The following description is quoted from [Hals 1750] and must be read in the context of about 1730 when it was written. The extract is taken from [Polsue 1868]. Other extracts are available online.
St. Just, near Penzance, is situated in the hundred of Penwith, and hath upon the north-east, Morva; west, St. George’s Channel and Sennan; east, Sencret; south, Buryan. For the modern name, it is taken from the tutelar guardian to whom this church is dedicated, viz., St. Just the Roman, first Bishop of Rochester, aferwards Archbishop of Canterbury.
At the time of the Norman Conquest this district passed in tax, either under the jurisdiction of Buryan or Alverton.
In the taxation of benefices made by the Bishops of Lincoln and Winchester, into the value of Cornish Benefices, 1234, ecclesia Sancti Justi in decanatu de Penwith is rated viiil; in Wolsey’s Inquisition, 1521, £11 11s. 0½d.; the patronage in the Crown; the incumbent Millett; the rectory in possession of Borlase, and the parish rated to the 4s. per pound Land Tax, 1696, by the name of St. Just, £133 7s.; which name is derived from the Latin words jus, justus, right, just, lawful, righteous, well-meaning, upright.
At Pen-dene, or Pendayn, in this parish, is the dwelling of John Borlase, Esq., Commissioner for the Peace, who married Lydia Harris, of Kenegye, and giveth the same arms as the Borlases of Borlase in St. Wenn and Newland; this gentleman’s father greatly advanced his wealth by tin adventures, and is descended from the Borlases of Sythney, as I am informed.
Bray in this parish, situated on the Irish sea coast, gave name and original to an old family of gentlemen surnamed de Bray who by the tenure of knight service, held in this place two parts of knight’s fee of land, 3 Henry IV.
I take the Lord Bray of Hampshire to be descended from this family. This place is now in the possession of that well known quaker, John Ellis, Esq.
On the south side of this parish, upon a lofty hill, stands Chapel Carne Bray, that is to say Bray’s spar-stone Chapel, and suitable to its name it is situate upon the top of the most astonishing burrow or tumulus of Carnes, or spar stones, that ever my eyes beheld; artificially laid together perhaps upon the bodies of human creatures, interred upon the mountain before the fifth century; on the top of which burrow of stones, which is about fifteen feet high from the ground, stands the chapel itself; which riseth about ten feet higher, well built with moor-stone and lime with a window in the east, and a durns, or door, on the south of the same stones; the roof all well covered or arched over with large flat moor-stones, wrought with the hammer and strongly fastened together, The chapel being about ten feet broad and about fourteen feet long, as that on Roach Rock on the outside; and around this chapel may be seen, the down falls of many spar-stone stairs and walks by which heretofore the people ascended to this chapel, and diverted themselves with a full prospect of the contiguous country by sea and land—St. George’s Channel, the British Ocean, and the Atlantic Sea towards the Scilly Islands, of which from hence in fair weather you may have a full view; which lands of Scilly seem to stand in equal height with this chapel, though the ground towards the Land’s End in St, Levan and St. Sennan, on the sea-shore towards it, are at least eighty fathoms lower, or under it, as is the sea itself, betwixt that and the Scilly Islands. Such another chapel as this, though not built upon a burrow of stones, is to be seen ou Montague Hill, in Somersetshire, and dedicated to St Michael the Archangel for half a mile ascended up the hill upon stone stairs, embowed or arched over head right artificially. Thus it appears that this tribe of Bray were heretofore men of great wealth, fame, and renown in those parts; since their name adheres not only to two local places in this parish, but divers others; as Castle Carne Bray in Illogan, Bray in Morvall, and many other places.
In this parish also was formerly St. Ewny’s chapel, now dilapidated; see Redruth and Lelant for more of this St. Ewny.
Those spar stone monuments of Carne Bray Castle and Chapel Carne Bray aforesaid, will I suppose perpetuate the name and memory of those Brays till the final consummation of all things, as aforesaid. Bray, in the Battle Abbey Roll, is recorded to have come into England with William the Conqueror; but the names of those local places and the fabrics aforesaid, it is probable they were here long before.
In this parish is a large flat stone, on which, as tradition says, Seven Saxon Kings at one time and day, dined thereon, at such time as they came into Cornwall to see the Land’s End thereof, and of Great Britain; which kings are said to have been: 1, Ethelbert, 5th King of Kent; 2, Cissa, 2nd King of the South Saxons; 3, Kingills, 6th King of the West Saxons; 4, Sebert, 3rd King of the East Saxons; 5, Ethelfred 7th King of the Northumbers; 6, Penda, 5th King of the Mercians; and 7, Sigebert, 5th King of the East Angles; who all flourished about the year 600, and were all crowned heads, as Samuel Daniell in his Chronicle tells us.
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