St. Just

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St. Just in Penwith — Cornwall, England

St. Just is a town and a civil parish in the most southwestern part of Cornwall, lying between the rugged Atlantic coast and the moors, which contain a dense concentration of well preserved archaeological sites and megalithic monuments with cliff castles, hillforts, stone circles, barrows and quoits (burial chambers).

St. JustNear the town of St. Just are the remains of Ballowall Barrow, a large chambered burial site dating from circa 3500 BC; containing remains and urns evidencing that it was an important Neolithic burial ground; with a legend of fairies dancing around the barrow in the moonlight. The prehistory settlements go back thousands of years, with the present structure of the area dating back before the Danish invasions of 418 AD. 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. It is believed that there may have been as many as four churches built on this site with the current building dating from 1334, with the remainder of the church added during the 15th century. During some renovation about 150 years ago a Greek monogram was found in the north aisle.

During the early Christian Celtic times the monastic town of "Lafrowda" was founded in close proximity to St. Just, with a mediaeval amphitheatre or 'Plen an Gwarry', Cornish for a playing place. The Plen an Gwarry, sometimes referred to as 'The Plen', is a scheduled ancient monument, one of only two surviving outdoor amphitheatres in Cornwall still in existence. The Plen is centrally located behind the Clock Tower in the town of St. Just. There was a time when there were six rows of seats cut into the banks for people to watch Cornish miracle plays. Today the amphitheater hosts an occasional Cornish "Ordinalia" mystery play while people sit in the grass to once again enjoy a play from their Celtic heritage. The Plen is also the site of the Lafrowda Festival every July, a celebration to promote education in art and culture, which in recent times has attracted numerous visitors.

In July 2006 the St. Just district gained status as part of the Cornwall and West Devon Mining Landscape World Heritage Site, in recognition of development of hard rock mining during the 19th century, in addition to the high quality of many surviving mine sites. The Cornish mining heritage can be explored by visiting Geevor mine which has been opened to visitors. St. Just's ancient and modern mining history, which left its mark on the landscape with its granite cottages, decayed engine houses and chimneys, is popular with photographers and walkers. The views of the coastline near St. Just are breathtaking; and it is only a short distance to Cape Cornwall, only a few miles from Land's End, where the Atlantic flows into the English Channel; as well as flowing up into the Bristol Channel and the Irish Sea to the North.

Where is St. Just in Penwith?

St. Just in Penwith is located in southwest England, on the following map.

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