Lost for generations buried beneath towering sand dunes, St Enodoc Church takes pride of place overlooking the Camel Estuary.
A hermit in the 6th Century St Enodoc moved to Cornwall from South Wales, living in a bare cave overlooking the Camel Estuary. Although it is unclear whether Enodoc was actually a man or a woman, their reputation spread and Enodoc became a pre-congregational saint. Dying around 520AD, a church was later erected in the 12th Century on the site of Enodoc’s cave. Despite being nearly lost to time in the 18th Century, the church still stands to this day and is open to visitors.
So what is special about St Enodoc Church? On the opposite side of the River Camel to Padstow, St Enodoc Church takes in spectacular views. These days the scenery can be enjoyed worry-free, but this was not always the case. Nestled among high dunes the church has had a long history battling with the elements, constantly threatened by encroaching sand. Exposed to unforgiving weather and in a vulnerable spot, the church was known as “Sinking Neddy” from the 16th Century and was eventually engulfed by sand two centuries later.
Almost lost for good, devoted locals committed to protecting the church’s tithes embarked on an annual ceremony. Determined to maintain the church’s status, the vicar and parishioners would be lowered into the church through a hole in the roof and a service performed inside. Not until 1863 was the church resurrected from the sand, lovingly and carefully repaired by architect JP St Aubyn and the community. Lost for generations, the church was once again restored and the sand dunes fortified to prevent further risk.
Nowadays, the church sits on St Enodoc golf course and is accessible on foot via a path through the course. With sweeping views of the surrounding countryside and neighbouring Daymer Bay, St Enodoc Church is popular amongst visitors and locals alike. If you are looking for some romantic inspiration, it is also a sought-after wedding venue!
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