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Title: The Cornwall Coast
Author: Salmon, Arthur L. (Arthur Leslie), 1865-
Language: English
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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 Cornwall Coast" ***

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[Illustration: A HIGH SEA ON THE NORTH CORNWALL COAST.

From a photograph by Mr. Alexander Old, Padstow.]



The Cornwall

Coast


_By Arthur L. Salmon_


_Illustrated_

[Illustration: 1 Adelphi Terrace, W.C.]


_T. Fisher Unwin_

_London: Adelphi Terrace_

_Leipsic: Inselstrasse 20_

_1910_



[_All rights reserved._]



ROAD MAPS FOR THE CORNWALL COAST


Those who travel through Cornwall by cycle or motor-car will usually
find very good roads, but for the most part these only touch the coast
at special points; and in some cases it will be wise to leave bicycle
or car at hotel or farm if the coast is to be fitly explored. The
study of a map will show the tourist what to expect, and he may note
the parts where, if he thinks of easy travelling alone, he will have
to desert the sea. But by a judicious use of high-road and by-road he
need never be far from the shore, and in some places the road that is
actually best for him gives fine views of the coast. There are many
excellent maps issued, but it is best to go to the fountainhead, to
the publications of the Ordnance Survey. For the pedestrian those of
one inch to a mile are admirable; but the cyclist or motorist will
find the two miles to an inch more handy, as covering a wider range;
and even those of four miles to the inch are sufficiently full for the
motorist. If any special district is to be carefully explored, the one
mile to an inch should be carried, but the wise rider will not content
himself with a map of a single scale; he should at least carry one for
the entire Duchy and others for the sections.

The maps of the Ordnance Survey for Cornwall are as follow:--

       One mile to the inch, large series, in sheets about 27 × 18
       inches, paper (flat or folded), 1s. 6d. net; mounted, 2s.; cut
       into sections and mounted to fold, 2s. 6d., Nos. 139, 146-7-8,
       151-2.

       One mile to the inch, small series, in contoured outline, with
       hills shaded or coloured, Nos. 347, 353, 1s. 6d. and 2s.; 348,
       354, 1s. and 1s. 6d.; 322, 336, 1s. 6d. and 2s.; 335, 346, 1s.
       and 1s. 6d.; 351, 359, 1s. and 1s. 6d.; 352, 360, 1s. 6d. and
       2s. These may be had flat or folded.

       Two miles to an inch (flat or folded, or on the new layer
       system), Nos. 35-6, 1s. 6d., 2s., 2s. 6d.

       Four miles to the inch, Cornwall, 1s. (flat or folded).

       Four miles to the inch, Nos. 21, 22, 1s. 6d., 2s. (flat or
       folded).

       Ten miles to the inch, No. II. (flat or folded), 1s., 1s. 6d.

It should be mentioned that Mr. T. Fisher Unwin is sole wholesale
agent for these maps, which may be procured from any bookseller.
Fuller details of the maps are given in a special Catalogue issued by
Mr. Unwin.

                                                              A. L. S.



CONTENTS


    CHAPTER                                                       PAGE

    I.      THE PLYMOUTH DISTRICT                                   13

    II.     LOOE AND POLPERRO                                       29

    III.    FOWEY                                                   48

    IV.     ST. AUSTELL TO ST. MAWES                                66

    V.      FALMOUTH AND TRURO                                      81

    VI.     FROM FALMOUTH TO THE LIZARD                            106

    VII.    THE LIZARD TO HELSTON                                  126

    VIII.   MOUNT'S BAY                                            150

    IX.     THE PENZANCE DISTRICT                                  167

    X.      THE SCILLY ISLANDS                                     190

    XI.     FROM LAND'S END TO ZENNOR                              211

    XII.    ST. IVES                                               231

    XIII.   FROM HAYLE TO PERRAN                                   253

    XIV.    CRANTOCK, NEWQUAY, MAWGAN                              271

    XV.     THE PADSTOW DISTRICT                                   301

    XVI.    TINTAGEL AND BOSCASTLE                                 335

    XVII.   BUDE                                                   354

    XVIII.  MORWENSTOW                                             363

    INDEX                                                          381



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS


                                                                  PAGE

    LOOE                                                            33
    _Photo by Gibson & Sons_

    FOWEY                                                           55
    _Photo by Gibson, Penzance_

    ON THE RIVER FAL                                                83
    _Photo by Gibson & Sons_

    COVERACK                                                       119
    _Photo by Gibson & Sons_

    THE LIZARD LIGHTHOUSE                                          129
    _Photo by Gibson & Sons_

    BENCH-ENDS IN MULLION CHURCH                                   133
    _Photo by Gibson & Sons_

    MARCONI STATION, POLDHU                                        139
    _Photo by Gibson & Sons_

    PRUSSIA COVE                                                   155
    _Photo by Gibson & Sons_

    ST. MICHAEL'S MOUNT, FROM MARAZION                             161
    _Photo by Gibson & Sons_

    PENZANCE                                                       171
    _Photo by Gibson & Sons_

    LANYON CROMLECH                                                181
    _Photo by Gibson & Sons_

    SHIPMAN HEAD, SCILLY                                           191
    _Photo by Gibson & Sons_

    A SCILLY FLOWER GARDEN                                         201
    _Photo by Alex. Old_

    CAVERN AT LAND'S END                                           213
    _Photo by Gibson, Penzance_

    SENNEN COVE                                                    219
    _Photo by Gibson & Sons_

    GURNARD'S HEAD                                                 227
    _Photo by Gibson & Sons_

    ST. IVES                                                       233
    _Photo by Gibson & Sons_

    CHURCH OF ST. PIRAN                                            267
    _Photo by Gibson & Sons_

    CRANTOCK CHURCH                                                283
    _Photo by Alex. Old_

    BEDRUTHAN STEPS                                                293
    _Photo by Alex. Old_

    MAWGAN CHURCH                                                  297
    _Photo by Alex. Old_

    PORTHCOTHAN BAY                                                303
    _Photo by Alex. Old_

    RUINS OF CONSTANTINE CHURCH                                    307
    _Photo by Alex. Old_

    TREVOSE LIGHTHOUSE                                             311
    _Photo by Alex. Old_

    CLIFFS NEAR PADSTOW                                            317
    _Photo by Alex. Old_

    A ROUGH CORNISH SEA                                            323
    _Photo by Alex. Old_

    WADEBRIDGE                                                     327
    _Photo by Alex. Old_

    PORT ISAAC                                                     331
    _Photo by Gibson & Sons_

    TINTAGEL                                                       337
    _Photo by Gibson & Sons_

    KING ARTHUR'S CASTLE                                           343
    _Photo by Alex. Old_

    ST. KNIGHTON'S KIEVE                                           349
    _Photo by Alex. Old_

    MORWENSTOW                                                     367
    _Photo by Gibson & Sons_



The Cornwall Coast


CHAPTER I

THE PLYMOUTH DISTRICT


Britain is an emergent mass of land rising from a submarine platform
that attaches it to the Continent of Europe. The shallowness of its
waters--shallow relatively to the profundity of ocean deeps--is most
pronounced off the eastern and south-eastern coasts; but it extends
westward as far as the isles of Scilly, which are isolated
mountain-peaks of the submerged plateau. The seas that wash the long
Cornish peninsula, therefore, though they are thoroughly oceanic in
character, especially on the north, are not oceanic in depth; we have
to pass far beyond Scilly to cross the hundred-fathom line. From the
Dover strait westward there is a gradual lowering of the incline,
though of course with such variations and undulations as we find on
the emerged plains; but the existence of this vast submarine basis
must cause us to think of our island, naturally and geologically, as a
true part of the great European continent, rendered insular by the
comparatively recent intrusion of shallow and narrow waters. With some
developments and some limits, our flora and fauna are absolutely
Continental, the limits being even more noticeable as regards Ireland.
The extensive coast-line has played a most important part in
influencing national history and characteristics. The greater or less
resistance of different rocks and soils has affected not only
coast-configurations, but therewith also the very existence and
well-being of the inhabitants.

The very appearance of Cornwall is eloquent of its granitic structure;
nothing less enduring could have survived the stress to which it is
daily exposed. All softer measures have been eroded by the fierce wash
of Atlantic seas; what we may consider a gaunt, bare backbone has
stood the test, and the Cornish coast to-day confronts forces that
would play havoc with the more yielding and gentle curves of east and
south-east England. We know what the narrow seas can do on
East-Anglian and Kentish shores; and the same work of coast-erosion
that we there see proceeding before our very eyes must have taken
place in Cornwall before the days when historians could note it. The
denudations that left our stark Cornish coasts as we know them now for
the most part occurred in times that are dim and legendary. We hear of
the havoc by an uncertain voice of tradition; we dream of a lost land
of Lyonesse, of which only the Scillies remain; but the underlying
truth of such romantic rumour must be carried back to Neolithic or
earlier times. Though inaccurate in detail, such legends are rarely
baseless. In places, such as Mount's Bay, there is still evidence of
what the sea has taken; in other parts the evidence has been washed
far from sight. The fact that the shallow seas extend far westward
cannot be ignored; 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, which is a matter
for the geologist rather than the historian to settle. It is an
alluring vision on which we can linger without the sense of being
actually unhistoric. We may even carry our thought further still, if
we choose, and dream of some old Atlantis, now lying submerged in far
greater depths beneath the waters of the ocean that perpetuates its
name.

It will be seen that the peculiar shape of Cornwall has not been
attained by chance, but has been the result of natural forces. In its
appearance on a map there is a certain resemblance to Italy; while
some etymologists, taking this appearance as a guide, have imagined
that the origin of its name may be found in its horn-like figure. No
other British division--using the word "division" advisedly, for
Cornwall is not strictly a county--has such an extent of coast-line.
Its greatest direct length is 80 miles, but the broken nature of the
shore increases this very considerably; even at its juncture with
Devon the Duchy is not more than 46 miles in breadth, and at its
narrowest it is only six miles. Both the most western and the most
southern points in England are to be found in Cornwall, at Land's End
and the Lizard. The climate is delightfully equable, without extremes
of heat or cold, but it is naturally humid, as Cornwall has to bear
the first brunt of rain-storms that drive in from the Atlantic. To
find a fitting point of departure for a pilgrimage round these coasts
we have to step into Devonshire. In some sense Plymouth is the gateway
of Cornwall, and a very appropriate gateway it is. Of the three
rivers that give Plymouth its noble estuary the Lynher is purely
Cornish, and the Tamar is as much Cornish as it is Devonian, except
that it rises just over the Devon border. The population of Plymouth,
Stonehouse, and Devonport is so largely Cornish that the three towns,
which we conveniently but incorrectly group under the name of
Plymouth, have been styled the "capital of Cornwall"; and certainly no
single Cornish town contains so many Cornish folk as have gathered
together to assist and share in the prosperity of this Devonshire
locality. The majority of visitors to the Duchy approach it by this
avenue, and the old stage-coaches followed very much the same route as
the present railway, but conveyed their passengers to Saltash by ferry
instead of by bridge. The rail is the successor of an immemorial
trackway that linked Devon and Cornwall in days when they had not been
subdivided. Even in times long before shires had been dreamed of, it
is certain that the river must have been an important tribal boundary.
There was a British track by which Cornish tin was carried eastward to
a point of nearer contact with the Continent; that point may have been
the Isle of Wight, but was more probably Thanet. This track passed the
Tamar at Saltash and ran to Liskeard, where it joined a tributary path
from the Fosseway; after which junction it crossed the Bodmin Moors
and pushed on to Truro and Mount's Bay. This has been spoken of as a
Roman road, but it was certainly not of Roman construction, being far
earlier in date. There is no proof that the Legions ever entered
Cornwall at all, and such Roman remains as Cornwall has yielded may be
attributed to British residents of Roman culture and taste. Cornwall
was never conquered, in the sense of occupation, either by Roman or
Teuton; and the conquest of the Ivernians, or Iberians, by the Celts
must have been very partial and chiefly in the nature of a military
predominance, if we may judge by the comparatively short stature, dark
skin and hair, that are still largely characteristic of Cornish folk.

Plymouth has another link with Cornwall, though it must be considered
a fabulous one. One of the suggested derivations for the name of
Cornwall is Corineus. According to Geoffrey of Monmouth, Corineus was
one of the companions of the Trojan Brutus, who landed at Totnes and
proceeded to bestow his name and his rule upon Britain. In support of
this we may quote Milton, with a suggestion that he was a greater poet
than historian: "The Iland, not yet Britain but Albion, was in a
manner desert and inhospitable, kept only by a remnant of giants,
whose excessive force and tyranny had consumed the rest. Them Brutus
destroies, and to his people divides the land, which, with some
reference to his own name, he thenceforth calls Britain. To Corineus
Cornwall, as now we call it, fell by lot; the rather by him liked, for
that the hugest giants in rocks and caves were said to lurk still
there; which kind of monsters to deal with was his old exercise." He
was indeed the father of Cornish wrestling, which has ever since been
so popular and so excellent. The poet proceeds to tell us how Corineus
wrestled with the giant Goemagog (or Gogmagog) and threw him into the
sea. Drayton, in relating the same legend, hints at the true cause
that enabled the smaller Neolithic Ivernians to subdue the taller
Paleolithic inhabitants; it being a fact that there was a difference
in height great enough to be magnified by fancy and exaggeration into
the myth of the giants. He tells how Gogmagog was brought forward as a
champion to daunt the Trojan invaders:--

    "Great Gogmagog, an oak that by the rootes could tear;
    So mighty were (that time) the men who livèd there:
    But, for the use of arms he did not understand
    (Except some rock or tree that coming next to hand,
    He raised out of earth to execute his rage),
    He challenge makes for strength, and offereth there his gage."

If there is any basis to this Brutus legend at all, it may be taken as
denoting an invasion of higher culture, of the later Stone or early
Metal Age, opposed to the greater physical strength but inferior
weapons of a lower scale in civilisation. Methods and materials of war
were the standard of advance then, as they seem to be still the
measure of dominance now. All tradition states that the struggle
between Corineus and the giant took place on Plymouth Hoe, on a spot
now partly covered by the Citadel. Plymouthians so devoutly cherished
the legend that they preserved the figures of the two wrestlers, cut
in the turf after the manner of the famous White Horses; but either a
greater scepticism or another need for the site has caused the figures
to vanish long since. As Corineus, by the same tradition, became first
Duke of Cornwall, it was supposed that he bestowed his name on the
Duchy; but the "Corn" is not so easily identified as this, and to get
at the true origin we should have to understand more definitely the
derivation of the tribal name _Cornavii_. But it does seem that the
Plymouth Hamoaze can claim to be the Hamo's Port which Geoffrey of
Monmouth wrongly identified with Southampton; and this proves that the
fine estuary, where the pulse of national life now beats so strongly,
was a haunt of navigators, defenders and invaders, in days before
Britain's story had begun to be written. Britain also can never forget
the part that Plymouth played in repulsing the Great Armada. It may or
may not have been true that Drake was playing bowls on the Hoe when
the Spanish ships were sighted; it may not be true that he said,
"There's time to play the game out and to thrash the Spaniards
afterwards." We can cherish this doubtful tradition or not, as we
happen to be credulous or sceptical; but in any case that was the
genuine spirit of the West Country in those days of stress, and that
was the spirit by which the British Empire was moulded. It was a
spirit born of rough seas and unruly winds, the confidence that sprang
from successful struggle with peril and difficulty, the pluck that
confesses nothing to be impossible. It was a spirit that loved sport,
yet never shrank from war.

But the glorious memories that linger on Plymouth Hoe, perhaps the
finest promenade in the kingdom, must not hinder us from passing over
to the Cornwall coasts that are luring us with all their varied and
exquisite beauty. We cannot stay to recall the sailing of the
_Mayflower_ from Plymouth Barbican, nor the wonderful siege endured by
the town during the great Civil War--the fiercest siege of all that
sad conflict, successfully sustained by the Plymouthians against the
forces that the King's generals, backed by loyal Cornwall, could bring
against them. The tales and associations that belong to the "Three
Towns" are of the deepest interest; and surely no other English shires
have so grand a dividing-line as this mouth of the three rivers. We
must not forget that Devon itself was once a part of Cornwall or "West
Wales."

We may well start our journey round the coast at Mount Edgcumbe, where
we find ourselves on Cornish soil, however eagerly Plymouthians may
claim the Mount as one of their special beauty-spots. There is good
excuse for the tradition that the Spanish Admiral, Medina Sidonia,
when he caught sight of Mount Edgcumbe on his way up the Channel in
charge of the Armada, was so impressed by its loveliness that he
selected the estate as his own future reward of victory. It is pretty
certain, however, that on this occasion the Admiral would not have
sighted Mount Edgcumbe at all until after-events had begun to render
him a little less cocksure of the result. But he may have seen the
manor during some earlier and more peaceful visit. The Edgcumbes are a
Devonshire family, coming from the neighbourhood of Tavistock; the
estate came to the possession of Sir Piers Edgcumbe by his marriage
with Joan Durnford, of East Stonehouse, and the present house was
begun by his son, Sir Richard, in 1553. It is possible that Sidonia
had been a guest of Sir Richard's in the following year, when there
was a notable gathering of Admirals here. There are some defences
still standing that were erected in anticipation of the Armada, and
these were brought into use by the Civil War, when Royalist Edgcumbe
frowned defiance at Parliamentary Plymouth across the Sound. But it
was Plymouth that had the last word, and Edgcumbe had to surrender in
1645. The peaceful memories of the spot are more in accord with its
beauty than those of discord and bloodshed; that beauty, and the
number of its distinguished visitors, had made it famous throughout
Europe. The place has been noted for its hospitality and for its many
guests, from the days of Cosmo de' Medici to those of our late King.
During his stay at Torquay, after the close of the Franco-German War,
the Emperor Napoleon III. came hither with his son; and it was only
two days later that the Crown Prince of Prussia, afterwards the
beloved Emperor Frederick, was here with his wife and sons, one of
whom, the Kaiser, now looms so large in the imagination of Europe. But
art has its associations with this spot, even more interesting than
those of royalty. The elder Vandevelde is supposed to have been here,
and to have painted his "Royal Charles" as the guest of Sir Richard
Edgcumbe; this and other paintings of his are preserved among the art
treasures. A little more certainty attaches to the visits of Sir
Joshua Reynolds. He was the son of the headmaster of Plympton
School--a school that can boast connection with three other famous
artists: Northcote, Eastlake, and Haydon; and as a boy young Reynolds
became a frequent companion of the second Lord Edgcumbe, then a lad of
about his own age. The two between them painted a portrait of Thomas
Smart, Vicar of Maker, who was the young Edgcumbe's tutor. The picture
was executed on a piece of sailcloth, in a boathouse at Cremyll. It is
probable that the portrait was done rather with mischievous than
artistic intent--a boy's picture of his tutor is not likely to be
flattering; but Reynolds had already begun to show signs of his
wonderful genius, and it may be guessed that he did the lion's share
of the work. The friendship between the two lads survived to maturity,
and there are many examples of the artist's ripe work at Mount
Edgcumbe. There are three generations of the family from his pencil;
and the marble busts in the saloon were purchased by him for this
purpose, at Rome, which he first reached chiefly through his friend
and patron's influence. There are also paintings here by Lely and
Mascall, and there is a good deal of fine statuary in the grounds.
When these grounds are hospitably thrown open to visitors, as they are
so often, the educative influence of art, as well as that of natural
beauty, is brought to bear on many, of whom we may hope that some are
susceptible. When Sir Joshua brought Dr. Johnson to Plymouth, in 1762,
we may feel sure that he took his great friend across to be introduced
at Mount Edgcumbe; and we know that others connected with the same
brilliant circle, such as General Paoli and Garrick, were visitors
here. Garrick, indeed, celebrated the place in verse, as surpassing
"all the mounts of England." Miss Burney came in 1789, on an occasion
when "all 'the Royals' went sailing up the Tamar"; and she was
delighted with the manor and its occupiers. There are therefore many
ghosts wandering about among these Upper and Lower Gardens--the
misnamed English Garden with its subtropical vegetation--magnolias,
cork, bamboo: the Italian Garden with its orange-trees; the French
Garden with its arbours and trellis and ilex-trees in the style of the
old Empire. But the ghosts that walk here among the crowd of
sight-seers, or at night when the moon glitters brilliantly on the
broad estuary, or when the dark, moonless expanse is pierced with
lights from pier and masthead and distant Eddystone--these ghosts are
not such as we dread; they are the gracious figures of old-time
guests, grizzled seamen of Elizabethan glory when men dreamed of new
worlds and found them: kings, nobles, poets, painters, they are all
here to greet us on our approach to the enchanted regions of the
Delectable Duchy.

It is said that a parish clerk, more than a century since, wrote a
poem about Mount Edgcumbe in which he stated that--

    "Mount Edgcumbe is a pleasant place,
      It looketh on Hamoaze,
    And on it are some batteries
      To guard us from our foes."

The batteries are certainly there, more numerous than ever, and we may
hope that they will fulfil the purpose ascribed to them. Picklecombe
Fort, on the cliff below the grounds, is particularly powerful, and in
conjunction with the similar forts on the opposite heights of Staddon
might be able to render a good account of itself if Plymouth Sound
were ever attempted. The massive breakwater might also become an
effective obstacle to unfriendly navigation. This defence, built to
protect the harbour from south-west and south-easterly winds, is a
very fine piece of engineering. It was begun in 1812, and its
construction took twenty-eight years. About four and a half million
tons of limestone were brought from the Oreston quarries, and two and
a half million cubic feet of granite from Dartmoor. The central
length is 1,000 yards, each of the wings being 350 yards, making the
total length nearly a mile. The original cost was £1,500,000, to which
may be added the expense on the lighthouse and on frequent repairs and
renovations. The utility of the work has amply repaid the outlay.
Though the surface rises several feet above normal high water, there
are many times when the breakwater is swept by waves from end to end.

Mount Edgcumbe is in the parish of Maker, and there is a sensational
tale attaching to the interesting and finely situated church. It is
said that a former Lady Edgcumbe was brought here for burial, and the
sexton, left to himself, was trying to tear the rings off her fingers,
when she gave a sigh and awoke. She had been merely in a trance.
Returning to her home, she lived for many years after. This tale is
sometimes told of Cotehele, an earlier seat of the family; but in any
case it is one of those legends that have been told of many places, in
England and abroad. Maker church tower was used as a signalling
station during the French wars, in connection with another at Mount
Wise; there is now a regular signal station at Rame Head. The lychgate
and old font deserve attention. These heights, and especially the
Mount Edgcumbe woodlands, suffered severely from the great blizzard of
1891, many of the finest trees being uprooted. At the foot of Maker
heights are the twin villages of Kingsand and Cawsand, separated by a
small brook; some of the houses, built across this, claim to be in
both places at once. This provides one of the most frequent and
popular trips of the Plymouth pleasure-steamers, and the picturesque
spot, once haunted by smugglers, is now, during the summer months, a
lively playground of the excursionist. It is said that Richmond,
afterwards Henry VII., landed at this spot on his first attempt
against Richard Crookback, his fleet having been scattered by a storm.
Southward is Penlee Point, and westward Rame or Ram Head. This is the
most southern point of East Cornwall, and the nearest land to
Eddystone. There is an old saying--

    "When Dodman and Ram-head meet,"

Dodman being the extreme point of Mevagissy Bay; and, as Ray tells us:
"These are two forelands, well known to sailors, nigh twenty miles
asunder, and the proverb passeth for the periphrasis of an
impossibility." The Head, which is nearly insular, has a chapel
dedicated to St. Michael on its summit. St. Michael was widely claimed
as a patron of lofty and exposed places (such as the two St. Michael's
Mounts); it was considered his especial function to disperse and set
at naught all evil forces of tempest and thunderstorm. Rame Church,
dating from the thirteenth century, is about a mile inland; it
occupies the site of a still earlier building. Whitesand Bay
(generally called Whitsand), which stretches westward towards Looe,
has many memories of the past to offer those who, in summer, come
hither in large numbers. It was here that Drake and Howard first
confronted the Armada, after the memorable but possibly fabulous game
of bowls. Whether the Spaniards intended making for Plymouth or no is
not quite certain; but it is certain that the Englishmen intended to
prevent them. It was in the early Sunday morning that the Spaniards
first caught sight of the English fleet--the royal or official
squadron under Lord Howard, the volunteers under Francis Drake.
Displaying his consecrated standard, the Duke Medina endeavoured to
interpose between the two sections of the opposing flotilla, thinking
to destroy them separately at his ease; but he was readily
circumvented in his design, finding to his cost that the English
vessels could sail closer to the wind than his own, and could be
manipulated more quickly, while their guns carried further. His
cumbrous ships also were too much crowded with men, being fitter for
transport than for action; the fighters were impeded by the press, and
every effective shot from the enemy's guns found many victims. The
English managed to keep at a distance while they delivered their
raking broadsides, which, according to the Spanish notions, was
against all principles of chivalrous sea warfare. But, as Froude says,
"it was effective, it was perplexing, it was deadly." Drake and Howard
did not wish to come to closer quarters with their formidable foes; a
near embrace of those heavy galleons, fully manned with brave men,
might soon have brought disaster; the struggle would have been too
unequal. It is the art of the weaker to be elusive. The engagement
lasted till late on Sunday afternoon, by which time the squadrons had
drifted past Plymouth Sound. Not many hours later the _Capitana_,
England's first prize, was being towed into Dartmouth harbour, giving
a welcome booty in bullion and powder. The Armada had received a first
blow, from which it never recovered; though recovery might yet have
been possible if the winds had not fought for the English. The
Spaniards' first taste of the West Country had probably satisfied
them, but other death-traps lay to the eastward. The later story of
the Armada belongs to distant Scottish and Irish coasts, whereon many
of its finest vessels drifted; it is a story of calamity, blunder, and
stubborn bravery; all the courage was not on one side of the
conflict--perhaps the Spanish were as great in their failure as the
English in their success.

The shores of Whitesand Bay, though so beautiful, are treacherous both
to the seaman and the bather; their beaches have often been strewn
with wreckage. The Bay is fully exposed to south-westerly winds, which
often hurl tremendous seas upon its coast, and many a good vessel has
been driven to its destruction. There are shifting sands here also,
which are the source of peril to unwary bathers; and it was at this
spot that Mr. E. Spender, the founder of the _Western Morning News_,
was drowned, with his two sons; a memorial marks the spot. But many
parts of the extensive bay are perfectly safe, and there are several
nooks that are becoming increasingly popular with visitors from
Plymouth, such as Port Wrinkle, with its coastguard station, and the
pretty village of Downderry. A portion of the coast is in the parish
of St. John's, and here there is a grotto excavated by a lieutenant,
who is said to have cured himself of gout by this labour; the walls
and entrance are inscribed with verse. Another of the Whitesand
parishes is Antony East, so named to distinguish it from other
Antonies further westward, which extends from the Lynher to the coast.
In this is the seat of the Pole-Carew family, a branch of the old
Devonshire Carews. The house dates from 1721, and has some good
pictures by Holbein, Vandyke, and Reynolds. Carew, the Cornish
historian, who died in 1620, lived and wrote his works here.



CHAPTER II

LOOE AND POLPERRO


As we pass along the coast from Whitesand Bay towards Looe we are
approaching a spot that is now prized for its exceeding loveliness,
but that formerly took high rank among the seaports of the West
Country. In appearance and in ancient position it must be classed with
Dartmouth and Fowey, which both were likewise notable ports in days
when the English navy was in its sturdy infancy--days when the
national pulse beat most keenly in the south and east instead of in
the north and midlands. Commerce and industrialism have largely
changed all that; Liverpool, Manchester, Birmingham have assumed
metropolitan importance in their densely populated districts. Only
Plymouth in the south-west is now of first-class consequence to the
nation; and Plymouth is a _parvenu_ compared with Looe and Fowey. The
actual decline of these two little towns may not be great, but
relatively it is enormous. Yet it deserves a milder term than decay,
for the present-day life here is still wholesome and in a certain
sense prosperous. It is a gentle and placid prosperity, very largely
the happiness of places that have no history. There is the
compensation of a glorious past, and there is the further
compensation that such places preserve for us the best picture of
what Old England truly was in days before she became "a nation of
shopkeepers." It is no use to go to the flourishing commercial cities
to find traces of earlier England; these cities have usually swept
away the traces of antiquity they once possessed--tortuous streets are
straightened and widened, quaint old houses are thrown down, the
picturesque makes way for the useful; even the old churches are looked
at askance, as occupying ground that might be devoted to warehouses
and offices. In these quiet corners of the West such temptations have
not presented themselves; population is thin, and there is little call
for the destructiveness of expansion; mediævalism may still be found
here, in the streets and byways, in the houses, and sometimes in the
people. The chief peril is in the intrusion of the summer holiday and
the "week-end." Irreparable damage is sometimes prompted by the desire
to attract visitors. But those who come to the West Country are not
usually such as seek for the noise and glare of the conventional
watering-place. They come for natural beauty, pure air, and quietude.
The recreative pleasure that they crave must be of a different kind
from that with which they can daily become familiar if they please.
There are theatres and music-halls in town; it does not add to the
wittiness of the Pierrot or the humour of the comic singer to find
them exercising their functions on a hot dusty beach, densely packed
with humanity, strewn with torn newspapers, burnt matches, orange
skins, and banana peelings. Yet those who feel in this manner are a
minority, otherwise certain popular resorts would be less
flourishing.

The crowds that flock to the average watering-place may leave their
toils behind them, but they apparently wish to carry their amusements.
Even the jaded mill-hand asks for the congested variety entertainments
of Blackpool or of Douglas, rather than for the solitudes of shore and
woodland. In moments of pessimism one may fear that the very capacity
of peaceful enjoyment is being killed, and that ceaseless grinding
work destroys the power of resting. When the ordinary tourist visits
places of peaceful solitariness he usually does so in crowds that
rifle and ravish the sacredness of this solitude; he ruthlessly
desecrates that which he does not understand; he never learns its
secrets; the most commonplace of public parks would have responded
fully to his needs and their gratification. But the West has long been
a resort of that wiser, certainly better endowed, minority that seeks
for direct personal contact with Nature, face to face, and not merely
as seen through the glass windows of huge pavilions or from the seats
of fashion-haunted promenades. Therefore the majority of Western
watering-places are not yet spoiled; their physical features have
often assisted to preserve them. They have not lost the quaint
simplicity of their parochialism, to become national if not
cosmopolitan. Constant intercourse with even the most sober of
visitors must take something from the provincialism, the cherished
traditions and local customs, the personal peculiarities and dialect.
But there is still a good deal left; there is still the possibility of
reaching Nature in her inmost sanctuaries, and at the same time
winning some of those elusive and shy confidences that are the charm
of locality.

[Illustration: LOOE.

