Carbis Bay and Lelant Arts and Heritage
If you look beyond the modern houses and restaurants in Carbis Bay and Lelant, you can see glimpses of their old heritage. While it’s not easy to spot traces of Carbis Bay’s mining background, a stroll around the villages reveals fascinating snippets of their pre-tourism days. Here are a few of our favourite places to look out for.
St Uny church in Lelant dates back to Norman times, although most of what you see today is later medieval. St Uny was an Irish saint. He and St Erth were the brothers of St Ia, who founded St Ives, making sainthood a bit of a family business in this corner of Cornwall.
Lelant is actually named after a completely different saint, St Anta, whose name features in Carbis Bay’s church, St Anta and All Saints, a 1920s church that replaced the previous wooden hut. Explore the lovely old churchyard at St Uny (looking out for stray golf balls from the nextdoor course) before taking the path down to Porthkidney Sands.
The Huer’s Lookout
If you walk the coast path between St Ives and Carbis Bay (and we strongly recommend that you do!), you’ll notice an old white-painted building called The Baulking House. The early 19th-century building once played an important part in the local fishing industry. The “Huer” would stand up here, looking down at the sweep of the Atlantic below. When he spotted a shoal of fish, he would shout down “Hevva, hevva!” to the waiting fishing boats, who would then head for the catch.
Pause a while on one of the benches by the lookout, looking out across the sea. You can see why this was such an excellent vantage point for the fishing fleet.
There’s another curious monument to St Ives’ fishing history is Carbis Bay. Take the path beside The Cornish Arms, which takes you through lovely Steeple Woods and up to Knill’s Monument. This obelisk was built in the late 18th century by Collector of Customs, mayor and possible smuggler, John Knill, as a mausoleum for himself.
Unfortunately, Mr Knill died and was buried in London; however, the legacy he attached to the monument lives on. Every five years, ten local girls (ideally from fishing families) dressed in white dance up to the monument, while onlookers sing the 100th Psalm. This still happens to this day, every fifth St James’ Day. The chances are you’ll miss this unusual parade; however, the view from the top makes it worth the walk, any day. Call into The Cornish Arms on your way back down.
Knill’s Monument, Saint Ives, UK
St Uny’s Church
St Uny’s Church, Saint Ives, UK
The Baulking House
The Baulking House, Carbis Bay, Saint Ives, UK