Ancient Penwith village
St. Buryan Parish Council
A pleasant village dominated by St. Buryan church, located five miles east of Land's End and five miles west of Penzance on the B3283 in the manor of Boskenna. The population of the village was 1,377 at the 2011 census.
There is evidence that the present church lies within the site of an Iron Age enclosure. Christian use dates from the 5th century when a small chapel was established by Saint Buriana. She is said to have been the daughter of an Irish king who travelled to Cornwall from Ireland as a missionary to convert the Cornish to Christianity.
The first substantial church was built in the 10th century on the order of the Saxon King, Athelstan, and dismantled by Henry VIII in 1539, but the present building has evolved through substantial rebuilding and restoration in the Norman, medieval and Victorian periods. The impressive tower is a landmark, visible from far out to sea as much as from the surrounding countryside. The interior of the church has great serenity, as befits a place of Christian worship. It has many fine features including a splendid rood screen, much restored, but true to its medieval original and a glorious mosaic of intricate detail and motif. St. Buryan has the heaviest peal of Six Bells in the World. Augustus Smith was laid to rest in the churchyard in 1872.
Throughout St. Buryan parish there are stone crosses of the "Celtic Christian" design, at roadside sites and road junctions. The Saxon King Athelstan, granted a charter of extended sanctuary to St. Buryan enabling wrongdoers to remain in safety within a mile or so of the church, rather than within the normal sanctuary of the church environs only. The many ancient crosses that still survive around St. Buryan may have been sanctuary markers. Of the countless Bronze and Iron Age relics, the most famous are the stone circle of Boscawen Un (Nine Maidens) north of the village, and the Pipers standing stones and the Merry Maidens stone circle to the south-east.
John Wesley visited the parish on several occasions and the first Methodist chapel was built in 1783 on a site opposite the present chapel, on land purchased by Wesley himself during his last visit to the parish. In 1833, as Methodism became more popular, a second larger chapel was built on the site of the current one. This was subsequently re-built in 1981 after suffering storm damage.
Thomas Johns, a known smuggler and agent of smugglers, was the landlord of the Kings Arms public house, formerly on the site of Belmont House in the village square.
The first record of a school in the parish was in 1801, on a site adjacent to the church buildings. The school moved again to its present site, a new purpose built building along Rectory Road, in 1910.
Espionage novelist David John Moore Cornwell, better known as John le Carré (1931-2020), (whose books include The Spy Who Came in from the Cold and Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy) lived in St. Buryan for more than forty years.
The author Derek Tangye (1912-1996) also lived and wrote in the parish for many years, writing over twenty books, the Minack Chronicles, about life in rural Cornwall.
St. Buryan is the birthplace (in 1948) of comedian Jethro.
St. Buryan Feast Day is held on the nearest Sunday to the 13th of May each year.
St. Buryan Vintage Rally is held at the end of July each year.
St. Buryan Inn
Lamorna Cove Land's End Mousehole Penzance Porthcurno St. Just