St Erth

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St Erth
St Erth is located in Cornwall
St Erth
St Erth
Location within Cornwall
Population1,381 (2011 census including Canon's Town and Godsithney)
OS grid referenceSW553349
Unitary authority
Ceremonial county
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Post townHAYLE
Postcode districtTR27
Dialling code01736
PoliceDevon and Cornwall
AmbulanceSouth Western
UK Parliament
List of places
50°09′58″N 5°26′13″W / 50.166°N 5.437°W / 50.166; -5.437Coordinates: 50°09′58″N 5°26′13″W / 50.166°N 5.437°W / 50.166; -5.437
River Hayle near St Erth (church tower in distance)

St Erth (Cornish: Lannudhno)[1] is a civil parish and village in Cornwall, England, United Kingdom.

The village is four miles (6.5 km) southeast of St Ives and six miles (10 km) northeast of Penzance.[2]

St Erth takes its name from Saint Erc, one of the many Irish saints who brought Christianity to Cornwall during the Dark Ages, and is at the old crossing point of the River Hayle. The Cornish name of the place derives from St Uthinoch of whom little is known.

The parish shares boundaries with Ludgvan in the west, Hayle in the north, and St Hilary in the south.

The current church of St Erth dates from the 15th century, though an older church is said to have once stood on St Erth Hill overlooking the village. St. Erth also has a railway station situated 0.75 miles from the village, along the main line between London Paddington and Penzance, also the Junction for famous scenic St Ives branch line also becoming the new park and ride station for St Ives in June 2019.


The old coaching road once led through the village, before the building of the Causeway in 1825 along the edge of the Hayle Estuary. Prior to 1825 anyone wanting to go from Hayle to St Ives or Penzance had to cross the sands of Hayle Estuary or make a significant detour crossing the River Hayle at the ancient St Erth Bridge. The Star Inn, in St Erth village centre, is a fine coaching inn dating from the fourteenth/fifteenth centuries. It was along this route that tin was carried upcountry from the stannaries of Penwith. Guides took travellers across the sands, but, even with guides, it was sometimes a perilous journey and the shifting sand and racing tide claimed several lives. Because of this major obstacle to trade, a turnpike trust was formed, with Henry Harvey a trustee, to build the causeway which now takes the road below the plantation west to the Old Quay House. Costing £5000 in 1825, the investors charged a toll to use the causeway to recover their costs.

Langdon (1896) recorded that six stone crosses existed in the parish, including two in the churchyard.[3]

St Erth was the site of a large creamery operated by United Dairies: this was responsible for processing a large quantity of milk produced in Penwith.

Manor houses[edit]

Trewinnard Manor is an early 18th-century house built on a different site from its medieval predecessor by the Hawkins family. Trelissick Manor is a medieval house remodelled in 1688 for the Jacobite James Paynter, again remodelled in the 18th century and extended in the 19th century. Tredrea Manor is a 17th-century house but it was largely rebuilt c. 1856. The front is of five bays built in ashlar.[4]

St Erth Sand Pits[edit]

St Erth Sand Pits was the site of choice for the extraction of clay for the fixing of candles to the helmets of miners. It also was the site of significant fossil finds and in 1962 was designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI).[5] However, the main use of the sand in this location was for the metal foundries throughout Cornwall and beyond. The sand grains are found coated with a thin film of clay. With gentle pressure and the correct percentage of water the sand grains will bind together and can be used for making a sand mould into which molten metals can be poured from making engineering castings. A good source of clay for the fixing of candles to the helmets of miners was St Agnes Beacon.

Parish Church[edit]

The cross in the churchtown

The parish church is dedicated to St Erc (Latin Ercus) and is probably of the 14th century. It is not a large church and has a west tower of three stages. There are north and south aisles, the arcade in the north aisle having piers of two different types. The church was restored in 1874, at which time two dormer windows were inserted in the roof. The wagon roof of the south porch is old and the font is Norman and of an unusual square design.[6] The ornate wooden roofs of the nave and aisles and fine oak screen decorated with the Four Evangelists are due to the restoration of 1874.[7][8]

The church is sited in a wooded area and the churchyard, according to Charles Henderson, "greatly enhances the building". The names of eight places in the parish are recorded as having chapels or shrines in the medieval registers, including Bosworgey (St Mary Magdalene) and Gurlyn.[9]

There are six Cornish crosses in the parish: two are in the churchyard and the others are in the churchtown and at Battery Mill, Tregenhorne and Trevean.[10]

Local government[edit]

For the purposes of local government St Erth forms a civil parish and elects eleven parish councillors every four years to St Erth Parish Council. The local authority is Cornwall Council.


St Erth is twinned with Ploulec'h in Brittany, France.[citation needed]

Notable people[edit]

Further reading[edit]

  • Tyrrell, Stephen (2012) Trewinnard: a Cornish History. Pasticcio[13]


  1. ^ Place-names in the Standard Written Form (SWF)[dead link] : List of place-names agreed by the MAGA Signage Panel.[dead link] Cornish Language Partnership.
  2. ^ Ordnance Survey: Landranger map sheet 203 Land's End ISBN 978-0-319-23148-7
  3. ^ Langdon, A. G. (1896) Old Cornish Crosses. Truro: Pollard
  4. ^ Beacham, Peter & Pevsner, Nikolaus (2014). Cornwall. New Haven: Yale University Press. ISBN 978-0-300-12668-6; p. 538
  5. ^ "St Erth Sand Pits" (PDF). Natural England. 1986. Retrieved 28 October 2011.
  6. ^ Pevsner, N. (1970) Cornwall; 2nd ed. revised by Enid Radcliffe. Penguin; p. 169
  7. ^ "St Erth". Oliver's Cornwall. Retrieved 3 May 2010.
  8. ^ Mee, Arthur (1937) Cornwall. London: Hodder & Stoughton; p. 213
  9. ^ Cornish Church Guide (1925) Truro: Blackford; pp. 92-93
  10. ^ Langdon, A. G. (1896) Old Cornish Crosses. Truro: Joseph Pollard
  11. ^ Mee, Arthur (1937) Cornwall. London: Hodder & Stoughton; p. 213
  12. ^ Mee (1937); p. 250
  13. ^ Trewinnard: a Cornish History

External links[edit]