“I doubt if anyone could find a warmer spot in England during the winter than this little St Loy Cove . . . it is a regular suntrap where even in the severest winter the warm sea water keepsJack Frost at bay.” Folliott-Stokes, 1928.
The boulderous bay between Merthen Point and Boscawen Point, is known as St Loy Cove on one side and Paynter’s Cove on the other. Not far from the villages of St Buryan, Lamorna and Penberth it is unusual geologically and fascinating historically.
The secluded wooded valley leading to St Loy, is reputed to have the warmest winters in Britain and is said to be the place where the signs of spring arrive first! And as such the area, along with the Isles of Scilly, produced early flowers and vegetables for sale in the cities.
“It is truly a romantic valley and affords a striking contrast to other portions of the coast . . . the trees extend to the verge of the cliff, a strange combination of luxuriant foliage with wild and savage rocks against which the waves are ever beating.”Blight, 1861.
The cove is also bursting with history, mystery and misadventure, like every inch of Cornwall’s coast it has a tale or three to tell!
Saint Loy’s Chapel
The saint from which the cove gets its name was actually a French man called Saint Eloy or Saint Eligius. Mentioned by Chaucer in the Canterbury Tales Eloy was the patron saint of goldsmiths, blacksmiths, farriers and horses. After his death he was also made the patron saint of the poor and poorhouses. It isn’t clear which facet of the saint’s miraculous reputation the Cornish were venerating but they built a chapel in his honour and the cove became known as St Loy.
The chapel once stood above the beach and was sketched by Blight in the 1850s before it was destroyed.
Source: The Cornish Bird
Original publication 16 May, 2020
Posted on NatCorn 31st May 2020
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