St Just-in-Penwith, (Cornish: Lannyust), is, as its name suggests, located in the district of Penwith on the far western tip of Cornwall. It should not be confused with St Just-in-Roseland which is to the south of Truro. Of the two parishes, this is more commonly referred to as 'St Just'. It is situated in the Deanery and Hundred of Penwith, and is bounded on the north by the sea and Morvah, on the east by Madron and Sancreed, on the south by St Buryan and Sennen and on the west by the sea. Land's End lies just to the south of the parish, the area is hilly open moorland with some farmland on the coast. It is probable that both parishes derive their names from Justus or St. Just, who was sent to England by Pope Gregory in A.D. 596, with St. Augustine and many other monks, to convert the Saxons. He was consecrated bishop by St Augustine in A.D. 604, and appointed to the See of Rochester by King Ethelbert. In A.D. 616 he was made Archbishop of Canterbury; and died in November 627.
Very little is recorded of St. Just, but that little is entirely to his praise; at the command of Pope Gregory the Great, he undertook the perilous but successful service of converting the English Saxons; he attained the highest ecclesiastical dignity from the suffrages of those who had been brought by the labours of St. Augustine and his followers, within the pale of the church; and he obtained deserved commendation from Pope Boniface the III. or IV. who, with one intermediate Pope, were the successors of St. Gregory, when the apostolic confirmation of his appointment to the metropolitan See was given, and himself honoured by the investiture of a pall. The Saxon Chronicle, literally translated, states: '..here Justus the Archbishop forth stepped', i.e. died, on the fourth of the Ides of November; the 10th of November is consecrated to him in the Roman Calendar. The parish feast however, is celebrated on the Sunday nearest to All Saints' day, namely November 1st.
The parish extends along the coast from seven to eight miles in length, and is from two to three miles wide. It is separated from the adjoining parishes of St. Buryan and Sancreed by a high ridge of barren hills which slope gradually towards the rocky cliffs of the sea. The cliffs, though not very high, are precipitous, craggy, and picturesque, and unapproachable even by small vessels, excepting in very fine weather. A great portion of the surface of the parish is uncultivated common, yielding but a scanty subsistence to a few sheep belonging chiefly to cottagers renting houses, in right of which they claim a limited share of the pasture. Its temperature is some degrees colder than that of the south coast, being exposed to north and northwest winds. Sea fogs coming from the south are prevalent and somewhat unpleasant, but they are temperate; and, unlike those arising from marshes, contain no miasma so are not unwholesome. The air is much charged with saline particles, producing verdure through the greater part of both summer and winter.
The soil in general is shallow and light, consisting of decomposed granite and peat-earth, consequently not adapted to produce heavy crops of wheat, but it is good grazing land, and yields fair crops of barley, oats, turnips, and potatoes; the last named especially is extensively cultivated. St Just is one of the oldest mining parishes in Cornwall. In the mid-1880s, it was a real mining-boom town having grown steadily over the previous half century. Mines had sprung up all over the district and there was plenty of work for everyone. As the Corninsh mining industry collapsed in the late 19th century there was a mass exodus of miners to the new world as a desperate poverty settled over those left at St Just. Many remains of very ancient workings are now scattered over the parish.
The town of St Just is the most westerly one in Britain; in size it would appear to be a village but it has its own Town Hall, town clock and a town council. It now comprises several streets diverging from a triagular space in the centre. At the end of the 20th century, regeneration started to improve the town whilst preserving its charms. The most important village in the parish was Pendeen. This became the centre of a new parish of Pendeen which was created from part of St Just in 1849.
There is a small airport at St Just where flights to the Isles of Scilly arrive and depart.
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)
- In the churchyard are numbers of small granite headstones, the greater part bearing initials and dates only. Mark Hattam has posted photographs of many gravestones.
- The Gravestone Photographic Resource project have recorded some 194 persons in 75 graves for St Just's churchyard. The Wesleyan churchyard in St Just, separately has 20 names listed in 6 graves.
- The Cornwall Family History Society have published Monumental Inscriptions for:
- The Parish Church - 703 entries
- Municipal Cemetery - 1027 entries
- Wesleyan Chapel - 1726 entries.
- War Memorial inscriptions for St Just parish are separately available.
