Home
  By Author [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Title [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Language
all Classics books content using ISYS

Download this book: [ ASCII | HTML | PDF ]

Look for this book on Amazon


We have new books nearly every day.
If you would like a news letter once a week or once a month
fill out this form and we will give you a summary of the books for that week or month by email.

Title: The Cornish Riviera
Author: Heath, Sidney, 1872-
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "The Cornish Riviera" ***

This book is indexed by ISYS Web Indexing system to allow the reader find any word or number within the document.



produced from images generously made available by The
Internet Archive/American Libraries.)



THE CORNISH RIVIERA

Described by SIDNEY HEATH

Pictured by E. W. HASLEHUST

[Illustration]

BLACKIE AND SON LIMITED

LONDON GLASGOW AND BOMBAY

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: ENTRANCE TO FOWEY HARBOUR]

       *       *       *       *       *

BEAUTIFUL ENGLAND

_VOLUMES READY_


BATH AND WELLS
BOURNEMOUTH AND CHRISTCHURCH
CAMBRIDGE
CANTERBURY
CHESTER AND THE DEE
THE CORNISH RIVIERA
DARTMOOR
DICKENS-LAND
THE DUKERIES
THE ENGLISH LAKES
EXETER
FOLKESTONE AND DOVER
HAMPTON COURT
HASTINGS AND NEIGHBOURHOOD
HEREFORD AND THE WYE
THE ISLE OF WIGHT
THE NEW FOREST
NORWICH AND THE BROADS
OXFORD
THE PEAK DISTRICT
RIPON AND HARROGATE
SCARBOROUGH
SHAKESPEARE-LAND
SWANAGE AND NEIGHBOURHOOD
THE THAMES
WARWICK AND LEAMINGTON
THE HEART OF WESSEX
WINCHESTER
WINDSOR CASTLE
YORK


BEAUTIFUL IRELAND

LEINSTER
ULSTER
MUNSTER
CONNAUGHT


BEAUTIFUL SWITZERLAND

LUCERNE
VILLARS AND CHAMPERY
CHAMONIX
LAUSANNE AND ITS ENVIRONS

       *       *       *       *       *



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS

                                         Page
Entrance to Fowey Harbour      _Frontispiece_

Truro Cathedral from the River              8

Polruan                                    14

The Harbour, Fowey                         20

View of Falmouth Harbour                   26

St. Michael's Mount                        32

On the Lerryn River                        38

Penzance from Newlyn Harbour               42

In the Harbour, Newlyn                     46

Land's End                                 50

In St. Ives Harbour                        54

The Cliffs, Newquay                        58



[Illustration]


THE CORNISH RIVIERA



PLYMOUTH TO LAND'S END

     "By Tre, Pol, and Pen,
     You may know the Cornishmen."


The majority of our English counties possess some special feature, some
particular attraction which acts as a lodestone for tourists, in the
form of a stately cathedral, striking physical beauty, or a wealth of
historical or literary associations. There are large districts of rural
England that would have remained practically unknown to the multitude
had it not been for their possession of some superb architectural
creation, or for the fame bestowed upon the district by the makers of
literature and art. The Bard of Avon was perhaps the unconscious pioneer
in the way of providing his native town and county with a valuable asset
of this kind. The novels of Scott drew thousands of his readers to the
North Country, and those of R. D. Blackmore did the same for the scenes
so graphically depicted in _Lorna Doone_; while Thomas Hardy is probably
responsible for half the number of tourists who visit Dorset.

Cornwall, on the contrary, is unique, in that, despite its wealth of
Celtic saints, crosses, and holy wells, it does not possess any
overwhelming attractions in the way of physical beauty (the coast line
excepted), literary associations, beautiful and fashionable spas, or
mediæval cathedrals.

History, legends, folklore, and traditions it has in abundance, while
probably no portion of south-west England is so rich in memorials of the
Celtic era. At the same time one can quite understand how it was that,
until comparatively recent years, the Duchy land was visited by few
tourists, as we count them to-day; and why the natives should think and
speak of England as a distant, and indeed a foreign, country. Certain is
it that less than a quarter of a century ago those who crossed the Tamar
and journeyed westward into the sparsely populated Cornish towns and
villages, were hailed as "visitors from England".

Bounded on the north and south by the sea, cut off on the east by the
Tamar, the delectable Duchy was a singularly isolated strip of land
until the magic connecting link was forged by Brunel. Indeed it is not
too much to say that Cornwall owes its present favourable position as a
health resort almost entirely to the genius of Brunel and the enterprise
of the Great Western Railway.

The lateness of the railway development of Cornwall is somewhat
remarkable when we remember that the county contained, in the
picturesque Bodmin and Wadebridge Railway, the third line opened for
passenger traffic in the kingdom. A quarter of a century later Plymouth
was connected with the outer world, but for long after the historic
ports and towns of the southern seaboard had been gradually linked up,
the splendid isolation of the northern coast remained until
comparatively recent years. It is but a short time ago that the only way
of reaching Newquay was by means of a single mineral line that ran from
Par Junction. Contrast this with the present day, when there is a choice
of no less than five trains by which passengers can travel from
Paddington to Newquay, to say nothing of the morning coach which meets
the South Western train from Waterloo at Wadebridge. The famous Cornish
Riviera expresses, that do the journey from Paddington to Penzance in a
few hours, have become a familiar feature to those who live in the
western counties, and few seaside resorts, situated three hundred miles
from London, are so favoured by railway enterprise as the beauty spots
of Cornwall.

This is essentially a county that is best toured by railway. The places
and towns most worth visiting lie far apart, and are divided by a good
deal of pleasant but not very interesting country, and one can obtain a
more than sufficient amount of walking along the vast stretch of
seaboard.

The line from Plymouth to Truro crosses the fine estuary of the Tamar
upon the Albert Bridge, one of Brunel's triumphs, and runs along the
northern bank of the river Lynher. Almost at the head of the river is
St. Germans, where, for those who can spare the time, a stay of a few
hours may be profitably made. According to tradition it derives its name
from St. Germanus, Bishop of Auxerre, who visited Britain in 429, and
again in 447. From 850 to 1049 the town was the seat of the bishopric of
Cornwall, which was afterwards incorporated in the see of Devon. The
church is a good one with an ancient porch highly enriched with carvings
and traceries. The greater part of the present building dates from 1261,
and it occupies the site of the ancient Cornish cathedral.

[Illustration: TRURO CATHEDRAL FROM THE RIVER]

The fine ancestral home of Port Eliot, the residence of Lord St.
Germans, was formerly called Porth Prior, from an Anglo-Saxon religious
house granted to Richard Eliot in 1565, but of this original building no
trace whatever remains above the ground. Within the house are some good
portraits of the Eliots, including a large number by Sir Joshua
Reynolds.

From St. Germans our journey lies through pleasant vales and wooded
hills to Liskeard, a quiet little market town situated partly on the
slope of a steep hill, and partly in a valley traversed by the Looe and
Liskeard Canal. The district abounds in mysterious piles of rock such as
the Trethevy Stone, and the Hurlers; while the student of folklore will
not fail to be attracted by the sacred wells of St. Keyne and St. Cleer.
The latter was used formerly as a Bowssening Pool, and held in great
repute for its efficacy in restoring the insane to "mens sana in corpore
sano". Not far away is the interesting church of St. Neots', with a
quantity of very fine mediæval glass.

The site of the old castle of Liskeard is preserved to some extent in a
tree-planted public walk, while in the ancient Grammar School, "Peter
Pindar" (Dr. Wolcot) and the learned Dean Prideaux received their
education. St. Martin's Church has a set of curious gargoyles, while
portions of a nunnery, dedicated to St. Clare, are said to have been
built into the walls of one of the houses. In 1644, during the Civil
War, Charles I was here, and again in the following year.

From Liskeard, Looe may be reached either by rail, road, or canal. The
road passes St. Keyne, where the waters of the well are said to possess
a remarkable property, according to Thomas Fuller, who says, "whether
husband or wife came first to drink thereof, they get the mastery
thereby". The well has been immortalized in Southey's well-known ballad,
_The Well of St. Keyne_.


     "A well there is in the west countrie,
       And a clearer one never was seen,
     There is not a wife in the west countrie
       But has heard of the well of St. Keyne."


The ballad goes on to relate that a traveller, sitting beside the well,
met a countryman, with whom he had a long chat about its tradition:


     "'You drank of the water, I warrant, betimes,'
       He to the countryman said;
     But the countryman smiled as the stranger spoke,
       And sheepishly shook his head.

     "'I hastened as soon as the wedding was o'er,
       And left my good wife in the porch;
     But faith! she had been quicker than I,
       For she took a bottle to church!'"


St. Keyne or St. Keyna, the tutelary saint of this well, is said to have
been a pious virgin, the daughter of Braganus, Prince of Brecknockshire,
who lived about the year 490. She is also said to have made a pilgrimage
to St. Michael's Mount, and to have founded a religious establishment
there.

