Lightning blasts historic Sennen church
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.
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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."