_Photo by Gibson & Sons._]

In this sense Looe, or rather the two Looes, are purely delightful.
When we liken the place to Fowey or Dartmouth we must grant it the
advantages of being closer to the sea; it stands actually at the mouth
of its river, instead of retired within protecting sea-gates. To some
extent it has to submit to the tender mercies of the tripper, for
Plymouth steamboats are fond of bringing excursionists here; apart
from these invasions, the spot is as peaceful as could be desired
except by the veriest misanthropist. Approached by rail from Liskeard,
the journey is made in leisurely backward and forward stages, the
engine being reversed at times; so that passengers, who are requested
not to get out till "the train is at rest," sometimes imagine
themselves to be carried back to their point of departure. It is an
amusing little line, but it serves its purpose; and indeed has a
definite usefulness in reminding us that we have come away from bustle
and hurry to a region of placid leisure and quietness. Arrived at the
journey's end, one at first wonders how the people get in and out of
their houses, so higgledy-piggledy do they appear to be piled one on
top of the other; but the mystery may be solved by exploring the lanes
and allies. Deliveries of produce are still often made by panniered
donkeys, in quaint old-world fashion. There are two Looes, East and
West, and two rivers of the same name which meet above the bridge.
East Looe belongs to the parish of St. Martin's, and West Looe to that
of Talland; both were granted a corporation in the time of Elizabeth,
and each, before the Reform Bill, returned two representatives to
Parliament. The credit of having sent twenty vessels and 315 men to
the siege of Calais is given to East Looe, but it may be guessed that
all the residents on the banks of the Looe rivers joined in this
great patriotic effort. Those were the days of the town's fiercest
activities, though its business as a port trading with the Continent
endured till long afterwards; and the pilchard-fishery was once more
important than it is now. Pilchards now for the most part keep further
west. There is still much fishing done, and some small coastwise
shipping gives occasional bustle to the rugged little banjo-shaped
pier. There was anciently a great animosity between the two Looes, as
was natural with such near neighbours; and the two still nourish a
lurking contempt for each other, not always successfully concealed.
They are at one, however, in their scorn for the pretensions of Fowey.
An intense local patriotism, that really cannot tolerate outside
claims, is a feature of many Western towns; a man from the next parish
is almost as much a foreigner as if he came from "the shires." The two
Looes have been brought to an enforced companionship, but they are not
mutually conciliatory. East Looe can claim to be the business portion
of the town, having the pier and the principal shops, while West Looe
is more select and residential. The debate as to the greater antiquity
may be left for the two to settle between themselves, but its harbour
and pier must long have given East Looe the practical precedence. At
the harbour some coal and limestone are imported, and there is a
shipment of fish, bark, granite, and china-clay. East Looe boasts a
further relic of its past in the ancient pillory preserved at the
porch of its town hall. St. Martin's, the parish church, has a Norman
door, and a font that appears to be of the same date; there is also a
more modern church, St. Anne's, whose dedication recalls that of the
chapel which formerly stood on the old fourteen-arch bridge, long
since displaced. At West Looe the church of St. Nicholas was once used
as a town hall and room for general entertainment, and very curious
indeed were some of the amusements that used to come here. Mr.
Baring-Gould tells us that when he first saw Looe it struck him as one
of the oddest old-world places in England. There was a booth-theatre
fitted up, and luring the folk to its dingy green canvas enclosure.
"The repertoire comprised blood-curdling tragedies. I went in and saw
'The Midnight Assassin; or, The Dumb Witness.' Next evening was to be
given 'The Vampire's Feast; or, The Rifled Tomb.' This tragedy was
followed by Allingham's play, 'Fortune's Frolick,' adapted to the
narrow capacities of the company. It was performed in broad Cornish,
and interspersed with some rather good and I fancy original songs. But
surely nowhere else but at Looe could such a reminiscence of the old
strolling company-show of fifty or sixty years ago be seen." It is
said that there are still queer things to be seen at the annual fair
of May 6th, the West Looe "cattle and pleasure fair." But the contact
with outside influences has had its natural effect; Looe is not quite
what it once was; better approaches have been made, so that the
visitor no longer drops sheer upon the roofs of the houses as he did
once; the claims of local improvement and sanitation have done
something to remove quaint and characteristic features. Yet there are
still picturesque whitewashed houses with ragged gables and outside
staircases; there are still curious old porches and delightful
hanging-gardens where myrtle, hydrangea, and geranium can thrive all
the year round. The shops still partake of the dual character that we
find in quiet villages, so that the grocer is also the chemist and the
butcher is the greengrocer. In one case the grocer has not only a
chemist's store but also keeps a circulating library--a charming
confusion of trades that enables the visitor to do his shopping within
very limited range. The fishing done here, both professionally and as
a sport, is fairly considerable; the Looe fishing-fleet often goes as
far afield as the shores of Ireland, but when at home the men hang
about the quay in the usual fashion of their kind, getting an
occasional job with visitors, but more often enjoying that dreamy
laziness for which they appear supremely qualified. They have the
faculty of gazing long and intently at nothing, and of disputing for
hours over subjects of scarcely greater tangibility; but their
capabilities and efficiency must not be measured by their customary
longshore attitude. Sometimes their wrangling almost equals that of
the gulls that clamour in crowds about the small harbour, and that are
always on the look-out for refuse thrown from the boats or from the
quaysides. A special haunt of these gulls is the little Looe Island
lying off West Looe, which is about a mile in circumference and 170
feet in height. This islet, also called St. George's Isle, because a
chapel to St. George once stood here, is of great value to the
river-mouth as a natural breakwater, and was once of further value as
an inestimable aid in smuggling. Traces of the chapel may yet be seen
on the summit of the isle, and human remains found here may possibly
date from an early Christian settlement; but the prevailing memories
of the island are by no means saintly. It was once occupied by a
reprobate pair who certainly lived the "simple life" to perfection so
far as locality was concerned, but whose simplicity may otherwise be
doubted. These were a man named Fyn and his sister "Black Joan," who
appear to have been born on the Mewstone, near Plymouth, and who were
as wild as their companion seabirds. Their desperate cleverness
assisted ably in the running of many an untaxed cargo; and even when a
coastguard was placed on the island itself, his vigilance was quite
insufficient to baffle them. The smugglers of Whitsand Bay well knew
the uses of Looe island, and made frequent expeditions to it. The
supposed fishermen of Cawsand did far more smuggling than they did in
their avowed avocation, finding it more exciting and profitable; they
were joined by many wild spirits from Plymouth, discharged navy men,
loafers, and dare-devils. A special kind of galley was built to suit
them, ostensibly intended for seine-fishing, but in reality adapted
for high speed and easy handling; and these boats often made the
journey to and from the French shores, in the face of terrible danger
not only from Preventive forces, but from sea and rock. Very often the
cargoes were not landed at all from these boats, but were sunk near
shore, to be fetched as opportunity offered. Suspicion soon attached
to these fleet Cawsand fishing-boats, and when they set forth on their
apparently innocent purpose, the coastguard men were in a state of
irritated expectancy; they knew too often that they were being fooled,
yet their task of prevention was both difficult and perilous. The
order used to be sent out that "a rocket and blue-light will be fired
from the Ramehead when the galleys go afloat, as a signal to
Polperro." Many of the smugglers' tricks reveal invention of a high
order. After their own galleys had earned too much of a risky
reputation, many having been taken in the act, their owners resorted
to the device of chartering French vessels, with which, under certain
limits, the revenue cruisers could not interfere. It may be guessed
that unscrupulous confederates on Looe island were able to play an
important part in such enterprises; so that Fyn and "Black Joan"
enjoyed a life of constant excitement, and an unlimited supply of the
best spirits. Not many years since the floor of a barn on the islet
collapsed, and underneath was discovered a cellar for the storage of
such spirits. It will be seen that St. George's Isle fully deserved
its share in the evil repute that formerly attached to such islands as
the haunt of desperadoes; Lundy, off the North Devon coast, is another
instance. It was probably in remembrance of this isle and its chapel
that the Looe ship was named the _George_, of which it is related
that, many centuries since, it attacked and captured three French
vessels single-handed. But of this, and of Looe's nobler memories
generally, there is small record.

In place of such we have an interesting memorial of Looe's former use
of the "cage," a companion instrument to the pillory. It is stated
that "at East Looe Hannah Whit and Bessie Niles, two women of fluent
tongue, having exerted their oratory on each other, at last thought it
prudent to leave the matter in dispute to be settled by the Mayor.
Away they posted to his worship. The first who arrived had scarce
begun her tale when the other bounced in in full rage, and began hers
likewise, and abuse commenced with redoubled vigour. His worship, Mr.
John Chubb, ordered the constable to be called, and each of the
combatants thought her antagonist was going to be punished, and each
thought right. When the constable arrived, his worship pronounced the
following command to him, 'Take these two women to the cage, and there
keep them till they have settled their dispute.'" It is therefore
clear that the name of John Chubb must be added to the roll of Looe
heroes; and something may also be said for the constable--if he
accomplished his mission safely.

There are many beautiful walks to be enjoyed from Looe, one being
along the cliffs to Downderry; still more delightful is the walk along
the banks of the West Looe River to Watergate, where the luxuriant
foliage and the rich undergrowth of ferns are a perpetual joy. Such
wooded loveliness is of a kind that we do not usually associate with
Cornwall, though it is amply to be found in different parts of the
Duchy; it is more like parts of the Lyn or the Wye than what is
generally attributed to Cornwall. Another beautiful walk or row is up
the east river to Sandplace. Talland also should certainly be visited;
it is about two miles from West Looe, of which it is the
mother-parish. The church, with its campanile tower, is most finely
situated among wooded hills, and contains some beautiful workmanship.
There is an altar-tomb of Sir John Beville, 1574; and there are
bench-ends bearing Beville and Grenville arms. The families were
connected, as we are reminded by the name of the noble Sir Beville
Grenville. The transept was formerly known as the Killigarth Chapel;
and Killigarth, close by, was formerly the Beville manor, noted in
old days for its prodigal hospitality. The house has been destroyed,
and a farm stands on the site, retaining the old name. A mile or two
inland is Trelawne, another notable Cornish manor associated with one
of the great old families. Parts of the house, which is in Pelynt
parish, date from the fifteenth century, but a great deal of
restoration has been done. The Trelawneys removed hither from Alternon
in 1600. Mrs. Bray's novel, _Trelawney of Trelawne_, gives many
particulars about the family and the locality; but this typical
Cornish name is now chiefly recalled by the refrain of Hawker's "Song
of the Western Men":--

      "And shall Trelawney die?
    Here's twenty thousand Cornishmen
      Will know the reason why."

Hawker's song, which both Scott and Macaulay took to be a genuine old
local ballad, was skilfully woven around those three lines and made to
apply to the committal of the Seven Bishops, Sir Jonathan Trelawney,
then Bishop of Bristol, being one of the Seven. The ballad had an
enormous circulation and reputation, but, being issued anonymously,
brought little renown to its author. The refrain is generally
supposed, and was believed by Hawker himself, to belong to a popular
ballad of the days when the bishops were committed; but it seems to
have been earlier still, and to belong directly to this neighbourhood
of West Looe. It has been revealed that an earlier Trelawney was
imprisoned in the Tower in 1627, and there seemed a probability that
his life would be taken. Being much beloved in the district of his
home, some one was inspired to write the quatrain:--

      "And must Trelawney die,
      And shall Trelawney die?
    We've thirty thousand Cornish boys
      Will know the reason why!"

This circulated rapidly through the Duchy, and reached London, where
it is said to have procured the Cornishman's release. It is certain
that John Trelawney was committed to the Tower in 1627 by the House of
Commons, but was shortly released by order of the King and created a
baronet. It is very probable, therefore, that this occasion was really
the origin of the much-debated refrain, and that its use was revived
by the committal of Bishop Trelawney, if not on other occasions and
attached to other names as well. Hawker was not always sufficiently
explicit as to the derivations of his poems, and he was guilty of one
or two mystifications, some of which still survive in the popular
guide-books (such as his story of the "Silent Bells of Bottreaux");
but he cannot be accused on this occasion, as he never asserted that
his ballad was really ancient; and he certainly did fine service in
embodying and perpetuating the stirring refrain. As Hawker states, he
never claimed the chorus, but he did claim the ballad.

But after making all allowance for the beauties and varied
associations of the Looes and of Talland, it must candidly be
confessed that the great gem of the district is Polperro. From West
Looe it is reached by way of Portlooe and Talland; there are daily
excursions by brake from Looe in the season. Of course visitors can go
by boat if they prefer; the distance is about four miles. The little
port was once much more inaccessible than it is now; passengers
literally dropped into it by a path part of which was cut into steps;
no wheeled vehicle could possibly get down. The houses cluster at the
mouth of a deep ravine that runs up to the village of Crumplehorn.
Approaching the place by road, Mr. Norway says that "just at first one
sees nothing of the town, but all at once it bursts upon the sight as
the road runs round a bend, a striking huddled group of houses, cast
so strangely into a heap as to produce the impression that they must
have been built originally upon the hillside at comfortable distances
apart; and that by some slipping of the rock foundations the houses
have slid and slid until they can slide no further, but are brought to
a standstill in the very bottom of the hollow.

"The confusion of the town is immense. It is a labyrinth of winding
alley often ending in a _cul-de-sac_. But the downward sweep of the
headlands is superb; and under the towering cliffs studded with bosses
of golden furze lies a little pier and harbour with the sea-foam
flying sharply round the jutting peaks of rock before a stiff
south-wester, while the gulls wheel shrieking overhead, and out at sea
a schooner is labouring heavily." Unfortunately, the cliffs, both here
and at Talland, have lately been somewhat disfigured by huge
scaffoldings erected by the Admiralty for speed tests; but it takes
more than this to spoil Polperro. In spite of its appearance of having
slipped, many of the houses look as if they were carved out of the
very rock itself, and in some cases their steps actually are so
carved. Polperro, part of which is in the parish of Talland and part
in Lansallos, remains more lonely and primitive than Looe, for it is
not touched by the railway, and its site offers little temptation to
expansion. But it is becoming more and more sought after; artists have
learned to love it and have introduced it to the art galleries; the
inevitable sophistication must follow, just as Clovelly and Robin
Hood's Bay have become sophisticated. But nothing can take from
Polperro the loveliness of its position at the mouth of this seaward
gorge, the beauty of the hills that surround it, the deep, restful
blue of its seas. There are three piers protecting its safe little
harbour, but even these are hardly enough in times of tempest, and
heavy baulks of wood are let down into grooves, further to break the
force of the waves. The sea has played a deadly part to Polperro folk
in the past, and is ready to do so again. Old Jonathan Couch, the
forefather of our present "Q," gives a striking picture of what
Polperro used to be like in a storm during the days when he was doctor
here, a century since:--"The noise of the wind as it roars up the
coomb, the hoarse rumbling of the angry sea, the shouts of the
fishermen engaged in securing their boats, and the screams of the
women and children carrying the tidings of the latest disaster, are a
peculiarly melancholy assemblage of sounds, especially when heard at
midnight. All who can render assistance are out of their beds, helping
the sailors and fishermen; lifting the boats out of reach of the sea,
or taking the furniture of the ground-floors to a place of safety."
Every fishing port round the coast knows what such a tempest means,
and the horror, the hopeless and helpless desolation it arouses in
the minds of the women at home, if it should overtake their men at
sea. In these aspects, at least, our shores are still primitive; they
still know the primal force of wind and waves: there is no
sophisticating, no taming of these. But days are not all of storm and
wreckage; there are many times here when the waves lap peacefully
against the old stone piers, when the air is soft and delicious, and
when the women at their doors, engaged in their everlasting task of
knitting jerseys for their men, can chatter of the happiest subjects
without dreaming of storm or shipwreck. This is the calmer mood in
which visitors generally find Polperro.

Probably not many visitors will trouble to inquire into the derivation
of the name of Polperro; they will be content to know that it is
Cornish. There would be something to do indeed if tourists were to ask
the meaning of every place-name they meet with, and if they depended
on local replies their last state would certainly be worse than their
first. But an intelligent inquiry into the origin of place-names is
always delightful and useful. _Pol_, of course, is one of the
recognised Cornish prefixes; it is simply pool, the Welsh _pwll_, a
creek or inlet or "pill." The _perro_ is supposed to be a corruption
of Peter, and the whole name would thus mean Peter's Pool, so called
from a chapel to St. Peter that once stood on Chapel Hill. An earlier
name was Porthpeyre, which neither assists nor contradicts such a
derivation. That St. Peter should be the patron of an old fishing town
is only natural. Leland speaks of the place: "a fishar towne with a
peere." There are some who say that you really have to walk sideways
in Polperro, the streets are so narrow; but that is an exaggeration.
Small as the place is, it afforded abundant material to Mr. Jonathan
Couch, the country doctor who lived and died here (1788-1870), for his
_History of Polperro_, which is a very charming book; and he further
added to the reputation of the town by discovering certain
ichthyolitic remains known as the "Polperro fossils." Happily he was a
naturalist who recognised that the study of man is an important branch
of all natural history; and geologic curiosities, interesting as they
are, can hardly compete with the tales of old Polperro privateers and
smugglers. Polperro built its own boats as it bred its own seamen, and
both were excellent. That they were arrant smugglers was a
characteristic of the times and of the locality; it is not for us to
judge them. That they were men of piety is proved by the epitaph of
that smuggler who prays for the pardon of the Preventive man who had
shot him down:--

    "I by a shot which rapid flew
      Was instantly struck dead.
    Lord, pardon the offender who
      My precious blood did shed."

They were able to show a clean pair of heels not only to the excisemen
but also to the King's enemies; as was proved by the Polperro captain
who escaped from right under the nose of two French frigates during
our last war with "that sweet enemy, France."

Lansallos, one of the mother-parishes of Polperro, has a finely placed
church, useful as a sea-mark. It seems to have been in this parish
that a former resident had a very interesting duck-pond. It had all
the appearance of being like other ponds, and the revenue officers,
who sometimes dined here with their hospitable host, could see nothing
in the least suspicious. But, when desired, this duck-pond could be
made to swing round on a pivot, and underneath it was a most
convenient recess which was an admirable storehouse for such things as
it was not expedient for the Preventive men to see. The ingenuity
fostered by smuggling was notorious, but surely few cleverer devices
than this were ever conceived for the evasion of the King's revenue.



CHAPTER III

FOWEY


The traveller along the cliffs from Polperro to the Fowey estuary
finds himself first in the parish of Lanteglos, known as
Lanteglos-by-Fowey, to distinguish it from Lanteglos-by-Camelford. The
accent, locally, is laid on the second syllable; and the name is a
curious composite of Celtic and corrupted Latin. Taking the _t_ as
simply euphonious, we have the Celtic _lan_, first signifying an
enclosure, then a sacred enclosure or consecrated ground, finally the
church erected on such an enclosure; and _eglos_, a corruption of the
Latin _ecclesia_, found elsewhere in Cornwall at Egloshayle and
Egloskerry; the same word appearing usually in English place-names as
Eccles, in Welsh as Eglwys, in Irish as Aglish or Eglish (Gaelic,
_eaglais_). The _llan_ or _lan_ may generally be considered of earlier
date than the _eglwys_ or _eglos_. Lanteglos is a large parish, with
which visitors chiefly become familiar by means of Polruan, a kind of
suburb of Fowey across the river. To many persons the beauty and
grandeur of the scenery will be more attractive than any antiquarian
details, but there can be no harm in mentioning that the church of
Lanteglos is dedicated to St. Wyllow, who is supposed to have had his
cell here in the early days of Cornish saintdom, and to have been
murdered by a relative who was probably an unrepentant pagan. The
greater number of the parishioners live at Polruan, distant rather
more than a mile; the church is surrounded by fields and lanes, whose
luxuriant growth of bank and hedge suggest a rich humidity of soil. In
summer there is a remarkable abundance of ragged-robins by the
wayside, with honeysuckles and wild-roses clustering above them in
glorious profusion; here and there rises the stately spire of a
foxglove. Ferns of exquisite grace and loveliness dispute the right of
existence with brambles and grasses and moss; and golden grain comes
close to the churchyard wall. Standing as it does in such isolation,
it is surprising to find that the church is a building of considerable
size; but it is never rare to discover noble churches even in greater
solitude than this--our forefathers did not measure the size of their
churches in relation to the probable number of their congregations.
Also, the fact that a church is out of sight does not always mean that
it is out of mind; and when the fine, deep-sounding peal of Lanteglos
bells rings for service on Sunday mornings, a good number of
countryfolk wend their way through the lanes and meadows towards it. A
rugged and time-worn Celtic cross keeps guard beside the porch,
having, doubtless, stood here since the days when the first Christian
missionaries found these monoliths of granite serving a pagan purpose,
and transformed them with rough labour into the Christian symbol.
There is another such cross standing on the hill about a mile distant,
looking down on the little fishing harbour of Polruan, by which is
also a holy well. It is not many years since Lanteglos Church was a
disgrace to the country-side, by reason of the decay into which it had
been allowed to fall; but that period of neglect is past, and a
careful restoration has preserved the noble groining of the interior
and the fine woodwork of the benches. The building, chiefly Decorated
with Perpendicular tower, is specially notable for its admirable
ribbed vaulting. The font is of earlier date, and near it are the
parish stocks, once devoted to the confining of unruly legs. In the
Lady Chapel, south of the chancel, where an abortive stairway points
to the former existence of a rood-gallery, is a lovely altar,
constructed mainly of pure alabaster, and the flooring before both
altars is of highly polished marble. Here, too, are some fine old
brasses to members of a family that has played its part in the
nation's history; one member of which family, the duellist Mohun, is a
prominent figure in Thackeray's _Esmond_. The Mohuns, coming from
Dunster, settled at Hall House in this parish in the fourteenth
century; it was doubtless in connection with them that the church once
belonged to a Bridgwater foundation. But the Mohuns had removed to
Boconnoc by the time that they achieved their greatest notoriety, in
the person of Lord Charles, some of whose duels partook rather of the
nature of assassination than of fair fight, the most notable being his
slaying of the actor Mountford. It was in keeping with his life that
Mohun should die in a combat of such fierceness that both the
combatants, himself and the Duke of Hamilton, received mortal wounds.
Hall House, near the Bodinnick side of the ferry from Fowey, is now a
farm, embodying some remains of the old mansion. The Hall Walk above
this eastern bank of the river gives a magnificent view of Fowey town
and harbour. Fowey itself needs to be seen from such a spot to be
fitly appreciated. The house was taken and held for the King by Sir
Richard Grenville, and it is said that Charles, who was here in
August, 1644, was nearly struck by a ball from across the river, Fowey
being at that time in the hands of the Parliamentarian Essex.

Bodinnick is just a tiny hamlet, a small cascade of houses tumbling to
the riverside, with its own stone slip to meet the ferry at its foot.
The road to this ferry is so steep as to be almost precipitous, and
the cottages abutting on its side are embowered in fragrant bloom.
There is a runnel of water at the roadside, and in one place this
water is collected in a round stone basin that looks immensely old;
from this it trickles forth again with coolness and musical plash.
Having reached this spot, we may as well pass over into Fowey by the
ferry here instead of by that from Polruan. If we had already come
from Fowey to Bodinnick we should find that the ferryman would carry
us back without further payment; the outward fee included a
return--not like the ferry of Charon which had no return for
passengers. The oars dip peacefully into the water, breaking its
surface of glistening light; a delicious coolness, that phantom
fragrance of water to which we can give no name, steals upward
soothingly and sweetly.

Fowey, whose position is strikingly like that of Dartmouth, is named
from its river, which rises at Foy-Fenton on the Bodmin Moors and
passes through Lostwithiel on its journey to the mouth. Mr.
Baring-Gould derives its name, as that of the Fal, from the Celtic
_falbh_, which means the "running or flowing," but the point is
hardly clear. It is pleasant to turn from such disputations to the
place itself, which has become famous in present-day romance as "Troy
Town," the fanciful title bestowed by a gifted literary resident. The
true street of this town may be said to be its river, where it is
delightful to do one's business by water--much pleasanter than the
narrow and somewhat dingy road that lies out of sight behind. Each
garden has its boat moored at its foot, where the tide eternally
whispers and gurgles and ripples. Sometimes the stream flows silently,
though it may be with power; at other times it finds a voice by which
the air is possessed and thrilled. The old stained walls, the rugged
ladders by which the folk descend to their boats, are washed by the
clear, pure waters; the shimmer of water enters the dwelling-rooms and
is reflected on the ceilings, a fluctuating quiver of light, moved by
every breeze that ruffles the surface of the stream. The small gardens
are green to the edge of the walls that drop sheer to the river; these
ladders and gardens are the true household gates. Here and there may
be a small strip of quay, with the soil and grime of industry--perhaps
the blackness of coal-dust; but the prevalent flavour is domestic.
Higher up the river there may be more dissonance, where the steamboats
are being laden with china-clay and stone; there is a clang of cranes,
a rattle of machinery, a bustle out of unison with the placid water
beneath, the dense woodland behind. Maritime doings seem to lose much
of their beauty when they are dependent on steam--they cannot lose it
all. For pure beauty we must go to the sailing-boat, whether it be the
fisher's smack with red or tawny sail, the graceful yacht of
pleasure, the schooner or barque of commerce. All these are
represented in this lovely harbour within its protecting sea-gates;
but none of them are represented intrusively; there is plenty of room,
and there are delightful creeks running up into utter woodland
solitude, like that one which is the pleasantest way of reaching
Lanteglos Church.

One feature of this Fowey creek is its constant clamour of seagulls.
From morning to night their voice can be heard, sometimes with a noise
of wrangling and discordance, sometimes in single cries of bodeful
complaint. Occasionally the din is such that it is difficult to hear a
friend speaking; the birds cluster and hover and swoop above with
fierce argument and angry parleying. They are so accustomed to human
presences that, even if sometimes a nuisance, they are more often a
joy. They are never molested; they have a sense of privilege--the good
women of the houses will come out and talk to them as one might to a
pet canary. Very often the house-wife throws broken food to them, and
laughs at their scramble for it--the birds' queer difficulty in
settling downward on the water, the wide sweeps they take to reach
what lies beneath, the awkward dives and tumblings when they are near
the surface. In full flight they are graceful and buoyant, with an
easy command of their passage; but in descending thus to snatch
something from the tide they often appear clumsy. When the object they
want is close beneath, they do not seem able to reach it without
fluttering and effort; whereas if they see anything from a distance
they can swoop down upon it with the greatest ease. Sometimes one will
gather some morsel from the water or exposed beach, and soar away with
it; if observed, another, or perhaps two, will pursue him, trying to
snatch the booty from him. A flying bird with his beak engaged in
holding a treasure is very much at the mercy of his pursuers; his only
resource is either to outstrip his covetous comrades, or else hastily
to gobble the desired morsel in a manner that must rob it of some of
its sweetness. These gulls are peculiarly fond of settling on the
boats that are moored at the foot of the gardens; sometimes as many as
fourteen or fifteen may be seen on one little rowing-boat, all sitting
solemnly with their heads turned in one direction. A single bird will
alight first, and others follow till the boat is occupied from stem to
stern. Such of the boats as are in frequent use are seldom visited in
this way; but the birds select those that are rarely used, and the
owners of these boats do not always appreciate the selection. Some are
covered with canvas as a defence, and a few are at times decorated
with streamers of coloured rags, like those that we innocently place
in our gardens in seed-time to scare the sparrows. The gulls soon
recover from their alarm, if they ever feel any; and it is somewhat
suggestive of irony to watch a gull calmly wiping his beak on a piece
of rag intended to scare him away. Whether meant as insulting or not,
such conduct does not provoke the inhabitants to severe reprisals; the
gulls are an institution of the place, to be grumbled at sometimes but
always to be tolerated. And all the grumbling is not on one side, as
one may judge from the noise the birds sometimes make. At times the
sharp cawing of black crows mingles with the croaking, and of course
other birds have their say as well, in the bright mornings and dreamy
eves. Out beyond the mouth of the harbour there are curlews and
puffins on the lonely sea-washed crags; and in quiet weather there
are more of the gulls seaward than up among the gardens. But they may
certainly be regarded as the presiding genius of Fowey.

[Illustration: FOWEY.

_Photo by Gibson, Penzance._]

The village of Fowey--it calls itself a town--runs along in a single
street on the westward bank of the river. At first sight this street
is almost unattractive; it is narrow, with some awkward bends, and it
gives no view of the water except an occasional peep through a low
doorway. It runs to a considerable distance, and tries to increase its
importance by changing its name at intervals; a few small alleys and
by-roads strike off from it. One of its turnings is a sharp drop as
well as a curve, perilous to all but the initiated. In some parts when
a vehicle passes it is necessary to press very close indeed to the
wall or in the kindly shelter of a doorway; the ample omnibus of the
chief hotel spares little space for pedestrians. It may be with
something of a malicious chuckle that one notices that this
four-wheeled tyrant is often empty; but the malice is of evanescent
nature, born of narrow escape. There are some shops, respectable if
not imposing, and a goodly supply of inns; a fine church and a notable
old Cornish manor-house. But all the time one has a sense that the
real life of the place is the river behind these houses; even the
leisurely little railway station does not seem of much consequence,
though it acts as a feeder of the boats that busily ply here. Quite
obviously this is no resort of mere pleasure, and it is all the more
pleasurable for that; it has set itself to live sturdily, not
troubling to attract the idler and the luxurious. Fowey is not
altogether content to repose on its memories, though these are great.
Generations of those who laboured on deep waters have nestled in these
riverside homesteads, these nooks and corners and precipitous byways;
they were lusty fighters and dauntless smugglers; they rose for their
old faith, they fought loyally for their king, and they molested his
enemies when he was at peace with them. In general they were a tough
and independent lot, with a considerable scorn of those who live "in
England"--that is to say, beyond the Tamar; and to this day an
Englishman from the shires is very much of a foreigner with them. Even
the man from a parish a few miles distant is looked at somewhat
askance; after long years of residence they will still think him an
outsider, and they repudiate with scorn the idea that any interlopers
can understand them or their ways. They do not easily initiate
strangers into the local mysteries or bestow the freedom of their
township. Such an attitude may be out of date in this cosmopolitan
age, but it is not unpleasant to strike against it; it coexists with
the kindest of welcomes, the warmest of hospitalities. Yet it must be
confessed that there are moods in which these Cornish folk are neither
kind nor hospitable; their roughness is very rough, their
parliamentary elections are often conducted in a spirit notorious for
its violence. They are not all the gentle visionary dreamers that the
Celts sometimes claim to be; indeed, there is much in their very
physiognomy that proclaims them in large measure to be not true Celts
at all, but men of still more aboriginal blood. Where then, it may be
asked, shall we find the pure Celt? Yet it cannot matter greatly,
except to those who set far too much store on matters of race. The
weaving of ethnologic Britain would take more skill to unravel than
the most learned can now attain to; it is a weft of many strands,
strangely inter-knitted, and its result is infinite variety of
personality. But it may be that here in Cornwall some of its earliest
elements have lingered longer than in parts of the kingdom more
exposed to invasion and immigration.

