Mermaids are not an exclusively Cornish phenomena and can be found in stories of very many cultures, as far back as the ancient civilisations of the near east. There is however a fascination with these mythical beings in the culture of the Byrthonic Celtic peoples especially in the folklore of Brittany and Cornwall. Cornwall has a number of notable mermaid stories the most famous being the Mermaid of Zennor. The famous carving on the bench of the parish church of St Senara in Zennor either celebrates or inspired a tale of love between a mermaid and a local man named Matty Trewheela. In actual fact the St Senara herself has curious parallels with mermaid legends, falsely accused of adultery by her husband she was condemned to be thrown into the sea encased in a barrel this punishment was particularly cruel as she was pregnant. As she floated from her Breton home she came close to the coast of West Cornwall and there was visited by an angel who directed her course towards Zennor, in the final part of her journey she gave birth to a son, the eventual rish holy man, St Budoc. Another famous Cornish mermaid tale is from the Lizard known as “Lutey and Mermaid” it describes how a local farmer finds and helps a beautiful stranded mermaid who grants him three wishes.

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