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:
- The 1851 Census of Zennor (HO107/1917), Enumeration Districts 3a, 3b, 3c and 3d, 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; Zennor is listed in Volume 25. 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 Zennor (RG9/1590), Enumeration Districts 14 to 17, is available on-line from the Cornwall Online Census project.
- 1871. The 1871 Census of Zennor (RG10/2335), Enumeration Districts 15 to 18, is available on-line from the Cornwall Online Census project.
- 1881. The 1881 Census of Zennor (RG11/2342), Enumeration Districts 16 to 19,is available on-line from the Cornwall Online Census project.
- 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.
- 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 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).
- 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).
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.
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."
- Ask for a calculation of the distance from Zennor to another place.
You can see the administrative areas in which Zennor has been placed at times in the past. Select one to see a link to a map of that particular area.
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.
- Map of the Penzance Registration District in which the parish lies.
- A map showing Zennor in the context of its neighbours is available.
You can see maps centred on OS grid reference SW455385 (Lat/Lon: 50.192122, -5.566722), Zennor 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 St Ives, Zennor, St Erth Mines, is available on-line.
- 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.
Wills & Admons for Zennor parish, 1666-1773 are available on-line.
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.