Both Plymouth and Falmouth may be spoken of as modern towns compared
with Fowey. Its antiquity is proved by the dedication of its church to
the Irish St. Finbar, who seems to have been a pupil of the Welsh
Dewi, or St. David. Very many of Cornwall's saints came either from
Ireland or Wales, and some from Brittany, to which the debt was
repaid. Not much is known of Finbar, and that little is probably
apocryphal. In 1336 the church was reconstructed and rededicated;
Bishop Grandisson, who did this, may have thought that a more firmly
established saint would be better, and he chose St. Nicholas, the
patron of sailors and fishermen. A good part of the present building,
including the north aisle, probably dates from that time; but the
tower, a hundred feet high, is true Perpendicular. The groundwork has
settled, causing a curious slope. The south-porch doorways appear to
be late Norman. Among the monuments of the Treffrys is one erected by
John Treffry during his own lifetime. Place House, the home of the
Treffrys, stands close by, dominating the little town that presses
around it. If its restoration had been conducted in better taste this
fine old house might have been more beautiful than it is; its best
features are the two exquisite fifteenth-century bay windows. The
original hall and porch-room also survive, the latter being now known
as the "Porphyry Room." Perhaps some visitors will take a deeper
interest in the residence of Sir A. T. Quiller-Couch, the "Haven,"
standing pleasantly by the waterside, facing the mouth of the harbour.
Thousands of readers have made the acquaintance of "Troy Town" through
the romances of "Q"; and Mr. Couch is not only the writer of fiction
that is often delightful, he is also a fine literary critic.

We do not know a great deal of Fowey in its earlier days, but its
manor passed to Robert de Mortain at the Conquest. The town sent
vessels to the Crusades, and in 1340 it shared with the port of Looe
in sending a representative to a Council at Westminster. But the usual
test by which historians now estimate the relative consequence of old
English ports is the number of vessels contributed to the siege of
Calais under Edward III., and by this test, which should not be
pressed too hard, Fowey would appear to have been the chief port in
the kingdom. She sent as many as forty-seven ships, the largest number
of any, manned by 770 seamen. Next came Yarmouth, with fewer ships but
more men; and Dartmouth was third. It is interesting to recall that to
this memorable expedition Ilfracombe contributed six vessels, and
Liverpool one. We may take it that the whole Fowey estuary shared in
the manning and maintenance of this gallant squadron. The Fowey men
had certainly the defect of their qualities, being proud and
stiff-necked under the successes that attended them. It is reported
that Fowey was made a member of the Cinque Ports, that very elastic
"five"; but its comradeship in that association was clearly of a
stormy and high-handed fashion. We read that certain Fowey men,
passing near Rye and Winchelsea, "would vaile no bonnet," by which we
may suppose is intended the customary salutation made in courtesy to a
fellow-port.

Highly indignant, the men of Rye and Winchelsea sallied forth to teach
the Foyens better respect, our seamen in those days being as willing
to quarrel among each other as they were with the men of Normandy or
Brittany. In the quaint words of the Cornish Hals, this contempt shown
by the Fowey men, "by the better enabled seafarers reckoned
intolerable, caused the Ripiers to make out with might and maine
against them; howbeit with a more hardy onset than happy issue; for
the Foy men gave them so rough entertainment as their welcome, that
they were glad to depart without bidding farewell--the merit of which
exploit afterwards entitled them Gallants of Fowey." Of course the
Fowey men held their heads higher than ever after this, and even
presumed to wear the arms of Rye and Winchelsea interwined with their
own, in token of their supremacy. It was from such tough fibres that
the British navy was built; those strenuous days of constant conflict
and privateering were a grand tutorage for seamen, though not
unexceptionable from a moral standpoint. But a town that behaved as
Fowey did naturally had to suffer reprisals.

To quote again from Hals, we learn that certain Normans, with a
commission from the King of France to "be revenged on the pirates of
Fowey town, carried the design so secret that a small squadron of
ships and many bands of marine soldiers was prepared and shipped
without the Fowey men's knowledge. They put to sea out of the river
Seine in July, 1457, and with a fair wind sailed thence across the
British Channel and got sight of Fowey Harbour, where they lay off at
sea till night, when they drew towards the shore and dropped anchor,
and landed their marine soldiers and seamen, who at midnight
approached the south-west end of Fowey town, where they killed all
persons they met with, set fire to the houses and burnt one half
thereof to the ground, to the consumption of a great part of the
inhabitants' riches and treasures, a vast deal of which were gotten by
their pyratical practices. In which massacre the women, children and
weakest sort of people forsook the place and fled for safety into the
hill country. But the stoutest men, under conduct of John Treffry
Esquire, fortified themselves as well as they could in his then new
built house of Place, where they stoutly opposed the assaults of the
enemies, while the French soldiers plundered that part of the town
which was unburnt without opposition in the dark." But the
country-side was aroused, and men began to gather in such force that
the French invaders found it prudent to depart with some haste, and
with such of their spoil as they could hurriedly carry with them. They
departed, says Hals, "with small honour and less profit." It was after
this attack that the twin forts were built, at Polruan and Fowey, to
protect the mouth of the river, and a chain was dropped at night
between the two, as was the practice at Dartmouth.

It must have been on another occasion that the wife of Thomas Treffry,
as Leland tells us, "repelled the French out of her house in her
husband's absence." But the great days of Fowey were nearing their
end. When Edward IV. made peace with France the town declined to
countenance this termination of hostilities, and continued to wage
war on its own account; perhaps it felt that there was much yet to be
wiped off. "I am at peace with my brother of France," came the royal
message; but the Fowey men were not at peace, and they said so. It is
even stated that they slit the nose of the King's pursuivant, which
almost made it appear that they were willing to be at war with the
King of England also. Edward was not the man to be so trifled with,
but the course he took was unkingly and despicable. He sent a party of
men, who were clearly afraid to come nearer than Lostwithiel; and
these, pretending to be harbouring some new designs against the
French, invited the men of Fowey to come and take counsel with them.
The Fowey men were then treacherously seized and their leader hanged;
and the men of Dartmouth were fetched to take away the chain from
Fowey Harbour and to snatch its ships. It may be that Dartmouth had
some accounts to settle with its Cornish neighbour, but even these
Devonians must have felt some grudging at such an act. This was the
death-blow of Fowey's naval prosperity. She was now at the mercy of
her foes, home or foreign. Yet she continued to bear herself bravely.
Later, she erected St. Catherine's Fort as a defence; it is now a
picturesque ruin. In the Civil War Fowey, like Cornwall generally, was
loyal to her King, and though Essex took the town, it was soon
retaken, with six thousand prisoners, and held for a year and a half
longer. A few years later, (in 1666) the Dutch chased our Virginian
fleet into Fowey Harbour, and dared to follow the vessels with the
purpose of destroying them. But the Fowey forts had a word to say in
the matter, and they made the place so hot for the great Dutch
frigate of seventy guns, that it was glad enough to escape without
finishing its errand. Such are the leading incidents in the history of
this plucky little town, which formerly returned two members to
Parliament. Relatively, its eminent position is entirely lost, but it
has an eminence for loveliness of situation that can never be taken
from it, and it can educate its sons in a glorious though chequered
tradition. It has memories of occupation long before days of Cinque
Port emulation. Close to Menabilly Park (Menabilly is the seat of the
Rashleighs, a Cornish family of ancient repute) is a granite pillar
known as the Longstone, bearing the inscription _Cirusius hic jacit
Cunomori filius_, doubtless commemorating a Romanised Cornishman. At
this manor-house, about two miles westward of Fowey, on a height above
the sea, is a curious grotto built by a former Rashleigh to exemplify
the mineral wealth of the Duchy. It is octagonal, and its sides are
inlaid with native ores, fossils, shells, and stones. There is a
further remarkable mineral collection at the house, with fine
specimens of sulphuret of tin and copper, malachite, fluor, crystals,
topaz, with some blocks of prehistoric tin. The coast here extends to
Gribbin Head, and there is then a sharp bend inward to Par sands. Par
is not particularly attractive, except for its pleasant bay; but the
decay of its former mining activities is compensated for by its busy
shipping of china-clays at the quays built by the late Mr. Treffry.
Much of the china-clay goes to distant potteries, or is used for the
whitening of cheap so-called linens; of course, much of this is
despatched at the railway station which is the junction for Fowey.
This is a British export which seems to be advancing by leaps and
bounds; and this St. Austell district, with another active port at
Charlestown, is practically its centre. It is said that, in this
district alone, the royalties paid to ground landlords approach the
figure of £90,000 per annum, and foreign companies are keenly
endeavouring to establish a footing. But the presence of the powdery
clay is not alluring except to those who profit by its output, and we
may leave Par and Charlestown to their industrialism. Tywardreath (the
"house or town-place on the sands") claims mention for the memory of
its old Benedictine priory, now vanished. To pursue the Fowey River
inland, past the charming Golant and St. Winnow, is a delightful
excursion with a fitting termination in the beauties of Lostwithiel;
but on the present occasion it takes us too far from the coast. The
loveliness of this river resembles and equals that of the Fal and of
the Dart.



CHAPTER IV

ST. AUSTELL TO ST. MAWES


The town of St. Austell is not exactly upon the coast, but it is only
about two miles inland, and visitors may be attracted by the
reputation of its fine church. It is a busy and self-respecting little
town, and is the commercial centre of a district that, for Cornwall,
is quite thickly populated; it is, indeed, one of the few Cornish
districts in which population has really shown an increase of recent
years. Much of its growing activity is due to the china-clay business;
St. Austell claims to be the china-clay metropolis of the world. Most
of the shipment is done from Fowey, Par, and Charlestown. The industry
is becoming a recognised lucrative field for investment. Yet the
immediate presence of the mines and yards is not a thing of beauty or
of comfort. St. Austell Church, dedicated to a companion of the famous
St. Samson, has a lofty Perpendicular granite tower, whose niches
contain statues of Christ, the Virgin, and many other saintly figures.
The implements and emblems of the Crucifixion are carved in the
southern buttresses. Older than the tower is the chancel; and there is
a Cornish inscription, _Ry Du_ ("give to God") above the porch. In the
churchyard is one of the sacred stones whose names at least we find
scattered in different parts of the kingdom, such as the _stan_ (or
Steyne) of Brighton, and the "folk's-stone" of a popular Kentish
watering-place. This St. Austell stone, the Menagew, is said to have
once stood at the junction of three manors, but its veneration
doubtless dates from a far earlier period. The historian Lake tells
us, "It is certain that on this stone all declarations of war and
proclamations of peace were read; and although at present it is
partially disregarded, a strong degree of veneration still attaches to
its name. All cattle that had been impounded for a given time, and for
which no owner could be found, were brought to this stone and exposed
for a certain number of market days, after which, if they remained
unclaimed, their sale became legal." But many visitors will probably
take greater interest in the famed Carclaze Mine, situated more than
600 feet above sea-level; the pit is about 150 feet deep, and nearly a
mile round. Once notable for its tin, this mine now supplies an
immense quantity of china-clay and stone. Charlestown may claim to be
the port of St. Austell, and is becoming also a popular residential
suburb. But St. Austell has another watering-place in Porthpean, a
mile or two westward, which, though it can boast of no shipping, has
features that may some day bring it a wide reputation. With good
sands, good bathing, a mild climate, Porthpean might easily develop
into a holiday resort of the conventional but highly prosperous type.
As yet its fame is hardly more than local.

South of Black Head, an eminence of about 150 feet, is the little port
of Pentewan, noted for its elvan building stone, which is shipped,
together with some china-clay, from its excellent small harbour.
Pentewan stone has a good name for hardness and durability; its
qualities are well shown in the tower of St. Austell Church. In the
tin works here, carried on at some depth below sea-level, were found
horns of the Irish elk, not petrified, but completely metallised by
the tin ore; also definite traces of buried forest. It is said also
that some curious oaken canoes were discovered in the soil, but were,
unfortunately, destroyed for firewood by the tinners. It is hard to
estimate how many valuable antiquities have been similarly destroyed
by carelessness and ignorance; but such ruin has been more often
suffered by stone monuments, longstones, kistvaens, snatched for use
as gate-posts and walls by heedless farmers and builders.

About two miles inland from Pentewan is Heligan, a very fine estate,
whose gardens display rare subtropical vegetation. Such vegetation is
rather a boasted feature in southern and western Cornwall, and is, of
course, interesting as a kind of _tour-de-force_, showing what the
British climate at its best can do. Apart from this use, however, it
may seem to some of us that such efforts are easily overdone; the
native beauty of an English garden or woodland has infinitely more
appeal, more freshness, more loveliness, than any grandeurs of the
exotic. The glories of Kew Gardens have their charm, their utility,
their educational value; but tropical growths are really as much out
of place in an English landscape as a Moorish palace or a Buddhist
temple would be. All who know anything of landscape gardening know
that it has been a fertile field for the growth and exemplification of
false taste. Yet the plea of botanical interest, educational use, may
be added to the attraction of rarity as a defence of all such
cultivations as we find not only at Heligan and Mount Edgcumbe, but at
Morrab Gardens and Tresco. Those of us who dislike them can keep away.
But Heligan has a reputation also for genuine English beauty. The old
mill here has been a favourite with many artists, and has become
familiar in many an exhibition-room. At Lanshadron, close by, is a
mutilated cross, which is perhaps unique in having an inscription
around its base; the inscription being Latin. Heligan is in the parish
of St. Ewe, which is usually supposed to be a dedication to St.
Eustachius; but non-Celtic saints are almost as much out of place in
Cornwall as exotic plants are, and St. Ewe was probably some forgotten
British or Welsh missionary. A former clergyman of this parish appears
to have been notable as a healer of bodies as well of souls. We read
of him that "Martin Atwell, parson of St. Ewe about 1600, was a
physician of body as well as soul: now and then he used blood-letting
or bleeding, and administered Marius Christi and other like cordials,
yet mostly for all diseases he prescribed milk, and very often milk
and apples, and recovered sundry out of desperate and forlorn
extremities: his liberality was very great, his affection for religion
sound, and he turned out with both hands _in pios usus_." Certainly a
most enlightened man for his time, and if we could only add that he
recommended the milk to be sour we should have brought his modernity
to the highest point.

Mevagissey, about six miles south-west of St. Austell, was once one of
the most flourishing fishing-ports on the Cornish coast, and though
it has not quite maintained its relative position, it is not done with
yet. The town can also boast some fame as the Aberalva of Kingsley's
_Two Years Ago_, a book once far more popular than it is to-day. The
same claim has been made for Clovelly; but though some features in the
novelist's description may be applied equally to both, there are other
points that can only be attributed to Mevagissey. Kingsley, who wrote
the book fifty years since, says: "Between two ridges of high pebble
bank some twenty yards apart, comes Alva River rushing to the sea. On
the opposite ridge, a low white house, with three or four white
canvas-covered boats and a flagstaff with sloping crossyard, betokens
the coastguard station. Beyond it rise black jagged cliffs; mile after
mile of iron-bound wall: and here and there, at the glens' mouths,
great banks and denes of shifting sand.... Above, a green down
stretches up to bright yellow furze-crofts far aloft. Behind, a reedy
marsh, covered with red cattle, paves the valley till it closes in;
the steep sides of the hill are clothed in oak and ash covert....
Pleasant little glimpses there are, too, of gray stone farmhouses,
nestling among sycamore and beech; bright green meadows,
alder-fringed; squares of rich fallow-field, parted by lines of golden
furze; all cut out with a peculiar blackness and clearness, soft and
tender withal, which betokens a climate surcharged with rain. Only, in
the very bosom of the valley, a soft mist hangs, increasing the sense
of distance, and softening back one hill and wood behind another, till
the great brown moor which backs it all seems to rise out of the empty
air. For a thousand feet it ranges up, in huge sheets of brown
heather, in gray cairns and screes of granite, all sharp and
black-edged against the pale blue sky." The description of the town
itself that follows might apply tolerably well to a number of such
fishing-ports in the West Country; but Kingsley is most clearly not
speaking of Clovelly, and he introduces Cornish names. That corner of
North Devon must be content with figuring in _Westward-Ho!_ and not
claim _Two Years Ago_. There was the cholera also, which was a very
terrible reality at Mevagissey in 1849, and which did its good work as
well as its evil, by causing the place to be thoroughly cleansed. The
truly Cornish name of the town derives from a double dedication to the
Saints Meven (or Mewan) and Issey; St. Mewan being a Welsh saint, and
St. Issey probably an Irishman. The place has won, and deserved, the
nickname of Fishygissey, but there is none the less a real charm about
it; its distance from the railway, however inconvenient for visitors,
brings compensations that many can appreciate. The pier dates from
1770, but the harbour is much more recent. A fine and costly harbour
constructed about 1890 was destroyed in the following year by the
great blizzard, which is distinctly "_the_ storm" in the West of
England; the present quays were built in 1897. At one time more
pilchards were taken here than at any other spot, but the pilchard is
a fickle fish, and has no consideration beyond the choice of
feeding-grounds; if better satisfied elsewhere, no sentiment
interferes with its migrations. But there are still a good many
pilchards taken off Mevagissey, and these are largely cured here--many
under their own name, but a large number find their way to the factory
of the Cornish Sardine Company established in the town. It has often
been debated whether pilchards and sardines are one and the same; Mr.
Aflalo says they are identical. It is certain that many so-called
sardines are pilchards--and some are sprats. Differences in size may
be accounted for by the fact that Cornish nets have often a rather
large mesh, and the smaller fish are not taken. Many such nets are
made at Mevagissey. The seine, or sean-net, was that commonly used
here when the pilchard schools came nearer, but is now almost
abandoned for the drift-net; we shall find seines still common further
west. The seine may be described as a wall of netting, buoyed at the
surface and weighted below; this is dipped in the thick of the shoal,
its ends drawn together, and the fish taken out with a tuck-net. The
leaded bottom of the net must touch the ground or the fish will
escape; thus seine-fishing is only practicable in shallow waters. With
it is associated the occupation of the "huers," who are stationed on
the look-out above the shore, and who signal the arrival of the
schools, easily seen in the daylight. But this method is now abandoned
at Mevagissey, where the fishermen go farther from port, sailing to
meet the schools in open sea instead of waiting close to shore for
them. In many details their drift-fishing differs from the seine. The
nets are long and deep, with a fairly large mesh: the object being for
the fish to become entangled as in a trap, into which they swim
blindly. A dark night is the most favourable; the drift-fishers start
from port about sunset, and are often back with their catch long
before dawn. The fish, indeed, are frequently caught, brought ashore,
and sold before daybreak; some are taken off by hawkers to be sold at
farms and cottages about the country-side, while others go at once to
the curers, or are pressed for export. Of course, mackerel and other
fish are caught, often in considerable quantity, but the distinctive
Cornish fish is the pilchard, and the pilchard has had most to do with
the prosperity of Cornish fishing-ports. Unless cooked by the
initiated, however, who get rid of the superfluous oil, the fresh
pilchard is a very bilious article of diet, and the visitor must be
wary.

In Mevagissey Church there is a curious old font, probably Norman in
date as it is in appearance. The tower of this church was removed for
some reason, perhaps because it was out of repair; and it was slyly
reported in the neighbourhood that the townsfolk had sold their bells
to pay for the removal of their tower. Cornish parishes are fond of
these jibes against each other. Penwarne, the seat of "One-handed
Carew," is in this parish; he lost his hand at the siege of Ostend in
1601, and returning after the fight, he presented the amputated limb
to his hostess, remarking "This is the hand that cut the pudding
to-day." A little south is the fishing hamlet of Portmellin; and just
beyond Chapel and Turbot Points reach out into the Channel. There are
remains of entrenchment on the headlands, and a little inland the farm
of Bodrigan perpetuates the name of an old Cornish family, once of
power and reputation. The waste known as Woful Moor, and the rock on
the coast named Bodrigan's Leap, both have a tale to tell in relation
with the ruin of this ancient family. It seems that in the days of
Richard III. Sir Henry Bodrigan was engaged in a fierce feud with the
leaders of the Edgcumbe and Trevanion families, and in the hour of
his prosperity he pressed them hardly. When the day of adversity came
and he was attainted by the newly crowned Henry Tudor, Bodrigan's
enemies turned on him with vindictive zeal. Driven to bay, the
desperate Bodrigan met them in a last conflict on Woful Moor, so named
to commemorate his sorrow, and was so hotly pressed that he was
compelled to leap from the shore, at the spot still known as his
"leap." The drop was of a hundred feet, but he escaped without injury
and was picked up by a vessel that lay beneath. His later story is not
told; but Gilbert says that "he seems to have perished in exile. His
property was divided between the two families opposed to him, and,
after the lapse of three hundred and fifty years, continues to form a
large portion of their respective possessions." But much water has
passed by Black Head since Gilbert wrote.

There is a recollection of Bodrigan at Gorran Haven, where he is said
to have built the old pier; this was rebuilt in 1888. Gorran Haven is
a most attractive little fishing-village, and may have a future before
it as a watering-place; at present it only draws the quietest of
visitors. The beach is excellent, pleasantly diversified with crags;
and there is a small outlying mass of rock known as the Guineas or
Gwinges, round which a rough sea breaks finely. There is a daughter
chapel here, late Tudor, dating from about 1450 and restored in 1885;
while the mother-church of St. Gorran at the church-town has a
pinnacled tower of 110 feet in height (late Perpendicular) with six
bells. This was renovated in 1896. There are some good initialled
bench-ends in the church. It is a district of grain culture. Gorran
men were rather made a butt of by their neighbours in the old days;
they "tried to throw the moon over the cliffs," and they "built a
hedge to keep in the moonlight." Such parochial witticisms may be
laughed at to-day, but they often provided a stinging grievance in the
past and were a handy weapon in neighbourly feuds. They were by no
means limited to Cornwall, though the Duchy was very plentifully
supplied. The typical instance in England is that of the unfortunate
men of Gotham, whom it is amusing to find old Ray seriously defending
in his _Proverbs_, where he says that "as for Gotham, it doth breed as
wise people as any which causelessly laugh at their simplicity. Sure I
am, Mr. William de Goteham, fifth Master of Michael House in
Cambridge, 1336, and twice Chancellor of the University, was as grave
a governour as that age did afford." All which may be very true; and
doubtless the men of Gorran were no more simple than their decriers.
Doubtless also they had a payment for all compliments. The local
dedication seems to be to the Gorran or Goron who surrendered his cell
at Bodmin to St. Petrock, perhaps because he recognised a better man.

The coast around Gorran is very grand, and reaches its culmination in
Dodman Point, sometimes called the Deadman, which rises to about 370
feet. The cliff has a sheer drop to the water, which is here deep, so
that large vessels can pass close inshore. The local saying linking
Dodman with Rame Head has already been quoted; and it is asserted that
Dodman and Rame really did meet when they both came into possession of
Sir Piers Edgcumbe. This bare, gaunt headland has proved disastrous to
shipping, and some will recollect that two torpedo-destroyers, the
_Thresher_ and the _Lynx_ collided with the rock here in a fog,
several lives being lost through the resultant explosion. This point
is the eastern gateway of Veryan Bay; in the heart of which bay lies
the very small parish of St. Michael Caerhayes, or Carhays. The parish
is inseparably connected with the old Cornish family of Trevanion, one
of which family, Sir John, fell at the siege of Bristol in the Civil
War, and left his name to the sad commemorative couplet in which
Cornwall recorded those by whose lives she had to pay for their
glory:--

    "The four wheels of Charles's Wain,
    Grenville, Godolphin, Trevanion, Slanning, slain."

The list was not exhaustive. Speaking of Trevanion and Slanning,
Clarendon says: "They were the life and soul of the Cornish Regiment;
both young, neither of them above 28; of entire friendship to each
other, and to Sir Bevil Grenville, whose body was not yet buried." It
would be a poor thing if the horrors of war did not sometimes allow us
such glimpses of heroic friendship and valour. In the church of St.
Michael's are hanging many weapons that once belonged to Trevanions,
including the sword said to have been worn at the field of Bosworth by
Sir Hugh, who was knighted after the battle by the conquering
Richmond. There is a doorway supposed to be Saxon in this church. The
present Caerhayes House, beautifully situated at the head of
Porthluney Cove, is the successor of the old Trevanion mansion, and
was built about a century since by Nash, the architect of Buckingham
Palace and Regent Street. For the sake of contrast, it is interesting
to remember that the Brighton Pavilion was also Nash's work; and thus
the mind can wander from this peaceful Cornish cove to that most
populous of British watering-places. At Portholland is a small hamlet
wedged into a tiny cleft, where those who desire the uttermost
quietude might be satisfied; westward along the coast is the slightly
larger fishing village of Portloe. This is in the parish of Veryan,
one of the "Roseland" parishes whose name has really nothing to do
with roses. Roseland, formerly Rosinis (_Rôz-innis_, "moorland" or
"heath island"), was in its origin a very early designation of this
strip of land lying between Veryan Bay and the Fal; and we find the
same original in the Rosen Cliff, just above Nare Head.

Nare Head, a fine bluff of rock, is the southward point of Veryan
parish and the western extremity of Veryan Bay. There is some memory
of Tregeagle around this headland, but his tale belongs more fully to
Dozmare Pool on the Bodmin Moors and to the Land's End district. More
immediately concerning us is the story of Geraint--at least of one of
the rather numerous Cornish princes bearing that name--which is
associated with Gerrans Bay and Dingerrein, now opening upon us, and
with the great barrow of Carne Beacon. Perhaps Geraint, Latinised as
Gerennius and sometimes as Gerontios, was simply a title of
chieftainship or kingship; it is certain that the name was applied to
more than one British chieftain, though since Tennyson's Idylls there
has been only one Geraint in the mind of the general reader. Gerrans
Bay, of course, embodies the name, and so do the remains of the
entrenchment or camp at Dingerrein. It is possible that he whose name
thus survives was truly the Arthurian champion; we may certainly give
him the benefit of the doubt, and believe that this was the Geraint
who married the sweet Enid, who tested her faith so harshly, and who
died at Llongborth (probably Langport in Somerset) about the year 522.
He is claimed by the Welsh bards as one of their heroes, and there can
be no historic objection to such a claim. Llywarch Hen sang of his
death--

    "In Llongborth Geraint was slain,
    A brave man from the region of Dyvnaint,
    And before they were overpowered they committed slaughter."

Tennyson's version of the legend is mainly taken from the Mabinogion.
We usually think of this Geraint, son of Erbin, as a fighter, but in
Cornwall he appears as a saint and the father of saints; both
characters, indeed, have been united in the same person, before and
since. Geraint is claimed as the founder of Gerrans, as well as of St.
Géran in Brittany; and Dingerrein is supposed to have been his
residence, while Carn Beacon was his tomb. The last supposition is the
most dubious. There is a traditional rumour that he was driven from
Wales by Teutonic invaders, that he settled here near Veryan and built
this stronghold, that he embraced religion and resigned his rule to
his son, and died a holy man. If we accept this tale we must decide
that it was another Geraint who fell fighting at Langport. The Book of
Llandaff tells us that the great St. Teilo visited Geraint while on
his way to Brittany, and that he hastened back from the Continent in
time to administer viaticum to his dying friend, bringing a stone
coffin for the burial with him. Tradition further says that the dead
chieftain was buried with his golden boat and silver oars in which he
had been wont to row himself. The place of burial was Carn Beacon, and
there was long an expectation that these treasures would be discovered
if the barrow was opened. This was done about half a century since,
but the kistvaen that was found only contained some prehistoric ashes,
of far earlier date than Geraint; the gold boat and silver oars were
not visible. The remains were replaced and the excavation closed.
There was a later Geraint who fought against the Saxon Ina in 710. But
it is almost more difficult to identify these Geraints than it is to
attain any certitude about King Arthur himself.

Gerrans is close to one of the lovely creeks that run inland from
Falmouth Harbour. On the coast is the little settlement of
Porthscatho, which is undergoing the transformation so common in
Cornwall, from fishing-village to watering-place. The artists came
first, and then the tourists. The charm of the place, with its
whitewashed houses and grey slate roofs, has not yet been destroyed;
and Porthscatho is still a delightful haunt. Southward is Zose Point,
or St. Anthony's Head, so called from the parish of St.
Anthony-in-Roseland, with its beautiful restored Early English church.
The Norman doorway and lighted steeple are noteworthy. Close by is
Place Houses (Places are common in Cornwall), a mansion erected by
Admiral Spry on the site of a priory founded by Athelstan, belonging
later to the monks of Plympton. There is a lighthouse, as well as a
prehistoric castle, on Zose Point, the light visible for fourteen
miles, and a valuable guide to vessels making Falmouth. This St.
Anthony Headland dominates St. Mawes Harbour, Falmouth Bay, and the
mouth of the Carrick Roads; the view is even more magnificent than
that from Plymouth Hoe or Staddon Heights.



CHAPTER V

FALMOUTH AND TRURO


About a century since Lord Byron was at Falmouth, waiting a favourable
wind that would enable the sailing of the Lisbon packet. He seems to
have been detained here about a week, during which time he made
characteristic observations and embodied them in a letter to his
friend Hodgson. With some sportive malice there was evidently a spice
of truth in his remarks. He tells his friend that Falmouth "is
defended on the sea side by two castles, St. Maws and Pendennis,
extremely well calculated for annoying everybody except an enemy. St.
Maws is garrisoned by an able-bodied person of fourscore, a widower.
He has the whole command and sole management of six most unmanageable
pieces of ordnance, admirably adapted for the destruction of
Pendennis, a like tower of strength on the opposite side of the
channel. We have seen St. Maws, but Pendennis they will not let us
behold, because Hobhouse and I are suspected of having already taken
St. Maws by a _coup-de-main_. The town contains many quakers and salt
fish--the oysters have a taste of copper, owing to the soil of a
mining country; the women (blessed be the Corporation therefor!) are
flogged at the cart's tail when they pick and steal, as happened to
one of the fair sex yesterday noon. She was pertinacious in her
behaviour, and damned the mayor." One might have expected that he
would at least have had a word for the town's beauty of position and
for its magnificent harbour; but such things were features that he
usually ignored in his letters, and his avoidance of the poetical
always amounted to an affectation. Defoe, who had been here about
eighty years earlier, found something to say about the harbour as
being, "next to Milford Haven, the fairest and best road for shipping
that is in the whole isle of Britain." Of Falmouth itself he says that
"it is by much the richest and best trading town in this county,
though not so ancient as its neighbour town of Truro." Truro might
have the honour, but "Falmouth has gotten the trade." He says further
that "Falmouth is well built, has abundance of shipping, is full of
rich merchants, and has a flourishing and increasing trade. I say
'increasing,' because by the late setting up the English packets
between this port and Lisbon, there is a new commerce between Portugal
and this town carried on to a very great value." The origin of this
trading, he suggests, was very much assisted by a species of
export-smuggling, whereby British manufactures were carried from
England to Portugal without paying custom at either end. But the
custom-house soon put an end to this, or at least greatly modified it.
Among other notable visitors it is interesting to remember that
Disraeli was here in his younger days, in 1830, detained before
starting on his own somewhat Byronic voyage to the Mediterranean; he
found the town "one of the most charming places I ever saw." In
days when Falmouth was a port-of-call for nearly every outward-bound
vessel, many another distinguished traveller must have put in here and
explored the town while the ship waited its sailing orders; but it
must be confessed that the records of such visits are rather scanty,
and the literary or other associations of Falmouth are not of the
richest. There are some, however, that claim a mention; and although
Falmouth as a town can boast of no antiquity, yet this noble estuary
of the Fal lies in a centre that must have witnessed many remarkable
scenes forgotten by history, and as early as man began to trust
himself to the waters its harbourage must have had a profound value
and significance.