Two miles in a southerly direction is Duloe, where some upright stones
have been conjectured to be portions of a druidical circle some
twenty-eight feet in diameter. A little to the west of the twin villages
of East and West Looe is Trelawne, an ancient seat of the Trelawny
family; but the house is not shown to visitors, although a request to
view the fine collection of pictures, which includes a portrait by
Kneller, is generally granted. Kneller's portrait is of the famous
bishop, Sir Jonathan Trelawny, whose counterfeit presentment recalls the
stirring times when every Cornish village echoed with the defiant
strain:


     "And shall Trelawny die? and shall Trelawny die?
     There's thirty thousand underground shall know the reason why.
     And shall they scorn Tre, Pol, and Pen? and shall Trelawny die?
     There's thirty thousand Cornish boys will know the reason why.
     Trelawny he's in keep, and hold; Trelawny he may die,
     But thirty thousand Cornish men will know the reason why?"


The villages of East and West Looe are among the most picturesque on the
southern seaboard. The estuary on the sides of which they are situated,
is confined between lofty hills whose slopes are covered with allotment
gardens and orchards. The bridge that crosses the creek a quarter of a
mile from the haven mouth, was erected in 1855, when it displaced a
remarkable old bridge of fifteen arches. In the days of the third Edward
the combined Looes furnished twenty ships and a contingent of 315 men
for the siege of Calais.

Some delightful boating excursions may be made from Looe, the one most
in favour being that to Watergate up the West Looe river, which unites
with the main stream half a mile above the town. The stream winds among
lofty hills, covered with rich and abundant verdure.

The ancient Guildhall of West Looe, said to have been built originally
as a monastic chapel, is a picturesque old building, the framework of
which is composed of ships' beams. The cage for scolds has disappeared,
but the stocks, of a very barbarous kind, have been placed across an
open gable. The building was re-consecrated in 1852, since when services
have been regularly held within it.

The eleven miles that separate Fowey from Looe should be traversed on
foot by way of Talland, Polperro, and Polruan. Talland Church is
delightfully placed, while its tower is connected with the main building
by means of a porch. The bench ends within are very interesting,
particularly a set with finials in the form of winged figures
administering the Eucharist. These pew ends are quite unlike any others
in the country, and they are somewhat of an ecclesiastical puzzle. From
Talland a rocky coast walk of less than two miles leads to Polperro,
with the narrowest of all the narrow little ravines that offer shelter
to the mariner on this exposed portion of the coast. The antiquary
Leland describes it as "a little fischar towne with a peere". It is an
extraordinary jumble of habitations which press upon each other so
closely that it is only by wriggling through the narrow streets and
turnings that one can make any progress at all.

There is no coast track west of Polperro and both the roads to Fowey are
very hilly. The pedestrian should proceed by way of Lansallos, where the
church in the Perpendicular style forms a conspicuous sea-mark. From
Polruan the descent to Fowey is very steep, but the view of the harbour
from the high land is one of great charm.

As we look at the little stranded and sunlit port to-day, it is
difficult to realize that Fowey once shared with Plymouth and Dartmouth
the maritime honours of the south-west coast. In those days Looe,
Penryn, and Truro were regarded as creeks under Fowey. The harbour,
which is navigable as far as Lostwithiel, a distance of eight miles, is
formed mainly by the estuary of the river Fowey, the town stretching
along the western bank of the harbour for a mile.

Seen for the first time Fowey is a revelation. Much known and rather too
much visited, it is yet one of Cornwall's most picturesque and
interesting towns. Nature and art have combined to make it so; the art
of the old village builder, not the so-called art of to-day. A modern
element exists, but it is of small proportions. May it always remain so.

Standing on the heights one looks down upon the river below. On either
side is a jumble of ancient houses with leaning and weather-stained
walls. It is doubtful if we ought to admire such ill-ventilated and
out-of-date dwelling houses, in this essentially scientific age. But the
general effect of line, of light and shade produced by a mass of broken
and highly unconventional contours--gables where there should be
chimneys, and chimneys where one is accustomed to look for doorposts--is
highly satisfactory and pleasing from the artist's point of view.

Steep hills and zigzag roads, at every alarming angle of declivity,
intercept the labyrinth of houses, which stand on each other's heads, or
peep over each other's shoulders, and settle down on the ledges of the
river bank.

[Illustration: POLRUAN]

As the principal Cornish seaport, the town sent Edward III no less than
forty-seven ships and 770 mariners for the Calais expedition--a quota
exceeded only by the eastern port of Yarmouth. Leland tells us that the
place rose rapidly into importance "partely by feates of warre, partely
by pyracie; and so waxing riche felle all to marchaundize, so that the
towne was hauntid with shippes of diverse nations, and their shippes
went to all nations". When the Cinque Ports of Rye and Winchelsea
threatened to oust Fowey from its position as the premier Channel port,
the Cornishmen defeated the mariners of Kent in a desperate sea fight,
when they quartered the arms of the Cinque Ports on their own scutcheon,
and assumed the title of "Fowey Gallaunts". They then made war on their
own account against the French, and became little better than pirates
ready to attack the ships of their own and every country, in port or on
the high seas. They became such a thorn in the side of the king, Edward
IV, by reason of their continuing to capture French ships after peace
had been concluded, that the angry monarch caused them to be enticed to
Lostwithiel, where their ringleaders were taken and hanged. From this
period Fowey's maritime position began to decline. The inhabitants were
compelled to pay a heavy fine, and the whole of their shipping was
handed over to the port of Dartmouth.

Carew tells us that sixty ships belonged to Fowey at that period. The
twin forts of Fowey were erected in the reign of Edward IV to protect
the roadstead from the ravages of the French. Standing something like
those below Dartmouth, on each side of the water, a thick boom or chain
stretched across the mouth of the river would be sufficient protection
against vessels propelled by sails. The last gallant action performed
by these forts was in 1666, when they were assisted by the then almost
new fort of St. Catherine. A Dutch fleet of eighty sail of the line was
off the town in the hope of capturing an English fleet bound for
Virginia, which had put into Fowey for shelter. A Dutch frigate of 74
guns attempted to force the entrance, but after being under the
crossfire of the forts for two hours, was forced to tack about and
regain the open sea.

Sir A. T. Quiller-Couch writes thus of Fowey in _Troy Town_. "The
visitor," says he, "if he be of my mind, will find a charm in Fowey over
and above its natural beauty, and what I may call its holiday
conveniences, for the yachtsman, for the sea-fisherman, or for one
content to idle in peaceful waters. It has a history, and carries the
marks of it. It has also a flourishing trade and a life of its own."

The church of St. Fimbarrus, almost hidden from view except from the
harbour side, is mainly of fifteenth-century date, although portions may
well be a century earlier. The roof of the tall tower is richly
decorated, and the north aisle is undoubtedly the remnant of a much
earlier edifice. There are two good brasses and some interesting
monuments, also a memorial to Sir John Treffry, who captured the French
standard at the battle of Poictiers.

The most important piece of domestic architecture in the neighbourhood
is Place House, the seat of the Treffry family. This is a fine Tudor
mansion, that is said to occupy the site of a royal palace, reputed to
have been the residence of the Earls of Cornwall. Leland records that on
one occasion, when the French attempted to take the town, "the wife of
Thomas Treffry with her servants, repelled their enemies out of the
house, in her husband's absence; whereupon he builded a right faire and
strong embattled tower in his house, and embattled it to the walls of
his house". The ancient church also is worth a visit, and among its many
memorials is an elaborate monument to one of the Rashleigh family,
another of the old Cornish families, whose history seems to be as
ancient as the legends of the county. The inscription on the tomb
reads:--


     "JOHN RAISHELEIGHE LYVED YEARES THREESCORE THREE
     AND THEN DID YEILDE TO DYE,
     HE DID BEQVEATHE HIS SOVLE TO GOD
     HIS CORPS HEREIN TO LYE.

     "THE DEVONSHEIRE HOWSE Y^t RAISHELEIGHE HEIGHT
     WELL SHEWETH FROM WHENCE HE CAME;
     HIS VIRTVOVS LIEF IN FOYE TOWNN
     DESERVETH ENDLESS FAME.

     "LANION HE DID TAKE TO WIFE, BY HER HAD CHILDREN STORE,
     YET AT HIS DEATHE BOT DAVGHTERS SIXE, ONE SONNE HE HAD NOE MORE.
     ALL THEM TO PORTRAHE VNDER HERE, BECAVSE FITTE SPACE WAS NONE,
     THE SONNE, WHOSE ONLI ECHARGE THIS WAS, IS THEREFORE SETT ALONE."


For the yachting man Fowey is very attractive, although during the
season the small harbour is rather too crowded with craft. The entrance
presents difficulties to the unexperienced amateur, but once inside the
headlands there is usually no difficulty in securing a safe and
convenient berth.

The favourite anchorage is off Polruan, but there is deep water for a
considerable distance beyond that straggling village.

The river excursions from Fowey are full of charm, but so much depends
on the state of the tide. The short trip by boat to Golant, a distance
of two miles, should not be missed. The village occupies a cleft on the
hillside, where the gardens and orchards reach down to the water's edge.
Luxulyan, with its deep sylvan valley and large perched blocks of stone,
is another favourite spot for excursions.

