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)
- Mark Hattam has posted photographs of many gravestones in Escalls Bible Christian chapel.
- The Cornwall Family History Society have published Monumental Inscriptions for:
- The Parish Church - 906 entries.
- Escalls Bible Christian Chapel - 38 entries.
- War Memorial inscriptions for Sennen parish are separately available. The OPC has also separately posted details of the memorial.
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:
- The 1851 Census of Sennen (HO107/1919), Enumeration District 3a and 3b, is available on-line from the Cornwall Online Census project.
- The New Zealand Society of Genealogists have compiled separate surname indexes of the 1851 Census for each Cornish registration district; Sennen is listed in Volume 30. The booklets are available in Cornwall at the Cornwall Centre, (formerly known as the Cornish Studies Library), and is also available in the Cornwall FHS Library.
- 1861. The 1861 Census of Sennen (RG9/1599), Enumeration Districts 8C, and 9A, is available on-line from the Cornwall Online Census project.
- 1871. The 1871 Census of Sennen (RG10/2346), Enumeration Districts 8C, [including Barracks] and 9A, is available on-line from the Cornwall Online Census project.
- 1881. The 1881 Census of Sennen (RG11/2351), Enumeration Districts 8 and 9 [including Merchant Shipping], is available on-line from the Cornwall Online Census project.
- The 1891 Census of Sennen (RG12/1861), Enumeration Districts 8 and 9 [including Merchant Shipping], is available on-line from the Cornwall Online Census project.
- The 1901 Census of Sennen (RG13/2258), Enumeration Districts 7 [including Merchant Shipping] and 8, is available on-line from the Cornwall Online Census project.
- The 1901 Census of Sennen is available on-line, in four parts, courtesy of the OPC.
- 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.
- 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 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).
- 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).
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.
- Ask for a calculation of the distance from Sennen to another place.
- OPC Assistance.
- 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.
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.
- Map of the Penzance Registration District in which the parish lies.
- A map showing Sennen in the context of its neighbours is available.
You can see maps centred on OS grid reference SW356254 (Lat/Lon: 50.070114, -5.695769), Sennen which are provided by:
- Google Maps
- StreetMap (Current Ordnance Survey maps)
- Bing (was Multimap)
- Old Maps Online
- National Library of Scotland (Old Ordnance Survey maps)
- Vision of Britain (Click "Historical units & statistics" for administrative areas.)
- English Jurisdictions in 1851 (Unfortunately the LDS have removed the facility to enable us to specify a starting location, you will need to search yourself on their map.)
- Magic (Geographic information) (Click + on map if it doesn't show)
- GeoHack (Links to on-line maps and location specific services.)
- The Sennen Muster Roll of 1569 is available on-line.
- The men from the Parish of St. Sennen who served their country as sailors or soldiers during the Great War 1914-1918 have been listed by the OPC.
- The men from the Parish of St. Sennen who served their country in H.M. Forces during World War Two 1939 - 1945 have also been listed by the OPC.
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.
Sennen parish was part of the Penzance Union for Poor Law administration and parish relief.
Wills & Admons for Sennen parish, 1700-1799 are available on-line.
The Incumbents of St Sennen church are listed.
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.