The dramatic black coastline makes for great walking but the most special feature within Morwenstow the northernmost Cornish village is undoubtedly the beautiful church with its unusually ‘chimneyed’ vicarage and intriguing graveyard, all of which owe much of their singularity to one man.
The eccentric, and reputedly opium-smoking, Reverend Robert Stephen Hawker (or Parson Hawker as he was known to his parishoners) lived here in the mid 1800s. Besides his normal clerical duties, he is renowned for having penned various stirring hymns and for keeping a watchful eye over ships travelling through these dangerous waters from the wooden hut he fashioned from driftwood. Hawker's Hut still perches precariously at the edge of one of the tallest cliffs in the area and is now owned by the National Trust - it is in fact their smallest property. Many a drowned sailor lies in an unmarked grave here, having been dragged up from the shore and given a Christian burial. One mass grave is depicted by the figurehead from their wrecked ship, the Caledonia.