At the head of the river stands Lostwithiel, with a church whose tower
the late Mr. G. Street, R.A., was wont to designate "the pre-eminent
glory of Cornwall". Near the church are the ruins of Restormel Castle,
while the Fowey and the little river Lerryn are good fishing streams
where plenty of salmon and trout fishing may be enjoyed.

For the pedestrian there is a large choice of walks within a moderate
distance, to Par Harbour, St. Blazey, and St. Austell, the last with a
fine church, on the walls of which is a well sculptured representation
of the Veronica. The shore rambles are equally numerous and attractive.

Cornwall may be said to possess three capitals. Launceston the historic
capital, Bodmin the town of Assize, and Truro the ecclesiastical and
commercial centre. To reach the last named for the purposes of our
present journey, the visitor cannot do better than take train at Par
Junction. Truro itself cannot be said to possess much in the way of
civic beauty or historical interest, although it is an excellent centre
for touring purposes. Moreover it has, pending the completion of the
fine structure in the course of erection on the banks of the Mersey, the
honour of possessing the only Protestant Cathedral erected in this
country since the Reformation. The name "Truro" is thought to be derived
either from _Tru-ru_, the three streets, or _Tre-rhiw_, the village on
the slope (of the river). There is a general impression that Truro is on
the river Fal, but the truth is that the triangular piece of land on
which the city stands, is washed on the east by the river Allen, and on
the west by the Kenwyn. Between these two streams lies modern Truro,
with its stately cathedral rising high above the houses that surround
it. Truro's most eminent son, Samuel Foote, was born in 1720 at the town
house of his father's family, the Footes of Lambesso. The house, now the
Red Lion Hotel in Boscawen Street, has retained a good many of its
original features, including a very fine oak staircase. Foote is
generally considered to be the greatest of the dramatic authors of his
class, while in power of mimicry and broad humour he had few equals. In
late life he lost his leg through an accident in riding, a circumstance
that led to his producing a play, _The Lame Lover_, in which his loss of
a limb might be made a positive advantage. In all, his plays and
dramatic pieces number about twenty, and he boasted at the close of his
life that he had enriched the English stage with sixteen quite new
characters.

Truro was also the birthplace of the brothers Richard and John Lander,
the explorers; Bode, a painter of some merit; and Richard Polwhele, the
historian of Devon and Cornwall.

[Illustration: THE HARBOUR, FOWEY]

The cathedral is not entirely a modern building, for it has incorporated
with it the south aisle of the old parish church of St. Mary, with its
long associations with the municipality. The narrow lanes and streets
surrounding the stately pile of buildings differ essentially from the
gardens and canonical residences that are the pride of so many of our
mediæval cathedrals; but they make a fitting environment for the mother
church of a working ecclesiastical centre.

Of several interesting houses in the neighbourhood the most important is
Tregothnan, the residence of Lord Falmouth. The mansion is beautifully
placed upon high ground, the views from which include the numerous
wooded creeks of the lovely Fal, and the wide expanse of Falmouth
Harbour, studded with the shipping of many nations. The house was
designed by Wilkins, the architect of the National Gallery, and is in
the Early English and Tudor styles.

The gatehouse of Tregothnan is situated at Tresilian Bridge, the spot
where the struggle between Charles I and Cromwell was brought to a close
in Cornwall, by the surrender of the Royalists to General Fairfax.

The ecclesiologist will find many interesting old churches in this
neighbourhood, of which perhaps that at Probus is the most important, as
it is the least known. The tower is over one hundred feet in height,
being the highest in the county, and is exceptionally rich in delicate
carvings and clustered pinnacles. The present building is mainly
Perpendicular, but the foundation of a church here is attributed by
tradition to Athelstan, who is said to have established a college of
secular canons dedicated to St. Probus. The chancel screen is modern
with the exception of the lower portion, which has been made up of the
old fifteenth-century bench ends. A full and highly interesting account
of this church, by Canon Fox Harvey, appeared in the _Truro Diocesan
Magazine_ for 1905. Above the woods of Tregothnan, on the left bank of
the Truro, stands the fourteenth-century church of St. Michael Penkivel,
with numerous brasses to the memory of the Boscawens; while on the right
bank of the Fal is Trelissic, a classical building whose portico is an
exact reproduction of the temple of Erectheus at Athens.

All visitors to Truro make their way to the historic port of Falmouth by
water, when they travel along a length of river scenery that possesses
no equal in beauty with the exception perhaps of a somewhat similar
reach of the romantic Dart, in the adjoining county of Devon. Any
mention of the Dart, however, as a possible rival to the Fal, is much
resented by Cornishmen, and one that had better be left unsaid within
the boundaries of the delectable Duchy.

The old port of Falmouth is situated in a sheltered bay with the
glittering sea beyond. Landward lie the villages of Mabe and
Constantine, with their great granite quarries, and beyond them wide
expanses of undulating and treeless land that is not devoid of beauty.
Here the climate is so mild that hydrangeas become large bushes, and the
eucalyptus attains the proportions of a forest tree. The port rose
perhaps to its greatest height of prosperity in the days of the fourth
George, when the famous Falmouth packets--ten-gun brigs officered by
naval men--carried the mails to various Mediterranean ports, and to the
North American and West Indian stations. A well preserved relic of these
good old days may be seen at Swanpool, where, in a cottage built by
Commander Bull, may be observed a chiselled relief of the old
"Marlborough" packet at the top angle of the façade. As a port Falmouth
has not kept pace with the steady growth in the size of steamships,
although the opening of the railway to Truro set Falmouth cogitating
great schemes in the way of spacious docks and large hotels. Some of us
do not regret that the town's maritime ambitions have been but partially
realized. We have many busy and flourishing seaports, but there is only
one Falmouth, with its quaint little alleys leading to the waterside,
inconvenient and hopelessly behind the times, yet picturesque beyond
description and redolent of the spirit of the past. One of the most
pleasing views of Falmouth is that obtained from the little township of
Flushing across the harbour, once a quite fashionable suburb, but now a
rather poor little fishing village.

The excursions from Falmouth, and the places of interest that lie within
easy reach are too numerous to mention, for their very names are an
attraction to the inquisitive topographer. Mylor lies over the hills of
Flushing on the beautiful waters of the Fal; St. Mawes and the fishing
town of Gerrans are equally near; while the most hardened tourist could
not fail to wish to visit a village endowed with the charming name of
St. Just in Roseland.

A reference should be made to the fine promontory of Pendennis, almost
surrounded by the sea, on the summit of which stands the historic castle
that has played no small part in our island story.

There are two road routes from Falmouth to the Lizard--the regular route
through Helston, and the other, a trifle longer, by way of the woods of
Trelowarren, the seat of the Cornish Vyvyans. The most enjoyable way,
however, of viewing this well-known promontory is to sail from Falmouth.
Those who would woo the charms of the Cornish coast from the water
should remember that even on the calmest day sailing along this exposed
seaboard is no child's play, but a serious business. As a matter of fact
no one who is not intimately acquainted with the coast should take a
boat out of the harbour without an experienced man on board, and no
amateurs should attempt unaided, to sail the lugsail boats in general
use among the fishermen. The best boat for yachting in these waters is a
ten or fifteen ton cutter or yawl, such as can be hired at Falmouth for
quite a moderate sum. But the coast is a dangerous one, for although the
morning run past the dreaded Manacles, Helford river, St. Keverne's, and
right down to the Lizard, may present no difficulties, the return
evening journey, with a stiff breeze from the land making a choppy sea,
and the puzzling lights at the complicated entrance to the anchorage,
are disturbing elements that make one feel thankful to have the skipper
on board to guide the little craft through the maze of shipping, and
pick up her moorings. For small boat sailing the waters of the Fal are
ideal, but here also, as on the salt waters beyond the river mouth,
great care is required by reason of the wind cutting down the creeks and
gullies with practically no warning. What a halo of tragedy lies over
the dreaded Manacles! and what wonderful escapes some fortunate vessels
have had. The author once saw a schooner of five hundred tons thread the
narrow channels of the needle-pointed rocks in safety, but the feat was
regarded by his companion, an old sailor of Falmouth, as little short of
a miracle. As a matter of fact captains who get their ships among the
Manacles are so anxious to keep the news from reaching the owners that
they hang a sail over the names of their ships.

By a glance at the map it is obvious to anyone that no vessel going up
or down the Channel need be within a dozen or more miles of the
Manacles. Yet many still get there; and few are fortunate enough to get
away without becoming total wrecks. Not only on account of nearness of
time do the _Mohegan_ and the _Paris_ disasters take undoubted
precedence in the Manacles' victims, but on one occasion the loss of
life was appalling. The _Mohegan_ was a steamship of 7000 tons in charge
of Captain Griffiths, the commodore of the Atlantic Transport Company.
At half-past two on her second day out she signalled "All well" at
Prawle Point. Four and a half hours later, when the light was good and
the wind not high, she dashed into the Vase Rock, one of the outer
Manacles, and within twenty minutes all except the upper portions of her
masts and funnels were beneath the water. How the _City of Paris_ got on
the rocks is equally a mystery, for she is computed to have been twenty
miles out of her proper course when she struck, and the weather was fine
and the night clear.