Census information for this parish (1841 - 1901) is held in the Cornwall Record Office. The Cornwall Family History Society offers a census search service for its members.
Specific census information for this parish is available as follows:
- 1841. The 1841 Census of St Just-in-Penwith (HO107/144) is available on-line from the Cornwall Online Census project as follows:
- The 1851 Census of St Just-in-Penwith (HO107/1919) is available on-line from the Cornwall Online Census project as follows:
- The New Zealand Society of Genealogists have compiled separate surname indexes of the 1851 Census for each Cornish registration district; St Just-in-Penwith is listed in Volume 29. 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 St Just-in-Penwith is available on-line from the Cornwall Online Census project as follows:
- 1881. The 1881 Census of St Just-in-Penwith is available on-line from the Cornwall Online Census project as follows:
- RG11/2349. Enumeration District 9, is available on-line from the Cornwall Online Census project.
- 1891. The 1891 Census of St Just-in-Penwith (RG12/1860) are available on-line from the Cornwall Online Census project as follows:
- 1901. The 1901 Census of St Just-in-Penwith (RG13/2257) is available on-line from the Cornwall Online Census project as follows:
- Anglican. The parish church is located in OS Grid Square SW3731 and was dedicated to St Just.
Bishop Grandisson dedicated the high-altar of a church at this place on the 13th of July, 1336, the same day with St. Madron; but nothing now remains of that church, for the east end of the chancel, which was the only portion of it that remained at that time, was taken down to be rebuilt in the year 1834. The rest of the church was erected late in the fifteenth century, and it is of nearly the same plan as that for St. Burian.
The church comprises a chancel, nave, north and south aisles and a vestry. When the east end of the chancel was taken down in 1834, an inscribed stone was found indicating that the monument marked the grave of an ecclesiastic of some dignity. In the same wall were found the fragments of a piscina and the capital of a Norman pier. The south arcade has six arches of irregular bredths, some pointed and others semi-circular. The north arcade has five arches of similar character. The arms are those of Ardwenack, Boscawenrose, Bray or Brea, and probably of Petit. The material of the arches and pillars is Caen stone. The tower arch is circular and has a plain soffit. There is a south porch, embattled and supported by buttresses with rudely cut finnials; a staircase from the inside led up to the roof. There is also a priest's door. In the north wall are a north door and vestry door, both blocked. The tower is of three stages and is finished with battlements and pinnacles; it contains three bells and a clock.
Further history of St Just church is available.
- Non-Conformist. Within the parish were chapels for the Wesleyans, Bible Christians and the United Methodist Free Church. The Wesleyan chapel (Bojewyan) is now a private house, converted in the 1990s and called "Sleepy Hollow".
- LDS Church Records.
- The LDS Church batch numbers for St Just-in-Penwith are: E020312, M020311, M020312, P020311. These are searchable by surname.
- LDS Film numbers are: 1630-1783 , 1784-1847 , 1847-1959 , 1630-81 (births 1653-60), 1681-1733, 1734-83, 1784-1812, 1813-1905 .
- The IGI coverage of this parish is 1599 - 1877.
- The Cornwall Record Office holdings: Baptisms 1630 - 1922, Burials 1599 - 1975, Marriages 1599 - 1980, Boyd's Marriage Index 1599 - 1812, Pallot's Marriage Index 1800 - 1812.
- The Cornwall Family History Society have published on-line transcripts of:
- Pre 1813 Marriages
- 1813-37 Marriages
- 1813-37 Burials.
- Baptisms 1679 to 1747 (bishop's transcripts), and 1734 to 1911, for this parish are available on-line through the OPC search Facility - (C-PROP).
- The Cornish Forefathers' Society have published on CD, baptisms 1708 to 1840 for this parish which can be purchased on Parish Chest..
- The Cornwall Family History Society have published transcripts of: Parish Marriages 1599 to 1837, which is available in CD or downloadable .pdf file formats.
- Phillimore's marriages 1599 to 1812, and marriage transcriptions 1813 to 1911, for this parish are available on-line through the OPC search Facility - (C-PROP).
- Diane Donohue has also transcribed marriages at St Just-in-Penwith 1854 to 1872; these are on-line.
The parish of St Just-in-Penwith 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.
- Statistical Account of the Parish of St. Just: In Penwith, in the County of Cornwall, by John Buller (Published 1842), is available on-line, courtesy of the Old Cornwall Society.
