St, Erth

St. Erth


Old village which was once an important river crossing point


St. Erth Parish Council


The village of St. Erth is four miles south-east of St. Ives and six miles north-east of Penzance. The population of the village was 1,374 at the 2011 census.

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 branch line between St. Ives and Penzance.

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 the 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, the investors charged a toll to use the causeway to recover their costs.

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. The operation closed in 1997 with the loss of thirty drivers jobs.

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 in 1856.

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. However, the main use of the sand in this location was for the metal foundries throughout Cornwall and beyond.

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. 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.

Two RAF Spifires collided over St. Erth on the 24th March 1942 killing both pilots.

On the 8th August 2016 a "significant fire" broke out at a recycling centre at St. Erth and continued to blaze throughout the night. A large diesel and oil tank was caught up in the fire and the large plume of smoke could be seen for miles. The main railway line was closed as was the A30 road. The fire burnt for three days and the whole site was completely destroyed.

On the 11th September 2018 work started on a new park and ride scheme at St. Erth railway station to provide a better rail service to St. Ives.


St. Erth feast day

Notable Residents

The Rev. William Paynter, (1637–1716) Anglican clergyman and Vice-Chancellor of Oxford University was born at Trelissick Walbert, in the parish of St. Erth.

David Charleston (1848–1934) Cornish-born Australian politician, emigrated to Australia in 1884 and in 1901 he was elected to the Australian Senate.

Major Herbert Augustine Carter VC (1874–1916) son of the vicar of St. Erth. Served in two campaigns in East Africa. He is buried at St. Erth in a plot planted with tropical plants including laurels and castor oil plants. His Victoria Cross is displayed at the Duke of Cornwall's Light Infantry Museum at Bodmin.

Admiral Sir Henry Bernard Hughes Rawlings GBE KCB (1889–1962) Royal Navy officer, became Flag Officer, Eastern Mediterranean during World War II.

Sir John William Frederic Nott KCB (born 1932) former British Conservative Party MP for St. Ives from 1966 to 1983, Secretary of State for Defence during the Falklands war, now lives on his farm in St. Erth.

Davies Gilbert PRS (born Davies Giddy, 1767–1839) A Cornish engineer, author, and politician.


Cafes in St Erth


Pubs in St. Erth

Hayle       Marazion       Penzance       St. Ives