Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Cornwall | Shifting Sands

It’s weird how we humans sometimes just don’t notice things. I’ve now been visiting the Camel Estuary area of Cornwall for the last three years – it’s been the annual holiday destination of my girlfriend since she was young.

Part of the holiday routine is for my girlfriend’s parents to play golf almost daily on the St Enodoc Golf course. Although I have little interest in golf I do admire the stunning scenery in which the course is set. This year as we walked towards the 10th tee I noticed something I have missed on the previous two years visits. There’s a church slap bang in the middle of the course.

OK, that’s not amazing really – but it’s what the ‘mum-in-law’ said that in intrigued me.

“Oh yes, that’s St Enodoc church. It used to buried under the sand.”

What?! Was this part of North Cornwall once ruled by the pharaohs?

Anyway it turns out that in the 18th and 19th century the church fell into disrepair and became almost buried in the sand dunes surrounding it. At that time services were performed once a year only, and the clergyman had to gain entrance through a skylight, made especially for that task.

The building was renovated in 1853 - 1864 The vicar, the Rev. Hart Smith was responsible for restoring the chapel. Prior to restoration, the sands were up to the eastern gable, the building was wet, the pews were covered in mould and worm eaten, bats lived in the belfry.

St Enodoc Church has another claim to fame. It is where John Betjeman, the former poet laureate is buried. Betjeman died in Trebetherick on 19 May, 1984.

So there you go, a small church but a lot of history.

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