Zennor, (Cornish: Eglossenara), parish is named after Saint Senara to whom the Church is dedicated. It is situated in the Deanery and Hundred of Penwith; it is bounded on the north and east by the sea and Towednack, on the south by Towednack, Gulval and a detached portion of Madron, and on the west by Morvah and the sea. It is on the North coast about 5 miles west of St Ives. This parish is extremely wild, huge granite boulders litter the landscape and the fierce gales blowing off of the North Atlantic have left Zennor virtually tree-less.

The area contains many steep valleys leading down to rocky cliffs by the sea. There are numerous ancient sites in the parish including hut circles, barrows, quoits and settlements. Much of the coastline is owned by the National Trust. The area is dotted with small fields surrounded by stone walls. Farming is the only remaining industry in the area. The only villages are the Churchtown and Trewey.

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)



The Cornwall Family History Society have published Monumental Inscriptions for Parish Church



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:


Church History

  • Anglican. The parish church is located in OS Grid Square SW4538 and was dedicated to St Senara (Sinar) in the 12th Century.
    The earliest record of the present church is in 1150 when Robert Fitzwilliam, Lord of Cardinham, confirmed to the Prior and Convent of Tywardreath the church of St.Sinar which Ralph de Sicca Villa and his wife Margaret had given them. In 1270 the church was appropriated by the Provost and Canons of Glasney College who remained rectors here until the dissolution in 1545.
    Senara is the patron saint of Zennor but little is known of her historically; legend connects her with Princess Asenora of Brittany who married King Goello. Her stepmother, jealous of her beauty and virtue accused her of infidelity and she was condemned to be burnt. When it was discovered she was with child, the gaolers nailed her into a barrel and threw it into the sea, to avoid being guilty of murdering the unborn child. She was miraculously fed by an angel, bore her child in the barrel and was washed up on the shores of Ireland.
    The church consists of a chancel, nave, north aisle and south transcept. The arcade has six semi-circular arches supported on octagonal pillars of granite. The transcept formerly opened into the nave by two arches aupported on a cetral pillar, but these have been removed and their place occupied by a beam of wood. Near the porch is a Norman window 3 feet in height. The entrances are a south porch and a north door. The tower has three stages and is 49 feet to the battlements. The belfry contains three bells - the first is dated 1717.
    The parish feast is kept on the nearest Sunday to May 6th.
  • Non-Conformist. There were Wesleyan Methodist chapels at the Churchtown, Porthmear and Trendrine.

Church Records

  • LDS Church Records.
    • The LDS Church batch numbers for Zennor are: C002362, C022831, M053301, P002361. These are searchable by surname.
    • The IGI coverage of this parish is 1599 - 1837; it is NOT believed to be fully included in the LDS Church's International Genealogical Index (IGI).
  • The Cornwall Record Office holdings: Baptisms 1600 - 1963, Burials c.1655 - 1978, Marriages 1617 - 1972, Boyd's Marriage Index 1611 - 1812, Pallot's Marriage Index 1800 - 1812, BTs 1611 - 1673.
  • Baptisms.
    • Baptisms 1599 to 1837, and 1839 to 1901, in this parish are available on-line through the OPC search Facility - (C-PROP).
    • The Cornish Forefathers' Society have published on CD baptisms 1718 to 1840 for this parish which can be purchased on Parish Chest.
  • Banns. Banns 1823 to 1904 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 1617 to 1836, which is available in CD or downloadable .pdf file formats.
    • Phillimore marriages 1617 to 1812, and marriage transcriptions 1813 to 1837 and 1837 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 1836, which is available in Book and CD formats.
    • Burials 1713 to 1836 and 1723 to 1938 in this parish are available on-line through the OPC search Facility - (C-PROP).

Civil Registration

The parish of Zennor 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 & Travel

  • A history of the parishes of St. Ives, Lelant, Towednack and Zennor in the county of Cornwall by J. H. Mathews (Published 1892), is available on-line, courtesy of the Old Cornwall Society.
  • Photographs of Zennor are available on-line.
You can see pictures of Zennor which are provided by:



The National Gazetteer of Great Britain and Ireland - 1868

"ZENNOR, a parish in the W. division of Penwith hundred, county Cornwall, 6 miles N.E. of Penzance, and 5 S.W. of St. Ives, on the cliffs near the western extremity of the Bristol Channel, by which it is bounded on the N. The coast line is in some parts alternated with small bays, one of which is named Porth Zennon Cove and with projecting headlands, the most conspicuous being Trereen Dinas, or Gurnard's Head. The surface is varied, but nearly three-fourths are waste land, and the situation bleak. The soil is a mixture of good earth and killas upon substrata of killas, granite, slaty felspar, and greenstone, intersected with veins of tin. Many of the inhabitants are employed in the neighbouring tin mines and stone quarries, large quantities of the latter being sent to Penzance for shipment. The living is a vicarage* in the diocese of Exeter, value £180, in the patronage of the bishop. The church, dedicated to St. Sennar, contains several monuments and an old font. There are National schools, and a Sunday-school is held at the church. The Wesleyans have three chapels, and the Bible Christians one. At Kerrow was formerly a chapel-of-ease, now in ruins, and at Foage is a stone barrow with a kistvaen, about a furlong from which is an ancient cromlech; in other party of the parish are remains of a Druidical circle and some harrows. The Earl of Sandwich is lord of the manor."

"GURNARDS HEAD, a promontory in the parish of Zennor, county Cornwall, 4 miles W.S.W. of St. Ives."



  • 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 have produced a genealogical website for the parish.


The Manor of Ludgvan Lese covered parts of the parishes of Ludgvan, St. Ives, Zennor and Towednack. The abstracts of the Manorial Records 1688-1739, which are taken from LDS film #1471491, are available on-line.

You can see maps centred on OS grid reference SW448383 (Lat/Lon: 50.189264, -5.576082), Zennor which are provided by:



Information about the St Ives, Zennor, St Erth Mines, is available on-line.


Poor Houses, Poor Law

  • Zennor parish was part of the Penzance Union for Poor Law administration and parish relief.
  • Overseers' Accounts (1769 to 1791, 1813) are available in the Cornwall Record Office.


  • Population in 1801 - 544 persons
  • Population in 1811 - 671 persons
  • Population in 1821 - 715 persons
  • Population in 1831 - 811 persons
  • Population in 1841 -1025 persons
  • Population in 1851 - 918 persons
  • Population in 1861 - 933 persons
  • Population in 1871 - 807 persons
  • Population in 1881 - 601 persons
  • Population in 1891 - 496 persons
  • Population in 1901 - 332 persons
  • Population in 1911 - 294 persons
  • Population in 1921 - 298 persons
  • Population in 1931 - 250 persons
  • Population in 1951 - 257 persons
  • Population in 1961 - 246 persons
  • Population in 1971 - 202 persons
  • Population in 1981 - 210 persons
  • Population in 1991 - 245 persons
  • Population in 2001 - 217 persons
  • Population in 2011 - 196 persons

Probate Records


Religion & Religious Life

In the May of 1641 it was agreed and ordered that every Member of the House of Commons and House of Lords should make a protestation (declaration of loyalty) to the crown. The Protestation was printed and then distributed by the Members to their counties. The Protestation was to be made by everyone and the Rectors, Churchwardens and Overseers of the Poor, had to appear before the Justices of the Peace in their Hundred to make their protestation and, on returning to their parishes, any two of them were to witness the taking of the Protestation Oath by all males over the age of 18 years. All names were listed and anyone who refused was to be noted.

The Protestation Returns of 1642 for Zennor are available 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.


The parish comprises 3184 acres of land.