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Lightning blasts historic Sennen church

By The Cornishman  |  Posted: February 14, 2014

  • Sennen Church worship leader Jean Jefferies and church warden husband Michael inside the church before the lightning strike. Picture Phil Monkton/CIOSP.

  • Sennen Church worship leader Jean Jefferies inside the church at Christmas. She said the interior is now covered in a layer of dust. Picture Phil Monkton/CIOSP.

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WHILE most eyes have been on the sea during the county's horrendous weather, it's not only coastal landmarks that have taken a battering.

Sennen Church suffered what experts say was a massive lightning strike that went unnoticed for nearly a week.

The church – famous as the first and last in Cornwall – suffered a huge strike on its north-east pinnacle that blew a hole in the roof, sent debris including parts of the fuse box flying through the vestry and lifted a large area of earth and grass where the strike entered the ground.

Residents in Sennen Cove reported hearing a huge bang during a storm on January 26 but no one noticed the damage to the church until worshippers arrived to prepare it for a Sunday service on February 2.

Jean Jefferies, whose husband Michael is churchwarden, said: "It was a huge shock. There were electrical wires hanging from the telegraph pole outside like ribbons. Inside there's a layer of debris and the bits of the fuse box lid shattered across the vestry.

"Water has also poured down the inside of the tower from the hole in the roof."

It appears the church's lightning conductor saved it from even worse damage, channelling most of the power down the tower and into the earth.

Mrs Jefferies said: "It must have been absolutely huge. There was obviously a tremendous surge.

"The people from Western Power couldn't believe the damage.

"Thankfully it didn't do too much structural damage. We now have a leaning pinnacle which is visible from outside; it's quite noticeable."

The church has been closed until further notice while the damage is assessed and repairs are carried out, meaning some visitors – including a group of Devon bellringers – have had to be reluctantly put off, but worshippers say they are keen to reopen the church before they have to postpone any major event such as a wedding.

Services are being held in the adjacent Sennen Churchtown Hall.

Mrs Jefferies said: "It's all been very time-consuming and slightly worrying but we have a very supportive congregation and we had a lovely service on Sunday in the hall."

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  • Truro_England  |  February 14 2014, 8:58AM

    hmm.. Why does this god who created all, allow so much suffer around the world and even strikes down on his own places of worships. It has always made me laugh when those who have been brain washed into this made up fairy tale, have to attend to church on a Sunday at set times to communicate to someone who apparently can see all 24/7.

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