[Illustration: ON THE RIVER FAL.

_Photo by Gibson & Sons._]

Long before men had begun to speak of Falmouth, except by applying
that name to the estuary of the river, the headland on the western
side of the river-mouth was known as Pendinas, now Pendennis; it was
evidently entrenched, for its Celtic name means the "headland
fortress." There was a settlement at Penmerryn, or Penmarin, now
Penryn; and the spot on which Falmouth stands appears to have been
known as _Pen-y-cwm_, the "head of the valley," to which the syllable
_quic_ was added, thus forming the familiar Penny-come-quick, for
which it has been easy to find a plausible but erroneous derivation.
If this _quic_ is merely a corruption of _wick_, meaning dwelling or
village, it would be obvious that Saxon influence had been at work
here, as in the other old name for Falmouth, Smithic or Smethic,
interpreted as Smith-wick. But we know very little with certainty
about the place until the Arwenack manor was acquired by the
Killigrews, through marriage with its heiress, which seems to have
been somewhere about 1385, though some of the rather confused records
tend to show that the Killigrews had connection with Arwenack earlier
than this. The family came from Killigrew, meaning a "grove of
eagles," in the parish of St. Erme, and they had everything to do with
the founding and prosperity of early Falmouth, championing it against
the rival claims and animosity of Penryn and Truro. There has been
some attempt to prove that Gyllyngvase, which is the present Falmouth
bathing-place, was the scene of the burial of Prince William, son of
Henry I., who was drowned off Barfleur, to his father's lasting
sorrow; the supposition being that Gyllyng was a corruption of
William. This seems purely imaginary; there is nothing to show that
William's body was ever recovered, and if it had been brought to
England his father would certainly not have let it be buried in this
far-distant and lonely spot. We must probably go to the Celtic for the
derivation of Gyllyngvase. One of the Killigrews erected a fort on
Pendinas, which, under the sanction or by the command of Henry VIII.,
was expanded into Pendennis Castle, which it is said that king
visited. In 1552, on his return from the expedition to Guiana, Sir
Walter Raleigh was entertained at Arwenack, and was much struck by the
fine naval capabilities of Falmouth Harbour, laying the matter before
James I., and gaining that monarch's countenance for the Killigrews'
views for the furtherance of Falmouth in spite of the opposition of
its neighbours.

During the Civil War Pendennis Castle was held for the King by its
aged and gallant governor, John Arundel, and it afforded brief
shelter both to the fugitive Charles II. and to his mother, the Queen
Henrietta Maria. The Sheriff of Cornwall, who saw her at this time,
described her as "the woefullest spectacle my eyes ever yet look'd on;
the most worne and weake pitifull creature in the world, the poore
Queene shifting for one hour's liffe longer." She escaped to France,
adverse winds preventing her capture by the Parliamentary fleet. It
was in the following year that the young King took refuge at
Pendennis, before he sought an asylum at Scilly; the approach of
Fairfax warned him to fly in time. Then followed one of the most
strenuous sieges of the war, John Arundel, "John for the King,"
defending the place for about six months, and only surrendering on
honourable terms, when there was only one salted horse left as
provision. This brave old defender was in his eighty-seventh year. Two
hundred sick persons were left behind when the garrison marched out,
under the stipulation that none of them should be compelled thereafter
to fight against their king; and it is said that many died from eating
too heartily after their prolonged famine. Lord Clarendon tells us
that "the castle refused all summons, admitting no treaty, till they
had not victual for twenty-four hours, when they carried on the treaty
with such firmness that their situation was never suspected, and they
obtained as good terms as any garrison in England." Pendennis was the
last stronghold, with the exception of Raglan, to hold out for the
Royalist cause; and it was fitting that this most gallant defence and
dignified surrender should be placed to the credit of loyal Cornwall.
It tallies with the brave struggle of the previous century, on behalf
of the old faith and the old tongue. We may not wish that either
struggle had terminated differently, but they were both in keeping
with the tenacious character of the Cornish people. As a striking
proof of their desperate resolution, the defenders of Pendennis
themselves fired the manor-house of Arwenack, in order that it might
not be occupied by the Parliamentary troops, and these had to be
content with such trenches and defences as they could contrive from
the ruins. The mansion was never suitably restored, and there are only
a few relics of it to be seen at the present day in Arwenack Street.
Its beautiful avenue became a rope-walk, and the site of its park is
covered with buildings. Charles II. was not specially notable for
remembering those who had assisted him in the day of his
trouble--indeed, there were a great many for him to remember; but it
is pleasant to know that the son of the defender of Pendennis was
created a peer at the Restoration, while one of the Killigrews became
a baronet, and a charter of incorporation was granted to the infant
town. It was enacted that the settlements hitherto known as "Smithike
and Penny-come-quick" should become a corporate town under the name of
Falmouth. Sir Peter Killigrew had already obtained from the
Commonwealth a patent for a weekly market and two fairs, together with
the rights of ferry to Flushing; and the custom-house had been removed
to Falmouth from Penryn. In 1661 a quay was authorised, and two years
later a church was erected, with a dedication to King Charles the
Martyr. However incongruous such a dedication may now seem, it had
great significance at the time. By dint of effort, also, Falmouth was
created a distinct parish, freed from St. Budock and St. Gluvias. All
these steps were taken in face of much opposition, and against the
influence of Robartes, Arundels, and Godolphins, who supported Truro,
Helston, and Penryn in petitioning that "the erecting of a town at
Smithike would tend to the ruin and impoverishing of the ancient
coinage towns and market-towns aforesaid, not far distant from thence;
and they therefore humbly prayed the King's Majesty that the buildings
and undertakings of Mr. Killigrew might be inhibited for the future."
Such had been an earlier petition to James I., and the same spirit of
opposition pursued every development of the young town. Strife and
litigation pursued the Killigrews unremittingly, until the extinction
of the family in the direct line, somewhere about the middle of the
eighteenth century. There is one great literary glory attaching to
them. It was to Mistress Anne Killigrew that Dryden wrote his noble
elegiac ode, which Dr. Johnson thought the finest in the language.
With the dignity and melody that distinguished Dryden at his best, he
apostrophises the lady as one who had herself courted the muses of
poetry and painting--

    "Hear then a mortal Muse thy praise rehearse
          In no ignoble verse,
    But such as thy own voice did practise here,
    When thy first fruits of poesy were given,
    To make thyself a welcome inmate there;
      While yet a young probationer
        And candidate of heaven."

The ode was addressed to Anne, daughter of Dr. Henry Killigrew, born
in 1660, who died of smallpox in 1685; she was a Maid-of-Honour to
the Duchess of York. A volume of her poems appeared in the following
year, with Dryden's ode as an introduction. In painting she seems to
have done portraits of James II. and his queen. She was buried at St.
John the Baptist, Savoy. It is Dryden's verse, and not her own, that
has immortalised her.

There is no need to follow in detail the somewhat unexciting tale of
Falmouth's growth. Its one event of national moment was the selection
of the port, in 1688, for the sailings of the Mail Packet service,
which proved to be of immediate consequence both to Falmouth and
Flushing, as the families of captains and crews soon chose one or
other of those places for residence, thereby bringing prosperity and a
keen rivalry. The story of the packets is very notable, and has been
worthily told by Mr. A. H. Norway. We may assume that it was one of
Mr. Norway's ancestors who lost his life while gallantly defending his
packet, the _Montague_, from the attack of an American privateer. At
first only three packets sailed, between Falmouth and Lisbon; but the
service soon extended to the West Indies, America, Barbadoes, and
elsewhere. They were not only a fine training-school for seamen, but
were in some sense an auxiliary to the British navy, frequently coming
in close contact with the King's enemies or with privateers, in which
conflicts they generally rendered a good account of themselves. They
seem at first to have been supplied for the use of the General Post
Office by contract, and sometimes belonged to their captains or to
companies of private shareholders; but about the year 1820 they were
taken over by the Admiralty, with the idea that a stricter discipline
was needed. The greatest days of the packets were before this
transference, and their diminishing splendour terminated entirely in
1850, when the port ceased to be a packet station, the mails having
been taken in charge by ocean liners. Plymouth has succeeded to the
position that once was Falmouth's. It is no exaggeration to say that
some of the actions of the packets and their dauntless crews recall
the palmy days of Elizabethan naval prowess and exploits such as that
of the immortal _Revenge_. The very name of the hero of that great
adventure was perpetuated by one of the packets, which accomplished
something worthy of his fine tradition. It is told by Gilbert how "in
the year of 1777 Captain William Kempthorne was opposed off the island
of Barbadoes in H.M. Packet _Granville_ to three American privateers,
two of whom were each of equal force to the _Granville_, and lay
alongside her in a raking position. After a desperate action, in which
the captain received a severe wound in the head and lost the roof of
his mouth, the enemy was compelled to sheer off, and the _Granville_
with her brave commander returned safe to England." This is only one
example among many. It is said that within the three years, 1812-14,
"thirty-two actions were fought between Falmouth packets and
privateers, which resulted in seventeen victories for the Cornish
against superior numbers of men and guns, while the remaining
contests, in which also great numbers lost their lives, were in
respect to valour, as glorious." One of these grand struggles may be
best told in Mr. Norway's words:--

"On November 22, 1812, the _Townshend_ packet, armed with eight
9-pounder carronades, a long gun of similar calibre for use as a
chaser, and a crew of twenty-eight men and boys under the command of
Captain James Cock, was within a few hours of dropping her anchor at
Bridgetown, Barbadoes, when the first light of morning revealed two
strange vessels cruising at no great distance. These vessels proved to
be American privateers, the _Tom_, Captain Thos. Wilson, and the
_Bona_, Captain Damaron. The former was armed with fourteen
carronades, some 18- and some 12-pounders, as well as two long
9-pounders, and carried 130 men. The latter had six 18-pounders, with
a long 24-pounder mounted on a traverse, and a crew of ninety men....
This enormous preponderance of force was greatly increased in
effective power by being divided between two opponents. A single enemy
might be crippled by a single shot; but if good fortune rid the
_Townshend_ of one antagonist in this way, there still remained the
other to be reckoned, more powerful at every point than herself.

"If ever circumstances justified surrender after a short resistance
they were present in this case. It might even be thought that
resistance was a useless sacrifice of life; but such was not Captain
Cock's view. He held it to be his plain duty not only to keep the
mails out of the hands of the enemy--which could be done effectually
by sinking them at any moment--but to use every means in his power to
preserve them for their proper owners, and not to abandon hope of
delivering them at the office of the post-office agent at Bridgetown
until every chance of doing so was gone. Now, there were still two
chances in his favour: first, that he might hold out until the noise
of firing attracted some of the British cruisers which were probably
in the immediate neighbourhood; and secondly, if that chance failed,
he might run the _Townshend_ ashore on some shore of the coast where
the privateers could not follow him. Both these chances were desperate
enough; but Captain Cock saw his duty clear before him, and cared
nothing for the consequences. All his preparations were quickly made,
and every man was at his post before the privateers came within range,
which they did about 7 a.m.

"At 7.30 the _Tom_ had placed herself abeam of the packet to larboard,
while the _Bona_ lay on the starboard quarter, and both their
broadsides were crashing into the _Townshend_ at pistol-shot distance,
all three vessels running before the wind. This lasted till eight
o'clock. The Americans, as was usual with them, made great use of
'dismantling shot,' _i.e._, chain- and bar-shot; the effect of which
upon the rigging of the _Townshend_ was most disastrous. It was not
long before her sails were hanging in ribbons, and her spars were
greatly damaged, and in some momentary confusion from this cause the
_Tom_ seized an opportunity of pouring in her boarders, while the
_Bona_ redoubled her fire, both of great guns and musketry, to cover
their attack. After a fierce tussle the Americans were driven back to
their own ship; but this success was won by the loss of four of
Captain Cock's best hands, who received disabling wounds in the fight.
Thereupon both privateers resumed the cannonade, maintaining the
positions which they had taken up at the commencement of the action,
and for another hour the _Townshend_ endured the fire of her enemies'
heavy guns, the courage of her commander and crew remaining as high
and stubborn as ever. But the packet was by this time so much
shattered that she could with difficulty be handled. Again and again
the _Tom_ bore down upon her, and hurled fresh boarders up her sides.
Time after time Captain Cock led his wearied men to meet them, and
each time drove them back.

"But the post-office men were now so reduced in numbers that it was
with the greatest difficulty that Captain Cock could continue to serve
the guns and at the same time collect sufficient men to meet the
constantly recurring boarding attacks. It was plain that this
situation of affairs could not last: there was no sign of succour on
the sea, and when Captain Cock looked aloft he could not but admit
that in the crippled condition of his ship all chance of running her
ashore was gone. The _Townshend_ was in fact a mere wreck. Her
bowsprit was shot in pieces. Both jib-booms and head were carried
away, as well as the wheel and ropes. Scarcely one shroud was left
standing. The packet lay like a log on the water, while the privateers
sailed round her, choosing their positions as they pleased, and raking
her again and again. Still Captain Cock held out. It was not until ten
o'clock, when he had endured the attack of his two powerful enemies
for nearly three hours, that he looked about him and realised that the
end had come. There were four feet of water in the hold, and the
carpenter reported that it was rising rapidly. The packet was, in
fact, sinking. Nearly half the crew were in the hands of the surgeon.
The rest, exhausted and hopeless of success, had already fought more
nobly than even he could have foreseen, and were now being uselessly
sacrificed. Still Captain Cock's pride rebelled against surrender; and
as he saw the colours he had defended so well drop down upon the deck,
it is recorded that he burst into tears. He had no cause for shame.
Such a defeat is as glorious as any victory, and is fully worthy of
the great traditions of valour on the sea which all Englishmen
inherit."

It would be easy to quote many such stories, which, together with the
siege of Pendennis, form the heroic memories of Falmouth. Otherwise,
the town's associations are chiefly provincial, not to say parochial.
The abiding glory of the place is its beauty of position, and the
magnificent views that it commands. Something of an old-world
atmosphere still lingers around the quays. One attraction is gone;
John Burton is no longer at the old curiosity shop bearing his name.
Memories of the Killigrews are preserved by the curious pyramidal
monument, erected in the Grove by Martin Killigrew in 1737, and now
standing at Arwenack Green. Perhaps there should be some memorial of
the Rev. John Collins, who, during the Commonwealth days, practised
here as a physician, having been ejected from his living at Illogan.
His diary proves how well he deserved remembrance. One entry tells how
he "did this day administer ---- to old Mrs. Jones for her ague."
Then, the following day: "Called on Mrs. Jones, and found she had died
during the night in much agony. N.B.--Not use ---- again." We may hope
he is now forgiven for his experiments. Falmouth, however, can only
claim him as a resident. There is little more to tell about Falmouth.
Its present docks, covering an area of 120 acres, were built in 1860.
There is some ship-building, some brewing, with oyster and trawl
fishing; the fishery engages nearly seven hundred persons.
Industrially, the town cannot hope for much, unless it should ever
become a naval base; but as a residential district it is very
delightful, combining the charms of sea and noble river. The Castle
Drive can hardly be surpassed, of its kind; and if we proceed past the
Gyllyngvase bathing-beach, there is a pleasant little lake known as
the Swanpool, which was once a swannery of the Killigrews.

For antiquity as for present-day industry we must go to Penryn, which
lies about two miles up the Penryn Creek and is devoted to the export
of granite. The busy but not very lovely little town has very much of
a granite tone about it, and can boast that it supplied the material
for Waterloo Bridge; it can also boast that it was in existence before
the Conquest--how much earlier is difficult to say. Its parish church
was so largely restored in 1883 that it is practically new; it is
dedicated to "Gluvias the Cornishman," who was a Welshman. Among the
gardens at the back of Penryn's chief street are some remains of
Glassiney College, founded in 1246 by Bishop Bronescombe of Exeter for
secular canons and vicars. It became perhaps the most important centre
of learning and literature in Cornwall, and was a nursery of the old
miracle-plays or interludes--some of which still survive in the
Cornish original and prove themselves to be no better, no worse, than
the average of such performances throughout the kingdom. Old Cornwall,
it must be confessed, did very little for literature; and if we
regret the extinction of the vernacular, it is not for any literary
treasures that remain embodied in it. But an event that took place at
Penryn is the theme of something a little better than the Cornish
interludes--namely, the "Penryn Tragedy," which inspired Lillo's play
_The Fatal Curiosity_. It is said that a Penryn man who had left
Cornwall in his early days and had become rich abroad, returned to his
home just as a present-day miner might return from South Africa. He
was recognised by his married sister, but, begging her keep the
secret, he proceeded incognito to his parents' house and asked their
hospitality for the night. Unhappily the old mother caught sight of
the treasure that he had about his person, and she persuaded the
father to kill the man in his sleep. Next morning the sister came to
share in their joy at the wanderer's return, and asked for her
brother. To their horror, the wicked old couple found that they had
murdered their own son. They had grace enough to commit suicide after
the discovery. The same tale seems to have been conveyed to Wales,
where it is related of a parish in Montgomeryshire; but a Welsh poem
that tells the story rightly attributes it to Cornwall. And yet it is
possible that the same event happened in Wales also; a few years since
the newspapers related an almost identical incident as having occurred
in Russia. Perhaps the story really belongs to folk-lore, reappearing
at times under a new guise and in a new locality.

In the possession of the Penryn Corporation is a silver chalice, given
by Lady Jane Killigrew "to the towne of Penmarin when they received
mee that was in great miserie." It seems that about this time (1633)
the lady was divorced, and took refuge from her domestic troubles at
Penryn, where the animosity of the townsfolk towards the Killigrews
caused her to be received with great favour; she afterwards married
Francis Bluett. A mistake has been made by many in attributing to her
the piracy committed two generations earlier by Lady Mary Killigrew,
who illegally boarded some foreign vessels lying at Falmouth Harbour
and carried away treasure. There was some bloodshed over the matter,
and a considerable scandal; so much, that it is said the lady was
sentenced to death by the authorities, but escaped through influence.
In any case, poor Lady Jane, who, whether she had been frail or not,
had enough private sorrows of her own, must not be saddled with this
additional load of blame for an act that she never committed.

Immediately opposite Falmouth, across the Penryn creek, the little
port of Flushing, with a climate supposed to be the mildest in
England, has survived to tell us of an extinguished glory. The passing
of the packet service brought comparative stagnation to Falmouth; it
actually crushed Flushing. It is a pleasant little place, and one
cannot wonder at its popularity with the naval men who resided here.
It is said to have been founded by Dutch settlers, who brought the
name with them. Some few of its old houses remain, suggestive of its
former life, and Flushing is left to luxuriate in the dreams of its
past. The church here is modern. Flushing is in Mylor parish, and
Mylor can claim a greater antiquity. There was once a royal dockyard
here. The dedication is to Melor, son of St. Melyan; both father and
son appear to have suffered martyrdom, or were victims of political
intrigue. The church was restored in 1869, but retains much of its
Norman character; and one of its best monuments perpetuates the memory
of the Trefusis family, whose name also attaches to the headland
eastward of Flushing. Lord Clinton is of this family. Mylor is most
pleasantly situated at the mouth of its own little creek, and looks up
the Carrick Roads towards Truro; but before taking the journey
thither, delightful in itself and delightful in its objective, it may
be worth while to cross the harbour for a peep at St. Mawes, which
somehow seems like an off-lying shoot of Falmouth. It is named
apparently from St. Maudez or Mauditus, of Ireland, though some have
asserted that the real dedication is to St. Maclovius of the Breton
St. Malo. The question is rather involved, and may not appeal to many.
The castle was built in 1542, about the same time as Pendennis, and
both forts were supposed to have been under the special fostering care
of Henry VIII., who realised the strategic importance of Falmouth
Harbour. Its first Governor was Michael Vyvyan, and its last Sir
Alexander Cameron. At the time of the Civil War it could not boast the
fine resistance that Pendennis offered, being easily commanded by
ordnance from the heights above; but as a defence on the seaward side
and a protection to the estuary its position is very powerful, and
must prove so should Falmouth ever become a naval base. At present the
castle has little but its size to recommend it; but the little town,
with its small jutting pier, has some attractiveness. An interesting
ingot of tin was discovered near here, many years since, showing how
the old tin-workers shaped their metal for transport. Truro can
hardly be said to be on the coast; but certainly no book on Cornwall
can ignore this town, which is, in fact, the capital of the Duchy
intellectually and ecclesiastically, however loudly Bodmin may claim
to be the assize town. Partly by reason of its shape, partly perhaps
from other causes, there has been little centralisation in Cornwall,
and the very selection of Truro to be the cathedral city was in some
sort an artificial and arbitrary arrangement. No doubt it was the best
that could have been made; but old Cornwall had no such centre, and
there were rival claims to be considered. It may not be incorrect to
say that Cornwall of to-day has several capitals: Penzance is the
commercial centre of the far west; Redruth and Camborne dominate the
mining districts; St. Austell is the metropolis of china-clay; while
Bodmin and Launceston perhaps more intimately represent agriculture.
Truro stands apart from them all, and represents the Church. In one
sense the real capital of Cornwall to-day is Plymouth, meaning by that
the Three Towns, as in old days it was Exeter. But of all existing
Cornish towns, none would be better qualified than Truro to play the
dignified part of the cathedral city; and, with its population of
about 13,000, Truro does this very well. Its honours sit well upon it,
and have been accepted with becoming pride. Undoubtedly the
pleasantest way of reaching the cleanly and agreeable little town is
by the boat from Falmouth, and the trip is one of the recognised
things that visitors to Cornwall are supposed to do. There can be no
question of the journey's beauty, though when it is contended that
this is the loveliest river in England, one remembers other beautiful
streams whose claims are at least equal. In Cornwall itself there is
the Fowey River, quite as rich in loveliness, if on a smaller scale;
and there is the Tamar, whose charm is so great that both Devon and
Cornwall are eager to claim it. Then there are the exquisite reaches
of the Dart, from its mouth to Totnes, to say nothing of its wilder
course beyond, among the fastnesses of the moors. In Monmouthshire
there is the "sylvan Wye." All these, and many other claimants, spring
to mind and enforce upon us the foolishness of any comparisons at all.
Beauty must be always complete and satisfying in itself, unless we let
our thoughts be disturbed by ideas of a possible better. It is certain
that the passage up the Fal, especially in suitable weather, is of
very real charm, with its numerous tempting creeks and pools, its
ferries and riverside hamlets, its sloping meadows and spreading
woodlands. But when we speak of going up the Fal to Truro, we are
speaking incorrectly; the true Fal turns eastward after passing King
Harry's Reach and runs to Ruan Lanihorne; the water on which we pass
to the Truro quayside is the Truro River. It has been spoken of by our
late Queen, among the many visitors who have admired it. She said, "We
went up the Truro, which is beautiful, winding between banks entirely
wooded with stunted oak and full of numberless creeks. The prettiest
are King Harry's Ferry and a spot near Tregothnan, where there is a
beautiful little boathouse." Tennyson was here a little later (in
1860) after a visit to the Scillies, and he made the river trip from
Falmouth to Truro. On the boat the poet was recognised, his portraits,
and perhaps some knowledge that he was in the neighbourhood, being
responsible for the discovery. Palgrave, who was with him, writes:
"Our captain presently came forward with a tray and squat bottle, and
said, with unimpeachable good manners, that he was aware how
distinguished a passenger, &c., and that some young men sitting
opposite, and he, would be much honoured if Mr. Tennyson would take a
tumbler of stout with them." The poet gave a gracious response, and
willingly drank the health of his admirers. But "presently the captain
reappeared, and this time it was the ladies in the cabin who begged
that the Laureate would only step down among them. But the height of
that small place of refuge, Tennyson declared, would render the
proposed exhibition impossible. Might he not be kindly excused? The
good women, however, were not to be balked; and one after another
presented her half-length above the little hatchway before us, gazed,
smiled, and retreated." It was well for Tennyson that he had overcome
some of his early shyness, or the ordeal might have tried him
considerably. There was no cathedral in those days, rising with
somewhat foreign aspect from near the waterside; but its germ was
there in the old parish church of St. Mary's, which now welds the
ancient and the modern into one beautiful and fairly harmonious whole.
It is difficult to over-estimate the value of this old church as a
component part of the new cathedral; and the atmosphere that it sheds
seems gently pervading the entire building, taking away the glare of
its modernity, softening what might otherwise be crudity, and giving a
vital sense of continuity to the worship of the bygone and the
present. It may have been impossible to include more of the old church
in the new edifice, but we are grateful that this south aisle
remains. It is generally supposed that the Cornish are a Dissenting
people, yet they all took kindly to the building of this minster, and
they all feel a pride in it. Gifts poured in from all parts of the
Duchy to assist in its erection, and, suitably enough, very little but
Cornish material was used in its construction--Cornish granite,
china-stone, polyphant, and serpentine, with Cornish copper in the
clock-tower. It might, perhaps, have been better if Perpendicular, the
prevalent church style in Cornwall, had been adhered to, instead of a
rather French-looking Early English; but even on this point opinions
may be divided.

The cathedral has made Truro a place of pilgrimage for all loyal
Cornish folk, and they may feel proud that in a materialistic age such
an emblem of faith has been fostered and reared. Local guide-books
will sufficiently explain the details, but every visitor should notice
the beautiful marble paving of the choir, and the fine baptistery in
memory of the missionary, Henry Martyn, himself of Truro. This revival
of the Cornish see, some thirty years since, formed a link between the
present generation and the old days, nine hundred years earlier, when
St. German's was episcopal; further still, it takes us back to the
times of the old saints, fitly commemorated here, who came from
Ireland and Wales and Brittany to bring the Cornish people a knowledge
of that in which they believed. The Truro cathedral is a fact, and
certainly a fact of considerable significance. Its first bishop was
the beloved Dr. Benson, his memory perpetuated in the Benson Transept,
with its graceful rose-window. One thing is impressed upon us by this
new minster--that present-day architecture, when meritorious, is an
imitation. The closer it keeps to old models, the better is the
result. Did church-building really say its last word four centuries
since?

For its greater antiquity we have to remember that Kenwyn, about a
mile inland, is the mother of Truro, and this place has been claimed
as a Roman station named _Cenion_. The Itineraries speak of the
stations on the rivers _Tamara_, _Voluba_ and _Cenia_. _Tamara_ is the
Tamar; _Voluba_ probably the Fowey; _Cenia_ the Truro or Kenwyn River.
But it is exceedingly doubtful that Rome ever had definite stations in
Cornwall at all. This does not affect the antiquity; Kenwyn was a
British settlement, if never Romanised. Truro is supposed to signify
the "town on the river"; its manor was held by Robert de Mortain after
the Conquest, and the place seems to have had a charter as early as
the days of Stephen. Its position, far retired up the river, is
eloquent of times when men dreaded to settle close to the sea--the sea
brought foes and deadly night attacks; it was when commerce became
more important that Falmouth sprang into being. We have similar
instances at Lostwithiel and Fowey, Totnes and Dartmouth, Exeter and
Exmouth, as well as a striking modern instance in Bristol and
Avonmouth. There was a castle at Truro, on the present site of the
cattle market, but it was "clene down" in the time of Leland; there
were also a Dominican friary and a house of Clare monks. As a port
Truro did its best to oppose the building and growth of Falmouth, but
the inevitable could only be delayed, not prevented. The town's
recompense came late, but it has come. Though it welcomed the fugitive
Charles II., the town itself does not appear to have seen any
fighting during the Civil War--it is certainly quite indefensible; but
at Tresillian Bridge, about three and a half miles east, at the head
of the creek so named, the desperate struggle of Cornish Royalists was
brought to a close by the surrender of Sir Ralph Hopton to Fairfax.



