Home > North Cornwall > Morwenstow > Morwenstow Further Information

Morwenstow Further Information

Click here for bed and breakfast accommodation in Morwenstow

About Morwenstow

Morwenstow is a hamlet in North Cornwall and a perfect location from which to base your holiday in Cornwall. The hamlet is situated near the coast approximately six miles (10 km) north of Bude.

Morwenstow is the most northerly parish in Cornwall. As well as the churchtown, other settlements in the parish include Shop, Woodford, Gooseham, Eastcott, Wooley and West Youlstone. Morwenstow parish is bounded to the north and east by parishes in Devon, to the south by Kilkhampton parish and to the west by the Atlantic.

Morwenstow is the one-time home of the eccentric vicar and poet Robert Stephen Hawker (1803–1875), the writer of Cornwall's anthem Trelawny. Hawker is also credited with reviving the custom of Harvest Festivals.

Parish church

The Church of St Morwenna and St John the Baptist, Morwenstow is dedicated to Saints John the Baptist and Morwenna and is of the Norman period. The Vicarage was built for Hawker and has chimneys in the form of the towers of various churches associated with him.

The nearby coast is hazardous to shipping and the corpses of drowned sailors were laid out in the churchyard and then buried. Hawker buried over forty who were washed up within the parish boundaries.

One of the memorials in the churchyard was the white figurehead of the "Caledonia", a 200 ton ship from Scotland which sank on the perilous rocks of Higher Sharpnose in 1842. The captain and crew are buried in the churchyard. In 2004 the figurehead was removed for conservation, with the intention of placing a replica in the churchyard and the conserved original inside the church.


A path leads from the church and down to the cliff edge, where the National Trust's smallest building, "Hawker's Hut," is built into the face of the cliff overlooking the sea out towards the island of Lundy. Here, Hawker spent many hours in contemplation, writing poetry, and smoking his opium pipe. He also entertained guests here, including Alfred Tennyson and Charles Kingsley.[4]

The manor of Stanbury in the parish is the birthplace of John Stanberry, Bishop of Hereford, who was made first Provost at Eton College by King Henry VI. Sir William Adams the oculist was also born at Stanbury. The manor house was built in the 16th century, and is said to be haunted.

Nearby Tonacombe Manor has been described as the perfect Tudor manor; it is also alleged to be haunted.[citation needed]

A striking example of curved and contorted stratified rocks occurs at Stanbury Creek. Dark cliffs of folded, interbedded shales and mudstones form wave-cut platforms.

GCHQ Bude, a satellite ground station stands on the cliffs of Cleave and its array of dishes is visible for miles around.