[Illustration: VIEW OF FALMOUTH HARBOUR]

As Mr. Albert Bluett says: "We have the uncontradicted statements of
seamen of all classes, that the bell-buoy, fixed to one of the outer
Manacles, is utterly inadequate to warn vessels of their nearness to
danger. And when the sounds of that bell came in the landward breeze to
where I stood looking across the reef, they seemed, not a message of
warning to those who cross the deep, but as the death-knell of the
hundreds of men, women, and children who have breathed their last in the
sea around the Manacles."

There is no doubt that generations of smugglers and wreckers existed all
along this exposed and dangerous coast, and the lawlessness of the
Cornish folk in such matters as smuggling, and pilfering from wrecks,
earned for them a very unenviable reputation. The deeds of Jack
Rattenbury, of Beer, and the daring exploits of Harry Paye, of Poole,
fade into insignificance by comparison with the doings of John Carter,
who was known and feared all along the wild Cornish seaboard. He was
known locally as the "King of Prussia", owing, it is said, to his
resemblance to Frederick the Great. Be this as it may, Bessy's Cove, a
small bay a few miles to the west of Helston, has, since Carter's day,
been known as Prussia Cove, a striking tribute to the power of the
smuggler. At this cove Carter widened the harbour, fortified the
promontory that overlooks it, and adopted the numerous caves for the
storage of illicit cargoes. These splendid and natural storehouses may
still be seen, together with the "King of Prussia's" house, and the
remains of the battery he erected; for this intrepid smuggler did not
hesitate to open fire on any of the king's ships that ventured within
range of his guns. Carter flourished in the middle of the eighteenth
century, and it is difficult for us to realize to-day that such a state
of lawlessness could have existed in the days of our great-grandparents.

The difficulties of patrolling the coast in the days before steamships,
and the passive assistance he must have received from the people,
enabled Carter to carry on a very profitable trade, although he
naturally had many escapes from capture.

Even when arrested in the act of conveying kegs of brandy to his
customers, he appears to have found no difficulty in proving an _alibi_.
The reason for this of course is that smuggling was regarded with more
than toleration by the people and the gentry alike, while even the local
administrators of justice had an interest in the ventures. The result
was that it was impossible for the Revenue officers to obtain a
conviction, for the magistrates regarded the flimsiest _alibi_ as excuse
sufficient for them to set the "King of Prussia" at liberty.

At length the authorities appear to have realized that the ordinary
legal methods, as administered by the local magistracy, were quite
useless. Accordingly a strongly armed Revenue cutter sailed for Prussia
Cove with orders to storm the stronghold and destroy the battery. As the
cutter's instructions were not sent through the usual local channels,
there was no leakage of the commander's intentions, and having received
no warning of the expedition, the smugglers were taken completely by
surprise. As soon as the hostile intentions of the cutter were revealed,
Carter opened a heavy fire on the small boats that conveyed the landing
party; but after a fierce fight, in which there were heavy casualties on
both sides, a landing was effected, and the fortress carried by storm.
The work of dismantling the fort was considered of more importance than
the immediate capture of the smugglers, and nothing seems to be known as
to whether they were ever arrested and tried.

For the exploration of the Lizard and Kynance districts there is no
better centre than Helston, although those who find little to interest
them in the interior of the peninsula may be advised to proceed direct
to Lizard Town, as being in closer proximity to such attractive spots as
Mullion and Cadgwith. Helston itself is an oldfashioned town that has
not many attractions for the modern tourist. It is a borough of some
antiquity, and once possessed a Norman castle which fell into ruin in
the reign of Edward IV. The annual festival known as Helston Flora Day
is generally considered to be a survival of an old Roman custom. It was
originally held on the 8th of May, but in recent years has taken place
on any convenient date. The greatest attraction of the place to-day is
the Loo or Loe Pool, a large sheet of water two miles in length and five
in circumference. This is quite one of the largest natural lakes in the
south of England, and is a favourite resort for anglers. It is separated
from the sea by a bar of shingle, scarcely three hundred yards wide at
low tide. On this bar, in 1807, the _Anson_, a 40-gun ship, was wrecked,
with a loss of sixty lives. One of the small inlets of this lake,
Penrose Creek, is well known to botanists as the home of the little
plant _Nitella hyalina_. The weed is found in four feet of water,
occupying less than twelve square yards, and is not known to exist in
any other locality in Great Britain.

Mullion Cove is considered by many people to be the most beautiful spot
along the Cornish Riviera. It certainly has many attractions for the
artist, and its caves and crags have been photographed, sketched, and
painted _ad nauseam_.

No one with antiquarian tastes should neglect to visit the church of
Mullion Church-town, a good Perpendicular building that was restored in
1870. The many features of interest include portions of the old rood
screen, and a very fine set of carved bench ends which are justly
considered to be the richest in carving of any in the west of England.

The view from the high land above the cove is one of great beauty, with
St. Michael's Mount rising abruptly from the waters of the bay, and
beyond it the clustered houses of Penzance.

Kynance Cove is an equally charming place that lies one and a half miles
to the north-west of the Lizard. The bay is studded with a quantity of
scattered rocks, which rejoice in such curious names as Devil's Bellows,
Devil's Throat, the Letter Box, &c. At Landewednack in the parish of
Lizard Point, the last sermon in the ancient Cornish language is said to
have been preached in 1678. The church is one of the most beautifully
situated along these wild southern shores.

The first view of Penzance from Marazion (known locally as Market Jew)
is one that is never forgotten. Right before us, rises the famous St.
Michael's Mount, capped with its architectural adornment; to the right
the bay swings round in a semicircle to Penzance, beyond which is the
harbour of Newlyn, the village that has played so great a part in the
history of our modern school of painting.

Certainly nowhere else in England is found the like of St. Michael's
Mount, with its curious mingling of a mediæval fortress and modern
residence; of antiquarian treasures and up-to-date conveniences. At the
foot of the rock is a tiny harbour and a cluster of cottages, and here
also is a kind of station for the railway, which carries coal,
provisions, and luggage up to the top of the Mount. When the tide is out
the Mount can be reached along a causeway, but the road is very rough
for walking, as one would expect from its peculiar position on the bed
of the sea.

The Mount is really a pyramidical mass of granite, a mile in
circumference, capped by a cluster of castellated buildings. The steep
ascent up the side of the rock is commanded by a cross-wall pierced with
embrasures, and a platform mounting two small batteries. The house
itself has a few interesting points and an excellent chapel with some
good details of the Decorated and Perpendicular periods. From the summit
of the rock a superb panorama of the Cornish coast and the
wide-spreading Channel may be obtained. The mythical legends and
traditions that have grown up around this solitary rock bear much
resemblance to those that are told about its French counterpart, the
Mont St. Michel of Normandy. The romantic legends of both concern great
heroes and super-terrestrial beings doing battle with evil dragons and
fiendish monsters.

[Illustration: ST. MICHAEL'S MOUNT]

The Mount is certainly a very attractive spot, and, by the kindness of
the owner, access to the castle is generally allowed. The building has
been much modernized during recent years, but many of its original
features remain. Some alterations at the chapel led to the discovery of
a blocked-up Gothic doorway, which, being opened, revealed a flight of
stone steps terminating in a dark vault, wherein lay the skeleton of a
man. The old refectory of the monks is the most distinctive feature of
the present house. The Mount is a parish without a public-house, the
only one which ever existed there having been closed a few years ago.

In an old volume on Cornwall, published in 1824, we learn that "Turbot
are caught in great plenty during the Summer Season. In Mount's Bay
there have been instances of 30 being taken in an evening with the hook
and line. When plentiful, they are sold from 4_d._ to 6_d._ per pound."
Leland writes: "Penzantes about a mile from Mousehold, standing fast in
the shore of Mount Bay, is the Westest Market Town of all Cornwall,
Socur for botes or shypes, but a forced pere or Key. Theyr is but a
Chapel yn the sayd towne, as ys in Newlyn, for theyr paroche Chyrches be
more than a mile off."

The neighbourhood of Penzance is rendered very attractive by the variety
of its scenery, and the glorious bay offers unlimited opportunities for
boating and fishing. The mother church of Penzance is that of Madron a
short distance away. The building stands 350 feet above the sea and
contains some old memorials, including a tombstone to the memory of
George Daniell, a local benefactor. His epitaph reads:


     "Belgia me birth, Britaine me breeding gave,
     Cornwall a wife, ten children, and a grave."


Madron Well is a chalybeate spring once in much esteem for its curative
properties, and its prophetical powers in respect to love and marriage.
The holy well here, situated on the moor about a mile to the north-west
of the church, was partially destroyed during the Parliamentary wars, by
Major Ceely of St. Ives.

One of the most delightful excursions from Penzance is that to Mousehole
and Lamorna Cove, and one for which the whole of a day should be
allotted.

