This part of the world is ruled by the oceans. Its buildings and residents are at the mercy of the salty sea breeze and the weather it brings. Here, rolling sand dunes overlook rough waves. A top 100 world famous golf course is located mere minutes away from the crashing sea below. And in the very midst of it all? An ancient church with a rather peculiar history. St Enodoc’s Church is precariously placed amongst large sand dunes.
Blink, and you could miss its twisted spire peeking out from behind the hawthorn bushes…
St Enodoc’s is not well positioned in the slightest. Until the arrival of the golf course to the area, the sand dunes moved frequently. Drifting with time and the sea wind that constantly batters the region, it was a constant struggle to stop the entire church from being covered by the ever changing sand dunes.
Eventually, the church succumbed to the tonnes of sand that had spent all those years threatening to cover it. And, as a result, the church was buried under the golden sand and lost for a few generations. Today, the venue is a popular wedding location. However, guests beware: there’s no road, or even solid path leading to the quaint little church. As a result, guests are advised to ditch the heels and opt for some waterproof shoes for the walk to St Enodoc’s!
Who was Saint Enodoch?
It’s said that Saint Enodoch once lived in a cave where the church is now located, hence the difficult position of the place of worship itself. It’s thought that Edodoch (sometimes known as Wenodoc) was a woman. She was a pre-congregational saint from South Wales. (Pre-congregational denotes that she was declared a saint before the formal beatification process was ratified by the Catholic Church).
Many of the Saints to whom the churches are dedicated along this stretch of North Cornish Coastline are also Welsh. Some believe that Enodoch was a woman named Qendydd who was a hermit during the 6th-Century. Little is known about her, though her feast day is in early March, on the 7th.
A History of St Enodoc’s Church
St Enodoc’s Church is the Parish Church for the quaint village of Trebetherick on the Northern Coast of Cornwall. It’s thought by historians that there has been a church on the site since the 3rd-Century. However, the original church would have been wooden and so no remains have survived the harsh climate of the area.
That being said, Roman glass beads have been found in the surrounding, as well as Samian (from the Greek Island of Samos) coins dating back to the 3rd and 4th-Centuries. The current church dates back to the time of William the Conqueror and the Normans. Additions were made with the spire (which is crooked) in the 13th Century, and the porch in the 15th-Century.
During the early 1800s, the church was completely covered by sand. The cost of constantly shifting sand away from the church became too high and it lay abandoned for several generations. A local I met at the church informed me that during this time, a local Priest used to be lifted down into the church through the Spire on a yearly basis. This was so that he could perform the rites to keep the church sacred.
The church was fully restored in 1863. The church was not referred to as St Enodoc’s Church at this time. Instead, the surrounding villages referred to the church as ‘Sinkininney Church’, as a result of the rising sand dunes surrounding it.
Today, you can visit the church by parking in nearby Daymer Bay Car Park and walking for ten minutes along the sandy track leading to the church. Walking towards the church, you can barely see it until you’re very close by; the sandy dunes have piled up around the church and on two sides they are as high as the roof. There’s plenty of information on the history of the church to be found inside the main building’s porchway.