CHAPTER VI

FROM FALMOUTH TO THE LIZARD


The southward limit of Falmouth Bay is Rosemullion Head, which does
not rise to any great height, but it commands fine views, on one side
towards the Fal estuary, with Zose Point and the Dodman beyond, and on
the other commanding the mouth of the Helford creek. The "Rose" of
course means heath; and Mullion we shall meet again. Penjerrick, which
lies a mile or two inland towards Falmouth, will be visited by many
not only for its beautiful botanic gardens, but for its memories of
the Foxes; but our own steps must now be turned towards the Lizard.
Rosemullion is in the parish of Mawnan, whose church-town lies a
little south of it; the dedication appears to be to a certain St.
Mawnanus, but there is great difficulty in identifying him. From here
to the mouth of the Fal there is a raised beach, more or less perfect;
in fact, all along this Cornish coast there are plentiful signs that
the shore contours have been by no means permanent. When we reach the
Helford River we have come to another rival of the Fal, with creeks
and inlets, wooded banks and fields, differing in size but hardly in
degree of beauty. Strictly, the name Helford only applies to the
little ferry town; the river is the _Hêl_, or Hayle, and affords
comfortable harbourage to many craft. There is a literary association
here of some interest; for Kingsley tells us how Hereward the Wake
sailed up this river to Gweek, hungry for adventure. "He sailed in
over a rolling bar, between jagged points of black rock, and up a tide
river which wandered and branched away inland like a land-locked lake,
between high green walls of oak and ash, till they saw at the head of
the tide Alef's town, nestling in a glen which sloped towards the
southern sun. They discovered, besides, two ships drawn up upon the
beach, whose long lines and snake-heads, beside the stoat carved on
the beak-head of one, and the adder on that of the other, bore witness
to the piratical habits of their owner. The merchants, it seemed, were
well known to the Cornishmen on shore, and Hereward went up with them
unopposed; past the ugly dykes and muddy leats, where Alef's slaves
were streaming the gravel for tin ore: through rich alluvial pastures
spotted with red cattle; and up to Alef's town. Earthworks and
stockades surrounded a little church of ancient stone, and a cluster
of granite cabins, thatched with turf, in which the slaves abode." If
this is a picture of Gweek, the church must be imaginary; the nearest
churches are those of Constantine and of Mawgan. This is
Mawgan-in-Meneage, so called to distinguish it from the
Mawgan-in-Pydar, near Newquay. The Meneage, which we find affixed to
several other parish names immediately north of the Lizard, clearly
derives from the Cornish _mên_--a stone--and denotes the "stony
district"; just as Roseland signified the heath or moorland district.
Whenever we find _man_ in an early place-name, we can feel pretty
sure that it has no reference to the human species. Defoe, who took
Helford in the way of his journey to the Land's End, speaks of it as
"a small but good harbour, where many times the tin-ships go in to
load for London; also here are a good number of fishing-vessels for
the pilchard trade, and abundance of skilful fishermen. It was from
this town that in the great storm which happened November 27, 1703, a
ship laden with tin was blown out to sea and driven to the Isle of
Wight in seven hours, having on board only one man and two boys." He
proceeds to tell how the boat was loaded at "a place called Gwague
Wharf, five or six miles up the river," by which he must mean Gweek.
The captain and his mate stayed on shore for the night, not detecting
signs of anything unusual in the weather; but orders were given that
in case of wind the vessel should be moored with two anchors. As a
matter of fact, the gale soon increased so remarkably that the man on
board, with his two boy assistants, soon found it necessary not only
to drop their second anchor but also two others. "But between eleven
and twelve o'clock the wind came about west and by south, and blew in
so violent and terrible a manner that, though they rode under the lee
of a high shore, yet the ship was driven from all her anchors, and
about midnight drove quite out of the harbour (the opening of the
harbour lying due east and west) into the open sea, the men having
neither anchor or cable or boat to help themselves." Avoiding rocks as
best they could, they drifted past the Dodman and tried to make
Plymouth, but the first land they made was Peverel Point in Dorset,
and by seven o'clock next morning they were driving full towards the
Isle of Wight. One of the boys was for running the boat to the Downs,
where it would almost certainly have perished; but the other lad
remembered a creek in the Isle of Wight, where he thought there would
be room to run the boat in. Very wisely the man yielded to his advice,
and gave him charge of the helm. "He stood directly in among the
rocks, the people on shore thinking they were mad, and that they would
in a few minutes be dashed in a thousand pieces. But when they came
nearer, and the people found they steered as if they knew the place,
they made signals to direct them as well as they could, and the young
bold fellow ran her into a small cove, where she stuck fast, as it
were, between the rocks on both sides, there being just room enough
for the breadth of the ship. The ship indeed, giving two or three
knocks, staved and sank, but the man and the two youths jumped ashore
and were safe; and the lading, being tin, was afterwards secured. The
merchants very well rewarded the three sailors, especially the lad
that ran her into that place." A very fitting sequel, for it was
indeed a daring exploit. The storm was that tremendous tempest which
desolated the British coasts in 1703, commemorated by Addison in his
"Campaign":--

    "So when an angel, by divine command,
    With rising tempests shakes a guilty land,
    Such as of late o'er pale Britannia pass'd,
    Calm and serene he drives the furious blast,
    And, pleased th' Almighty's orders to perform,
    Rides in the whirlwind and directs the storm."

That simile, then considered the height of sublimity, had a powerful
effect in furthering the writer's fortunes.

Helford is in the parish of Manaccan, which lies about a mile south of
it. The place was once known as Minster, which seems to evidence the
existence of a monastery. The creek and valley of the Durra stream are
very beautiful, and the church especially interesting. There is a
fig-tree of great antiquity growing out of the tower wall. Chancel and
south transept are Early English, and the south doorway very excellent
Norman. About a century since the Cornish historian and versifier,
Polwhele, was Rector at Manaccan, also having charge of the
neighbouring parish of St. Anthony, and though he liked the place less
than his former residence by the mouth of the Exe, he admitted that
"in the walks to St. Anthony, the tufted creeks, the opening sea, the
prospect of Pendennis Castle, there was picturesque beauty--there was
even sublimity." Polwhele was magistrate as well as parson, and on one
occasion the famous Captain Bligh (himself a Cornishman) was brought
before him, charged with plots of treachery by the officious Manaccan
constables; he had been detected surveying the harbour of Helford.
Bligh appears at first to have been in a great rage, but he melted
gradually, and after indulging in woodcocks for supper, with a variety
of wines, parted from his host on the very best of terms. Polwhele
also tells us of a brother-magistrate whom he invited to meet
Whitaker, the historian of the Cornish diocese, who was at that time
Rector of Ruan Lanihorne. The fellow-magistrate was a trifle lax in
his opinions, and on his expressing a sceptical view, "Mr. Whitaker
started up in a burst of passion. The justice turned pale, and his
lips quivered with fear. Not a culprit before him, at the moment of
commitment, ever trembled more; and Whitaker imperiously charging him
with infidelity, the old gentleman made a confession of his faith, to
an extent which surprised me." He seems to have been "at best an
Arian"; yet "he was on the whole a respectable man." Theology apart,
one cannot help sympathising with the culprit, and rejoicing in his
respectability. But times have greatly changed; men can now confess
something more than Arianism without trembling with fear.

Dennis, or Dinas Head, running to the sea beyond St. Anthony, has some
ancient entrenchments which were put to practical use during the Civil
War, being occupied by Richard Vyvyan of Trelowarren in the Royalist
cause; they were surrendered to the conquering Fairfax. The church of
St. Anthony is said to have been erected as a thank-offering, after
escape from shipwreck, by Norman settlers soon after the Conquest.
Beyond Gillan stretches Nare Point, a bold bluff of rock, and a mile
lower is the little fishing-village of Porthallow, which is attracting
some of the visitors who are now coming increasingly to the Lizard
district. At Porthoustock (locally often called Proustock), a little
more than a mile beyond, we have come into the immediate presence of a
great wreck region, for Manacle Point lies close below, and the
Manacles themselves foam yonder with perpetual menace, their bell-buoy
sounding a dismal but quite insufficient warning.

Ever since men began to navigate British waters, these half-covered
rocks and the whole of this Lizard coast must have been a deadly
peril. The number of their victims cannot be reckoned; for, as Sir
John Killigrew wrote three centuries since, "neither is it possible
to get parfitt notice of the whence and what the Ships ar that yearly
do suffer on and near the Lizard, for it is seldom that any man
escapes and the ships split in small pieces." The Manacles
(_mêneglos_, "church rocks") lie about half a mile from the shore, and
extend for about a square mile; all but one are covered by the highest
tides, which of course renders them the more fatal. The name "church
rocks" has some connection with the far-seen landmark of St. Keverne
tower. If we could give the whole list of wrecks we should probably
find it rival that of the Scillies, perhaps surpass; the Manacles lie
even more directly in the route of navigation. It is just a century
since two vessels, the one homeward and the other outward-bound, were
wrecked almost at the same moment near here. One was the transport
_Dispatch_, returning from the Peninsula with many officers and men on
board; the other was the eighteen-gun brig _Primrose_, bound for the
seat of war. There is a graphic account in the now defunct _Cornish
Magazine_--a magazine that was obviously too good for the public, and
therefore died much regretted by its few but select admirers. It was a
bitter and rough January, 1809. "At half-past three on Sunday morning
the _Dispatch_, an old ship in bad repair, was driven on the rocks
near Lowland Point, and speedily became a total wreck. While men and
women were rushing through the gale with news of this disaster, and
men and horses were being dashed about by the roaring sea, there came
tidings that at the other end of the Manacles another ship filled with
soldiers was foundering. In those days there was no Lifeboat
Institution with its record of gallant services all along the coast.
But there were men of the sort that the grandest lifeboat crews are
made of, and six Porthoustock fishermen, taking the best boat they
could find, went out from their cove across the wind-torn sea towards
the rocks barely discernible in the early morning light. Little it was
that they could do, though, and worn out with their strivings against
the wind and sea, they returned with only one boy and the news that
the vessel disappeared almost immediately after she struck, at five
o'clock, and all except the boy were lost." In those two wrecks that
morning about two hundred lives were lost. The noble heroism of the
Porthoustock men came to the ears of Government, and ten guineas were
sent to each man. More than a hundred of the drowned were buried in
St. Keverne graveyard, an Act having just been passed that allowed
bodies cast up by the sea to be admitted to consecrated ground.
Another notable wreck was that of the emigrant ship _John_, in 1855.
This time the disaster may have been a result of carelessness, for the
weather was fine; in any case, the vessel got on the Manacles. Some
boats were launched and selfishly filled, but the captain apparently
thought there was no cause for alarm. Those in the boats took the
tidings to Coverack, but in the meantime a wind had sprung up; a
message was sent across and Porthoustock men set out to the rescue.
There were many children on board; the crew, unlike true Britons,
thought only of their own safety; the ship was settling fast, leaving
only the rigging for such survivors as could cling to it. After many
gallant attempts, and three journeys to and from shore, the brave
fishermen managed to save all that were left on the wreck, but 196
were drowned. There was another rich harvest for St. Keverne
graveyard. The memorable blizzard of 1891 of course paid its tribute
of wrecks to these shores. The largest loss was the _Bay of Panama_, a
Liverpool boat of 2,282 tons, making for Dundee with jute from
Calcutta. Eighteen of her crew were lost, some being frozen to death.
On this occasion a most wonderful feat of courage and endurance was
accomplished by a man of Porthoustock, that village of brave men. It
was important that telegraphic messages should be despatched from
Helston, and a man named James volunteered to carry them. He reached
Helston with infinite difficulty, and found the place practically
snowed up, all communication broken. Against strong advice he resolved
to push on to Falmouth, distant at least fourteen miles by road, the
roads almost impassable with snowdrifts. He began his journey by pony,
but soon had to leave the animal behind. Once he was near succumbing,
but a rest in a wayside cottage restored him; the last two and a half
miles he covered by crawling on his hands and knees, being too
exhausted to walk. Falmouth was reached at last, and the messages from
Porthoustock, St. Keverne, and Helston were delivered. But the tale of
wrecks is not finished. In 1895 the _Andola_ was broken here, its crew
saved by the lifeboat from Porthoustock. More recent, and the best
remembered of all, is the wreck of the _Mohegan_, in 1898. She was a
boat of 7,000 tonnage, leaving Gravesend with about 150 persons on
board. She struck one of the Manacles, and within twenty minutes was
submerged with the exception of masts and funnel. Rescue proved very
difficult, but the lifeboat saved forty-four; all the remainder were
lost. One of the Porthoustock lifeboat crew that did the rescuing had
been also active in taking succour to the _John_, forty-three years
earlier. It needs these records of heroism to relieve the sadness of
such a chronicle.

St. Keverne, whose church stands high at rather more than a mile's
distance from the sea, is a place of striking interest for its
situation and its traditions. It is not easy to say who Keverne was;
some, such as Leland, Whitaker, and Mr. Baring-Gould, say that he was
none other than St. Piran, retaining his original Gaelic name of
Kieran. But it is difficult to see why he should remain Kieran here,
while he became Piran or Perran in connection with all his other
Cornish churches; and there is the awkward fact that St. Piran's Day
is the 5th of March, while St. Keverne's is near Advent. Dr. Borlase
thought that the two are distinct persons; and, identifying St.
Keverne with the _Lannachebran_ of Domesday, he supposes a Celtic
saint named Chebran or Kevran. Tin has never been successfully worked
in this parish, and there was a local saying that "no metal will run
within sound of St. Keverne's bell," supported by a tradition that the
saint cursed the district because of the irreligion of its people.
Piran, the patron saint of tinners, would hardly have called down such
a curse, though he might have done so if greatly provoked. But if not
metalliferous, much of the parish is exceptionally fertile and
verdant, in contrast to the barrenness of the Goonhilly Downs. Without
attempting to decide authoritatively as to the personality of Keverne,
we may at least be amused by the curious story told about him, which
brings a strong touch of human nature into the record of one who is
otherwise so hazy. It is said that he was visited by St. Just of the
Land's End district, and that when the more western saint departed,
after freely indulging in Keverne's hospitality, he carried away
Keverne's drinking-cup--some say his chalice. Shortly after the
departure, Keverne discovered that his cup was missing, and he guessed
at once that his saintly friend had taken it. In great heat he
hastened after the guest, and while passing Crowza Downs he pocketed a
few large stones for future use. Presently he saw St. Just plodding
along in the distance, and shouted after him. St. Just was too deeply
absorbed in religious meditation to notice the cries. Finding shouts
were useless, Keverne began to throw his stones, and these proved more
effectual. St. Just dropped the chalice and hurried away home. Keverne
had three stones left, and he satisfied his still heated feelings by
hurling these after his visitor; which done, he took up his cup and
proceeded homewards. It is said that these stones lay in a field near
Germoe till last century, when they were broken up for road-metal, and
that they consisted of a kind of gritstone common enough to the Crowza
Downs, but quite unknown in the district where they lay. The field in
which they lay actually bore the name of Tremen-keverne, the "three
stones of Keverne"; and if we need further proof than that, we must be
sceptical indeed. The tale is valuable as a picture of Celtic
saintdom; no monkish fabulists would have told such stories of Latin
saints. Without approving of St. Just's action, he seems nearer to us
than if he had run about with his head under his arm or perpetrated
any other of the absurdities often attributed to the conventional
Romish saints. St. Keverne's is a large church, the largest in West
Cornwall, being 110 feet in length; and it was collegiate before the
Conquest, afterwards passing to the Cistercians of Beaulieu. There are
some curious traces of former rood-lofts which seem to speak of
eastward enlargements. The bench-ends bear the symbols of the Passion.
In the south aisle are the arms of Incledon, famous singer of a past
century, who began his career at Exeter Cathedral when eight years
old, and later became celebrated at Bath, at Vauxhall, and at Covent
Garden; he was a native of St. Keverne.

In this parish, about a mile and half southward, is the delightful
little fishing-village of Coverack, which is deserving and winning a
quiet popularity. There is no pretension about the place, though it
can boast one hotel, a modern chapel-of-ease, and the usual small
conventicles. Being sheltered from the north, and with a rich soil,
every cottage garden luxuriates in great hedges of mesembryanthemum;
and, as we find further west, the fuchsias grow like trees. Coverack
indeed is an oasis in a district much of which is stony and desolate.
The down-lands around are purple in its season with the beautiful
Cornish heather, and golden with gorse, while dodder grows freely over
the hedges; near the shore there is abundance of squills, sea-holly,
and sea-campion. The descent to the village is a sharp drop; visitors
usually alight above from their coach, and walk down the steep zigzag
road. It is not surprising to read that this secluded spot was
formerly notorious for smugglers, but now it peacefully devotes itself
to fishing, and to the entertainment of guests who can appreciate
quiet loveliness. Pilchards are still caught here, with the
old-fashioned seine-nets; but their numbers have much decreased. We
can realise what the pilchard has been to Cornwall when we read that
in 1847 over 40,000 hogsheads were exported to Genoa, Leghorn, Naples,
Venice, &c., estimated at more than a hundred million fish. The annual
catch now is about half this quantity, and some proportion of these
are retained for home consumption. When we pass Black Head we come at
last in sight of the true Lizard, with the fine reach of Kennack Sands
lying between; and for those who can appreciate a walk of surpassing
beauty, the best thing to do is to take the path at the top of the
cliffs, leading through Cadgwith to the Lizard Point. The walk takes
us into the true serpentine region; at Coverack serpentine is largely
blent with felspar and crystal. Perhaps in the future these sands of
Kennack will be thronged by thousands of holiday-makers, but they are
better as they are, haunted by seabirds and washed by tides of
ever-varying aspect. Several small streams run to the sea here, and at
Poltesco the sands are broken by a gorge of lonely and romantic charm,
with a charming cascade, opening into Carleon Cove. There was a
serpentine factory here once, but it is deserted; the water-wheel
turns no longer. It may be said that this walk from Coverack along the
cliffs is not easy; it is rugged, undulating, tortuous, and Cornish
miles sometimes seem very long. But it repays. When we reach Cadgwith
we seem to be genuinely at the Lizard. We have come to a port of crabs
and lobsters, and of painters.

[Illustration: COVERACK.

_Photo by Gibson & Sons._]

Cadgwith is certainly a most picturesque and attractive little
place, and if it does not share the luxuriant fertility of Coverack,
it has the compensation of being nearer to the wonders of the Lizard.
It is in the parish of Ruan Minor, and this is a dedication to a saint
whose name we also find at Ruan Major, Ruan Lanihorne, and Polruan
near Fowey. He also appears at Romansleigh in Devon. He seems to have
been an Irishman, some say converted by Patrick, who travelled widely,
and when in Brittany was accused by a woman of being a were-wolf; she
said he had eaten her child. The king of that part, who favoured the
saint, said, "Bring him hither. I have two wolf-hounds; if he is
innocent they will not harm him, but if there is anything of the wolf
about him they will tear him to pieces." The dogs came and licked
Ruan's feet; and the child whom he was supposed to have eaten was
discovered hidden away. However, the saint found it well to leave
Brittany for Cornwall. He is said to have been buried at Lanihorne,
but Ordulf, who dedicated his abbey at Tavistock to the honour of Mary
and St. Rumon, professed to have brought the saint's relics to his
Devon foundation and there enshrined them. It proves how slightly
Saxonised that part of Devon was, and how powerful was the Celtic
tradition, that Ordulf should have selected a Celtic saint for his
monastery. A portion of Cadgwith is in the parish of Grade, which is
supposed to be a dedication to the Holy Creed; but here, as at
Sancreed and St. Creed, Grampound, we may be safe in believing that
there was a living personality behind the dedication, not a mere
abstraction. Churches had definite founders in Celtic days, and there
was a certain St. Credan who may be responsible for all these. But
does the ordinary visitor care much about these questions of
dedication and saint-lore? Probably not. South of Cadgwith are some of
the grand caves and rock-freaks that have a more immediate appeal, and
north of the hamlet some of the best serpentine is obtained.
Serpentine is a blend of silica and manganese, so named from its
imagined resemblance to a snake's skin; its colour varies from green
to red and brownish yellow, and is often remarkably beautiful. It has
been used with striking effect, architecturally, in Truro Cathedral;
while with regard to its use for ornaments and decoration, the visitor
has many opportunities of judging for himself.

When we remember the seas to which these shores are exposed, it is
easy to understand how the coast has been eroded into its present
contorted and cavernous condition. Massive rocky frameworks have
resisted the action of the waves, but softer measures have yielded;
the shore has been licked into hollows, basins, caves, by continuous
water-action, and the process continues unendingly. One remarkable
excavation of this kind is the Devil's Frying-pan, covering about two
acres, which the sea enters through an archway of rock at high tides;
the pit is nearly 200 feet deep. Literally, it is a cave whose roof
has fallen in. Close to this is Dollar Hugo, a cave whose roof has not
fallen nor seems likely to, with a magnificent gateway of serpentine.
The name is sometimes spelt Dolor, suggestive of grief, but its origin
is not easy to trace; Hugo seems to be a corruption of the Cornish
word _fogou_, meaning a cave. Johns, who wrote a very interesting book
about the Lizard some sixty years since, said that "of all the caves
that I have ever inspected, this wears the most perfect air of
mysteriousness and solemnity. At the entrance it is large enough to
admit a six-oared boat, but soon contracts to so small a size that a
swimmer alone could explore it. Its termination is lost in gloom, but
as far as the eye can discriminate the water is unceasingly rising and
falling with a deep murmuring sound, which is reverberated from a
great distance, and falls on the ear with a most imposing effect. The
colouring of the rocks at the entrance is magnificent. The base is of
a deep rose-pink; the sides rich dark brown, with blotches of bright
green and rose colour; the roof purple and brown. The water is very
deep and of a fine olive green, and, being remarkably clear, the light
stones lying at the bottom are distinctly visible, among which at my
last visit we could descry great fishes, probably bass, pursuing
shoals of launces." By "launces" the writer meant what we should now
call the lancelet. Just south of Dollar is the old smugglers' cave
known as Raven's Hugo. Below this to the extreme point of the Lizard
the coast is a series of jagged cliffs and clefts, with tiny coves and
black chasms. For seaward and distant views it is best to take the
head of the cliffs, but for the caverns a boat should be used, and
this of course necessitates caution. We have now reached Lendewednack,
the true Lizard parish and the most southerly in England. Apparently
the dedication, like that of Towednack, near St. Ives, is to a St.
Winoc or Gwynog. There is a church with the same name (Landevenech) in
Brittany; yet there has been some attempt to prove that Winwaloe,
whom we find at Gunwalloe on the western side of the headland, was the
founder. This seems unlikely, unless it can be shown that Winwaloe and
Winnow or Winoc were the same person. The church is interesting in
itself, and beautifully placed, giving traces of many periods of
architecture, from Norman to Perpendicular. The font, which happily
was preserved by former coats of whitewash, is Early English; it bears
the inscription "Ric. Bolham me fecit." The lofty south doorway is a
very good specimen of Norman; the pulpit, which is modern, is of
serpentine, and there are serpentine tombstones in the graveyard. Like
St. Keverne, this is a burial-ground of the wrecked. It has also been
the sepulchre of persons dying from the plague, of which there was a
severe visitation in 1645. It is said that, about a century later, the
soil where its victims had been buried was dug to receive shipwrecked
seamen, and that, in consequence, the plague reappeared. The bells
have Latin mottoes and some curious bell-marks. The blending of
granite with darker local stone in the tower has a rather singular
effect; it makes the walls look like a chequer-board. Landewednack
claims to be the last place where a sermon was preached in the Cornish
tongue, in 1678; as was natural, the old language lingered longest in
isolated districts of the Lizard and Land's End. It may be guessed
that some of his younger hearers would not have understood the
preacher, for the language had already greatly decayed. It was never a
particularly rich dialect of the Celtic, and left no remains worthy to
perpetuate its existence. Norden, who wrote in the middle of the
sixteenth century, stated that "of late the Cornishe men have much
conformed themselves to the use of the English tongue, and their
English is equal to the best, especially in the eastern parts. In the
weste parts of the countrye, in the hundreds of Penwith and Kirrier,
the Cornishe tongue is most in use amongste the inhabitants." A little
later, a loyal Cornishman bewailed "our Cornish tongue has been so
long on the wane that we can hardly hope to see it increase again;
for, as English first confined it within this narrow country, so it
still presses on, leaving it no place but about the cliffs and sea, it
being now almost only spoken from the Land's End to the Mount, and
again from the Lizard towards Helston and Falmouth." The inevitable
happened, just as somewhat the same process has taken place in Wales,
in Ireland, and in the Scottish Highlands. In these three countries
the old tongue had the aid of a powerful literature. Welsh and Erse
may be very long in dying out, as we hope they will be; yet nothing
can prevent the people of Wales and Ireland becoming bi-lingual, and
this can only have one ultimate result. Commercially, a single
language is necessary to the nation, and there has never been any
doubt as to which that language must be. And some of those who cling
to their vernacular as a proof of their Celticism may be making a
great mistake; speech is never a proof of race, and survivals of other
blood than Celtic adopted dialects of the Celtic speech.



CHAPTER VII

THE LIZARD TO HELSTON


Mr. Norway says that it would be hard to find an uglier spot than
Lizard Town, but of course he fully admits the grandeur of the coast
of which it is the small metropolis. The name, which first applied
only to the most southern headland, was not given from any fanciful
resemblance to a Lizard, but appears to be a corruption of the Cornish
words _Lis-arth_, _lis_ being the secular enclosure, the palace or
court, as distinct from _lan_ the sacred enclosure, and _arth_ meaning
high. Lizard Town is a cluster of houses, growing in number to meet an
increasing popularity, of which Landewednack is the church town, about
half a mile distant; it is served by motor-buses from Helston, and in
time there will doubtless be a branch line of the railway here. Housel
Bay, formerly Househole, is the bathing-place, with a large modern
hotel standing close to the cliffs; on the east is Lloyd's signal
station, and on the west the lighthouse. Vessels that used to call at
Falmouth for sailing orders, or for other information, now receive
these instructions by signal from Lloyd's station here, flags being
employed by day and lights by night; a wireless telegraph has also
been established. All vessels, outward or homeward, are thus reported
at this most southern point of England. At the lighthouse there were
formerly two lights, whose double purpose was to warn seamen not only
of the Lizard but also of the Wolf rocks off Land's End; these rocks
have now a light of their own, and at the Lizard is displayed a single
electric lamp, of 1,000,000 candle power, revolving, whose reflection
is visible at over sixty miles' distance. It is said that when its
revolutions first turned its light towards the houses of Lizard Town,
some alarm was felt at this sudden searching gaze piercing into the
very heart of the dwellings; it was like the vivid illumination of a
flash of lightning, a great prying eye which no one could avoid. To
obviate this a screen has been placed on the landward side of the
lantern. The light stands about 200 feet above the sea; and in
addition to this there is a fog-siren, whose tremendous voice bellows
through thick weather at intervals of two minutes. West of the
lighthouse is the little fishing-cove and lifeboat station of Polpeor.
In old times this headland was lit by a bonfire beacon, kept burning
at night; and there is a story that a Government packet, passing in
the days of our French wars, noticing that the sleepy watchman had
allowed the fire to dwindle to a mere smoulder, discharged a
cannon-ball at the spot to arouse the neglectful watcher. It must be
remembered that the Lizard is rendered doubly perilous by a
sea-covered stack of rocks lying to the southward. Before oil was
introduced for the lamps it is said the lantern was lit by
coal-fires--a kind of first-hand use of gas. Below the lighthouse is
the striking Bumble Rock, and close to this the hollow known as the
Lion's Den, formed by a natural sudden subsidence in 1847. This
formation was an immediate object-lesson as to the manner in which
these remarkable hollows, caverns, and rock-freaks have been produced
in the course of time; and there can be no doubt that such natural
weathering alone accounts for the Belidden Amphitheatre, east of the
fine Penolver Point. Bass Point is the eastward bluff of this rugged
and bare old headland, known to ancient geographers as Ocrinum, the
southern extremity of the Britains.

[Illustration: THE LIZARD LIGHTHOUSE.

_Photo by Gibson & Sons._]

With many visitors, to speak of the Lizard is to speak of Kynance. It
is Kynance that the guide-books and the artists have chiefly
popularised; it is Kynance that is probably the most celebrated
beauty-spot on the whole south-Cornish coast. Is it worthy of its
reputation? Some visitors give an emphatic affirmative; others are a
little dubious. To some the spot is a little spoiled by its
popularity; during the season it is like a corner of a fashionable
watering-place, covered with tourists, refreshment booths, and sellers
of serpentine. But autumn and winter bring a grand solitude when all
traces of the tripper are washed away: the storms cleanse it with
their mighty lustrations; only the white sands, the black or richly
stained rocks remain, a haunt of homeless winds and crying gulls. The
cove is encircled by a group of off-lying rocks, insular at high tide;
it is only at low water that Kynance can be explored. The Gull Rock,
Asparagus Island, the Lion, the Steeple, the Kitchen, the
Drawing-room--these names of the crags and clefts have become
almost as familiar as household words; while every one knows that if
you post a letter in the Devil's Post-office, it will presently be
returned in a great outburst of water. It is of little use for the
local authorities to forbid such posting, as being dangerous to the
individual who waits too eagerly near for his reply; visitors will
still venture, and are sometimes drenched, if nothing worse, by the
natural blow-hole for their pains. There are other places here where
care must be exercised--steep sudden descents, unguarded chasms, nooks
and coves where it is easy to be entrapped by the tide; even the
active and skilful may get into trouble, and visitors who bring
venturesome boys must be prepared for alarms. It is natural that many
a parent of a family should prefer a level sandy shore for his summer
resort, and Cornwall happily has many such spots to offer, where
father and mother can recline restfully without constant anxiety for
their boys and girls.

Passing westward from Kynance there are numberless features of the
coast that might cause one to delay; and the coastguard's walk above
the cliffs is rendered plain by the white stones that are so necessary
at night. In one place is the intervening cleft called Gue Graze,
which may be scrambled across or skirted, leading to the precipice
that rises above the cavernous Pigeon Hugo; this cave can only be
approached from the water, and then very rarely. Fields of buttercups
and clover come near to the shore, but inland lies the moorland waste
of Pradanack and Goonhilly Downs. Beyond Pigeon Hugo are two notable
headlands, Vellan and Pradanack. This brings us to Mullion, another
small metropolis of what is considered the Lizard district, though we
have now left the true Lizard five or six miles behind us. This is
another region of shipwrecks, but if we can forget them Mullion Cove,
with its outlying islet, is purely delightful, and is reaping the
fruit of its charms by the establishment of hotels, boarding-houses,
and golf-links. Both Polurrian and Poldhu share some of this favour.
The coast here is quite as fine, some think even grander, than it is
around the Lizard; while the air, though temperate, has a bracing
freshness from the Downs. The true name of Mullion Cove is
Porthmellin, and it is probable that Mullion itself is a corruption of
Mellin, for the church is dedicated to Melyan or Melanus, the father
of Mylor. The church-town is about a mile distant from the Cove, and
its church, with "black-and-white" tower of granite and serpentine,
somewhat resembles that of Landewednack. The tower dates from 1500,
but portions of the remaining building are obviously earlier; it was
restored in 1870. There is a curious crucifixion over the west window,
with the figure of the Father standing behind that of the Son; and in
front of the altar are carved wooden figures which may have formed
part of a screen; one of these is supposed to represent St. Cleer, or
Cleher. The bench-ends are of rare excellence for this part of the
Duchy--in fact, they are among the finest in the West of England, and
to say that is to say much. They probably date from the fifteenth
century, and bear all manner of devices, letterings, symbols. One
series, in the western nave, gives the arms of the Passion, while
others bear fleurs-de-lis and different crosses. The gallery that
was formerly here has been removed. In the chancel is an inscription
to the memory of Thomas Flavel, vicar, who died in 1682, being well
known locally as a ghost-layer. Such duties were at one time a
recognised part of a clergyman's vocation. The epitaph of this
reverend exorcist is quaint enough to bear quotation:--

    "Earth, take mine earth, my sin let Satan havet,
    The World my goods; my Soul my God who gavet;
    For from these four--Earth, Satan, World and God,
    My flesh, my sin, my goods, my soul, I had."

[Illustration: BENCH-ENDS IN MULLION CHURCH.

