St.Dennis, which was formerly named St.Denys after a martyr,
is situated 2 miles from the A30 trunk road and is roughly mid way between
the towns of Newquay on the north coast of Cornwall and St.Austell
on the south coast.
years the village emerged from the small settlements of Hendra,
Trelavour and Whitepit with the population increasing from 478
in the 1811 census to 828 in 1841, 1235 in 1881 and 2,030 in 1911.
Carsella Farm on the edge of St.Dennis was mentioned in the Domesday
Book of 1086 as Karsalan and is described as a Manor. Trelavour
and Hendra are the names of two roads in the village today and
other names mentioned in the Domesday Book such as Domellick and
Carnegga still exist.
An important highly visible feature of the village is St.Denys
Parish Church, which stands at the top of Carne Hill on the site
of an Iron Age hill fort. The name Denys is thought to be a corruption
of the word Dinas, which is Cornish meaning Hill Fort.
In the mid 1700’s William
Cookworthy discovered China Clay in the area and by the end of
the century people such as Josiah Wedgewood were involved in
the production of China Clay and China Stone at Hendra Downs
on the edge of the village.
Over the years the China Clay and stone industry was serviced
by a railway passing through the edge of the village and a mineral
junction to the west of the village bore the village name, St.Dennis
By the mid 20th century the surrounding area was dominated by
the China Clay and China Stone industry and provided employment
for a large number of people from the village.
In the valley below the village
flows the River Fal and beyond the Fal is the flat open area
of Goss Moor. It is known that some tin streaming also took place
in the surrounding valleys as borne out in the first 1" edition
Ordnance Survey map surveyed in 1809.
By the mid 1940’s St.Dennis was one of the largest villages
in the area and included a War Memorial Club, Band Club,
Football Club and the Plaza Cinema. Sadly the Plaza was demolished
in 1964. The War Memorial Club became a Working Men's Club in the late 1950's.
In the 1960's the village had a comprehensive range of facilities
which included a Co-op store, three gents hairdressers, ladies
hairdresser, four petrol filling stations and car repair workshops,
two schools, two doctors surgeries, chemist shop, fire station,
blacksmith shop, coalyard, two pubs, cobblers shop, two fish and
chip shops, two bakeries, two chapels, post office, undertaker,
launderette and a furniture showroom.
The China Clay industry is now in decline and employment is more
diverse. Many of the shops in the village have closed but the village
remains an interesting and thriving community.
March 2009 (Updated September 2015)