- More photographs of St Just-in-Penwith are also available.
- Mark Hattam has posted some photographs of St Just.
- Pictures of the parish church, Methodist chapel, and other landmarks in St Just are also available.
- Ask for a calculation of the distance from St Just-In-Penwith to another place.
- 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 West Penwith Resources has produced a website for St Just to help family historians.
- British-Genealogy have a mailing list for those wanting to discuss ancestry in St Just-in-Penwith.
The Domesday Settlements of Cornwall, a study undertaken by the Cornwall Branch of the Historical Association, has identified and located settlements listed in the Exeter and Exchequer Domesday Survey of AD 1086. The following places have been identified in St Just-in-Penwith ecclesiastical parish:
You can see the administrative areas in which St Just-In-Penwith has been placed at times in the past. Select one to see a link to a map of that particular area.
A website dedicated to the history of St Just is available.
- The parish and town tithe maps, and accompanying survey books of c1840, provide a fascinating snap-shot of land use and ownership in the 19th century. In order to preserve the documents and improve access to them, the Cornwall Record Office are digitising these maps and survey books. The CD ROM tithe package include a map and survey books, together with a reader, for this parish; it is now available from the Cornwall Record Office. Details are on their website.
The Manorial Documents Register (MDR) maintained by the Historic Manuscripts Commission notes that, so far as can be established, the parish of St Just in Penwith contained the manors of: Bojewyan, Kelynack, Laffrander (also known as Lafronda), St Just in Penwith and Trewellard.
The MDR contains the following information for these manors:
- Bojewyan Manor.
Rentals 1811-14, 1880, rental with Trelissick 1802, rentals with other manors 1786-1887 (non consecutive), 1936-43, surveys 1771, 1809, 1830, map 1772-73, papers 19th cent and book of lives, with other manors 1812, 1815, 1820, 1831, 1847, 1872 in the Cornwall Record Office, Old County Hall, Truro TR1 3AY (collection ref: DD.WH).
- Kelynack Manor.
Receiver's accounts c1690 in the Public Record Office, Ruskin Avenue, Kew, Richmond, Surrey TW9 4DU (ref: C107/112).
- Rent rolls from 1728. In 1925 these were in the possession of RE Tonkin of Treverven, St Buryan.
- Papers relating to mill leat c1724 are in the Cornwall Record Office, Old County Hall, Truro TR1 3AY (collection ref: DDX 6).
- Survey nd in the Huntington Library, 1151 Oxford Road, San Marino, California 91108, USA (collection ref: EL (catalogue ref: vol 3, p824)).
- Laffrander or Lafronda Manor.
Rental with Lelant 1737-49 in the Public Record Office (ref: C116/28).
- St Just (?St Just in Penwith) Manor.
Bounds book c1737 in Cornwall Record Office (collection ref: DDX 6).
Survey and valuation with other manors 1794 in the Cornwall Record Office (ref: Acc. Apr-June 1969). (It is not certain whether this is St Just in Penwith manor).
- Trewellard Manor.
Rent roll 1545-46 and court roll 1546-48 in the British Library, Manuscript Collections, 96 Euston Road, London NW1 2DB (ref: Add MSS 32958 (9), 32965 (4).
Survey book 1885 in the Cornwall Record Office (ref: Acc. Apr.-June 1957).
- Map of the Penzance Registration District in which the parish lies.
- A map showing St Just-in-Penwith in the context of its neighbours is available.
You can see maps centred on OS grid reference SW372314 (Lat/Lon: 50.124353, -5.678133), St Just-In-Penwith 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.)
Information about the GRENFELL (GREENFIELD, GRENFIELD, GRINFIELD, GREENFILL) family of St Just is available on the Grenfell Family History Site. These include: baptisms, marriages, burials and census information.
- Information about the Mines around St Just is available on the Cornish Mining World Heritage site
- St Just-in-Penwith parish was part of the Penzance Union for Poor Law administration and parish relief.
- Overseers' Accounts (1768 to 1789) are available in the Cornwall Record Office.
The parish of Pendeen was created from part of this parish in 1849.
- Wills & Admons for St Just-in-Penwith parish, 1660-1730 are available on-line.
- The St Just & Pendeen Old Cornwall Society News Page is on-line.
- 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.