St Enodoc Church

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St Enodoc Church in the sand dunes

St Enodoc Church in the sand dunes

St Enodoc Church at Trebetherick is a Chapel of Ease in the parish of St Minver.

Famous for its association with the former Poet Laureate, Sir John Betjemen and for its history of disappearing into the sand dunes from time to time, it is today a Grade I listed building.

Betjemen loved this area and he mentions St Enodoc in his poem Sunday Afternoon Service at St. Enodoc.

St Enodoc is located in sand dunes near Daymer Bay and Brea Hill on the estuary of the River Camel. Sand has often encroached upon the church with banks of sand forming almost to the height of its roof but not to the extent that it was covered between 1500 and 1800 when it was often buried so that only its spire was visible. The vicar and parishioners would often have to enter the church through a hole in its roof. It was essential that at least one service was held every year or it could not have collected its tithes. The frequency with which the church became engulfed by sand, earned it the name 'Sinking Neddy'.

During the mid 19th century the church was dug out of the sand and the dunes were planted to stabilise them and prevent too much blown sand.

Today, the church is surrounded by a golf course but there is access to the church for walkers.

The founder of the church, St Enodoc, is believed to have lived a hermit's life in a cave, where the church now stands. Today's church still has fragments dating from the 12th century with additions made to it during the 13th and 15th centuries. When the sand was removed from the church during the 19th century it underwent a restoration by the famous architect/church restorer. J.P. St Aubyn.

St Enodoc Church has a nave, chancel, north transept, an aisle of 3 bays, a south porch and a tower of two stages with a spire.

Most of the interior furnishings are from St Aubyn's restoration. A 15th century rood screen base can still be seen and the font is 12th century.

The church has several interesting memorials, the oldest of which dates from 1687 and stands within the south porch, a stone to commemorate John Mably.

There are memorials to two members of the Betjemen family. In the church, on the south wall is a memorial to Ernest Edward Betjeman, the father of Sir John Betjemen and in the churchyard to Sir John Betjemen, Poet Laureate.

Fleur Lombard is also remembered here. She was the first female firefighter to die on duty during peacetime in Britain.

One of the modern memorials is to three crew members from the Maria Asumpta, which was wrecked off The Rumps in 1995.

Five memorials in the churchyard are Grade II listed.

In the vicinity of St Enodoc Church is a holy well, known as Jesus Well.

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Grid reference SW 931 772

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