While in the neighbourhood of Penzance the visitor who is fortunate
enough to be a good sailor should not fail to make the trip to the
Scilly Isles, although the passage is generally a trying one. The
islands consist mainly of low rocks, covered with gorse and heather
where their slopes are not given over to flower growing, that great
industry of these solitary isles. The coastward sides of the downs
terminate in granitic rocks which are a terror to navigators. Even
under the guard of three lighthouses and a lightship, thousands of lives
have been lost on the Scillies, and there is a prodigious litter of
wreckage wedged in among the granite boulders. Probably the worst
disasters were the wreck of Sir Cloudesley Shovell's fleet in 1707, and
that of the _Schiller_ in 1875. Of the hundreds of lesser calamities
there is no record. St. Agnes is perhaps the worst offender, and the
lighthouse keeper there is a gloomy man. It has been fittingly said that
his landscape of rocks must be about as enlivening to him as a square
mile or so of tombstones.

Penzance itself is a town of many attractions of the civilized order,
and the whole of the neighbourhood is lovely. It is the most westerly
town in England, and one that has a good deal of ancient history. The
older part of the town, lying between Market Jew Street and the harbour,
has retained a good deal of its ancient domestic architecture, but the
churches have no features of any particular interest.

The fishing village of Newlyn is a picturesque but ill-built group of
old cottages, fish-cellars, bungalows, and artists' studios. As an art
centre it has played, and is still playing, a very considerable part,
while many of the native models of the place look out from gilded frames
in half the picture galleries of Europe. It must unquestionably be the
most painted spot in the British Isles, and it would be difficult to
find a single nook or corner that has not been depicted on paper or
canvas. One of the curious little streets bears the exotic name of "Rue
des Beaux Arts", a reminder of the fact that it was in a dwelling of
this street that Frank Bramley painted his dramatic picture "_A Hopeless
Dawn_", now in the Tate Gallery. There is a considerable artists' colony
still resident here, although a good many of those who first brought the
place into fame have migrated to pastures new, and particularly to the
neighbouring port of St. Ives. At the same time Newlyn is still, and
always will be, a magic word in art circles, for here such painters as
Stanhope Forbes, Frank Bramley, J. A. Gotch, Walter Langley, Sydney
Grier, Chevalier Tayler, to mention but a few, introduced a new if
somewhat exotic phase into the traditions of British art. Mr. A.
Stanhope Forbes, A.R.A., writes: "I had come from France, where I had
been studying, and wandering down into Cornwall, came one spring morning
along that dusty road by which Newlyn is approached from Penzance.
Little did I think that the cluster of grey-roofed houses which I saw
before me against the hillside would be my home for so many years. What
lodestone of artistic metal the place contains I know not, but its
effects were strongly felt, in the studios of Paris and Antwerp
particularly, by a number of young English painters studying there, who
just about then, by some common impulse, seemed drawn towards this
corner of their native land.... It was part of our creed to paint our
pictures directly from nature, and not merely to rely upon sketches and
studies which we could afterwards amplify in the comfort of a studio."

The road from Penzance to Land's End being rather dull and devoid of
interest, the best way to reach the outlying promontory is by one of the
G.W.R. motors that make the regular journey. A stay of a short time is
usually made at the Logan Rock, perched on the summit of a pile of
crags. To reach it involves rather a breakneck scramble down and stiff
climb up, and it is doubtful if the satisfaction of having done the feat
is equal to the amount of fatigue involved. The stone rocks to a
considerable degree, but less than it did before it was upset in 1824 by
Lieutenant Goldsmith, who was commanded to replace it by the Admiralty.
St. Buryan Church and Cross are both worth inspection. The former has a
tower ninety feet in height, while the latter has been attributed to the
Romano-British period. It is a plain little erection of stone standing
on a base of five steps. On one side is carved in low relief a fully
clothed figure of the Saviour with hands extended horizontally.

The first aspect of Land's End, with its covering of turf, worn smooth
by the feet of many trippers, is disappointing; and it is only when we
begin to wander about the lesser used trackways that it is possible to
realize that this is no ordinary promontory, but a lonely headland
broken into a hundred beetling crags, with huge granite boulders piled
one on another, forming a stalwart bulwark against the onrushing waves
of the Atlantic. In the crevices of these miniature precipices purple
heather and golden gorse have set them here and there, while the silver
lichens have clothed the scarred surfaces of rock with a tender grace.
The wind-swept downs that cap the lonely headland are also not without a
certain beauty, from the very nature of the surrounding waste of wild
grey sea.

As we gaze over the waters from the top of this lonely rock, we think
instinctively of the lost land of Lyonesse, that antiquaries and
geologists tell us once stretched from our feet to the Scillies.

[Illustration: ON THE LERRYN RIVER]

That such a denudation actually occurred is of course within the bounds
of geological possibility, if we take the precaution to date the
incident far enough back, to remote and prehistoric days. There is
little credence to be attached to the local traditions, which affirm
that fishermen on a calm, clear day, have seen the ruins of house and
castle, cottage and farm, covered with dulse instead of stonecrop; or
the shattered spires of one or two of the reputed "hundred and twenty
churches". If such a kingdom ever existed it was long before the
mediæval era, and a spired church belongs to the Gothic period.

Sir Richard Carew, the friend and contemporary of Raleigh and of
Campden, assures us not only that proofs of the lost kingdom remained in
his day, but that the fishermen's nets frequently brought up portions of
"doors and windows" from the submerged houses.

At the same time there is probably a certain rough truth in the old
legends, the details having been added from time to time. As Mr. Arthur
Salmon says: "When we speak of a lost Lyonesse we are not dealing with
absurdities. We must only be careful to date it far enough backward, or
rather to leave it without date. It is an alluring vision on which we
can linger without the sense of being actually unhistoric."

Certain is it that if we examine _The Life and Death of Prince Arthur_,
the _History of Merlin_, or the _Mort d'Arthur_, we shall find
"Cornewaile" and "The Lyonesse" spoken of with an airy indifference as
to their geographical limits. Thus it may possibly be that, by the title
of Lyonesse, Leonois, or any other of the various renderings of the
name, it was intended to cover such portion of the west country as lay
beyond that part of Devonshire, which, down to so late as the year 410
of the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, continued to be known as Cornwall.

It is well worth while to stay the night at the little hostel near the
Land's End for the purpose of viewing this westernmost piece of England
under the magic spell of a stormy sunset or a misty dawn. The sun sinks
beyond the vast expanse of open, wide, and illimitable sea, heaving with
a deep and mysterious ground swell as the long waves roll shorewards.
Between the great pinnacles of rock blue chasms yawn and pass away, and
the bases of the nearer rocks are momentarily hidden by the foam of the
surging waves.

Far out, far beyond where the Longships lighthouse blinks its warning
light over the waste of waters, a solitary ship goes down into the
western horizon; and the golden clouds of summer follow her, one by one,
into the bosom of the night.

The holiday season, with its bands of health-seeking and somewhat noisy
tourists, is not the best time of the year for a visit to Land's End. As
a show place it has been compelled to provide certain conveniences for
the traveller, and these jarring notes of modernity are rather
aggressive. There is much to be said for Mr. W. H. Hudson's plea for a
national fund that shall purchase the Land's End; but one fears much
water will have flowed around the historic headland before a "Society
for the Preservation of Noble Landscape" becomes an accomplished fact.

About a mile from the cliffs stands the rocky little islet of Carn Brâs,
whereon is situated the Longships lighthouse. Although such a short
distance away this lighthouse, and that on the Wolf Rock seven miles
off, are frequently cut off from all communication with the mainland by
stress of weather. The submerged crags that fringe this portion of the
coast are many, while the larger of those whose jagged points appear
above the water, are the Armed Knight, the Irish Lady, and Enys Dodman,
the last being pierced by a fine natural arch about forty feet in
height. The Cornish name for the Armed Knight was "An Marogeth Arvowed",
and it was also called Guela or Guelaz, the "rock easily seen".

To enjoy fully these western cliffs, one should stay in the locality for
some days; be on the spot at all hours, see the mists of morning and the
mellow tints of evening when all is calm and peaceful. At such times
those who love the sea breezes, and the hoary rocks bearded with moss
and lichen; those who are fond of the legends and traditions of the
past, will find much to interest them at the Land's End. It is a
favourite spot with artists, many of whom come year after year to depict
its frowning cliffs and heaving belt of sea, for, curiously enough, the
grandest effects of the waves are frequently seen in calm weather, when
the heavy ground swell causes the waves to break with great force on the
rocks.

In his criticism on Turner's picture of the Land's End, Ruskin wrote:


     "At the Land's End there is to be seen the entire disorder of the
     surges, when every one of them, divided and entangled among
     promontories as it rolls, and beaten back post by post from walls
     of rock on this side and that side, recoils like the defeated
     division of a great army, throwing all behind it into disorder,
     breaking up the succeeding waves into vertical ridges, which, in
     their turn, yet more totally shattered upon the shore, retire in
     more hopeless confusion, until the whole surface of the sea becomes
     one dizzy whirl of rushing, writhing, tortured, undirected rage,
     bounding and crashing, and coiling in an anarchy of enormous power,
     subdivided into myriads of waves, of which every one is not, be it
     remembered, a separate surge, but part and portion of a vast one,
     actuated by eternal power, and giving in every direction the mighty
     undulation of impetuous line, which glides over the rocks and
     writhes in the wind, overwhelming the one and piercing the other
     with the form, fury, and swiftness of lambent fire."