_Photo by Gibson & Sons._]

There is a ballad of Goethe's ("De Zauberlehrling") which tells how a
magician's apprentice, who had learned enough of his master's craft to
be dangerous to himself, once succeeded in raising spirits during the
wizard's absence, but was quite unable to dismiss them. A similar tale
is told of Flavel's servant-maid. During her master's absence at
church she unwarily opened one of the books in his study, "whereupon a
host of spirits sprung up all round her. Her master discovered this,
though then occupied at church, closed his book and dismissed the
congregation. On his return home he took up the book with which his
servant had been meddling, and read backwards the passage which she
had been reading, at the same time laying about him lustily with his
walking-cane; whereupon all the spirits took their departure, but not
before they had pinched the servant-girl black and blue." It is said
that this parson used to charge five guineas for laying troublesome
ghosts; but as there are no longer ghosts at Mullion, it is not
advisable to attempt a revival of the business. Nor are there
smugglers, though the locality had once a reputation not only for
smuggling but for wrecking. It may not have been often that persons
deliberately drew vessels on the coast by false signals, but that this
was sometimes done seems indisputable. More often still, boats may
have been deceived by lights that were merely displayed as signals or
warnings during operations of the smugglers. But there was little need
to do anything that might lead to shipwreck; the deadly coast itself
was enough. To relate the stories of even a few might be monotonous,
after those of which we have already spoken at the Manacles. Of a
fresher interest is the station of the Marconi Wireless Telegraph
Company, at Poldhu (formerly written Poljew), whose four highest
towers or scaffolds, each over 200 feet in height, have become a
prominent local landmark. It is not easy to describe these; an
illustration can best convey the impression, and no immediate scrutiny
is allowed to the public. The activities of this station must remain
mysteries to the uninitiated, but it must be a weird and wonderful
experience to ascend those white winding stairways around the iron
poles during a strong wind. Poldhu has one of the fine modern hotels
that come as a surprise to the rambler in the district that has
hitherto been so lonely and desolate. Around the wireless station is a
network of posts, wires, and lower towers.

Poldhu was chosen in 1900 as the site of a station for the purpose of
establishing communication by wireless telegraphy with America, Mr.
Marconi being assisted at that time by Professor Fleming, of London.
No such distance had hitherto been attempted, and the employment of
very powerful magnetic waves was necessary. These were obtained, Mr.
Marconi has himself told us, "by means of a generating plant
consisting of an alternator capable of an output of about 25
kilowatts, which, through suitable transformers, charged a condenser
having a glass dielectric of great strength." A corresponding station
was erected at Cape Cod, but in the autumn of 1901 the masts and
aerial at Poldhu were wrecked by a storm, and this caused delay. In
November, 1901, Mr. Marconi crossed to Newfoundland with the hope of
opening communication; and in December he was satisfied that he
received signals from Cornwall, proving to him that messages might be
transmitted by electric waves from a distance of 2,000 miles. Two
months later further satisfactory tests were carried out between
Poldhu and the American liner _Philadelphia_. In 1902 a new station at
Glace Bay, Nova Scotia, was put into touch with Poldhu; and at this
time the four wooden lattice-towers, 210 feet in height, were raised
at the Cornish station, the buildings for the generating plant being
placed in the space between them. The superior equipment at Glace Bay
caused the communication from Canada to be excellent, while the
reverse was not so good; Canada had granted a subsidy, and England had
not. But the communication was established; and a message from
President Roosevelt, sent to Cape Cod and transmitted to Glace Bay,
was safely received at the Poldhu station. Although the efficiency of
this station was greatly increased by the addition of the numerous
wires, sloping umbrella fashion, Mr. Marconi decided to establish a
new long-distance station in Ireland; and the Poldhu station is now
used for transmitting news to vessels on the Atlantic, whereby, with
the addition of intelligence received from the Cape Cod station, most
of the first-class liners to America are enabled to publish daily news
journals throughout their voyage--a very wonderful thing, when we
remember how completely a sea voyage used to cut one away from news of
home. Though it is not at the moment the foremost of the Marconi
stations, therefore, Poldhu has all the merit of having been the
earliest permanent wireless station; and in the near future it is
probable additions will be made to its plant, so as to bring it up to
the standard of the Company's station at Clifden in Ireland, when it
will become available for regular commercial communications between
England and America.

[Illustration: MARCONI STATION, POLDHU.

_Photo by Gibson & Sons._]

A little river flows into the Poldhu cove, running down from the
charming wooded estate of Bochym, mentioned in Domesday as Buchent.
There was formerly some fine old tapestry and stained glass in the
mansion, but these have gone; however, its oak room with sliding panel
and secret staircase remains, and the garden has some remarkable
tropic growths. A number of prehistoric relics have been discovered on
this estate. Close to Bochym is another old manor, Bonython; it is
said that the poet Longfellow was descended from one of the Bonythons,
who was an early settler in America. We are now in the parish of St.
Cury, or Corentin. He is a saint better known in Brittany that in
Cornwall, but it must always be remembered that the two countries
are very closely connected in race and tradition; also even in
name, for there was a Cornouaille in Brittany which former chroniclers
have sometimes confused with the English Cornwall.

The church, which is chiefly late Decorated, has a very good Norman
doorway, and a most interesting hagioscope, resembling that of
Landewednack, with the difference that the Cury window is a single
light. Much change and mutilation seems to have taken place in this
church; a former vicar found many remains of alabaster figures hidden
among plaster and débris behind a slab. There is a very singular
aumbry or alms-box, formed in an oak bench-end near the door. The
rugged old building is finely placed, with a magnificent view over
land and sea. But the ordinary visitor takes more notice of
Grunwalloe, which is one of the most curiously situated churches in
the kingdom, standing where the sea-spray sometimes makes a clean
sweep over it. Its churchyard walls rise immediately from the sands of
Gunwalloe Church Cove--at times the very graveyard has been invaded by
dashing waves; and its little campanile tower is literally built into
the solid rock. Thus founded on rocks, it stands old and
weather-beaten, in a desolate district of sand-towans. The dedication
is to St. Winwaloe, and it must be left to more learned hagiologists
to decide who this Winwaloe really was, or whether he was identical
with the founder of Landewednack. There are about half a dozen
churches with detached belfries in Cornwall, but this of Gunwalloe is
perhaps the most striking; the campanile here stands 14 feet west of
the main building. It is difficult to account for the peculiarity, but
of course there are stories that attempt to solve the mystery. The
church itself is said to have been the votive offering of a survivor
from shipwreck; some, however, speak not of a single survivor, but of
two sisters whose lives were saved here, and who could not agree about
the exact position of the church they desired to erect as a
thank-offering. The result was a compromise. There are traditions of
buried treasure here, as well as of wrecked dollars; and in both cases
much time and money have been spent by treasure-seekers.

It is possible that the Goonhilly Downs, which occupy the high-lying
and barren interior of this Lizard district, really embody a
corruption of the name of Gunwalloe, though the name is generally
explained as meaning "hunting down." These downs belong to the true
_meneage_ or stony district, but in the past they seem to have been
covered with thickets and wild beasts. It is still a lonely, deserted
track of country, with prehistoric hut-circles and entrenchments,
crossed by two good roads, now often traversed by brake and motor and
cycle, leading from Helston to St. Keverne and the Lizard. Leland
speaks of "a wyld moor, called Gunhilly, wher ys brood of catyle";
perhaps the cattle were the once-famous Goonhilly nags referred to by
Norden. "There is a kinde of nagge," he says, "bred upon a mountanous
and spatious peece of grounde, called Goon-hillye, lyinge between the
sea-coaste and Helston; which are the hardeste naggs and beste of
travaile for their bones within this kingdome, resembling in body for
quantitie, and in goodness of mettle, the Galloway naggs." The breed
seems now to be extinct, though there are doubtless living
descendants; and Goonhilly remains an almost treeless table-land,
broken by streamlets where it meets the sea. There are many to whom
this inland portion of the Lizard country may seem dreary enough, but
others will be touched by its indefinite charm of breezy expanse, the
beautiful colour of its Cornish heath, the loneliness of its pools and
hollows, the call of its curlews, the hum of its summer bees.

Just below Gunwalloe fishing-cove are the fine Halzaphron cliffs, on
which a transport was wrecked about a century since, and the bodies
then buried are said to have been the last shipwrecked persons to be
laid in unconsecrated ground. Public opinion rebelled against the
so-called heathen burial given to such remains, and an Act was passed
in Parliament sanctioning their interment in the churchyards of the
parishes on which they were cast. Whatever advantage there may be in
lying in consecrated earth is now freely granted; the unknown drowned
are given the benefit of the doubt, and their bodies committed to the
dust in Christian fashion. In parishes like these of the Lizard, and
on the north Cornwall coast at places like Morwenstow, this duty of
giving Christian sepulture has been no sinecure.

We come across traces of an ancient Cornish family at Carminow, the
eastern creek of Loe Pool; but the most tangible relics of the
Carminows now remaining are the two effigies in the church of
Mawgan-in-Meneage, in which parish we find ourselves once more after
having made the tour of the Lizard peninsula. Various tales are told
of the Carminows; it is said they claimed descent from King Arthur--it
is even said that a Carminow fought against the Romans at their first
landing, which would carry them far eastward of Cornwall. Hals thought
that the Mawgan figures were brought from the old chapel of their
manor-house, which stood here by the Carminow creek; but Blight is of
opinion that the effigies were removed from Bodmin. In Loe Bar we have
a formation slightly resembling the famous Chesil Ridge of Dorset, and
the bar at Slapton Sands in Devon; but this Loe Bar is on a much
smaller scale. Being formed of very fine pebbles, the waters of Loe
Pool are in ordinary times able to percolate to the sea; but after
much rain there is more water than can thus be carried off, and it was
formerly the custom to cut the Bar at such times that the superfluous
flood might rush through. A culvert has now been constructed for this
purpose, so that the cutting of the Bar is now superseded. A writer
who was at school at Helston tells us that "when the floods became
serious, and the Loe too near Helston to be pleasant, there was a
solemn function performed by the men of Helston, with the Mayor at
their head, called breaking the Bar. The Loe was so full that a small
trench cut between it and the sea let out the waters; there was then a
rush of water and the Loe became connected with the sea by a deep
chasm through which the tide flowed. I have never seen the Bar broken,
but I have seen the deep chasm in the bar of sand with the tide
flowing in and out. The natural forces which originally made the Bar
restored it, and in the course of some months it became the same as
before." Mr. Hind says he was told by a sailor that "when he was a boy
Loe Bar used to be broken once a fortnight"; but we sometimes
exaggerate the things that we remember of our boyhood, and certainly
the cutting can never have been as frequent as this. C. A. Johns, who
knew Helston well, says that it was rarely necessary to cut the Bar
more than twice a year, sometimes not even once; and further,
describing a cutting, he says: "In a few hours a deep mighty river is
bursting out with inconceivable velocity, and engaging in violent
conflict with the waves of the ocean; as the two meet they clash
together with terrific uproar, while the sea for twenty, or even
thirty miles, is tinged of an ochreous hue. Even at the Scilly Islands
the cutting of the Loe Bar has been notified by the altered colour of
the water." As the pool belonged to the lord of Penrose, it was
customary to present him with a purse containing three-halfpence to
obtain his permission for the cutting of the Bar. All this is a thing
of the past, but Loe Pool remains as the only sheet of water in
Cornwall worthy to be termed a lake, with banks finely wooded and
carpeted with flowers. In shape it is more like a broad river than a
lake, and it is in fact the land-locked estuary of the Cober, cut off
from full intercourse with the sea by this pebbly and sandy spit.
Helston claims that it was once a seaport, with vessels sailing close
up to its walls; and the formation of the Loe Bar, which destroyed all
access, is said to have been one of the accidents of the doomed
Tregeagle, whose story will be told later. The Pool is about seven
miles in circumference, and affords some excellent fishing; it is the
one great attraction that Helston can boast. When Tennyson wrote his
"Morte d'Arthur," the germ from which all his Arthurian Idylls
sprang, and in some respects the finest portion of them, he described
how the knight Bedivere carried the wounded Arthur after his last
battle--

    "And bore him to a chapel nigh the field,
    A broken chancel with a broken cross,
    That stood on a dark strait of barren land.
    On one side lay the Ocean, and on one
    Lay a great water, and the moon was full."

It has been sometimes imagined that this "great water" was none other
than Loe Pool, and certainly the spot has a better claim than Dozmare
on the Bodmin Moors; but the placing this last battle in the West at
all is merely a concession to fancy, and to the desires of West
Countrymen. History tells us that Arthur's last fight must almost
certainly have taken place in Scotland. But Tennyson's localities are
a land of dream and myth; we do better not to try to identify
them--their beauty may go with us from place to place, their
atmosphere bring peace and soothing to us wherever our steps may be.

It is probable that the origin of the name of Helston is the Cornish
_hêl_, "water," as at Helford and Hayle; but some Saxon derivations
have been suggested, and certainly the name was once Henlistone. It is
a clean, bright little town of about five thousand inhabitants, with a
broad main street. Relatively, the town was once of greater
consequence than now; its earliest known charter was granted by King
John, with many later charters from other monarchs. It was an active
centre of mining, and became a stannary or coinage town. The Grammar
School (now extinct) was notable in the days of Derwent Coleridge,
son of the poet, who was headmaster here at a time when Charles
Kingsley was pupil; the second master was Johns, known to all
botanists by his _Flowers of the Field_, and to all lovers of Cornwall
by his _Week at the Lizard_. Kingsley utilised his knowledge of this
corner of Cornwall when he wrote his _Hereward_, and there is no doubt
that he derived much good from his schooling under such excellent
masters as Coleridge and Johns. When writing of Helston it is
customary to say a great deal about its Flora, or Furry Day, the 8th
of May--a relic of old Maytide saturnalia. Though the dance through
the streets to a special kind of hornpipe, in at the front doors and
out at the back, is still continued, the old spirit that actuated it
is dead--it has become very much of a make-believe, a show for
visitors, a galvanised custom that might as well be decently buried.

If we believed the guide-books, we might imagine that Cornish folk
were still a gay, childlike, merry-making people, carrying on the
customs of their forefathers, cherishing the old traditions, nursing
the old myths and superstitions, dreaming dreams and seeing visions.
Even writers who might know better try to present them as a race
apart, sharing to the full in that character of mysticism and vision
which is attributed to Celtic peoples. As a matter of fact the Cornish
are by no means gentle-minded simpletons nor poetic visionaries,
though, of course, there may be a few of either class among them; and
these nominally Celtic folk have no greater power of imagination than
the natives of other English counties nominally Saxon. There is a
strain of difference--something that is possibly pre-Celtic--something
at times sinister, passionate, incoherent; but there is nothing that
is more romantic, more thoughtful, than may be found in the average
countryman of the southern counties. We have all met delightful
Cornish people--hospitable, kindly, lovable; but, thank God, such are
to be met with elsewhere. It is not that the Cornish are to be
under-valued or slighted, but they are to be defended from the foolish
claims of casual visitors and the equally unwise assertions of some
natives. There is one grave charge that may be laid against the
people--Mr. W. H. Hudson made it in his beautiful book on the Land's
End: this is a charge of cruelty, especially against birds. There
could be no good in repeating this--it is never pleasant to say things
that sound unkind and perhaps uncharitable--unless it be that when the
people realise that certain practices are thought cruel by outsiders,
they may in time come to see the cruelty themselves. There is also the
supposed religiousness of Cornwall. From reading certain books we
might be led to imagine that Wesley found the Cornish savages and left
them Christians. He did a great deal certainly--let no one say a word
against that noble-hearted man. But the aspects of Wesley's teaching
that took chief root in Cornwall, as also in Wales, were just those
parts on which he himself would have laid least emphasis--the
excitability, the emotionalism. We do a grave wrong to Wesley in
giving his name to those manifestations of frothiness and of undue
familiarity with the Deity that have too often been classed as
Wesleyanism. These, coupled with sectarian bitterness against the
Church of England, may flourish if their votaries desire; but why
should they take the name of one who was an earnest and sober-minded
Churchman? Of course there is much in Cornwall of which Wesley or any
other religious teacher might well be proud; but there are other
aspects also, and plenty of room for those who shall teach the people
love, charity, and tenderness towards all forms of sentient life.



CHAPTER VIII

MOUNT'S BAY


From Loe Bar the Porthleven sands take us on to the busy little
fishing-port of Porthleven itself, whose mother-parish is Sithney. It
is becoming quite a popular watering-place, not only with Helston
folk, who have only about two and a half miles to come, but with
visitors from a greater distance. Porthleven is now a separate parish,
with a modern church of its own, and a large Methodist chapel at
Torleven that cost £3,500. Its name clearly embodies that of St.
Levan, whom we shall meet again near Land's End. An association with
that saint gives it a tolerable antiquity, but the place lacks any
picturesque garb of the ancient, and its chief pleasantness lies about
the harbour. There are fine views of Mount's Bay to be gained from the
higher grounds. The harbour and docks were incorporated a century
since; the pier is 465 feet long, and the basin has stout granite
jetties. Granite and china-clay, fire-bricks and fish are exported
here, and the fishing done is fairly extensive. The harbourage is
good, but rather difficult to make in rough weather; south-westerly
winds drive the seas fiercely against its mouth. As might be imagined,
wrecks have been plentiful here, and along the Methleigh shore are
the graves of many drowned persons--interred here in days when the
right to consecrated earth was denied. The coast had also an evil
reputation for wrecking--not what the underwriters style "act of God,"
but the dark and mysterious crime of luring vessels on a rock-bound
shore:--

    "God keep us from rocks and shelving sands,
    And save us from Breage and Germoe men's hands!"

The parish of Breage has a specially attractive church, dedicated to
St. Breaca, who landed in the Hayle estuary some time in the sixth
century; she was an Irish lady, said to have been the sister of St.
Uni, of Euny Lelant and other churches. The church is large and
shapely, but its ancient character has hardly been preserved by the
redecoration that took place in 1890, though happily that restoration
revealed some fine frescoes that had been covered with whitewash. One
of the figures is the popular one of St. Christopher, like that of
Poughill in north Cornwall; other figures are St. Michael, St. Giles,
and St. Cury. The altar-slabs are old, and may once have been taken
from altar-tombs. There is a good tower-arch, a five-shafted font, and
excellent wagon-shaped roofs; chancel-screen and reredos are modern.
Of the two bells, one, the tenor, is the largest in Cornwall, with a
diameter of 54 inches; it is said that there was formerly a peal, but
that the bells were recast into this single form. It is natural to
find traces of the Godolphins here, their seat being so near. The
national history has much to say of one Godolphin only, Sidney, the
Lord Treasurer, whom Macaulay treated not too tenderly; but Cornwall
knows of many, and is especially loving to the memory of Margaret, the
wife of Sidney, whose tomb is in the church of Breage. She has had the
benefit of a memoir by John Evelyn, her faithful friend, and his
account of her is a beautiful picture of womanhood. Being appointed
Maid of Honour to the Duchess of York in her twelfth year, the girl
retained her purity in a Court that was notoriously impure, and it was
thus that she met her two friends, the young Godolphin who married her
nine years later, and the older man Evelyn, who gave her devotion and
tender counsel. It was in 1678 that Margaret Godolphin died, after the
birth of her only child. A few days before her illness she had written
to her absent husband: "If I might, I would beg that my body might lye
where I have had such a minde to goe myselfe, att Godolphyn, among
your friends. I believe, if I were carried by sea, the expense would
not be very great; but I don't insist on that place, if you think it
not reasonable; lay me where you please." To Cornwall her sorrowing
husband brought her, laying her in this church of Breage, where her
remembrance is of a very sweet savour; and when we recollect how
fondly her lord had loved her, and how he never sought to fill the
vacant place, we must needs think with greater gentleness of one who,
for his age, was a patriotic and high-minded statesman. An earlier
Godolphin had been one of the "four wheels of Charles's Wain." There
are heroic memories clinging to the now extinct family; and it is well
to find that at least the name survives in vital fashion here around
their old manor-house. That house is now a farm, but it retains traces
of old manorial grandeur--some panelled rooms with great windows, a
hall with lofty fireplace, and the fishponds of the gardens. On the
seaward side of the house rises Godolphin Hill to a height of about
500 feet, giving a noble view of St. Michael's Mount and Bay. There
are many remains of former mining. Tregonning Hill, close by, is
somewhat higher, and its summit has a fine entrenchment with a
striking inner vallum. The Latin epitaph to Margaret Godolphin upon
her altar-tomb was written by Evelyn, and the same inscription was
placed upon her coffin. It is followed by her favourite motto, the
beautiful _Un Dieu, un amy_ ("One God, one friend"). Evelyn knew
better than to write any fulsome compliments upon her tomb.

A little westward of Tregonning is Germoe, its church dedicated to St.
Germoe, or Germoc. The pinnacles of the Perpendicular tower are
specially notable, while the gable-cross and corbels of the porch are
of a kind rare in this part of the country. The body of the church is
Decorated, but its font must be far earlier; it is rather like a huge
stoup, of remarkably rude formation, and may perhaps be Saxon in date.
But the structure known as St. Germoe's Chair, in the graveyard, is
even more curious; it consists of three roofed sedilia, fronted by two
pillared arches. W. C. Borlase thought that the erection was simply an
altar-tomb, but, as another writer has said, "there is more than one
story attached to this chair. One is to the effect that the saint sat
in the central chair with the two assessors, one on either side of
him; another legend is that the priests rested in the chair; whilst a
third is that pilgrims to the tomb of the saint also rested therein.
Be that as it may, however, it is possible that this is a shrine, and
that the body of St. Germoe rests underneath it." There is a
folk-rhyme attaching to the parish:--

    "Germoe, little Germoe, lies under a hill,
    When I'm in Germoe I count myself well;
    True love's in Germoe, in Breage I've got none;
    When I'm in Germoe I count myself at home."

Pengersick in this parish has still some remains of a castle built in
the time of Henry VIII. by a man named Milliton, but there was
evidently a far older castle here belonging to the Pengersicks, and a
cluster of ancient legends gathered around the place. Cornish
imagination usually stopped short at folk-lore and gave nothing to
literature; in folk-lore it was certainly rich. One of the stories is
of a former inhabitant of the castle who had doings with a king's
daughter abroad, and when she followed him to his Cornish home, he
threw both the lady and her child into the sea. The boy was rescued by
a passing vessel (of course to return later); the woman changed into a
white hare, who one day ran in front of the man's horse, startling it
so that it rushed with its rider into the waves, and both were
drowned. White hares play a striking part in Cornish traditions.
Another story says that the castle was purchased by one of the
Millitons, who, having murdered a man, shut himself up here in terror
and remorse. A further legend speaks of another Milliton who lived
here with a wife whom he hated, and whom he often tried to get rid of,
but her wits proved equal to his. At last, feigning reconciliation,
he invited her to sup with him, and then suddenly told her that the
wine she had drunk was poisoned. "Then we die together," she answered,
"for I had my doubts and I mixed the contents of the goblets." A
terrible tempest came on, and wild shrieks came from the chamber; the
servants, hastening to the room in alarm, found their master and
mistress lying dead on the floor, while looking through the window
they could see their spirits being carried off in triumph by a winged
demon. It is singular how legends of this nature should attach
themselves to certain localities and persons; but the occupants of
Pengersick appear to have had differences with the clergy in old
times, and the priests generally contrived to blacken the characters
of those who became obnoxious to them. It was a terrible power, the
making or marring of future reputation.

[Illustration: PRUSSIA COVE.

_Photo by Gibson & Sons._]

On the coast the beautiful Praa sands stretch for a mile towards
Prussia Cove, with Praa Green at their head; the sands in its season
are glorified with wild convolvulus, and the gently lapping waves
often have little enough to tell us of their disastrous fury in time
of storm. But enough has been said on the dismal subject of wrecks.
Human remains, supposed to date from the Old Stone Age, have been
found at this spot; they, if they could speak, might tell us something
well worth listening to. But their memories would be of a Cornwall
very different from the present, and they would probably look to see
St. Michael's Mount in the midst of a forest.

If we are tired of shipwrecks, perhaps we are not tired of smugglers,
and we come on their footsteps in very vivid fashion at Prussia Cove,
whose original name was Porthleah. The place was a veritable hot-bed
of smuggling long before the days of John Carter, prince of smugglers,
who went by the name of King of Prussia, and gave its present name to
the little cove. Some say that in boyish play-fights he always assumed
the name of King of Prussia, and the title stuck. In Cornwall his
reputation quite over-shadowed that of his Continental namesake; so
that when the news of the battle of Jena and the defeat of the real
King of Prussia reached West Cornwall, a Mousehole man exclaimed,
"Misfortunes never come single; I'm sorry for that man. Not more'n six
weeks ago he lost three hundred keg o' brandy, by information, so I'm
towld." Carter had a brother almost equally famous, Captain Henry, and
the two between them, with much able assistance, rendered this coast a
very hot corner for the Preventive men. Sometimes it very closely
resembled actual war, as when the smugglers, mounting a small battery,
fired openly on a revenue cutter. "A smuggler chased by a revenue
cutter, being somewhat pressed, ran through a narrow channel amongst
the rocks between the Enys and the shore. The cutter, not daring to
venture amongst the shoals, sent her boat in. And the King, with his
merry men, opened fire on the boat. They loaded up the little guns so
that every time they fired the guns kicked over completely backwards,
and had to be replaced. The boat was driven back, and the cutter held
off for the night. Next morning the fight was renewed, the cutter
opening fire from the sea, while a company of riders fired from the
hedge at the top of the hill on the rear of the men in the battery.
This turned the tables on the smugglers, who sought shelter in Bessie
Bussow's house." Nothing serious appears to have happened, however.
Bessie Bussow, who kept the "Kiddleywink" inn, has passed to
immortality in connection with Bessie's Cove, which Nature seems to
have contrived especially for the doings of smugglers. The tempting
caverns remain, but we cannot compass much smuggling now, however much
we might like to; and the coves are chiefly devoted to crabbing. Men
like the Carters were heroes in the profession and gave it a certain
amount of dignity; romance and picturesque colour it always had.

Perranuthnoe, a little beyond the modern Acton Castle, whose situation
is of great beauty, is locally known simply as Perran; the second half
of its name seems to point to an earlier saint than Piran. Perhaps
there was a St. Uthnoe whose name survives also at Sithney. The
fourteenth-century church is very interesting, with a granite figure
of St. James over the south doorway, said to have been brought here
from Goldsithney, about a mile inland. Another mile along the coast,
and we are at Marazion--

    "Where the great vision of the guarded Mount
    Looks towards Namancos and Bayona's hold."

It is the presence of the Mount that gives its wonderful charm to this
wide Bay, beautiful in itself, but from this feature receiving
something of the mystic and spiritual, a touch of varying
suggestiveness, a glamour of the remote and the unusual. There is
nothing else quite like it in Britain; to match and surpass it we have
to go to that other Mont St. Michel across the Channel. There is a
strange kinship in the two Mounts; but in spite of the superior
architecture of the Norman eminence, we might not perhaps be very
willing to take it in exchange for our own Cornish mount of St.
Michael. It is natural that myth and tradition should haunt here and
at Marazion, whose very name has an Oriental suggestion of romance
about it. And yet the name seems to mean nothing more romantic than a
market-place; and in spite of its alternative Market-Jew, seized
eagerly by those who are trying to prove that all Britons are
Israelites, neither name must be taken to denote any connection with
Jews or Jerusalem. The oldest name was doubtless _Marghas-iou_,
meaning "the markets" in an early form of Cornish; and in a later form
of Cornish we have _Marasion_, which meant the same thing. But Camden
says that the name Market-Jew arose from the town's having a market on
Thursday, the day of Jove or Jupiter--_quod ibi mercatus die Jovis
habeatur_; an explanation that is probably quite fanciful. Of course,
the name has been held to prove the claim of St. Michael's Mount to be
the Ictis of the ancients, but the idea that the natives would have
carried their tin across to this incommodious little islet for the
sake of selling seems absurd, when we consider that they could have
sold it much better on the mainland. The description by Diodorus
Siculus, often quoted, has a tempting look, but it cannot persuade us
that the Mount was Ictis. He says: "They that inhabit the British
promontory of Belerium, by reason of their converse with merchants,
are more civilised and courteous to strangers than the rest. These are
the people that make the tin, which with a great deal of care and
labour they dig out of the ground. Then they beat it into square
pieces like a die, and carry it to a British isle, near at hand,
called Ictis. For at low tide, all being dry between them and the
island, they convey over in carts abundance of tin." To suppose
that Ictis was the Isle of Wight would carry us too far back, for it
was only in prehistoric days that Wight was connected to the mainland
so closely; and the general conclusion now seems to be that Ictis was
the island of Thanet, in every sense convenient for the traffic. Our
connection with the Continent has always been most intimate at this
eastern corner, and the tin was conveyed along the trackways from west
to east. Sea passage was a consideration in those days. That
Phoenicians and other eastern merchants came to the Cornish coasts
cannot be denied, and for those who came by sea from the Mediterranean
Cornwall was more convenient than Kent; but the more regular centre of
traffic must have been at the eastern corner, and in no case can we
suppose that this steep rock would have been selected as a
market-place. Marazion is different, and may have welcomed many early
traders; but there is little to record of its past. It was certainly a
smelting-place for tin. Formerly in the parish of Hilary, it now has a
church of its own. Historically its chief incident seems to be the
attack by the French in 1514; and there was also trouble here in
connection with the religious revolt of 1549. The mother-church at
Hilary stands so high that it is said St. Ives folk used to make a
regular allowance to pay for its spire being whitewashed, that it
might serve as a mark at sea. Spires are rare in Cornwall, and this
one, of early Decorated style, is of special interest, having happily
survived the fire that destroyed the main building in 1853. There are
some curious blocked spire-lights. Outside the church is an oblong
stone of some size, of which the only decipherable words are
_Noti-noti_, with some indistinct symbols. This has been interpreted
as the inscription of a certain Notus; but others have regarded it as
simply a Roman milestone.

[Illustration: ST. MICHAEL'S MOUNT, FROM MARAZION.

