Barnoon Cemetery

I have a somewhat odd fascination with churches and churchyards. I am not remotely interested in the religious aspects, but I find the architecture of the buildings, the craftsmanship that goes into the exteriors and interiors, the feeling of peace inside and the nature  and history that can be gleaned from the headstones in very old cemeteries very appealing.

I have visited the Barnoon cemetery before, but could not find one particular grave I was looking for – that of the artist Alfred Wallis (18 August 1855 – 29 August 1942) – who was a Cornish fisherman and artist in his latter years. His paintings are an excellent example of naïve art; perspective is ignored and an object’s scale is often based on its relative importance in the scene. I can’t say that I am a fan of it. Wallis sold few paintings and continued to live in poverty until he died in the Madron workhouse near Penzance. He is buried in Barnoon cemetery, overlooking St Ives Porthmeor beach and the Tate St Ives gallery. An elaborate gravestone, depicting a tiny mariner at the foot of a huge lighthouse – a popular motif in Wallis’ paintings – was made from tiles by the potter Bernard Leach and covers Wallis’ tomb. Source: Wikipedia

Last week I spent over an hour in freezing cold temperatures thoroughly searching the cemetery and finally discovered it! I also took one or two other photos of headstones that I found particularly eye-catching.

There are several Celtic crosses naturally, but several different designs.

And the view over Porthmeor beach and the island where St Nicholas’s chapel sits in isolation at the top, providing an excellent spot to look out over the beaches and town.

This has to be one of the prettiest locations for your final resting place..



  1. Su Leslie says:

    Looks like your opening paragraph could have been written about a few of us Jude, including me. I can hardly go past an old cemetery or churchyard without at least a short wander around. Your photos of Barnon are lovely, and it is a rather beautiful resting-place.

    1. Heyjude says:

      Thanks Su. I was frozen by the time I discovered the Wallis grave! A pity some of the more interesting ones aren’t indicated.

  2. pommepal says:

    Such an interesting place and soooo photogenic. Bernard Leach is one of jack’s favourite potters, I had to chuckle at the headstone of the person who “went to sleep”. What if he woke up again 😱

  3. We find cemeteries quite interesting too and often wander through one if we come across it. I love seeing the beautiful stonework on the headstones.

  4. Stunning pics Jude and thank you for getting a bit cold to share these treasures with us 🙂 Happy exploring in 2019 xx

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