[Illustration: PENZANCE FROM NEWLYN HARBOUR]



LAND'S END TO NEWQUAY


No visitor to Cornwall can fail to notice the remarkable number of
wells, situated near stone circles, dolmens, cromlechs, or churches that
have replaced them in more modern times, for well-worship was
undoubtedly one of the most persistent of the pagan customs with which
the early Christian missionaries had to deal. Sir Norman Lockyer
writes:--"It seems to be accepted now that well-worship in Britain
originated long before the Christian era; that it was not introduced by
the Christian missionaries, but rather they found it in vogue on their
arrival, and tolerated it at first and utilized it afterwards, as they
did a great many other pagan customs."

It is of course quite easy to understand how a once devout custom
degenerated into mere superstition, how some wells came to be called
"wishing wells", &c., in which the modern village maidens drop their
pins, in much the same way as their pagan ancestors left offerings to
invoke the aid of the tutelary saint.

The superstitions attached to the wells of Cornwall are as strong
to-day as ever they were in the past, and there seems little reason to
doubt that the good condition of wells, cromlechs, and other antiquities
in the county, is due to the widespread traditions that dreadful harm
will befall those who disturb or mutilate any ancient remains.

Sennen Cove lying immediately to the north of Land's End is a very
charming little spot that shows signs of becoming a fashionable
watering-place. The church, situated a mile inland, is dedicated to St.
Senan or Senannus, one of those numerous Irish saints who showed such a
predilection for the land of Cornwall. It is a low, weather-beaten
structure with a good tower, and standing nearly 400 feet above the
level of the sea, it forms a conspicuous land- and sea-mark. Within,
there is a mutilated alabaster figure that is thought to have
represented the Virgin and Child, and a small piece of mural painting.
East of the church, a few yards from the roadside, and near the end of a
small cottage, is the stone known as the Table Mên, a block of granite
nearly eight feet in length, and three feet high. The word "main", or
"mên", is the old Cornish for "stone". Here, according to tradition, a
great battle took place between King Arthur and some Danish invaders,
and the stone is also said to have been used as a royal dining table,
when the number of kings who dined here is given by some old
topographers as three, while others speak of seven. Hals gives their
names as follows: "Ethelbert, fifth king of Kent; Cissa, second king of
the South Saxons; Kingills, sixth king of the West Saxons; Sebert, third
king of the East Saxons; Ethelfred, seventh king of the Northumbers;
Penda, ninth king of the Mercians; and Sigebert, fifth king of the East
Angles; who all flourished about the year 600". Merlin, the Wizard, who
appears to have prophesied something about every nook in the kingdom,
foretold that a yet larger number of kings will assemble around this
rock for a similar purpose on the destruction of the world. A rock near
Lanyon Cromlêh claims a similar honour, and the same story is attached
to another at Bosavern in the parish of St. Just.

Sennen Cove is situated on the curve of Whitesand Bay, which terminates
to the northward in the fine bluff headland of Cape Cornwall. It was
once a favourite spot for smugglers and wreckers, and here Athelstan,
after his final defeat of the Cornish, started to conquer the Scilly
Isles. Stephen landed here on his first arrival in England, as did
Perkin Warbeck when he sought to seize the crown he claimed. King John
is also said to have landed here on his return from Ireland. Cape
Cornwall, a mile and a half from the village, is one of the most
prominent headlands of the western coast, but being in the
neighbourhood of the great mining district it is somewhat neglected by
visitors, a remark that applies to the whole of this portion of the
coast as far as St. Ives, the great exception being Gurnards' Head. The
inland country is bleak and barren, with a number of mining shafts
capping the hillocks, with the result that the uninviting hinterland has
inspired few people with the desire to explore a really grand and rocky
piece of coast.

Nearly a mile south-west of Cape Cornwall are the Brisons, two fearful
and dangerous rocks, rising about seventy feet above high-water mark.
Brison is Cornish for prison, and tradition affirms that these rocks
were once used as prisons.

North of the cape is Kenidjack headland, Porthleden being the name of
the cove that divides the promontories. Skirting the coast from
Kenidjack many fine bits of rocky scenery are passed. Botallack Head,
with its old engine houses perched on its rocky crags, has a singularly
savage appearance. The mine is one of the oldest in Cornwall, and the
ancient workings continued for a considerable distance under the bed of
the sea. The Levant, another submarine mine to the north, has also
considerable workings beneath the sea.

[Illustration: IN THE HARBOUR, NEWLYN]

The next point of interest is Pendeen, or Pendinas, the "castled
headland", near to which is Pendeen House, now a farm, but once a
seventeenth-century manor house, in which the celebrated Cornish
historian and antiquary, Dr. William Borlase, was born in 1695. He
corresponded with Pope to whom on one occasion he sent a Cornish
diamond, which was thus acknowledged by the poet: "I have received your
gift, and have so placed it in my grotto, that it will resemble the
donor, in the shade, but shining". The famous cave called the Pendeen
Vau, was discovered a few yards from his home. For his day he was quite
an enlightened antiquary, and although modern research has shown his
_Antiquities of Cornwall_ to be full of pitfalls for the unwary, it is a
book that has formed the basis for many an interesting volume on the
county. The church of Pendeen occupies as bleak a site as could anywhere
be found in England. It was designed and built by Robert Aitken the
famous Cornish missioner. It was fashioned on the plan of the ancient
cathedral of Iona, and was built almost entirely by the people
themselves.

A little eastward of Pendeen is the church town of Morvah, "the place by
the sea", which has traditions relating to mermaids. Northward is
Porthmorna, or Porth Moina, the Monk's Port, formed on one side by the
fine cliff of Bosigran, where the rocks of granite have a pale reddish
tint; so that when lit up by the sun they have a very brilliant
appearance. A few years ago the bleak hills and towering cliffs in this
locality were a favourite haunt of the peregrine falcon, the cliff hawk,
while the blue rock dove, and Baillon's crake have been found in the
district. Bosigran lies just under Cairn Galva, whose boldly-formed
outline is a conspicuous landmark. Just beyond Porthmeor is the
Gurnard's Head, the finest and most romantic point on the north side of
the Land's End, and one of the show places of the county. The ancient
name for the headland was Treryn Dinas. Portions of a small chapel
remain on the isthmus, and there was once a holy well close by.

The village of Zennor, about a quarter of a mile distant, lies in a wild
and stony district. Within the very interesting church are some quaint
bench ends, one of which depicts a mermaid, complete with comb, mirror,
and fishy tail, but the carving is of a very primitive order. On Zennor
Beacon is the famous Zennor Quoit or Cromlech, the largest in Cornwall,
and one of the finest in the country. Between Zennor and St. Ives a wild
tract of country forms the parish of Towednack with an ancient church
within which is a true chancel arch, a constructional feature that is of
rare occurrence in Cornish churches.

The irregularly built little town of St. Ives, which has not inaptly
been called the "Art Centre of England", is made up of two distinct
parts. The older portion, which consists of oldfashioned houses, and
narrow tortuous streets, is situated on a low spit of land called the
"island", while "up-along" on the higher ground above the station, is
the favourite and fashionable holiday resort. The ancient name of the
place, Porth Ia, perpetuates the memory of another Irish saint, Ia, who
is claimed as a convert of St. Patrick, and who is said to have floated
from the shores of the Emerald Isle to those of Cornwall on a miraculous
leaf, "by which", Mr. Arthur Salmon tells us, "is clearly meant a
coracle of the kind still to be seen in parts of Wales". The cell of St.
Ia stood on the site of the present parish church, which is said to
contain her bones, and this saint is not to be confounded with those of
St. Ive, near Liskeard, or St. Ives in Huntingdonshire. The position of
St. Ives, on the western slope of an extensive bay, and with two
remarkably fine sandy beaches, is one of uncommon beauty. The finest
views of the town and the neighbourhood are those obtained from the
grounds of the Tregenna Castle Hotel, and from the Battery Rocks.

