International Mermaid Day

 St Senara Church
St Senara Church

Yesterday the 29th March was International Mermaid Day and I thought I would share a mermaid story for those who like folk tales from the past. “The Mermaid of Zennor” which is an old popular folk tale set in Cornwall. The author was a man named William Bottrell who wrote the tale in the year 1873.

The story is set in a small Cornish village which still exists today called Zennor and the story focuses around the village parish St Senara’s. If you ever happen to visit the parish then take a look inside at “the mermaid chair” which is a tourist attraction positioned in the corner of the parish. The chair has a carving of the mermaid which is said to have been made around 400 years ago. The parish itself has it’s own Celtic history connection on why it’s named and dedicated to St Senara, however “The Mermaid of Zennor” is a well known story within Cornwall.

The story begins with Sunday service each week where the parishioners are all in service and they sing hymns every week until one particular week they notice an unusual angelic voice is heard clearly above all the rest of parishioners. This brings all the attention to the owner of the voice, a beautiful young woman with golden flowing hair. They are all enchanted by her voice and beauty. She becomes a regular to church services however nobody knows anything about her and the mystery of where she came from. Eventually she becomes interested in a young man named Mathey Trewella who also has a distinctive singing voice. One day Mathey follows the young woman home and both never to be seen again in the parish. 

This sparked concern amongst the local parishioners who wondered where both the woman and Mathey had disappeared to. Time went on until one Sunday a ship cast an anchor near Pendour Cove. The men noticed a mermaid with golden flowing hair asking them to raise the anchor so as its flukes were resting on her door and she needed to be with her children. The sailors did as they were asked and fled as they were worried she might be a bad omen. Once they were back on land and told the villagers and parishioners. They concluded that it was the same young woman who sang beautifully in church and that Mathey had gone to live with her.

William Bottrell was a native to Cornwall being born in St Levan in 1816 and died. As a Cornish folk tale author he contributed greatly to the preservation of Cornish mythology.

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