Sennen Parish Church - Interior

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Parish Church of Saint Sennen

St Sennen Church Incumbents

What follows are a few brief snapshots of the interior of St. Sennen Church. Do not hesitate to visit the Church to see these and much more for yourselves. Guide pamphlets are available.

Stained Glass Window Organ

Here we see the sanctuary with the east window and reredos, and a view of the organ and chancel approach. The sanctuary, chancel, nave, and north transept date from the 13th Century. J. P. St. Aubyn was appointed to repair the Church in 1847, and he replaced the roof and the pews. Most of the wood carving was carried out by Pinwell & Co. of Plymouth, one exception being the angels surmounting the chancel stalls, two of which can be seen in the organ photograph. These were carved in 1930s by Duston Osbourne, whose work is well known throughout Cornwall. The stained glass of the east window, as with all the windows, replaced the cheap glazing of St. Aubyn. Saints and apostles are depicted in the glass and a memorial plaque is fixed beneath. The carvings on the reredos are quite striking (see below). The organ, installed in 1895, occupies the original Lady Chapel, in the end wall of which was the Devil's door. Be careful where you stand at a baptism now, since he has only one way out! The pulpit, given in 1929, in memory of a 19th Century rector, carries the three figures of St. John the Baptist, St. Sennen, and St. Nicholas, patron saint of fishermen and children, surrounded by carvings of fish, lobsters, seahorses, and seaweed.

Altar Crabpots

Here we have detail of the altar and reredos, both refurbished in 1953. The carvings on the reredos depict the lifeboat going down the slip with Cape Cornwall in the background, the fishermen sharing out the mullet catch, the mullet seine with one big fish, the farmer with his plough, and the fishermen making their crab pots ( see close-up in second photograph). These carvings attest to the long tradition of the Church as the caring centre of the community of Sennen. The beautiful carvings on the altar front are of the Crown of Thorns, the Cross, and the Chalice and Paten.

South Aisle Font

Here are the views of the South Aisle leading to the Lady Chapel, and the Font standing at the west end. The South Aisle, added in 15th Century was dedicated in 1441. The date can be read with difficulty on the base of the font. The floor of Cornish slate in the Lady Chapel was laid in the1990s. In the Lady Chapel is a rather battered statue of the Virgin Mary, one of several figures recovered from a wall niche nearly 300 years ago. The head was restored by Mrs. Sheila Hicks of Tregiffian, Sennen. There is also a 17th Century post Reformation Communion Table, and on the wall by the window is a fragment of a painting, presumably still in existence beneath the plaster. It is interesting to try and work out what the complete picture could be. The font is striking by virtue of its lid, carved by a local farmer, Mr. Saundry, out of wood from the wreck of the Khyber lost on March 15th 1905 near St. Levan. It now stands on a floor of Delabole slate , matching the Lady Chapel, laid in 1999, following a major repair to rid the rear of the Church of rotten pews and flooring. At the rear are the attractive new cupboards and shelves fitted at the same time. The resulting free space can be adapted to a variety of activities. Finally the discerning eye will pick out the end section of the letter from Charles 1, thanking Cornish folk for their loyalty.

St Sennen Church Incumbents

Words : Brian Simpson