A lofty hill to the south of the town, has a pyramidical erection of
granite in memory of John Knill, born in 1733. The obelisk bears three
inscriptions: "Johannes Knill, 1782"; "I know that my Redeemer liveth";
and "Resurgam". After serving his apprenticeship to a solicitor, Knill
became Collector of Customs, and afterwards Mayor of St. Ives. Long
before his death, which took place in 1811, he erected this mausoleum on
Worvas Hill, but it was never applied to its purpose, as he was buried
in London. Among the provisions of a curious will he ordained that
"certain ceremonies should be observed once every five years, on the
festival of St. James the Apostle; ten pounds to be spent in a dinner
for the mayor, collector of Customs, and clergyman, and two friends to
be invited by each of them, making a party of nine persons, to dine at
some tavern in the borough; five pounds to be equally divided amongst
ten girls, natives of the borough and daughters of seamen, fishermen, or
tinners, each of them not exceeding ten years of age, who shall, between
ten and twelve o'clock of the forenoon of that day, dance for a quarter
of an hour at least, on the ground adjoining the mausoleum, and after
the dance sing the 100th Psalm of the old version, to the fine old tune
to which the same was then sung in St. Ives Church; one pound to a
fiddler who shall play to the girls while dancing and singing at the
mausoleum, and also before them on their return home therefrom; two
pounds to two widows of seamen, fishers, or tinners of the borough,
being sixty-four years old or upwards, who shall attend the dancing and
singing of the girls, and walk before them immediately after the
fiddler, and certify to the mayor, collector of Customs, and clergyman,
that the ceremonies have been duly performed; one pound to be laid out
in white ribbons for breast-knots for the girls and widows, and a
cockade for the fiddler, to be worn by them respectively on that day and
on the Sunday following". The observances have been duly carried out
since the death of John Knill. The next observance will be in 1911, and
when once at St. Ives the present writer was fortunate enough to witness
the quaint ceremonies that are enacted every five years around the
mausoleum of John Knill, who has succeeded in making a posthumous name
for himself at a very trifling cost.

[Illustration: LAND'S END]

It was at St. Ives that Anders Zorn, the celebrated Swedish artist,
painted his first picture with oils, a fine work that now hangs on the
walls of the Luxembourg. The sketcher from nature who clambers along
this rocky coast in search of colour notes or impressions, will
perpetually experience the difficulty of not knowing where to halt,
always a difficult problem for a painter in a new territory. Many are
they who have seen the day draw to a close with nothing accomplished.
This is not the result of idleness, but on account of the feeling of
expectancy, the ever-alluring idea, that by going a little farther
something really uncommon will be found. Points of interest innumerable
will be passed in the pursuit of this beautiful will-o'-the-wisp, this
perfect composition which never can, and never will, materialize on
paper or on canvas.

Hayle and Lelant are both worth visiting. The former has a fine beach
for bathing, and the latter is renowned for its golf course. Lelant is a
very ancient town whose fine old church is the mother church of both
Towednack and St. Ives.

Redruth and Camborne are important mining towns to which no one would go
in search of the picturesque, and the bleak and barren surroundings may
not inaptly be called the "Black Country" of Cornwall. Gwennap Pit, near
Redruth, was the natural amphitheatre where John Wesley preached with
marked success to thousands of Cornish miners. For the antiquary there
are many interesting remains at Carn Brea, a rocky eminence overlooking
the town, and capped with a monument, erected in 1836, to Francis, Baron
de Dunstanville and Basset, of Tehidy.

The best mine to explore, should one's tastes run in that direction, is
the Dolcoath Mine, near Camborne station. The mine yields both copper
and tin, and has reached the depth of 2250 feet. Portreath is to a
certain extent the port of Redruth. The cliffs are rather fine and the
seas exceptionally so in rough weather, but as a good deal of refuse
water from the mines is discharged here the result is that the sea for
a considerable distance is frequently tinged with a thick reddish
colour.

Between Portreath and St. Agnes the coast scenery is rendered very
attractive by reason of the number of coves into which it is broken,
such as Porth Towan, a very favourite spot with visitors.

The little town of St. Agnes is steadily growing in popularity, while
St. Agnes Beacon is of great geological interest, and from the summit a
fine view is obtained of the Cornish coast from Trevose Head to St.
Ives.

Opie, the painter, was a native of St. Agnes, where he was born in 1761.
The house is passed on the way to Perranporth, and is known as "Harmony
Cottage". Opie's artistic talent is said to have been first recognized
by "Peter Pindar", when that worthy resided at Truro. A large number of
his early paintings may still be seen in many of the houses in the
vicinity of his birthplace, although a considerable number have been
carried off by discerning collectors.

A few years ago Perranporth was nothing but a small cluster of
fishermen's cottages, but the fine stretches of golden sand and some
imposing masses of arched rocks have brought many visitors, for whom
increased accommodation has had to be found. One and a half miles from
Perran Round, an ancient amphitheatre, are portions of an old church,
long hidden in the sand, over which St. Piran, or St. Piranus officiated
in the sixth century. The church of Perranporth is a chapel of ease to
Perranzabuloe, i.e., _Piran-in-sabulo_.

Although Max Müller satisfied himself that St. Piran was a purely
mythical figure, and that the word "Piran" meant merely a "digger",
others assure us that there is enough evidence to satisfy a court of law
that Piran was connected with the school founded by Patrick, and that in
the fifth century he was a missionary in Cornwall. Excavations are being
made constantly around this little church half-buried in the fine sand,
and many important discoveries have resulted. There appears to be little
doubt that the church shares with Gwithian oratory the distinction of
being the earliest Christian edifice of which any considerable portions
remain in England. At the same time it is as well to bear in mind that
the part of the material structure revealed by the spade is some two
centuries later in date than St. Piran, the patron saint of the Tinners.

[Illustration: IN ST. IVES HARBOUR]

"There is a charm in the Cornish coast which belongs to no other coast
in the world." So wrote Dean Alford many years ago, and no portion of
Cornwall possesses greater charm than the section as seen from Newquay
Beacon. Like so many of its neighbouring holiday resorts, Newquay was a
very small and not very well known little place until the Great Western
Railway gave it four trains a day from London, advertised its charms in
the press, and depicted them in glowing colours on innumerable posters.
The result is that Newquay has boomed to such an extent that it is now
the great centre of attraction on the north coast. Twenty years ago
Newquay was little more than a cluster of cottages, but so rapid has
been its development that we seem to be centuries away from the days
when there was no fashionable hotel on the Headland, and when the place
was reached along a jolting little mineral line from Par Junction.

The town itself is not old enough to be interesting, and as it possesses
no "front" but few of its streets command a view of the bold
promontories, fine beaches, tidal inlets, and the singularly blue sea,
that make it such an attractive place for a holiday.

As Mr. J. Henwood Thomas says: "One of the chief glories of Newquay is
its grand headland. Running right out into the Atlantic it forms a bold,
natural pier, in comparison with which the costly artificial piers which
are to be found at most watering-places of repute are mere toys. Nothing
can be more exhilarating than a walk to the extreme end of this jagged
promontory. It is like breathing a vitalizing essence."

Here, on the beaches of Newquay and Fistral Bay, one may go to the
verge of the waves, and breathe the ozone that rises from the line of
breakers, without the necessity of making detours to avoid fruit-stalls
and bathing-saloons. Fortunately the fine sands around Newquay have not
yet become a mart for sweetmeats and cocoanuts, nor are they the happy
hunting ground of the negro minstrel and other troupes of fantastic
entertainers.

The chief, and one might say the only glory of North Cornwall, is the
magnificent line of coast, particularly that portion of it bounded by
Bedruthan Steps on the one hand, and Watergate Bay on the other, with
Mawgan Porth and Beacon Cove lying between.

At low tides Watergate Bay has a splendid stretch of sands, more than
two miles in length, and along the cliffs here sea-pinks, sea-lavender,
and golden samphire may be found, although the last named is becoming
extremely rare. The cliffs along this portion of the coast are pierced
by numerous shady caves and caverns, some of which, like the Cathedral
Cavern and the one known as the Banqueting Hall, are of vast extent, and
are not infrequently used for concerts and other entertainments held in
aid of local charities.

In spite of the necessary changes and improvements due to the ever
increasing number of visitors, there is still much that is primitive to
be seen around Newquay. Almost every ruin, rock, and church has its
legend, more or less ancient and authentic, and once off the beaten
track there is much that will interest the lovers of saint and folklore,
as well as the admirers of coast scenery of a bold and broken kind.

All visitors to Newquay make their way to Crantock "churchtown",
situated on the western side of the Gannel, a small tidal stream which
is crossed by means of a plank bridge. The village of Crantock is
ancient and interesting, but the great attraction of the place is the
church. Less than a dozen years ago the fabric was in a ruinous
condition until the vicar succeeded in raising sufficient funds with
which to preserve the building. In his appeal for help, an appeal that
was well responded to by the visitors to Newquay, the vicar explained
that "the foundation dates from the sixth century, when the Celtic
Bishop, Carantoc--or Cairnech--whose name the church bears and who was a
companion of St. Patrick, first founded a religious cell here. The
church became collegiate before the time of King Edward the Confessor,
and continued so, with large endowment, until it was utterly despoiled,
and its community scattered by King Henry VIII."

The circular font bears the date 1473, and many portions of early work,
including the twelfth century walls and arches, are likewise to be seen
within the building. The font, which is thought to be late Norman, bears
a date cut in bold relief on the side:--


     "ANNO DOMINI MILLESIMO CCCC^o Lxxiij (1473)."


There were once small columns supporting the heads still to be seen at
each angle, but these have disappeared.

