Here’s a little tale from my past travels to Cornwall. Way down west, a hefty stone’s throw from Land’s End there is a little village called Zennor. I’ve mentioned it before in my A-Z lightning tour of England. In the church that’s open daily there is a six hundred year old bench with a fishy cushion. Isn’t it a wonderful piece of work? I was so taken by it that I forgot to take pictures of the carvings on each end of the seat. You’ll have to make do with the photo that I nicked from Wikipedia to see those. Scholars say that they might pre-date the Zennor Mermaid story but let’s not let that get in the way of a good yarn.
This humble chair is famous as, allegedly, a mermaid used to sit in when she popped in for Sunday services. The villagers didn’t know her true identity. I’m wondering about the logistics of hiding a bloody great tail or indeed getting up the massive hill from the coast without a pair of legs. Anyway those practical concerns shouldn’t detract us from the story. The creature was so beautiful and sang so sweetly that she beguiled all the locals including Matthew Trewella. One day his manly desires got the better of him. He followed her home and neither were seen again.
So is this famous attraction worth a visit? Well, wholeheartedly I’d give it a thumbs up. After all I’m a sucker for stories about mermaids and fairies and pixies. I so want to believe! But I’d suggest that a visit to Zennor church is part of a longer day out. Don’t go there especially. Perhaps combine a trip with a coast path walk, lunch in the village pub, a wander around St Just or Sennen, or a look around an old tin mine. And of course, after your visit, you’ll be able to boast that you have visited the place that comes last alphabetically in Britain.