealogical information, about Cornwall and its parishes, together with links (mainly relating to general sites and services, rather than ones that are specific to Cornwall or particular parishes).
  • Photographs of Sennen are available on-line.
You can see pictures of Sennen which are provided by:


  • OPC Assistance.
    • The On-line Parish Clerk (OPC) scheme operates a service to help family historians; the OPC page for this parish is available on-line, from where the OPC can be contacted by email.
    • The OPC for Sennen has produced a genealogical website for the parish.
  • Strays. Persons living in a parish but born elsewhere are known as "Strays". Strays found elsewhere in the UK but born in Sennen in the 1881 Census are available on-line.

Historical Geography

You can see the administrative areas in which Sennen has been placed at times in the past. Select one to see a link to a map of that particular area.
You can see maps centred on OS grid reference SW350250 (Lat/Lon: 50.065863, -5.704502), Sennen which are provided by:

Military Records

Names, Personal

Some people who were born in Sennen but living elswhere at the time of the 1881 UK Census are listed.


Apprenticeship Indentures for Sennen 1817 - 1833 can be found in the Cornwall Record Office.

Poor Houses, Poor Law etc.

Sennen parish was part of the Penzance Union for Poor Law administration and parish relief.


  • Population in 1801 - 431 persons
  • Population in 1811 - 495 persons
  • Population in 1821 - 537 persons
  • Population in 1831 - 689 persons
  • Population in 1841 - 659 persons
  • Population in 1851 - 652 persons
  • Population in 1861 - 613 persons
  • Population in 1871 - 630 persons
  • Population in 1881 - 678 persons
  • Population in 1891 - 679 persons
  • Population in 1901 - 644 persons
  • Population in 1911 - 663 persons
  • Population in 1921 - 646 persons
  • Population in 1931 - 692 persons
  • Population in 1951 - 691 persons
  • Population in 1961 - 704 persons
  • Population in 1971 - 755 persons
  • Population in 1981 - 850 persons, plus 195 in Sennen Cove Village and 560 in Sennen Village
  • Population in 1991 - 850 persons, plus 205 in Sennen Cove Village and 645 in Sennen Village
  • Population in 2001 - 829 persons
  • Population in 2011 - 806 persons


The Penwith Local History Group aims:

  • To encourage and sustain public interest in the history of Penwith to provide mutual support and encouragement to members in their individual research projects, whether related to Penwith or of wider historical interest.
  • To work as a group on specific research projects, with the aim of publication to an academic standard.
  • To encourage the strong link with the Morrab Library, supporting the Library in its aims and activities.


The parish consists of 2284 acres of land, 6 acres of water and 64 acres of foreshore.