West Cornwall's granite village
Few towns have retained their character in this century as St. Just, the first and last town in England, near Land's End, has. Sturdy granite houses surround the busy Market Square, which is discreetly overlooked by the elegant tower of the parish church. Once it was the mining centre of the peninsula and disused engine houses predominate the landscape. In the centre of the town is Plain-an-Gwarry, a theatre used for miracle plays in medieval times. The 15th century church, dedicated to St. Just, includes part of the 1336 building and a three foot high pillar, the Selus Stone, with a Roman inscription and a Greek monogram in the north aisle was found 150 years ago. St. Just's history is typical of the whole area, rich in mining, farming and fishing from remote times.
Saint Justus was a native Italian and a member of the Gregorian mission sent to England by Pope Gregory I. Justus probably arrived in England with the second group of missionaries, sent at the request of Augustine of Canterbury in 601.
Nearby is Levant mine, now run by the National Trust as a visitor attraction, and Botallack mine with its engine houses down on the cliffs. Also not far away at Pendeen, is the Gem & Jewellery workshop, another interesting stop.
The town expanded substantially during the heyday of Victorian mining when the great coastal mines of West Cornwall made St. Just's name famous and when the town's population increased rapidly. The last working tin mine was Geevor Mine which ceased production in 1990 in spite of a determined battle by the local community to save it. The great mining days of the St. Just area may be over, but the town survives today as the heart of a busy and welcoming community. Everywhere around the area there are ancient monuments, often amid the moorland, heather and gorse. Carn Kenidjack - the Hooting Carn - the cliffs of Carn Gloose, and a path to Cot Valley, as well as the lovely valley of Nanquidno. Down the narrow winding lane to the coast is Cape Cornwall.
St. Just Feast day is held on the first Sunday and Monday in November.
The author William Borlase was born nearby at Pendeen in 1696.
The town's Tourist Information Centre is at The Library, Market Street, Tel: (01736) 788769.
The Star Inn
The Wellington Hotel
Land's End (St. Just) Youth Hostel Pendeen Lighthouse Sennen Cove Botallack Mine
Ancient Sites in Cornwall Morvah Pendeen The Tinners Way