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Cornwall's Maritime Churches

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The Project

This youth engagement project offers university and sixth form students between the ages of 16-25 the opportunity to pioneer new research upon Maritime Church history in Cornwall.

In 2018, the Institute of Cornish Studies and its principal youth partner The Historical Society was awarded Young Roots funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund. This new digital humanities project would span over 18 months, from January 2019 to June 2020. With additional youth input from a range of other named local organisations notably Gorsedh Kernow, Truro College and Cornwall Heritage Trust, we are seeking to establish a secure framework for promoting an ongoing interest in Cornish heritage from younger generations. The key project objectives are below.



By exploring attitudes towards Maritime Churches in the past and the roles they played within sea-faring narratives, the origins and trajectories of contemporary ‘romanticism of Cornish heritage’ can be used to stimulate dialogue and research into Cornish Maritime Churches in the present. By allowing youth engagement with such an emerging area of social history, the young people involved will learn how to approach a professional project within the heritage sector, whilst respectfully working alongside local people to discover the history behind church buildings and their communities. It is vital that this develops as a youth project, as the digitisation of the research collected must be translated into the most accessible form of material – audio visual. By allowing young people to use their skills in film, photography, 3-D reconstruction and audio recordings, material of these churches will be, for the first time, accessible for a younger generation.

Living history

The intangible value of memories and oral histories can so easily be lost. This project seeks to record such precious historical evidence and ensure that it is passed down through the generations by being preserved in the Cornish Audio Visual Archive (CAVA) of the Institute of Cornish Studies. This is also an opportunity to link to other types of fragile evidence such as photographs. Through Memory Days, local communities are invited to deposit visual records with us in case that heritage was to be lost.

Perranporth beach, Richard Bell
Boscastle explorers, Oliver Ash

Encourage adventure

Our volunteers not only research in the archive, yet also pursue coastal activities to better explore the role of the church as a maritime landmark. We want our young volunteers to use a range of practical research methods to better ground their research in the archive. From archaeology events, floating lectures to running memory events with local communities – stories from the past are given the opportunity to come to life. What’s more, researchers use walking, sailing, kayaking, sea swimming and other coastal activities to acquaint themselves with the historic landscape, whilst capturing how they stand today on camera.