Mr. Arthur Salmon tells us that tradition speaks of Crantock as having
been once part of a large town or district named Langarrow, or sometimes
Languna, most of which now lies beneath the sand-towans. "This town is
said to have had many fine churches and buildings, vying with the best
cities in the Britain of that day, which seems to have been the tenth
century."

[Illustration: THE CLIFFS, NEWQUAY]

Be this as it may, and there is no doubt a good deal of truth in the
tradition, we do know that until comparatively recent years the now
sand-choked estuary of the Gannel had a sufficient depth of water for
fishing craft and coasting schooners; while old historians assure us
that the channel could at one time be navigated by ships of large
tonnage. It is quite possible that the "new quay" of the now fashionable
watering-place owes its existence to the silting-up of the estuary that
gave access to the old quay at Crantock. In Carew's _Survey of Cornwall_
reference is made to "newe Kaye, a place in the north coast of this
Hundred (Pider), so called, because in former times, the neighbours
attempted, to supplie the defect of nature, by art, in making there a
Kay, for the Rode of shipping".

An old well in the centre of the village is said to be a "holy" one, but
this has been disputed by antiquaries.

The weird and uncanny cry of the "Gannel Crake" is heard by everyone who
woos the charms of a romantic coast after the sun has set beyond the
western sea. It is said to be the cry of some species of night gull, but
is traditionally referred to by the superstitious natives as the cry of
a troubled spirit that ever haunts the scene.

A short distance inland from the porth is St. Columb Minor, the church
of which, together with that of St. Columb Major some six miles farther
inland is said to be dedicated to Columba, a maiden saint who is not to
be confounded with the great Irish saint of the same name. St. Columb
Minor is the mother parish of Newquay and possesses a fine late
Decorated church with a remarkably good western tower, said to be the
second highest tower in the county. The village is quite a large one
from which some fine views of the coast may be obtained. Close at hand
is Rialton, from which the statesman Sidney Godolphin took his title,
and where, in the surrounding park and dells, many sketches were made by
Stansfield, when he visited the district with his friend Charles
Dickens.

Rialton Priory is a much desecrated building that once belonged to the
priory of Bodmin, it having been erected towards the end of the
fifteenth century by Thomas Vivian, prior of Bodmin. In 1840 someone
carried off a large amount of the priory's ancient stonework to
Somerset, where it was placed in private grounds, but the Crown made an
order for it to be returned and re-erected at Rialton.

St. Columb Major occupies the crown of an eminence, the conjectured site
of a Danish fortress. The church is large, mainly early Decorated, and
of much beauty. In the chancel is the pre-Reformation stone altar,
marked with the five crosses, and supported on slabs of granite. This
had been buried beneath the floor and was discovered during some
restorations in 1846. Other noteworthy features are the window of the
south transept and the grotesque carvings that adorn the font. There are
also three good brasses commemorating members of the Arundell family.

The whole of this neighbourhood is famous for its "hurlers" and
"wrestlers", a memento of which could be seen at the Red Lion a few
years ago, for here the landlord used to exhibit with pride the silver
punchbowl given to his grandfather (Polkinhorne) when that worthy
escaped defeat in a wrestling bout with Cann, the champion of the
adjoining county of Devon.

The art of wrestling appears to have died out, but the once popular game
of hurling is revived once a year, either in the village itself or along
the sands towards Newquay. The ball used is about the size of a cricket
ball, and after being coated with silver is inscribed:--


     "St. Columb Major and Minor,
       Do your best;
     In one of your parishes
       I must rest."


At one time the game was very common throughout Cornwall, and many
interesting records relating to it are in existence; but at the present
day only the two parishes of St. Columb keep up a survival of this
ancient game.

The whole of the St. Columb district is rich in large tracts of wild and
picturesque country, which include such heights as Denzell Downs, St.
Issey Beacon, and St. Breock Downs, near which last stand the "Naw
Mean", or, in modern English, the Nine Maidens. At the present time
there are but eight of these upright stones, which tradition asserts
were originally maidens who were turned into stone for dancing on Sunday
to the strains of a fiddler, who shared the same fate, as witness a tall
pillar of rock near by called the "Fiddler".

On the drive from Newquay to Bedruthan Steps no one should fail to make
a halt at Mawgan, or, to be strictly accurate, St. Mawgan in Pydar,
either on the outward or the return journey. The village is a pretty one
that lies in the centre of the beautiful Vale of Mawgan, or Lanherne,
which stretches from St. Columb to the porth, or cove on the coast.
Mawgan possesses an ancient parish church and a Roman Catholic convent
and chapel. The church is a very fine Perpendicular building with a
tower 70 feet in height. The building was restored by Butterfield, but
contains some interesting old screenwork and a number of well-carved
bench ends. The brasses include that of a priest, _circa_ 1420; Cecily
Arundell, 1578; a civilian, _circa_ 1580; and Jane, daughter of Sir John
Arundell, _circa_ 1580. This last is a palimpsest, made up of portions
of two Flemish brasses, _circa_ 1375. The churchyard contains a
beautifully sculptured fourteenth-century lantern cross, of mediæval
date, in the form of an octagonal shaft. Under four niches at the summit
are sculptured representations of: God the Father with the Dove bearing
a crucifix; an Abbot; an Abbess; and a King and Queen. The height of
the cross is 5 feet 2 inches, the breadth of the head being 1 foot 1
inch.

The convent, the "lone manse" of Lanherne, was originally the manor
house of the Arundells, which was, in the last years of the eighteenth
century, presented by a Lord Arundell of Wardour to a sisterhood of
Carmelite nuns who had fled from Antwerp in 1794. One or two of the
pictures in the convent chapel are attributed to Rubens. Strangers may
attend service in the chapel, but the nuns, like those of the order of
St. Bridget at Syon Abbey, Chudleigh, are recluses of the strictest
kind.

While at Mawgan a stroll should be taken through the groves of
Carnanton, the old-time abode of William Noye, the "crabbed"
Attorney-General to Charles I, whose heart, we are told by his
biographers, was found at his death to have become shrivelled up into
the form of a leather purse.

A mile beyond Mawgan Porth are the far-famed Bedruthan Steps seven miles
from Newquay. Here the visitor will find a fine stretch of cliff
scenery, with a succession of sandy beaches strewn with confused and
broken masses of rock, and some large caverns that are well worth
exploring should the state of the tide permit. The largest of these
caverns is of vast extent and is said to be unrivalled in this respect
along the whole of the Cornish seaboard. At low tide the great spurs of
rock embedded in the sand have a fantastic beauty, while one of the
largest of them bears a more than fancied resemblance to Queen
Elizabeth, and is named after her. Another is known as the Good
Samaritan, as against these jagged points an East Indiaman of this name
once came to grief, when the local women folk are said to have
replenished their wardrobes with a quantity of fine silks and satins.

The coast beyond Bedruthan, by Trevose and Pentire Heads, Padstow,
Tintagel, Boscastle, Bude, and Morwenstowe, although abounding in wild
and rugged scenery, and full of romantic and literary associations, is
beyond our present limits. This being so we may conclude with the words
of J. D. Blight, one of the most learned of the older school of Cornish
antiquaries:


     "Those who wish to behold nature in her grandest aspect, those who
     love the sea breezes, and the flowers which grow by the cliffs, the
     cairns and monumental rocks, all hoary and bearded with moss, those
     who are fond of the legends and traditions of old, and desire to
     tread on ground sacred to the peculiar rites and warlike deeds of
     remote ages, should visit the land of Old Cornwall."





*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "The Cornish Riviera" ***

Doctrine Publishing Corporation provides digitized public domain materials.
Public domain books belong to the public and we are merely their custodians.
This effort is time consuming and expensive, so in order to keep providing
this resource, we have taken steps to prevent abuse by commercial parties,
including placing technical restrictions on automated querying.

We also ask that you:

+ Make non-commercial use of the files We designed Doctrine Publishing
Corporation's ISYS search for use by individuals, and we request that you
use these files for personal, non-commercial purposes.

+ Refrain from automated querying Do not send automated queries of any sort
to Doctrine Publishing's system: If you are conducting research on machine
translation, optical character recognition or other areas where access to a
large amount of text is helpful, please contact us. We encourage the use of
public domain materials for these purposes and may be able to help.

+ Keep it legal -  Whatever your use, remember that you are responsible for
ensuring that what you are doing is legal. Do not assume that just because
we believe a book is in the public domain for users in the United States,
that the work is also in the public domain for users in other countries.
Whether a book is still in copyright varies from country to country, and we
can't offer guidance on whether any specific use of any specific book is
allowed. Please do not assume that a book's appearance in Doctrine Publishing
ISYS search  means it can be used in any manner anywhere in the world.
Copyright infringement liability can be quite severe.

About ISYS® Search Software
Established in 1988, ISYS Search Software is a global supplier of enterprise
search solutions for business and government.  The company's award-winning
software suite offers a broad range of search, navigation and discovery
solutions for desktop search, intranet search, SharePoint search and embedded
search applications.  ISYS has been deployed by thousands of organizations
operating in a variety of industries, including government, legal, law
enforcement, financial services, healthcare and recruitment.



Home