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St Just is the most westerly town in Britain and home to a community that is fiercely proud of its Cornish traditions. Initially, the town greets visitors with streets of sturdy granite cottages, an elegant granite church dating from 1336 and a local landscape scattered with the relics of its mining past. However, if this sounds a little dour, don't be fooled. St Just is a bustling regional town which is proudly self-sufficient with everything that the visitor could want - right on the doorstep. A charming array of shops including two traditional and very good butchers, a baker, small supermarket and a host of fabulous little bric a brac shops and galleries just waiting to be explored. The central square boasts four pubs, all with their own individual charm and character serving good local food and Cornish ales. Two large festivals, Lafrowda Day and Feast Day attract huge numbers of locals and visitors alike to join in the street processions and festivities of these ancient pagan festivals.
Despite its small size, St Just has a thriving arts community and in the middle of the town you will discover the Plen-an-Gwary, or 'playing place'. Registered as an ancient monument, this large, circular green, surrounded by walls, has been used for centuries for public entertainment and today is the setting for productions of medieval plays many of which take place in the warm summer months.
A mile from the town is the spectacular promontory of Cape Cornwall, one of only two such capes in the United Kingdom (the definition of a cape is the point at which two oceans or seas meet and in this case the Atlantic Ocean/English Channel and the Bristol Channel) In the early 20th century, the cape was owned by Captain Francis Oates, who began his working life at age 12 in Balleswidden mine. He left Cornwall in his early twenties and emigrated to South Africa where he joined the famous De Beers mining company and eventually worked his way up to be Managing Director of the huge diamond conglomerate. He returned to west Cornwall, where he built the stunning Porthledden House which stands majestically overlooking the Cape. Formerly in the ownership of the Heinz Company, the cape is now owned by the National Trust.
During the 4th century AD, the cape was the site of one of the first Christian chapels in west Cornwall, St Helen's Oratory which is now occupied by a ruined farm building. The site has been used since the Roman times and is well worth the visit as is the fabulous views that can be seen from the top of the cape.
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