Coordinates: 50°36′N 4°32′W / 50.6, -4.533

Altarnun (Cornish: Alternonn), (pronounced /ɔːltəˈnʌn/ (deprecated template)) is a village and civil parish in Cornwall, United Kingdom. It is located on the north-eastern edge of Bodmin Moor [1]at Ordnance Survey grid reference SX223811.

The parish of Altarnun includes the village of Fivelanes and the hamlets of Bolventor, Treween and Trewint, and had a population of 976 according to the 2001 census.[2] The area of the parish is 15,018 acres, the largest in Cornwall[3]

The moorland area of the parish is large and lies west of the village towards Rough Tor and southwards towards Dozmary Pool. There is a large conifer plantation at Wilsey Down Forest (Halvana Plantation). The village is in the valley of the Penpont Water and the parish is divided by the A30 trunk road which passes through Fivelanes which was once an important stopping place for stage coaches.

Parish Church of St NonnaEdit

St Nonna's Church, Altarnun
DenominationChurch of England
DedicationSt Nonna
DeaneryTrigg Major

Being the largest parish church on Bodmin Moor, the church of St Nonna is also known as the Cathedral of the Moor. It is a building largely of the 15th century in the Perpendicular style, with a tower 109 ft high. It is notable for the fine Norman font and the amount of old woodwork, including the screen, bench-ends and communion rails which date to 1684. The screen is one of the finest 15th century examples in Cornwall; it has three gates and the cornice of vines and tracery and vaulting are finely carved.[4] The 79 bench-end carvings were executed by Robert Daye between 1510 and 1530 (Pevsner attributes them to 1524 or later) and portray a range of subjects including a Cornish piper and fiddler (Daye's name is given on one but the date is illegible). Also, one of the damaged pew ends was repaired to its former glory by the late local master joiner Douglas Edwards in the 1980s[5]. The dedication is to Saint Non or Nonna, who was the mother of St David.[6]

Langdon (1896) records seven stone crosses in the parish, of which one is in the churchyard.

Wesleyan Methodism in AltarnunEdit

John Wesley often visited Trewint (lodging in Digory Isbell's home): this is now a museum of Wesley and Methodism. (The former Wesleyan chapel of Altarnun has the head of Wesley carved over the door by Neville Northey Burnard.)[7][8]

Language and cultureEdit

Altarnun features in the novel Jamaica Inn by Daphne du Maurier. The village was also the birthplace of sculptor Neville Northey Burnard (1818-1878). It was surveyed for the Survey of English Dialects.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Ordnance Survey: Landranger map sheet 201 Plymouth & Launceston ISBN 9780319231463
  2. ^ "Altarnun". Retrieved 2009-06-22. 
  3. ^ Kneebone, W. A. (1963) Altarnon Church
  4. ^ Mee, Arthur (1937) Cornwall. London: Hodder & Stoughton; pp. 19-20
  5. ^ Pevsner, N. (1970) Cornwall, 2nd ed. Penguin Books
  6. ^ Cornish Church Guide (1925) Truro: Blackford; p. 54
  7. ^ Pearce, John (ed.) (1964) The Wesleys in Cornwall: Extracts from the Journals of John and Charles Wesley and John Nelson. Truro: D. Bradford Barton; pp. 65-67
  8. ^ "John Wesley at Altarnun". Retrieved 2009-06-22. 

External linksEdit

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