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Cornwall's Maritime Churches

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The case studies are part of an endangered and re-emerging subject area. This research forms part of a wider field of multi and interdisciplinary work examining and challenging issues of overlooked and neglected churches across Cornwall and the romanticising of Cornish authentic history.

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.

Despite church narratives being promoted in guidebooks and travel literature, their unique maritime connections seem lost.

Why do we need this project?

Never before has maritime history been explored from the church. We redefine and celebrate these two fields of history together, starting in Cornwall.

Cornwall’s Maritime Churches Project is a community engagement project exploring the physical seafaring history of Cornish churches across multiple locations.

18th-century pirates on shore

Cornish pirates exploited both their knowledge of the Cornish coast as well as its sheltered creeks and hidden anchorages. For many fishing villages, loot and contraband provided by pirates supported a strong and secretive underground economy in Cornwall.

So much of Cornwall’s literary image is derived from tales of seafaring pirates and smugglers who thrived in and around Cornwall, from the early modern period through to the nineteenth century.

Yet there are more stories to tell…

Online Learning Resources

It is easy to feel overwhelmed with the sheer breadth of information out there. Use our online learning resources to help you contribute to our project’s research into maritime church history.

Research guidance

Remember to draw from a wide range of different resources. From using traditional sources such as books and journal articles, you may want to ‘push the boat out’ and use news archives, government reports, statistical and audiovisual material, such as oral history recorded memories.

Read this PDF to help your research >

Electronic databases

Online databases contain detailed records of both primary and secondary sources. From newspapers, collection catalogues to journal articles and book references, use can search these records from the comfort of your armchair at home.

Popular databases >

Research help

Perhaps you need help with actually ‘reading’ a church building. Why not use this online exhibit created by The Churches Conservation Trust on their Google Arts and Culture page to help you?

You can access more on their partner page here >

Archival access

The Charles Woolf Slide Archive features 13,500 glorious colour images of Cornwall 1953-1982.

Select this image to look through an online exhibition of Woolf’s photographs of Maritime Churches produced by Falmouth University and University of Exeter Penryn Campus Archives.

Need more help? Email the archives >

Archives & Special Collections >

Writing help

Are you writing for our project? Need guidance for your blog article, church overview or perhaps even your film?

Select the thumbnails below to find a series of documents designed to help you in the right direction.

Still confused? Email the project >