_Photo by Gibson & Sons._]

There is another stone, formerly outside the church but now taken
within, which gives the name of Constantine Cæsar, thus establishing
its date as 306. Marazion is a pleasant little place, but of course
its chief interest is as the stepping-stone to St. Michael's Mount. It
is well known that Mount's Bay gives many traces of submerged forest,
and the old Cornish name of the Mount, meaning "the hoar rock in the
wood," gives further evidence. William of Worcester tells us that it
once stood six miles from the sea, in a track of country that must
have been a portion of the lost Lyonesse. The archangel himself is
said to have appeared on its summit in the fifth century, but we need
not associate the name of the Mount with any visit of this sort, for
churches on high places were constantly dedicated to the charge of St.
Michael, with the idea that he could protect them from evil powers of
the air. There may have been a religious cell here at a very early
date, but the earliest establishment of which we are certain is the
chapel endowed by Edward the Confessor, and gifted to the monks of St.
Michel in Normandy. The position of the Mount caused it to become not
only ecclesiastic but a secular stronghold, and it is in this
connection that it chiefly claims historic notice. In the time of
Richard I. it was held for King John by Henry de Pomeroi, but in no
part of the country was John greatly beloved, and on the return of
Richard from captivity the garrison surrendered voluntarily, Pomeroi,
it is said, committing suicide. During the Wars of the Roses some
fugitives from the battle of Barnet gained admittance to the Mount in
the disguise of pilgrims, and then, declaring themselves, held the
castle against all comers. Doing his duty as sheriff of the Duchy, Sir
John Arundell was killed in attacking them, and they resisted till a
pardon was granted them. In those days almost the only danger in such
a spot was the risk of famine; apart from that the place was
practically impregnable. Yet during the religious rebellion of 1549 it
twice yielded to attack, being taken for the King during the absence
of its governor, Arundell of Lanherne, and retaken by the Cornish; in
both cases we must suspect that the defence was half-hearted or the
supplies insufficient. In the Civil War Sir Francis Basset held the
Mount for the Royal cause, but surrendered after a gallant defence
when his case became hopeless. The Mount is now the seat of Lord St.
Levan, the representative of the St. Aubyn family, who gained
possession after the Bassets; and the little hamlet of St. Michael
lying at its foot is occupied by their retainers. The entire rock is
only about a mile in circumference, yet room is found on the very
small portion of level ground for a tennis-court, and even golf is
sometimes played. Anciently a resort of pilgrimage as the shrine of
St. Michael, the pilgrims that now cross by the causeway at low tide,
or are rowed over to the small quay, are lovers of the romantic and
the picturesque; but they are not allowed to ramble at will about the
buildings. Only a part is shown, including the chapel, which is
Perpendicular with some older fragments. The tower was a sort of
lighthouse or beacon for the guidance of fishermen--churches have
often fulfilled this double purpose, a lighthouse for both worlds; and
the lantern is now known as St. Michael's Chair, with a tradition that
whichever of man and wife sits there first will thereafter rule
supreme in all domestic matters; but the true Chair, as Carew
described it, was "a little without the castle," a craggy seat on the
western side of the Mount, where there was once an oratory. There was
good reason why pilgrims should resort hither in the past: "Know all
men that the most Holy Father Gregory, in the year from the
incarnation of our Lord 1070, bearing an affection of extraordinary
devoutness to the Church of St. Michael's Mount, has piously granted
to all the faithful who shall reach or visit it, with their oblations,
a remission of a third part of their penances." The human aspect peeps
out in the mention of alms and oblations; centres of pilgrimage have
always had a rich pecuniary value. Southey deals with St. Michael's
Chair in one of his ballads, which reminds us that St. Keyne, whom he
also treated poetically, is supposed to have visited the Mount when
she came to Cornwall--to which we must add a surmise that this saint
may not have been a woman at all, but was really St. Kenwyn. The Mount
is only insular during high tide, yet at such times, exposed to the
full force of the sea, the passage sometimes becomes impracticable;
and there are many low tides when it is not safe or even possible to
cross the causeway. Perhaps at any time those who see the rock from a
distance can best appreciate its charm. From Marazion to Penzance
there are three miles of flat, uninteresting road--perhaps the dullest
bit of coast-road in all Cornwall, were it not for the beauty of the
Bay.



CHAPTER IX

THE PENZANCE DISTRICT


Whatever claims other places may set up, Penzance is truly the
business capital of western Cornwall, the metropolis of the Land's End
district. It is first and foremost a market-town. Of course, it is
also a coasting port and fishing port and a watering-place; but none
of these things so wholly absorb it as do the weekly markets, when
countryfolk from all the neighbouring villages throng Market-Jew
Street with their conveyances, their parcels and packages, their
cattle, their eager chatter. These people and their forbears have made
Penzance what it is; they have not sought to beautify it much--a
reputation as a holiday resort has been thrust on the place by its
convenience, its commanding position as the gate-town of Land's End;
Penzance did little to advertise itself, but the visitors have come,
and are coming, and the town is doing its best to give them a fair
entertainment. Though from the coast or the sea it often makes a fine
appearance, the town is one of utility rather than of adornment. It
feels that its existence is fully justified, without having to resort
to artificial attractions. It builds no pavilions or glass-houses or
aquarium, it needs no constructed lakes to retain its sea, nor towers
to emulate rocks that Nature has denied. Primarily a place of business
rather than of pleasure, one soon learns to admire and to respect it;
there is nothing garish and little that is fashionable about it. Not
many of its buildings are calculated to make an impression on the
visitor, except the Market Hall that makes Market-Jew Street a rather
striking thoroughfare, and the church of St. Mary, which has at least
a charm of position. The Municipal buildings are a handsome piece of
architecture; but it is not in these features, nor in the Morrab
Gardens, in spite of their subtropical vegetation, that the charm of
the town lies. That charm is a certain homely friendliness in the
aspect of the place, the bustle, the soberness and geniality of its
people. Further, Penzance is a good place to get away from--which
sounds like a left-handed compliment, but has really quite other
meaning; it is a fine centre for the whole far west of Cornwall.

As a town Penzance cannot claim great antiquity, though its district
is remarkably rich in prehistoric remains. The name is _pen-sans_, the
"holy headland"; evidently misread by the town authorities as "holy
head," when they adopted the head of John the Baptist as the town
arms. There was an ancient chapel standing on the present Battery
Rocks, and this without doubt was the sacred headland which the title
refers to. The mother-parish was St. Madron, about 2½ miles to the
north-west; and it is by no means clear who Madron was. Some think he
was an Irish Medhran, some a Welsh Madrun; some even assert that he
was none other than the great Padarn of Wales. But in 1835 St. Mary's
was built at Penzance, on the site of an old chapel to Our Lady, of
which some relics are preserved. The town was granted a market in
1332, a charter in 1512, and in 1614 deeds of incorporation. But the
most important event in the history of early Penzance was its burning
by the Spaniards in 1595. There was an old Cornish folk-rhyme which
foretold that--

    "They shall land on the rock of Merlin,
    Who shall burn Paul, Penzance, and Newlyn";

and perhaps this led the inhabitants to regard the enemy as invincible
when they really did land, especially as their descent took place on a
rock at Mousehole that bore the name of Merlin. The Spanish were left
to do pretty well as they pleased, burning and pillaging Mousehole,
Paul, Newlyn, and Penzance, but they thought it advisable to retreat
to their galleons in Mount's Bay for the night, and next day, the
countryfolk having plucked up some heart, and there being rumours of
English seamen drawing near, it was found prudent to decamp
altogether. A new town rose from the ashes of the old one, but there
was further trouble in the time of the Civil War, and Penzance
suffered for loyalty to the King. Under the circumstances we must not
look for any remains of great antiquity in the town, though that which
is historical antiquity is mere youth in comparison with the
immemorial age that invests this farthest corner of Britain with a
garb of wonder and mystery. Close to Chyandour (the "house by the
water"), and not far from the Penzance terminus, is the Lescudjack
encampment, or castle, which carries us back to the early settlement
of the shores of Mount's Bay; only about three miles inland are the
huts of Chysauster, where there was evidently an extensive village in
days long before Penzance was dreamed of. Whether it was that this
farthest neck of land became the refuge of driven races, pushed
further and further westward by new encroaching hordes, it is certain
that the Land's End district offers more relics of prehistoric
antiquity than any other equal tract of land can show.

[Illustration: PENZANCE.

_Photo by Gibson & Sons._]

When Defoe came to Penzance, he seems to have been surprised to find
it so civilised and so comfortable, "being so remote from London,
which is the centre of our wealth." That is the remark of a true
Londoner, showing an attitude of mind towards the provincial that is
not quite extinct. He says: "This town of Penzance is a place of good
business, well built and populous, has a good trade, and a great many
ships belonging to it, notwithstanding it is so remote. Here are also
a great many good families of gentlemen, though in this utmost angle
of the nation." It is clear he expected to find a village of savages.
As a matter of fact Penzance now, with its admirable train service,
seems nearer to Paddington than many places that are not half so far
off; every express that comes westward brings a savour of the great
city with it, just as each train that leaves Penzance carries material
evidence of Cornwall's existence into the very heart of old London.
All the flowers from Scilly go by this route, and the Penzance
neighbourhood has many flowers, fruits, and early vegetables of its
own to dispatch to Covent Garden, together with a considerable
quantity of fish. The railway is carried by viaduct across Marazion
sands; in 1869 a large portion was shattered by the sea, and the
line had to be removed further back. Sea and winds remain as untamable
as they were when men of the Stone Age broke each other's heads at
Chysauster. In Alverton Street (retaining the name of the old
Alwaretone estate, mentioned in Domesday) are the museums and
buildings of the Natural History, Antiquarian, and Cornish Royal
Geological Societies, with the Guildhall, and a public room for
meetings; but the Penzance Library, containing about 25,000 volumes,
many of great rarity, is kept at Morrab House. There are Schools of
Art and of Mining--both subjects strongly to the front in Cornwall.
Immediately below the domed market-house, once the Town Hall, is a
statue of the town's most famous son, Sir Humphry Davy, born here in
1778, his father being a wood-carver. He was educated partly at Truro,
and early evinced that taste for poetry and angling that never left
him. After serving with a Penzance surgeon, he went to Dr. Beddoes at
Clifton, where he met Coleridge and Southey, and discovered the
curious effects of "laughing-gas." His further career does not belong
to Cornwall, but he proved himself a true son of the Duchy by
inventing the Davy safety-lamp for miners. Another great man in a
different school of activity, Pellew, better known as Lord Exmouth,
though born at Dover, spent much of his boyhood with his Cornish
grandmother at Penzance. His gallant deeds against the enemies of his
country form a stirring page in our national history, but Mr. Norway
has told us of one occasion on which he ran away from a pursuer. He
was a mischievous lad, and once, "having wandered with a friend up
Castle Horneck Avenue, he was inspired to discharge a few shots
through the latticed window of a cottage inhabited by two excellent
old maiden ladies. The pellets were aimed at pewter plates, and struck
those only, but the insult knocked at the heart of one of the old
ladies, who seized the firehook, as the nearest weapon, kilted up her
gown, and gave chase. Pellew's courage dissolved at the first sight of
this gaunt apparition, running as he thought no lady of her age could
run. He fled like a hare; she cast away her firehook and followed; he
threw away his musket and gained some ground; she caught him up again,
and in Madron church-town was almost on his back, when there came a
kindly hill. The old lady's wind was gone, she could spurt no more; so
while the culprit fled away in shameful rout without his arms, she
retreated honourably, the one person (if she could have known it) who
ever terrified Pellew."

Penzance has quite a commodious harbour, as it deserves, having spent
at least £100,000 on it; there is a regular service to Scilly, a good
deal of coasting, much fishing, and some ship-building. The west arm
of the pier is built on a vein of felspar porphyry, visible at low
water. Around the harbour cluster the narrow streets of the older
town, with nothing particular to recommend them; beyond this is the
town's one conventional feature, its promenade. A rather dreary and
unkempt mile of road takes us to Newlyn; and in this part Penzance has
certainly unduly emphasised its carelessness of appearance. It need
not be quite so slovenly and slipshod. Newlyn, the paradise of
artists, deserves a better approach, and Penzance itself merits a
fairer exit.

But before passing on to Newlyn something must be said both of Gulval
and of Madron. The tract of sheltered land in which Gulval lies,
reaching from Mount's Bay to Ludgvan, is one of the most productive in
Cornwall, being chiefly devoted to market-gardens and flowers; its
rare mildness and productiveness is proved by the wealth of exotic
vegetation around Gulval Church and Vicarage. In this respect the
place actually rivals Tresco, and the fields of narcissi are as
luxuriant as those of the Scillies. Much of this soil is worked by
hand, in the good old-fashioned style, whose results always seem
better than those of machinery. It is quite an idyllic corner of land,
with a tangible outcome that goes to the markets in the shape of early
vegetables and spring flowers. Below stretches the wide Bay, with its
gem, the Mount, of which it is so glorious a setting. There is another
gem close at hand, and that is Gulval Church itself, dedicated to a
St. Gudval or Wolvele. The general character of the church is Early
English, but there were two restorations in the past century, the last
being in 1892, and a great deal of modern decoration has been added,
largely in Derbyshire felspar, with excellent result. The church has
been under the special care of the Bolitho family, whose monuments
abound here, and it is a proof that old ecclesiastic buildings may be
beautified by modern adornment, without the disastrous result that
sometimes attends such attempts. Gulval holy well was one of the most
famous in Cornwall, and there can be little doubt that the saint's
early oratory was on the site of the church--a few traces, indeed, may
remain in the walling, a successful blending of the very ancient and
the recent. Even more famous was the well of St. Madron or Maddern,
which was quite a Lourdes in its way. The church here, probably on an
older site, dates from the time of Richard I., being built by one of
the Pomeroys; but little remains of this earlier building except its
very curious and apparently mutilated font. The present church is
chiefly Perpendicular.

In the graveyard is the epitaph of George Daniell, the founder of
Madron schools in days when men built schools instead of quarrelling
about them:--

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

Madron Feast (Advent Sunday) was always an occasion of prolonged
merrymakings and dissipation. It seems to have been in this district
that the last bull-baiting took place in Cornwall. A witness states
that it took place in Gulval parish, in the summer of 1814: "I
remember the black bull being led by four men. The crowd was dispersed
early in the morning by a severe thunderstorm, which much alarmed the
people, who thought it (I was led to believe) a judgment from heaven."
This proves that their minds were already uneasy. It is devoutly to be
wished that all those whose so-called sports cause suffering to
animals may be equally on the watch for judgments from heaven. The
village of old Madron is very beautiful and interesting.

Newlyn, a long mile beyond Penzance, in spite of the painters who have
carried its name far and wide, is still largely unspoiled. It must be
said for painters that they do not spoil a place as other visitors so
often do; in fact, all change--modernising, restoring, destroying--is
opposed to their sense of fitness; they are champions of the
picturesque and sworn foes of the jerry-builder. Newlyn remains quaint
and fishy, though it has its little Art Gallery and its Rue des Beaux
Arts. There are artistic industries also--copper repoussé and
enamel jewellery; a new Renaissance has come to this Cornish
fishing-village--its youths and maidens are learning mysteries of
beautiful craft which may save them from the deadly inanities of the
average British workman. When we speak of early Newlyn days, of course
we mean the days of the first artistic settlement, some thirty years
since; older Newlyn has little to tell, except that it was burnt by
the Spanish, and that its life has always been bound up with the
fortunes of the fishery. Mr. Stanhope Forbes has told us something of
the place as he first knew it. "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." But he bewails that Newlyn is not what it was; there has
been some spoliation, some pulling down of old cottages, some
unsightly intrusion of the ugly and modern, though certainly less than
might have been feared. It was here that Frank Bramley painted his
"Hopeless Dawn" and "After Fifty Years"; here Walter Langley painted
"Among the Missing," and Mr. Forbes "The Health of the Bride." It
would be hopeless to attempt to name all the pictures that
have carried different aspects of Newlyn life to the London
exhibitions--the piers, the blue-guernseyed fishermen, the
brown-sailed smacks (now partly giving place to steam-drifters), the
rich-complexioned old men and women, the lovely bright-eyed children,
the sturdy lads, the gulls, the wonderful bay. From the first there
was an excellent understanding between the painters and the people;
great tact was shown by the artists, and a mutual pride sprang up
between them. What is true of Newlyn is true also of St. Ives and of
all the haunts around Land's End where painters have established;
rarely has there been any friction, even if the artists have sometimes
been regarded as amiable madmen. It is true that John Brett, the
marine painter, before Newlyn's most palmy days, managed to offend the
natives by his too outspoken religious opinions and his habit of
laying on colour with his palette-knife. "What can you expect," asked
a fisherman, "of a man who says there's no God and paints his pictures
with a knife?" It will be remembered that religious differences have
been a cause of strife before now between Cornish fishermen and
fishers who brought laxer views of Sunday fishing from the East
Country. Such things have still a strong hold on those who "do
business in great waters." But there are times when politics, blown to
white-heat by the Bethels, will drive even religion from the minds of
the fisher-folk, as we may judge by a story told by Mr. Hudson. It was
after the visit of a lady missioner, who usually reaped a rich harvest
of converts; some one asked the minister how many souls had been won
on this occasion. "Not one this time," he answered; "we were too busy
with the elections."

The Newlyn corner of Mount's Bay is named Gwavas Lake, and it is said
that it once really was a lake. A little southward we get into the
parish of Paul, whose name probably embodies no dedication to any St.
Paul, but is a corruption of the Cornish _pol_--a pool or creek.
Mousehole, one of the most delightful fishing-villages in England, is
in this parish, far more unspoiled even than Newlyn. As has been
already mentioned, Paul was burned by Spaniards, July 23, 1595, on
which day, the parish register tells us, "the church, towre, bells,
and all other things pertaining to the same, together with the houses
and goods, was burn'd and spoil'd by the Spaniards in the said parish,
being Wensdaie the daie aforsaid, in the 37th yeare of the Reigne of
our Sovereigne Ladie Elizabeth, by the grace of God, of England,
Fraunce, and Ireland, defender of the Faith." It seems, however, that
the church was not so utterly destroyed as this might lead us to
believe; much of the stonework survived, including the lofty granite
tower. Most persons remember Paul as the burial-place of Dolly
Pentreath, whose claim to be the last person speaking Cornish can
hardly be maintained, though even she did not speak it habitually. Her
married name appears to have been Jeffery, but that did not matter;
when the wife was the better half her maiden name often prevailed over
that of the husband, in later days than this. In 1768 Daines
Barrington visited her, and was heartily abused by her in Cornish
because he slyly suggested that she did not understand the tongue. He
says: "She does indeed talk Cornish as readily as others do English,
being bred up from a child to know no other language, nor could she
talk a word of English before she was past twenty years of age, as,
her father being a fisherman, she was sent with fish to Penzance at
twelve years old, and sold them in the Cornish language, which the
inhabitants in general, even the gentry, did then well understand. She
is positive, however, that there is neither in Mousehole, nor in any
other part of the county, any other person who knows anything of it,
or at least can converse in it. She is poor, and maintained partly by
the parish and partly by fortune-telling and gabbling Cornish." The
stone above her grave was erected in 1860 by "the Prince Louis Lucien
Bonaparte, in union with the Rev. John Garrett, Vicar of St. Paul."
Prince Lucien, nephew of the first Napoleon, was an eager student of
philology. In 1854 George Borrow, then touring Cornwall (his father
was a Cornishman), visited Paul Church, and noticed a Cornish epitaph
on the walls--said to be the only inscription in the old vernacular
surviving in this fashion. It may be given as a specimen of the
extinct language:--

    "Bounas heb dueth Eu poes Karens wei
    tha Pobl Bohodzhak Paull han Egles nei";

which has been thus rendered:--

    "Eternal life be his whose loving care
    Gave Paul an almshouse and the church repair."

Two words here prove how Cornish was affected by the Roman
occupation--_pobl_ for people, and _egles_ for church.

[Illustration: LANYON CROMLECH.

_Photo by Gibson & Sons._]

When Paul was burned Mousehole suffered also, and its only house that
survived was the manor of the Keigwins, now the "Keigwin Arms," whose
appearance quite justifies the antiquity claimed for it. Borrow, when
he came here, must have been struck by the similarity of the name
of Mousehole with that of Mousehold Heath, with which he was so
familiar at Norwich; there seems no satisfactory explanation of either
name. Perhaps both embody some Celtic root. Mousehole was once called
Porth Enys, the island-port; and there is a little islet, St.
Clement's, lying off it. The place is in every way quieter than
Newlyn; there are fewer visitors in the summer months, less bustle on
the quays, less stir of fish-auctions; even the artists are rarer. All
is quaintness and primitive seclusion. There may be a somewhat too
aggressive savour of pilchards; but we must excuse this when we
remember what the pilchards mean to these fisher-folk, who were once
considered somewhat of a race apart, with a supposed infusion of
Spanish blood in them. There was a quay here and a chapelry in very
early days, and the place was active enough before Penzance had come
forward as a port at all; it is said that there was also a small
oratory on St. Clement's Isle. The fisher-folk have spent a good deal
on improving their harbour. The coast is grand and cavernous. On both
sides, near Newlyn and at Lamorna, there is some busy quarrying; the
quarries at Lamorna supplied much of the granite for the Thames
Embankment. Being a favourite trip from Penzance, the cove at Lamorna
is pretty well known; it opens to the sea from a very beautiful little
valley formed by the Lamorna stream, wooded with hazels and alders.
There need be no complaint just here that Cornwall is treeless, though
beyond and above the land stretches unwooded and desolate. But it is a
grand sort of desolation; only in thick weather or fierce driving
storms do we feel in a kind of lost world. At the head of the Lamorna
valley is an estate known as Trewoofe, or Troove, with a remarkable
_fogou_ (subterranean passage), not easy to find and not easy to
enter. It runs for about 36 feet, being 6 feet high and nearly as
wide, and is formed of rugged unhewn blocks. Stories tell that it
successfully sheltered a party of fugitive Royalists once, and it may
also have been used by smugglers of later date; but for its origin we
must go farther back, and perhaps it takes us to the dim days when
race was struggling with race on this far western limit of land. There
are so many prehistoric relics near as to be almost bewildering, and
this is surely not the place in which to discourse learnedly of them
all; besides which, the utmost learning does little but reveal our
dense ignorance of their real significance. Troove belonged to the Le
Veales, or Levelis, family, who came over with the Conqueror, and
flourished in this spot for six centuries, dying at last in the person
of Arthur Levelis, who was buried at St. Buryan in 1671. The modern
house retains only a few fragments of the mansion; but the doorway
remains, its jambs sculptured with queer figures, and three calves'
heads carved above it as the family arms. About half a mile westward
is Boleigh, or Boleit, with the Pipers--two rough granite figures.
When Athelstan traversed Cornwall from end to end, about the year 936,
he is said to have fought his last battle against the defeated British
at Boleit; not content with the whole of Cornwall, he crossed to the
Scillies and took these also. It is quite possible that there was
fighting here at that time, but very certainly the Pipers were not
then raised as burial monoliths; they are clearly of far earlier date.
In an open field near is the stone circle of _Dawns mên_, the
dancing-stones, known as the Merry Maidens; there are nineteen rough
boulders of granite, and there was probably a twentieth. Naturally,
there is the usual story that they were maidens who danced on the
Sabbath and were thus punished, the Pipers being similarly doomed for
playing the dances.

Though St. Buryan lies about three miles from the coast, it must be
visited for the beauty of its church and the interest of its
traditions. The church is so named after Buriena, a beautiful Irish
girl who came to Cornwall to become a saint, but it is very difficult
to decide definitely as to her personality. We may conjecture that she
came to Cornwall about the same time as St. Piran, perhaps in his
company, and that she set up her cell in a field formerly called the
Sanctuary, and later the Sentry. The present church is always
understood to have been founded by Athelstan, when he sighted the
Scilly Isles from this high ground, and vowed that if he returned
safely from their conquest he would endow a collegiate establishment
here. The expedition to Scilly accomplished, he observed his vow, and
founded an establishment consisting of a dean and three prebendaries,
with jurisdiction over the parishes of Buryan, Levan, and Sennen.
There was trouble later, because the Buryan priests claimed freedom
from episcopal control; but we find the Bishop of Exeter dedicating
the church here in 1238, of which some Norman arches, font, and stoup
survive; Athelstan's church has quite vanished. The building is about
100 feet long, and compared with the nave the chancel is almost like a
cathedral choir, thus proving its collegiate character, the stalls
still remaining. Much foolish restoration has done irreparable
damage, but the church is still beautiful in design and detail;
unhappily the screen was badly mutilated, and many bench-ends
destroyed. When Blight wrote his admirable book on the churches of
West Cornwall the Miserere seats could be raised; later, they were
very stupidly fixed down. On the floor of the tower lies the ancient
tomb of "Clarice La Femme Cheffrei De Bolleit," with an inscription in
Norman-French characters of the thirteenth century, begging visitors
to pray for her soul, and promising a ten days' pardon to those who do
so; there can be no harm in our testing the efficacy of this offer.
The tower that rises above this remarkably interesting grave is 90
feet in height, and as the church itself stands high it forms a fine
landmark. Outside there is a shaftless cross of Celtic appearance, but
not supposed to be Celtic in origin, though it certainly may have been
adapted from a Celtic original. There is another old cross outside the
churchyard gate, which may perhaps at one time have been included
within the sacred pale, as traces of burial have been found. But
churchyards were not often diminished in this manner, and the graves
must probably be otherwise accounted for. In the church is an
altar-cloth, now rarely used, worked by two maiden ladies more than
two centuries since.

St. Buryan is familiar to all visitors to the Land's End, as the cars
usually make it a halting-place. Even more famous, and perhaps more
attractive to the conventional sight-seer, is the Logan Stone of
Treryn, or Treen; but what makes this spot truly worth seeing is not
the mass of poised rock, which certainly stirs clumsily when pushed,
but the grand headland itself, on which there is a _dinas_, or old
entrenchment. The coast here has more beauties than can be named, but
this immemorial stronghold of a vanished race, on its magnificent
bluff of granite that juts from a turf-clad neck of land, is far more
glorious than any logging-stone, even though it may have been
displaced and replaced by a nephew of the poet Goldsmith. The little
hamlet of Treen is just across the fields. Logan rocks are simply a
freak of nature, in spite of the Druidic nonsense that has been talked
about them; softer soils have been eroded beneath, and the rock has
remained balanced. Treen is in the parish of St. Levan, but we have to
pass Porthcurnow Cove before reaching that saint's immediate locality.
Porthcurnow, with its fine shore and grand seas, and its memories of
Tregeagle, whose doom is to sweep the sands from Porthcurnow to the
farther side of Land's End, has in some sense had its romance knocked
out of it by the establishment of the Eastern Telegraph Company, and
the presence of about a hundred keen, sport-loving telegraphists. They
have a comfortable settlement for their exile here, with excellent
cricket and tennis grounds and perfect accommodation. Their duties
resemble those of any telegraph instrument-room in the country, but
the locality should render their leisure hours delightful. Hunt tells
a tale of a Spectre Ship at Porthcurnow, but all these traditions were
dying when he told them, and that is a good while ago now. The name of
Porthcurnow is interesting, as it probably embodies the root of the
name of Cornwall itself; and there was once a very ancient chapel
here, raised on a burial cairn of far greater antiquity; very slight
traces remain. Perhaps Penberth and St. Loy's Coves ought to have been
mentioned; but we must pass on to St. Levan, who was a very attractive
saint, with an engaging touch of human nature about him. Even so, his
identity is a little doubtful. The prefix St. is quite modern in
Cornwall, and as this parish was once spoken of as Siluan, and is
still sometimes called Slevan, it is possible that the real saint was
Silvanus, and not Levan at all. Whoever he was, he had a little
oratory and holy well on the cliff below the site of the present
church; and he lived on a single fish each day. One day two fish
persisted in being caught; and when he reached his cell he found that
his sister Breaca (whose name survives at Breage) had paid him a visit
with her two children. This legend goes on the usual supposition that
the saint was really the Irish Levan, brother of St. Breage. Unhappily
the children ate so eagerly that they were choked by the fishbones, in
memory of which bream (or sometimes chad) used to be called
"choke-cheeld." Mr. Baring-Gould says this caused a coolness between
brother and sister. He had another unpleasantness with a woman Joanna,
who lived near, who was a rigid vegetarian, and quarrelled with the
saint for catching his fish on Sunday. He said that to fish was no
worse than to do gardening. We may repeat these old stories, but the
Cornish folk of to-day know nothing of them; they are dead, except as
matter for the guide-books. St. Levan Church is snugly sheltered. It
has been carefully restored and is very attractive, with a good tower,
some fine bench-ends, and a beautiful screen. Outside the church is a
cleft boulder of granite, and there used to be a local saying that
when a pack-horse should ride through St. Levan's stone the world
would come to an end. A little beyond is the really delightful
Porthgwarra, with its rugged stone slip and tunnels leading to the
little fishing-cove. Visitors are beginning to discover Porthgwarra,
and it is one of those quiet, lonely haunts where lodgings must be
booked long in advance. Cornwall has a good many such--the resort of
those who shun the ordinary watering-place.



CHAPTER X

THE SCILLY ISLANDS


Geologically, we are still on the mainland when we reach the isles of
Scilly; they belong to the axis of the Cornish peninsula, and are in
what may still be called, comparatively, the narrow seas. The
hundred-fathom line lies far beyond them; these waters, though
thoroughly oceanic in character, are not oceanic in depth. We may
regard the islands as the last upward thrust of the granitic backbone
that runs, at a diminishing gradient, from Dartmoor to Land's End,
while the submarine plateau follows a similar gradient. Structurally,
therefore, these isles are a continuation of Land's End, but the
granite has become less consistent and more friable; it is largely
broken into felspar, quartz, and mica, with schorl, chlorite, and
hornblende. No great elevation is attained--nothing above 160 feet;
the grandeur of the coasts, which certainly does not equal that of
North Cornwall, consists in their rugged wildness and the fantastic
weathering of their crags. Contorted formations, logans and
rock-basins, reveal the decomposition of softer measures that has been
proceeding for ages. The isles lie about 27 miles west of Land's End,
but the journey from Penzance to St. Mary's is about 40 miles, and
the small steamers that make the passage usually take about four
hours. More often than not this passage is an uncomfortable one; the
islands stand in the ocean gateway of the two Channels, and they catch
whatever is going in the way of sea, while of course winds play upon
them with unbroken force. It is rather surprising that their strategic
importance should be neglected by the Government. There was indeed
some talk of forming a naval base here, but the scheme seems to have
been abandoned; yet a station with extensive harbourage could be
planned without vast cost, and would be a dominant factor in
controlling the navigation of the English Channel. During the
Franco-German War, when the navy of Germany was much less powerful
than that of France, Germany made considerable use of the Scillies as
a neutral port for the convenience of vessels making the Channel; and
a time may easily come when a naval base here would be of untold
advantage to Great Britain, as its absence might become a positive
disaster.

[Illustration: SHIPMAN HEAD, SCILLY.

_Photo by Gibson & Sons._]

The archipelago occupies an area of about 30 square miles, the isles,
reckoning many that are mere fragments of rock, numbering about two
hundred; the principal of which range in size from the 1,600 acres of
St. Mary's to the five acres of Little Ganniley. St. Mary's is about
three miles long and two in breadth, with a circumference of nine
miles and a population of about 1,500--about three-quarters of the
entire population. It contains the capital, Hugh Town, which is more
often simply styled St. Mary's, and which stands chiefly on a neck of
land that appears to be rather perilously threatened by the sea. Four
other islands are inhabited--Tresco, St. Martin's, St. Agnes, and
Bryher; they are all considerably smaller. The first to come into
definite view from a vessel making the isles is St. Martin's, with its
day-mark standing at a height of about 160 feet.

