Zennor & the Tinners Arms

The road west from St Ives is the B3306, a beautiful drive along the north coast. The farms on the left were first settled in the Bronze Age, and the pattern of fields you see today was established in the Iron Age.

After about five miles, Zennor Chruch comes into view. At one time, the tower was painted white as a day mark for shipping, and a beacon kept ready on the root to warn of danger such as a Spanish Armada.

Just below the church is the Tinners Arms, probably named in the nineteenth century when Zennor valley and the cliffs were extensively mined for tin and copper. The odd shaped house on its right was built by Hhenry Nicholls in 1838 to fit the irregular piece of land. Originally two cottages, it is called Bos Cres – like most places in Zennor parish, it has a Cornish name. The churchtown is known as Treveglos.


Tinners Arms

Archive photograph of the Tinner Arms – St Ives Archive

Both buildings are listed Grade II by English Heritage and built of granite with slate roofs. The Tinners pre-dates the house, and the present building was probably a rebuilt from about 1700. It is possible that previously it acted as a church house after the Reformation. Originally the upper floor was continuous, and this is where meetings were held. By 1839, the Tinners Arms had been enlarged with a wing at the bottom, making it L-shaped.

The door and windows are twentieth century, as are the other extensions. On entering through the low door, the room was previously divided by a counter immediately on the left. To the right was the public part with a large hearth. The left side was the private room for the family, where they did their cooking. Today both hearths still welcome visitors in the winter with flowering fires in the long, low dark room.

Zennor is an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and the story of the mermaid is a continual attraction for people to see the sixteenth century carving of her in the church on a pew end.

Article info & credits

November 8, 2016
Written by Jean Nankervis, St Ives Archive
Photography by St Ives Archive

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