The church is clearly visible from the B3279. Just follow the narrow lanes up to the church. There is plenty of room to park outside the church. Access to the church is either through the ornate metal gate or up the stone steps over the church yard wall.
Dafydd has a ‘thing’ for churches and he didn’t need any encouraging to go exploring with me although the church itself was unfortunately locked.
There is an info board at the entrance to the church although there is no mention of any prehistoric activity. The church yard is clearly circular.
This is a lovely place to visit, very quiet with only bird song to break the silence. The grave stones are slightly overgrown which I feel adds to the charm of the place. There were several very elaborate head stones which must have cost a small fortune – a wise investment?
There are decent views to be had in all directions and this was a nice place to visit.
In the Domesday book, this hill was part of the manor of Dimelihoc. Although there's been lots of confusion and argument, Ditmas (in the article below) decides that this is in fact the 'right' Dimilioc for an Arthurian location in Geoffrey of Monmouth's 12th century 'History of the Kings of Britain'.
You see, there was Duke Gorlois, and he had a wife, Igerna, and she was "the greatest beauty in all Britain". Gorlois had Uther Pendragon round for tea, but it turned out Uther totally fancied his wife, which Gorlois was rather angry about. So they found a lame excuse for a war (when really they were fighting over a woman), and Gorlois went to the castle of Dimilioc, and installed Igerna at Tintagel, "to prevent their being both at once involved in the same danger, if any should happen." The obsessed Uther felt that he would "neither have ease of mind, nor health of body" till he "obtained" Igerna. In fact, "the inward torments" would kill him if he couldn't get his end away. Yeah whatever. So Merlin disguised him as Gorlois and they went to Tintagel.. and the rest is history (or legend).
A Reappraisal of Geoffrey of Monmouth's Allusions to Cornwall
E. M. R. Ditmas
Speculum, Vol. 48, No. 3. (Jul., 1973), pp. 510-524.
In the parish of St. Dennis the church is dedicated to that saint. And when St. Dennis had his head cut off at Paris, blood, a legend says, fell on the stones of this churchyard; a similar occurrence often afterwards foretold other calamities.
From p31 in
M. A. Courtney
The Folk-Lore Journal > Vol. 5, No. 1 (1887), pp. 14-61
Saint Dennis, what with getting his head cut off, and then having the unusual ability to walk off somewhere carrying it, sounds very much a Celtic type of saint.
The wikipedia says that Denis was beheaded on the highest hill in Paris, which became known as Montmartre - the mountain of the martyr. The spot where he finished his headless wandering (whilst preaching a sermon) became the site of his shrine, and the eventual burial place of the kings of France. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Denis
As you can see from the aerial photos, this church was built inside a hillfort. It's dedicated to St Dennis, which is also the name of the village, but perhaps this is a corruption of 'Dinas', meaning fort.