St Enodoc’s Church – Almost Reclaimed By Nature

Dating way back to the 12 century, St Enodoc’s church can be found in the stunning coastal location of Trebetherick, east of Daymer Bay in Cornwall, UK.

It’s hard to believe that this idyllic spot has caused more than a few problems over the years for this Grade 1 listed building, which at present is nicely nestled in the grassed over sand dunes.

The Dark Years

By the 16th century, the sand dunes were becoming a big problem because, by their nature, sand dunes tend to shift about, this resulted in the church almost being completely covered by the sand rendering the normal entry points to the building totally inaccessible for the next 300 years.

By the 19th century Historic England reports that the church, which at the time had the nickname of “Sinkininny Church” was buried so deep that to keep the church sacred, every year a member of the clergy would be lowered into the church through the roof structure to conduct services and then hoisted back out again.

Help Is At Hand

Between the years of 1863 and 1864 a restoration project was carried by renowned English architect J.P. St Aubyn which included rebuilding damaged parts of the church, including repairs to external walls, windows and parts of the roof and its structure.

Credit photo: Richard Rogerson via CC Licence.

Resting place of Sir John Betjeman

Drawing on fond memories of his childhood family holidays in Trebetherick, and the very place that would be his home in his later years, Sir John Betjeman, English Poet Laureate wrote a poem entitled “Trebetherick” which celebrates his familiarity and love for the area. But it was his poem “Sunday Afternoon Service” that really commemorated St Enodoc’s church.

Come on! Come on! This hillock hides the spire,

Now that one and now none. As winds about

The burnished path through lady’s-finger, thyme,

And bright varieties of saxifrage,

So grows the tinny tenor faint or loud

All all things draw toward St. Enodoc.

Come on! Come on! and it is five to three.

Still, Come on! come on!

The tinny tenor. Hover-flies remain

More than a moment on a ragwort bunch,

And people’s passing shadows don’t disturb

Red Admirals basking with their wings apart.

A mile of sunny, empty sand away,

A mile of shallow pools and lugworm casts.

Safe, faint and surfy, laps the lowest tide.

Sir John Betjeman, Sunday Afternoon Service At St. Enodoc

Safe for Now

Nowadays you wouldn’t imagine that this church was almost lost to nature, the only giveaway is the crooked spire that hints to you that this church has a story to tell.



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