Morwenstow, Cornwall

Welcome to the Reverend Hawker's parish of Morwenstow. A wild outpost of dramatic and beautiful scenery, high coastal cliffs, wooded valleys and traditional farms.

Try to catch the beauty of the Tidna Valley in May and June. Call at the Bush Inn, see the Church of St Morwenna and St John the Baptist, the ancient Holy Well, Hawker's Hut and the Vicarage with its unique chimneys. No visit is complete to Morwenstow without a stop for refreshment at the delightful Vicarage Tea Rooms opposite the church.


The Reverend Robert Stephen Hawker (1803 - 1875) - Hawker's Hut

The eccentric vicar and poet was much concerned with the fate of drowned mariners who were washed up at the base of these treacherous cliffs. He would make the steep and dangerous descent in order to recover the bodies and afford them a Christian burial. On a grey day when the wind whistles through the trees at Morwenstow, let your imagination catch a glimpse through the rustling trees of "Passon Hawker" passing by in his sea boots, fisherman's jersey, long coat and wide brimmed hat.

Hawker is credited with reviving the custom of Harvest Festival and writing the poem "The Song of the Western Men" which has become the Cornish national anthem,

"And shall Trelawney die? Then twenty thousand Cornishmen Shall know the reason why!"

The church is predominately Norman, with many interesting architectural features and historical accoutrements.

With the church on your right, follow the signs ut to Vicarage Cliff, turn left and walk along the coastal path for a few minutes until reaching, what is probably the National Trust's smallest building, Hawker's Hut. It is here that Hawker is said to have spent many hours in contemplation and writing poetry, some say with an imagination aided by a traditional long smoking pipe filled with various strange substances. There are great views from the hut down the coast to Cambeak, Tintagel, and Pentire, with Lundy Island visible in the distance.


The Church of St Morwenna and St John the Baptist - Holy Well
As you enter the churchyard, note the small Lych-House on the left, where the corpses of drowned sailors were laid out. The Reverend Hawker buried over forty unfortunate sailors who were drowned at sea and washed up at the bottom of Vicarage Cliff. Face the church and look to the left for the white memorial figurehead of the "Caledonia", her Captain and crew lie buried here. The "Caledonia" was a boat of some 500 tons, from Scotland, which met her fate on the perilous rocks of Higher Sharpnose in 1843.

The Vicarage - The Rectory Tea Rooms
From the car park outside the Rectory Tea Rooms, look across to the Vicarage, situated below the churchyard, and note the unusual chimney stacks. The Chimneys are modelled on the church towers where Hawker had served before coming to Morwenstow. The old kitchen chimney is a replica of Hawker's Mother's tomb. Note, the Vicarage is now a private residence, if you take the path around the back of the churchyard, you will come to a point just before the private vicarage garden where you will be able to see the ancient small, hut shaped building of St John's Well.

Do pop into the Rectory Tea Rooms for traditional rural refreshment. Try the delicious bread with Cornish cheeses followed by a Honey Nut Sundae ice cream and a pot of tea to your liking

Cleeve Camp - Nr Morwenstow
Dominating the skyline for miles around are the massive white satellite dishes of the Composite Signals Organisation built at Cleeve Camp in 1969.