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Kernow a'gas dynergh

The Cornish Guide - Cornwall / Kernow

The Cornish Guide - Cornwall / Kernow

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Penzance, or "holy headland" in the Cornish language,

is a reference to the location of the chapel of

St. Anthony that stood over a thousand years ago

on the headland to the west of what became

Penzance Harbour.


Until the 1930s this history was also reflected in the

choice of symbol for the town, the severed holy head

of St. John the Baptist. It can still be seen on the

civic regalia of the Mayor of Penzance and on several important landmarks in the town. The only remaining object from this chapel is a carved figure, now largely eroded, known as "St. Raffidy". This can be found in the churchyard of the parish church of St. Mary's, Penzance, near the original site of the chapel.


Approximately 400 prehistoric stone axes, known as Group 1 axes and made from greenstone, have been found all over Britain, which from petrological analysis appear to come from West Cornwall. Although the quarry has not been identified, it has been suggested that the Gear, a rock now submerged half a mile from the shore at Penzance, may be the site.


The earliest evidence of settlement in Penzance is from the Bronze Age. Until recently, there was little evidence for anything but an early and short Roman occupation of Cornwall. The fort at Nanstallon was occupied from AD54 to AD80.

With the recent discovery of a Roman fort at Calstock and elsewhere, the Roman occupation appears more extensive than archaeologists formerly believed.

The only evidence so far found, of the Romans in Penzance,

are three finds. In August 1899 two coins of Vespasian (69 -

79 AD) were found in an ancient trench in Penzance cemetery.



Click here to view a map of Penzance and all the local

visitor attractions.



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