Church of St. Morwenna and St. John the Baptist – Cornwall, England - Atlas Obscura
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Cornwall, England

Church of St. Morwenna and St. John the Baptist

This ancient church, rebuilt at least 3 times, is flanked at all sides by history. 

The Church of St. Morwenna and St. John the Baptist is steeped in history, the width and breadth of which is still expanding to this day.

The church has a clear Norman heritage, but scholars have concluded that a Saxon church once occupied these grounds before the current structure was built. In addition, the entire site is thought to have begun as a pagan site of worship centuries ago.

Beyond the known reconstructions, the church has undergone numerous restorations in the last 100 years, including a series of large-scale renovations during the turn of the previous century. 

The church contains a historic figurehead that belonged to the Caledonia – a ship that ran aground on nearby Sharpnose Point. Eight crew members died in the shipwreck, including the captain, and their graves now rest on the church grounds. The captain’s grave is even marked with a replica of the ship’s famous figurehead.

The noted eccentric Robert Stephen Hawker was vicar from 1834 to 1875 and is commemorated by a stained glass window.

Know Before You Go

Follow road signs to Morwenstow

  • Life and Letters of Robert Stephen Hawket, Ed. C.E.Byles 1905
  • Cornish Ballads and Other Poems, Ed. C.E.Byles, 1908
  • Ancient and Holy Wells, Quiller-Couch 1894
  • Photo, Copyright Thor Beverley and licenced for use under creative commons licence
  • The Wreck at Sharpnose Point, Jeremy Seal