St. Just-in-Penwith

St. Just-in-Penwith


West Cornwall's granite village


St. Just-in-Penwith Town Council


Few towns have retained their character in this century as St. Just, the first and last town in England, near Land's End, has. Sturdy granite houses surround the busy Market Square, which is discreetly overlooked by the elegant tower of the parish church. Once it was the mining centre of the peninsula and disused engine houses predominate the landscape. In the centre of the town is Plain-an-Gwarry, a amphitheatre used for miracle plays in medieval times. The 15th century church, dedicated to St. Just, includes part of the 1336 building and a three foot high pillar, the Selus Stone, with a Roman inscription and a Greek monogram in the north aisle was found 150 years ago. St. Just's history is typical of the whole area, rich in mining, farming and fishing from remote times. The village lies along the B3306 road which connects St. Ives to the A30 road and is eight miles west of Penzance along the A3071. The population of the village was 4,637 at the 2011 census.

A Churchtown founded by St. Just, son of the 5th century Cornish King Gerient, during the 'Age of the Saints' with his companion, St. Selus gives date to the beginning of the town of St. Just. The Parish church located in St. Just still houses the gravestone of St. Selus; more than 1,500 years after his death and still bears its Roman inscription.

Saint Justus was a native Italian and a member of the Gregorian mission sent to England by Pope Gregory I. Justus probably arrived in England with the second group of missionaries, sent at the request of Augustine of Canterbury in 601.

Nearby is Levant mine, now run by the National Trust as a visitor attraction, and Botallack mine with its engine houses down on the cliffs. Also not far away at Pendeen, is the Gem & Jewellery Workshop, another interesting stop.

The town expanded substantially during the heyday of Victorian mining when the great coastal mines of West Cornwall made St. Just's name famous and when the town's population increased rapidly. The last working tin mine was Geevor Mine which ceased production in 1990 in spite of a determined battle by the local community to save it. The great mining days of the St. Just area may be over, but the town survives today as the heart of a busy and welcoming community. Everywhere around the area there are ancient monuments, often amid the moorland, heather and gorse. Carn Kenidjack - the Hooting Carn - the cliffs of Carn Gloose, and a path to Cot Valley, as well as the lovely valley of Nanquidno. Down the narrow winding lane to the coast is Cape Cornwall.

St. Just also has a 'Plen an Gwarry' (Cornish for "playing place"), locally pronounced 'Plain an Gwarry'. These sites were used historically for Cornish-wrestling, open-air performance, entertainment and instruction. St. Just's Plen an Gwarry occasionally hosts productions of the Cornish Ordinalia mystery plays.

St. Just is the home of Cape Cornwall School which also serves Sennen, Sancreed, Pendeen, St. Buryan and other places in the district.

The town's Tourist Information Centre is at The Library, Market Street, TR19 7HX.

Art Galleries

Jackson Foundation Gallery

The Jane Adams Gallery

Tregeseal Gallery


Cape Cornwall Circular. Distance five miles. A walk through a tumbledown landscape of old mines and mills, as well as ancient forts, barrows and a fifth-century oratory. Starting in St. Just - a small town with a rich mining heritage and England's most westerly town - the walk joins the Coast Path at Kenidjack Castle, the site of an Iron Age fort. From here it travels on around Cape Cornwall, where the Atlantic Ocean meets the English Channel, to Porth Nanven, also known as Dinosaur Egg beach.

Notable Residents

Edward Grenfell (1870–1941), 1st Baron St. Just, raised to the peerage as Baron St. Just.

Francis Oats (1848–1918), Cornish miner who became chairman of De Beers diamond company.

Lt Col James Howard Williams (Elephant Bill) (1897-1958), soldier and elephant trainer.

The author William Borlase (1696-1772) was born nearby at Pendeen.

James Warren (1786) from St. Just was a very famous Cornish wrestler, who became champion of Cornwall.


The Lafrowda Festival - July.

St. Just Feast Day - Early November.


Cafes in St. Just


Pubs in St.Just

Land's End (St. Just) Youth Hostel       Pendeen Lighthouse       Sennen Cove       Botallack Mine

Cape Cornwall       Botallack       Ancient Sites in Cornwall       Morvah       Pendeen       The Tinners Way