St Just in Penwith
|Cornish: Lannust (or Lanust)|
with the parish church of St. Just
in the background
St Just shown within Cornwall
|OS grid reference|
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|Postcode district||TR19 7|
|Police||Devon and Cornwall|
|EU Parliament||South West England|
|UK Parliament||St Ives|
St Just (Cornish: Lannust) is a town and civil parish in the Penwith district of Cornwall, England, United Kingdom. It lies along the B3306 road which connects St Ives to the A30 road. The parish encompasses the town of St Just and the nearby settlements of Trewellard, Pendeen and Kelynack: it is bounded by the parishes of Morvah to the north-east, Sancreed and Madron to the east, St Buryan and Sennen to the south and by the sea in the west. The parish consists of 7,622 acres (3,085 ha) of land, 12 acres (4.9 ha) of water and 117 acres (47.3 ha) of foreshore. The town of St Just is the most westerly town in mainland Britain and is situated approximately 8 miles (13 km) west of Penzance along the A3071. St Just parish has a population of 4690.
St Just lies within the Cornwall Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB). Almost a third of Cornwall has AONB designation, with the same status and protection as a National Park. St Just is one of only two towns included within the Cornwall AONB.
It is not known who Saint Just was. Cornwall's long resistance to the edicts of Canterbury and Rome makes it most unlikely that the saint was Archbishop Justus, as some sources claim. Another possibility is the 6th or 7th century Saint Iestyn, said to be the son of a ruler of Dumnonia.
Among the prehistoric antiquities nearby is Ballowall Barrow, a chambered tomb. St Just is one of the most ancient mining districts in Cornwall and remains of ancient pre-industrial and more modern mining activity have had a considerable impact on the nearby landscape.
The parish church is a fine 15th century building: see St. Just in Penwith Parish Church. St Just is the home of Cape Cornwall School which serves Sennen, Sancreed, Pendeen, St. Buryan and many other surrounding villages.
The ancient settlement has a strong mining history and was during the 19th century one of the most important mining districts in Cornwall both for copper and tin. Mines within the area included Boscaswell Downs, Balleswidden, Parknoweth, Boscean, Wheal Owles, Wheal Boys, Levant, Botallack and Geevor (which closed in 1990). Geevor mine is now a tourist attraction which allows visitors to explore Cornish Mining heritage. The boom in 19th century mining saw a dramatic increase in the population of St Just, the 1861 census records the population figure as being 9,290, however like other areas in Cornwall the population declined with the collapse in the tin trade in the 20th century. The town also suffered from the decision of the Great Western Railway to abandon its plans to make St Just the terminus of the London mainline to Cornwall. It was announced in July 2006 that the St Just mining district and the rest of the historic mining areas of Cornwall had become the Cornwall and West Devon Mining Landscape World Heritage Site.
The nearby Cot Valley has a stream which runs to the sea. The area has been heavily mined, as was the area around St Just. The round boulders in the Cot Valley Cove here are of specific scientific interest. Also nearby is Cape Cornwall.
For the purposes of local government classification St Just is a town and elects a Mayor every 12 months from among the St Just Town Councillors. The St Just Town Council was created following the re-structuring of English Local Government in 1974, St Just being previously an urban district council. Principal local government functions are now undertaken by the Cornwall Council.
History of the Local Government St Just was originally part of the Penzance Poor Law Union until 1894 when it was incorporated into the West Penwith Rural District. In 1897 St Just in Penwith parish formed the sole basis of St Just Urban District.
In 1974 the urban district became part of Penwith District Council, until its abolition in 2009.
Culture and local traditions
A more ancient celebration associated with the town is St Just feast which is held in November every year to celebrate the dedication of the parish church. The feast itself is a two-day event with a church service and civic procession being held on the Sunday of the feast and a larger scale popular celebration being held on the Monday (which includes a meeting of the local hunt). A description of St Just feast, from 1882, follows:
"Rich and poor still at this season keep open house, and all the young people from St. Just who are in service for many miles around, if they can possibly be spared, go home on the Saturday and stay until the Tuesday morning. A small fair is held in the streets on Monday evening, when the young men are expected to treat their sweethearts liberally, and a great deal of "foolish money" that can be ill afforded is often spent"
St Just also has a 'Plen an Gwarry' (Cornish for "playing place"). These sites were used historically for open-air performance, entertainment and instruction. St Just's Plen an Gwarry occasionally hosts productions of the Cornish Ordinalia mystery plays.
St Just has a healthy artistic scene, including the painter Kurt Jackson who has made several television appearances. Contemporary singer and comedian Jethro from nearby St Buryan played for St Just Rugby Club and has recorded a song entitled "St Just".
The folk singer Martha Tilston released an album in 2010 called 'Lucy and the Wolves'. This features a range of songs inspired by Cornwall. The first song on the album is called 'The Cape' and is based upon Cape Cornwall in St. Just. Martha has performed in Penzance a number of times and now lives in Penwith.
- Edward Grenfell, 1st Baron St Just, raised to the peerage as Baron St Just, of St Just in Penwith
- Lt Col J. H. Williams (Elephant Bill), soldier and elephant trainer
- Watts, Victor (2010). The Cambridge Dictionary of English Place-names (1st paperback ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 520. ISBN 978-0-521-16855-7.
- "Mines in St Just Area of Cornwall". Cornwall-calling.co.uk. Retrieved 2011-12-23.
- "Geevor Homepage". Geevor.com. Retrieved 2011-12-23.
- [dead link]
- "lafrowda-festival.co.uk". lafrowda-festival.co.uk. Retrieved 2011-12-23.
- "ordinaliaa.com". Ordinalia.com. Retrieved 2011-12-23.
- St Just Town Council: Twinned with Huelgoat, Retrieved 2012-04-19.
- "Jim Williams". Retrieved 2009-04-30.
|Wikivoyage has a travel guide for St Just in Penwith.|
- St Just Town Council
- St Just Old Cornwall Society
- St Just History
- Cornwall Record Office online catalogue for St Just in Penwith