It must be confessed that, for their beauty, the islands depend very
largely on sunshine and atmospheric effect; without the sun they can
become very dreary. Meteorologic figures prove that the average summer
temperature is only 58° Fahrenheit and the winter about 45°; so that
there is little oppressive heat, and frost is very rare. But in spite
of these figures the islands can become sultry under a blaze of
sunshine; and in winter the winds are sometimes piercingly keen. No
trees will grow unless protected from this wind; yet the tropical
vegetation that flourishes in the open air conclusively proves the
remarkable equability of the climate; while rainfall, which is seldom
excessive, is quickly absorbed or evaporated. To the lover of history,
legend, and romance the Scillies are a rich mine of treasure, and
their inaccessibility keeps them immune from the spoiling tendencies
of fashion. At one time this inaccessibility was far greater, and only
those came to Scilly who had business there. It is claimed by
tradition that these islets are a portion of the lost land of
Lyonesse, the old-world haunt of Arthur and Tristram--a land of
villages, pastures, smiling vales, now buried beneath the waves.
Persons sometimes apply the name of Lyonesse to the whole of Cornwall,
but this is a mistake; the true Lyonesse of legend was a tract of
country lying to the south-west of Land's End, which we may connect,
racially or otherwise, with the Leon of Brittany. There are many
traces of submerged forest in Mount's Bay and elsewhere along the
southern coast; and the old Cornish name of St. Michael's Mount
represents that rock as having once stood in the centre of woodland.
It is impossible to say when or how the Scillies first became insular,
whether by sudden cataclysm or by gradual erosion; the latter seems
more likely, but tradition has preferred to speak of a sudden
catastrophe, such as that which is supposed to have overwhelmed
Cardigan Bay. There is a story which says that a member of the
Trevilian family was only saved from the inrush of waters by the speed
of his horse, which struggled inland from the pursuing waves, reaching
a rocky cleft on the shore at Perranuthnoe. It is possible that slow
erosion may have paved the way to some such immediate disaster, such
as that caused by a great storm in 1099, when, according to the Saxon
Chronicle, many villages and churches were swept away. It was this
storm, accompanied perhaps by a tidal wave, that converted the estates
of Earl Godwin into the dreaded Goodwin Sands; and it may have caused
tremendous damage, not definitely recorded, in the West. But another
tradition attributes the formation of the islands to magic. It was
said, by those who placed Arthur's last great battle in the West of
England, that, after the fight was over, the triumphant Mordred chased
the King's despairing followers to the extreme limits of Lyonesse,
where they lay "between the devil and the deep sea," like the
Israelites pursued by Pharaoh. The cruel Mordred was close at their
heels, rejoicing in the prospect of exterminating the last remnant of
Arthur's Round Table, when suddenly the wizard Merlin appeared in his
path. The magician raised his hand and summoned the elements to his
aid. The earth began to heave and the rocks to split; waters came
rushing into immense fissures and yawning chasms. Mordred and his men
turned back horror-stricken, attempting to flee from this upheaval of
nature; but the ocean was too quick for them. Where there had been
smiling acres of pasture and tillage, valley and moorland, waves were
now seething and foaming; there was no refuge to the east or to the
west; the breakers overtook them on all sides. But while they were
thus overwhelmed in the ruin of Lyonesse, the followers of Arthur
stood on land that had been spared. This far-west cluster of
hill-summits had been changed into a group of islets; and in this home
of refuge that was miraculously left to them, the fugitives settled
into peaceful residence, building houses and churches. Such, the story
says, is the ancestry of the Scillonians.

All this belongs to the region of romance; history knows nothing of
it. Even the name of Scilly is a puzzle, though perhaps the best
authorities think that it derives from the widespread tribe of the
Silures. Strictly speaking, the name Scilly only attaches to one small
islet lying off Bryher, but somehow it has affixed itself to the whole
group. Many derive it from _silya_ or _selli_, meaning conger-eels, a
favourite Cornish dish; others suggest the Celtic _sulleh_, or
"sun-rocks," denoting the old sun-worship. It is interesting to note
that there is a Sully isle lying off Glamorgan, south of Cardiff, and
there may have been some connection between the two names, for Scilly
was sometimes spelt Sully; there is also a Scilly in Ireland. The
Romans usually called the islands _Sillinæ_, but Sulpicius Severus
used the form _Sylinancis_, which Sir John Rhys associates with the
_Silulanus_ of an inscribed stone at Lydney. Another name was
_Silura_; Richard of Cirencester wrote of the _Sygdilles_, "also
denominated the Oestromenides and Cassiterides"; the Danes spoke of
the _Syllingar_; and in French charts the isles are "_les
Sorlingues_." The whole question is very difficult, and this is hardly
the place in which to discuss it. It is almost certain that the isles
cannot have been the Cassiterides, or tin-islands; they present only
slight traces of tin-working, and it is far from likely that the
tin-workers of Cornwall would have shipped their metal to this
isolated spot in order to find a market with foreign traders. It is
more probable that the name of Tin Islands was applied by the ancients
to the British Isles in general, whose number and extent were little
known in those days. Rome seems to have used the isles as a place of
banishment and penal settlement, and in days of early Christianity two
heretical bishops were exiled here. Early in the tenth century
Athelstan made a progress through Cornwall, ostensibly to conquer it
as a part of Wessex; and when he reached the high land near the
present St. Buryan it is said that he sighted these islands in the
distance and was not content till he had visited them. He vowed to
build a church on the spot where he then stood if he returned safely
from the expedition. The church of St. Buryan stands as a memorial of
his fulfilled vow. On the isles themselves he is said to have founded
Tresco Abbey, dedicated to St. Nicholas, which became a wealthy
religious establishment, though now only a few fragments remain. Later
in the same century King Olaf of Norway came hither during one of the
marauding cruises that made him a terror of the British shores. It is
related that a hermit living at St. Mary's gave him timely warning of
a mutiny among his seamen; Olaf crushed the mutiny, but received a
severe wound. He was carried to the monastery at Tresco, and consented
to be baptized; after which he became a saint himself, and churches
were dedicated to him--there is one such at Exeter. Longfellow has
told us of

    "His cruisings o'er the seas,
    Westward to the Hebrides,
    And to Scilly's rocky shore;"

and he was probably not the only Norse Viking whose keel touched here.
Other saints have left their mark on Scilly: Samson of Glamorgan came
hither, about the middle of the sixth century, after founding a church
near Fowey; he is the same Samson that we find at Guernsey, who
afterwards became Bishop of Dol. The island that bears his name,
rendered familiar to many delighted readers by Besant's _Armorel of
Lyonesse_, is no longer inhabited, but bears many marks of its former
population. Traces of old habitation abound; there are many barrows
and one perfect kistvaen. Among other saints, Teilo seems to have been
at St. Helen's. St. Agnes, like the parish so named on the mainland,
is almost certainly a dedication to the Celtic Ann. It was natural
that Tresco should become the ecclesiastical centre of Scilly. The
abbey and all the churches of the islands were granted by Henry I. to
the monks of Tavistock; at the Dissolution the abbey reverted to the
Crown, and passed to the Godolphins, whose name survives at Dolphin
Town. It is likely that the private history of the isles was romantic
and exciting enough, but there is little to record until the days of
the Civil War, when they became a last refuge of the fugitive Charles
II. before his escape to France. In the meantime the Governor, Sir
John Grenville, had fortified the isles and held them for the King;
they became a centre of active privateering. The Royalist garrison did
not limit themselves to attacking Parliamentary vessels; they molested
Dutch shipping as well; so that the Admiral, Van Tromp, made an attack
on them, but without result. It is said that he parleyed with
Grenville, trying to induce that gallant soldier to yield Scilly into
Dutch hands; but Grenville was too loyal an Englishman for such
treachery--he would rather the Parliament took the isles than that
they should become Dutch. It was with no disgrace that he was forced
to yield, at last, to such worthy opponents as Blake and Sir George
Ascue. In the days of our French wars, a century since, the islands
were garrisoned, and became a port of supply for British ships, as
well as a rendezvous for vessels waiting convoy. A great deal of
smuggling was done here, and it has been said some wrecking; but, here
as elsewhere in Cornwall, the lights that were thought to be exposed
with such wicked intent were often merely meant as signals to those
who were watching for an opportunity to run a cargo. There was little
need indeed at Scilly for any artificial increase of wrecks; Nature
did her part far too well in this particular, from the disaster to Sir
Cloudesley Shovel to that of the _Minnehaha_ in the present year. A
small detachment of Royal Artillery and some engineers are stationed
here. Beyond this, the islands are practically defenceless, except for
the protection of their rough seas, fierce inter-channel currents, and
the off-lying deadly fangs of rock.

The event of chief moment to modern Scilly was certainly the arrival
of Mr. Augustus Smith in 1834. The isles at that time were in a bad
way; the kelp industry had failed, fishing was poor and precarious,
smuggling could not longer be depended on for a living. Previous
"lords of the isles" had been absentees, taking little interest in the
welfare of the inhabitants; and the population had become too large to
support itself. But when Mr. Smith, a Hertfordshire gentleman, became
landlord by purchase, he came to live on his little kingdom, and to
rule as a benevolent autocrat. Just such a rule was needed, for
matters demanded a firm hand. There was some resistance, some kicking,
some difference of opinion between himself and his people; but the
strong will and the firm hand conquered in the end and a better time
dawned for Scilly. The squire sent the boys off to sea and the girls
to service on the mainland; he made new roads, improved the quay, and
even enforced a system of compulsory education. He resided at Tresco
Abbey, where the few remains of the old monastic establishment added
picturesqueness to a modern manor-house, and where he brought the
gardens into very much the state in which we still find them. It was
his wish that their character should be maintained. Tresco, in its
special style, is indeed beautiful. "The Cape geranium, the common
fuchsia, the sweet-scented verbena, and various kinds of myrtles and
veronicas, are grown as hedges to protect the crops. Looking across
Crow Sound from St. Mary's, these hedges are one blaze of colour, and
the air is heavy with their perfume. The Abbey stands in a rocky
valley looking south. The grounds are laid out in a succession of
terraces, and from every nook and crevice rare specimens of cacti,
sedums, and mesembryanthemums with their orange and purple bloom
sprawl over the rocks and run riot among the borders. In the gardens
South American aloes throw up their flowering stalks heavy with
aromatic fragrance, 20 feet high, and giant dracænas wave their
feathery heads in the balmy breeze. Exotic palms, the bamboo, the
sugar-cane, and the cotton plant grow in the open, and tropical mosses
and orchids hang from the trees. Outside on the breezy downs one may
drink in pure ozone from the Atlantic, and revel in an atmosphere
untainted by microbes or bacilli. Wild duck, woodcock, and plover,
resting in their migratory flight, crowd the marshes, ponds, and
lagoons, and the sea is alive with fish." Such was the Tresco that Mr.
Augustus Smith made his home; such it is still in the hands of Mr.
Dorrien-Smith. It is certain that when Mr. Smith died in 1872, and was
buried at St. Buryan, he left the islands in a far better condition
than that in which he had found them; and his memory fully deserves
the striking monument of unhewn granite that has been raised to his
honour in his island-home.

[Illustration: A SCILLY FLOWER GARDEN.

_Photo by Alex. Old._]

Industrially, we chiefly think of Scilly in connection with flowers.
At one time there was some active ship-building, and Scilly-made boats
had an excellent reputation; but steam navigation put an end to this.
There was also a very lively business in potatoes, at first almost
without competition; but this trade has been hit very hard by the
Channel Islands, by foreign imports, and by the crushing cost of
freights. Vegetable cargoes cost less from the shores of the
Mediterranean than they do from Scilly; the foreigner is given every
advantage in his efforts to undersell the Briton, and the Briton,
though fighting at home, fights with one hand tied behind. Fishing at
Scilly was long in a precarious state, but is now a little better,
owing to the use of steam-drifters. The isles are too far from the
markets, but by catching the boat to Penzance the fishermen can now
get their fish away in most cases before it has had time to spoil.
With mackerel, the most profitable catch, this is very important, as
the mackerel so speedily deteriorates; but a good deal of the fishery
that takes place off the Scillies is not in the hands of
Scillonians--Cornishmen, East Anglians, foreigners, all compete. With
regard to flowers Scilly seems more happily placed, though to some
extent the same difficulties apply--the distance, the cost of
carriage, the competition of the untaxed foreigner. The story has been
often told--how, rather more than thirty years since, W. Trevellick,
of Rocky Hill, St. Mary's, sent a few bunches of narcissi in a hamper
to Covent Garden as a venture, and was astonished at the return they
brought him. These were simply "Scilly Whites," which had been growing
wild about the cottages without any one hitherto dreaming of their
financial possibilities.

The knowledge of a demand soon roused the supply; new species were
cultivated, everything was done to ensure early flowering, the more
sensitive kinds were protected by wattle-fences and hedges of
escalonia or veronica; and from January till May every steamer to the
mainland carries tons of blooms. A ton of flowers is something rather
spacious; and in the height of the season as many as thirty tons are
taken in one boatload. The more severe the weather on the mainland,
the better is the demand. The bulbs are set in narrow fields, to
secure their shelter from the winds by thick hedges. As many as two
hundred kinds of narcissus, daffodil, and lily are now cultivated.
"The beds are renewed every third year. This is necessary to retain
the vigour of the plant, as if allowed to remain too long without
lifting, the bulbs crowd each other and send up barren and feeble
shoots. When the bulbs are lifted they are divided, and any surplus
stock either sold or replanted in fresh ground. The beds require very
little attention further than being kept free from weeds, and having a
top-dressing of stable litter or freshly gathered seaweed. Bulbs will
not stand forcing, and are always sturdier when grown in the open."
Men, women, and children find employment in the flower-fields, and in
the busy time are often engaged from early morning till long after
sunset. Picking must be done with great care, the blooms being
gathered before they are fully opened or they will not bear carriage.
A number are now sent by Parcel Post, as well as in more wholesale
method. Within twenty-four hours of being plucked they are exposed in
the London markets, or being offered for sale in the streets of large
towns by the flower-hawkers. Some even go as far as Scotland. During
1907 as many as 1,000 tons were despatched from St. Mary's Quay, the
cost of freight being £6 10s. per ton. Besides paying this heavy
charge, the Scillonians have to compete with growers in the south of
Cornwall, and even as far eastward as Dorset; while Continental
florists can pour their produce into England at a rate that further
hampers the home trade.

Things are very different now from what they were when the mail
arrived irregularly from Penzance, and letters were distributed from
the window of the one small post-office in St. Mary's. Each of the
inhabited isles has now its own postal and telegraph office; and they
are also connected with the mainland by telephone, for coastguard
purposes. To be at Scilly is no longer to be quite out of the world.
There was a spice of romance about the manner in which the first cable
to Scilly was laid--or, perhaps we should say, was not laid. By the
Act that came into force in 1870 the Government had agreed to buy over
on favourable terms all telegraphs that at that time were found in
actual existence as working concerns. With a view to large profits,
companies sprang into being, hoping to get their wires into working
order, so as to be bought over on the appointed day. One such company
took the Scilly Isles into its charge--not from any benevolent
motives; Scilly had long been praying for telegraphic connection. A
cable of the supposed right length was procured and brought to Land's
End, where its shore end was fixed, and the vessel bearing it made
towards Scilly. Somehow or other the conveyors found themselves five
miles south of the Isles with every inch of their cable paid out. Time
was precious; it would never do to buoy the end and wait for a fresh
supply, and the present poor cable would not bear the strain of
picking up. But there was a clever man on board. He cut the cable a
few fathoms from the ship, carried its fag-end to St. Mary's, and
attached it to an old Morse instrument. Outwardly, things looked all
right; there was the cable attached at Land's End, and here was its
other end at Scilly. The difficulty was how to get messages through
in time to prove that an established telegraph was working. The
operator was equal to the occasion. Shutting himself in the little
instrument-room, he manipulated the current and produced messages. Mr.
Uren, the late Postmaster of Penzance, says, "I can testify that I saw
signals which purported to have passed over the cable, printed in
plain characters on the Morse slip; and on the faith of these signals
the contractors issued their certificate, and the Company took over
the cable. Needless to say, the whole thing was a ruse. The ruptured
cable lay dead and idle at the bottom of the Channel--lost past all
recovery." It was easy to explain afterwards that the fracture took
place naturally; and a new cable was soon laid to the island. Such
being one sample of the proceedings at the time, we may imagine that
the public paid very dearly when Government took over these
telegraphs, which have never yet shown a profit.

It is frequently stated, as a reason for its equable climate, that
Scilly lies right in the course of the Gulf Stream. Of course this is
a mistake. The true Gulf Stream does not come within a thousand miles
of Britain. There is, however, a surface-current of warm water carried
north-eastward from hot latitudes, and this materially affects not
only Scilly, but the entire western coast. Although so mild, the
climate is dry and bracing; there are no unwholesome damps. Longevity
is the rule on the islands, and the single doctor has little to do
beyond assisting sturdy young Scillonians on their entrance into the
world. At the capital, St. Mary's, there are shops, banks, and hotels,
with a public hall, a modern church, and of course a fair supply of
the chapels that are so dear to these fervent Nonconformists. On
Garrison Hill is a fine promenade, close to Star Castle, which was
erected by Francis Godolphin, Lord-Lieutenant of Cornwall in the reign
of Queen Elizabeth. The naval importance of Scilly was fully realised
in those days. There is a Cromwellian fort at Tresco, on a narrow rock
jutting into the sea. Prehistoric relics are too numerous to be
mentioned here in detail, and equally numerous are traces of
shipwreck. In Tresco Gardens there is one terrace devoted entirely to
the figure-heads of vessels that have been cast on these shores.
Almost every yard of the isles has its own tale of wreck; and in spite
of the lighthouses (the Bishop, the Round Island, St. Agnes, and St.
Mary's) navigators have still a lively dread of the Scillies,
especially in times of fog. Two lifeboats are maintained here, manned
by a dauntless crew; but it is very rarely that they can be of any
use; the area to be covered is far too large. The story of the wrecks
has been admirably told in the _Homeland Handbook_ to the Scillies, a
little work that also contains much excellent detail about their
natural history. There is one thing that the tale of wrecks should
strongly impress on the visitor. Unless he knows the locality
perfectly, even a skilled boatman should be wary of rowing or sailing
in and out among the isles, or of navigating around them. They are a
network of sunken crags, reefs, and currents; even in calm weather
there is usually more swell than appears, and the smoothest-looking
water may be racing with deadly velocity. The force of an immense
ocean is behind these waves. The Scillonians themselves are wonderful
sailors and pilots; under their guidance and in fitting seasons most
of the outlying rocks can safely be visited. Perhaps the best view of
the entire archipelago may be gained from the summit of Menavawr (the
"great rock"), though its position is by no means central; its height
is about 147 feet. It is a grand spot for seabirds--razor-bills,
puffins, guillemots, shags, and gulls. Annet, one of the largest of
the uninhabited isles, is positively honeycombed with birds' nests,
and at times it is ablaze with colour of the sea-pink and thrift. At
Rosevear gulls chiefly predominate, and at Rosevean the cormorants;
Gorregan is perhaps the best spot for seeing kittiwakes, while shags
often colonise numerously at Maledgan. In the clear water below these
crags fish are so plentiful that whoever takes the trouble to cast is
likely to reap a rich reward.

But he who would fall in love with the Scillies before seeing them had
better read the first half of Besant's _Armorel of Lyonesse_. The
novelist was at his best when he wrote these pages. There is also good
literary use of the islands in Mr. Mason's _Watchers_. It is possible
that the first arrival will disappoint; it should not be expected that
Scilly can compare with the magnificent coast scenery of the mainland,
or with the verdant luxuriance of richer soils. But the spot has its
own special charm of effect and atmosphere, which it may not surrender
at once to its casual guest. The visitor must wait till he has seen it
in ruddy dawns and purple or golden sunsets, under chequered skies, or
wreathed in mysteries of sea-fog. He may then come to believe that
when saints of old legend touched on Islands of the Blest, situate
somewhere westward of Europe, they may really have simply drifted on
Scilly, and have found its loveliness like that of the "island-valley
of Avilion." Some small concession must be made to actuality. Large
portions of the isles are treeless down, salt-marshes, sand-hills; we
must not look for the wondrous native vegetation of an English
country-side. Sub-tropic plants cannot wholly compensate for such a
lack. But if trees are scarce, plants like the fuchsia grow to
tree-like luxuriance; there is a rich abundance of ferns, while both
the land and the marine flora are very rich. There is much to come
for, and those who come must be willing to brave a passage that may be
exceedingly unpleasant. When Dr. Benson, then Bishop of Truro, and
afterwards Archbishop, paid his single visit to the Scillies, his
episcopal dignity was entirely overwhelmed by the direst woes of
sea-sickness. On landing, he is reported to have said that before he
started he feared he would be drowned; when half-way across he prayed
that he might be; and now his one thought was how in the world should
he get back again.



CHAPTER XI

FROM LAND'S END TO ZENNOR


The western promontory of granite to which we give the name of Land's
End is not the grandest piece of coast in these parts; but it has the
prestige of a deep sentiment attaching to it, and there is no other
spot in England that draws visitors with such a powerful attraction.
In one sense the Scillies are the true Land's End, beyond which the
deeper gulfs of ocean lie; and, again, there is another land's end at
the Lizard, the southernmost point of England, and yet another at
Lowestoft, the most easterly. But Lowestoft looks towards the Teutonic
Continent, and the Lizard towards what we may call the Latin; both
remain European in their outlook. Land's End has a different attitude;
it looks westward, and the migratory instinct of European races has
ever taken them towards the West. It is the _Bolerion_ of Ptolemy, the
_Bolerium_ of Roman writers, the _Penwith_ of the Celts. Adding a
Saxon affix, Simeon of Durham named it _Penwithsteort_, the "tail of
Penwith." There is some doubt about the true meaning of Penwith; Mr.
Baring-Gould gives it as "headland of blood," which it might well be
as the last battle-ground of a defeated people; another interpretation
says the "wooded headland." To speak of it as wooded now seems
inappropriate, though we cannot forget the submerged trees of Mount's
Bay, nor can we say what might have been beyond when the point reached
farther westward. But it is as the last land in England that we cross
this windy moorland to reach the sea; and beyond, visible on days of
rare clearness, lie the Fortunate Isles of our dreams. Many a
pilgrimage is made through the length of Cornwall for this sole
purpose--to stand here at the dividing point of two channels, the
meeting of two seas, the Titanic outermost gateway that confronts the
fury or the rough sport of the ocean gods. The visitors come by
car-loads from Penzance or from St. Ives; not only during the summer
season but throughout the year--there are always some who wish to see
Land's End. They often bring the vaguest ideas of what the sight will
be; our visions of Land's End before we see it are often dim, immense,
mystical. Our dreams turn westward, to the land of the setting sun--to
the great ocean of the unknown that hems us in, beyond which lie the
promise, the golden hope, that have lured us onward from childhood,
through disappointment and failure and the bitter sorrow of loss--

    "Still nursing the unconquerable hope,
    Still clutching the inviolable shade."

And so we come to the land's end--the end that is also a beginning.
When Tennyson came hither he saw a funeral somewhere near, and he has
the brief note, "Land's End and Life's End." The sun had just set in a
great yellow flare. There is no spot where sunsets seem more pregnant
of meaning than here, where winds are more haunted by crying
ghosts, where there is a deeper significance in the "murmurs and
scents of the infinite sea."

[Illustration: CAVERN AT LAND'S END.

_Photo by Gibson, Penzance._]

But we must come to Land's End in the right mood--with sentiment and
inner vision, certainly, but without unrealisable expectations of a
mighty gigantic headland, an abrupt tremendous precipice. We shall
need the inner vision to contend with some jarring aspects of the
reality, which are naturally more aggressive if we come during the
holiday season. For the Land's End is a show-place, and we know what
that entails. There is a large modern hotel here, just as we find
similar edifices in some of the lovely solitudes of the Lizard and
confronting the very castle of Arthur at Tintagel. Being there, we
must take them philosophically--perhaps even make use of them. The
cottage once boasting in the name of the "First and Last House in
England" must now take a second place. There are some other aspects of
even more definite vulgarisation--the presence of the tripper with his
halfpenny newspaper, his bananas, and his mineral waters; there is
also too much building here, and the prospect of more. Mr. W. H.
Hudson makes an appeal for a national fund that shall buy Land's End
and sweep away much of this. He says: "The buildings which now deform
the place, the unneeded hotels, with stables, shanties, zinc bungalows
sprawling over the cliff, and the ugly big and little houses could be
cleared away, leaving only the ancient village of Sennen, the old
farmhouses, the coastguard and Trinity House stations, and the old
fishing hamlet under the cliff." It is a dream that should not be
impossible to realise. But the visitor who stays here after sundown,
when the throng has departed, can to some extent realise it for
himself. When the dusk of nightfall has veiled the defacements and
deformities, he can stay on this ultimate headland alone with the
immemorial rocks, the whispering wind, the brooding sea, greeted by
the lights of the Wolf and the Longships, with a far twinkle from the
Scillies. To the south the skies are searched by the great light of
the Lizard. This, indeed, is a vision of peaceful intensity, but there
are other times when there is no peace here--when winds buffet the
barren downs and waves crash furiously on the caverned crags, when the
sentinel rocks of the old country are a horror of wreck and death. Of
such a scene it would be more easy to say too much than too little.
Even Ruskin, when he attempted to describe Land's End seas in his long
convoluted sentences, failed to do anything but give a series of
phrases and figures that the mind follows with weariness. Such things
must be sketched vividly and briefly, or language only betrays its own
limitations.

The rocks to which we immediately apply the name Land's End are only
about 60 feet above sea-level; there are many higher, even in the near
neighbourhood, and there are some more striking. Various fanciful, and
for the most part foolish, names have been applied to them, which need
not here be repeated. Both here and at the finer rock of Pordenack, a
little southward, the rock-formations somewhat resemble those of the
Giants' Causeway in appearance. But the noblest cliff of all on this
western promontory is that of Tolpedn-Penwith, to reach which we have
to pass Nanjisal Cove. Its name, the "holed headland of Penwith,"
refers to a deep cleft or fissure, which can be explored from the sea
when tide and weather permit. Part of this fine bluff is known as the
Chair Ladder, and has traditions of a witch, Madge Figgy, who used to
take flight with her comrades from this magnificent point, and here
would shriek her incantations above the roar of wind and waters. The
spot was certainly well chosen. There are some hidden crags, and some
that are not hidden, lying off Land's End, such as the Armed Knight,
the Irish Lady, and Enys Dodman, which is pierced by a grand natural
arch. Rather more than a mile out is a cluster of islets, on one of
which, Carn Brâs, stands the Longships lighthouse, built in 1883 to
replace one that had been privately erected; it has an occulting light
of over seven hundred candle-power, visible at 16 miles. The lantern
has sometimes been shattered by the force of the seas, and the tower
rocks so violently that on one occasion one of the keepers went mad
with terror and shot himself. When a boat had been signalled and
managed to approach, the supposed corpse was slung down to it, and a
fisherman accidentally touching the wound, the man revived. The Wolf
light is about seven miles out, erected with immense labour and cost
on a most perilous reef of rocks. Both lighthouses are often quite
isolated by stress of weather.

[Illustration: SENNEN COVE.

_Photo by Gibson & Sons._]

Immediately north of Land's End is the truly charming little Sennen
Cove, with its church-town nearly a mile inland. Formerly its beach
was haunted by pixies and mermaids; now, in the summer, it becomes
quite fashionable with the presence of those who are lucky enough to
get lodgings. There is quite a competition to obtain rooms at this
quaint little fishing hamlet; those who love it best prefer it when it
is left more completely to the gulls and the fisher-folk. Most of the
fishing here is still done by the seine-net, and there is still
"huing" from the cliffs to announce the arrival of the pilchards.
Sennen can boast a new breakwater, and every scrap of harbourage is
often badly needed. The church is dedicated to a saint who seems more
real than some that we meet with in Cornwall. Senan or Senanus was an
Irishman who came here some time in the sixth century. It is related
of him that one day his mother was changing houses, and the youthful
saint declined to help her; she was angry and poured some water over
him. Even a saint may dislike house-moving or spring-cleaning.
However, in this case the domestic articles very considerately moved
of themselves. Another thing told of him is, that when being carried
to burial he sat up on his bier and gave orders that his feast-day
should be March the 8th, not the 1st. This foolish tale must have been
invented later by some priest who wanted to change the festival. The
church has a good tower built of massive granite blocks, and there is
a fine granite cross in the new churchyard. Within, there is a curious
mutilated alabaster figure, apparently a Virgin and Child, and there
is an old mural painting. At the rock known as the Table Mên there is
a tradition of a great battle between Arthur and some Danish invaders,
and there is a conjecture of Danes having settled in this district.
The wizard Merlin is said to have foretold another landing of Norsemen
here, to precede the end of the world; perhaps he meant the Germans.
In the past Sennen had a bad name for smuggling and piracy. Curving
northward is the beautiful and partially sheltered Whitesand Bay,
which has memories of some historic landings--Athelstan, Stephen,
John, Perkin Warbeck; but the coast is very dangerous, and is rendered
more so by off-lying rocks such as the Brisons. It is singular that
Cornwall should begin and end with a Whitesand Bay. Inland rises the
height of Chapel Carn Brea, which must be distinguished from the Carn
Brea of Redruth; it reaches about 660 feet, but Bartinney, or Bartine,
is still higher. Both are crowded with prehistoric remains, but Carn
Brea is the more interesting in this respect, for its cairn, whose
lower layer held the bones of some Stone Age chieftain, was crowned at
the summit by a Christian oratory. It is a great pity that this
chapel, probably one of the oldest religious structures in the
kingdom, was not preserved. Above the Stone Age burial was a dolmen of
the Bronze Age; and above this were layers that told of Romano-British
civilisation. But the antiquities of this district really need a book
to themselves. When we reach Cape Cornwall we are in the immediate
neighbourhood of mining again, and the fine headland itself is crowned
with an old mine-stack. Its formation gives Cape Cornwall the
appearance of reaching even farther westward than Land's End, and the
view from its summit is grandly impressive. This is the parish
of St. Just-in-Penwith (so called to distinguish it from St.
Just-in-Roseland). Mr. Hind thinks St. Just the dreariest town in
Cornwall, and its best friends do not call it lovely; but there is a
rather interesting Perpendicular church, with some earlier relics, and
there is also a _plân-an-guare_, like the Planguary of Redruth--an
old-world amphitheatre, first used for sports and later for
miracle-plays. The name means "place of play." It is now used for
religious and other meetings. The moorland country here is barren and
windswept, with disfigurations from mining; and the dismal summit of
Cam Kenidzhek is haunted with queer traditions. This is the "carn of
the howling wind" or the "hooting cairn," covered with traces of the
immemorial past and feared in old days as a special domain of evil
spirits. About a mile westward is the old Botallack mine, perhaps the
most famous in all Cornwall, which reached to the sea and considerably
beyond; it was long closed, and the decayed buildings had quite a
romantic appearance on the wild, bare cliffs, but the revival of
Cornish minings has brought a new activity. The old workings run for
about a third of a mile below the sea, and it is said that the pitmen
were often terrified by the roar of the waves above their heads,
dashing the loose boulders of rock. But the great Levant mine, a
little over a mile northward, runs for about a mile beneath the sea,
being worked for tin, copper, and arsenic. Once, not many years since,
the sea actually broke into its workings. This is mining, indeed, in
all its grimmest reality, and the arsenic-working in particular has a
bad effect on the miners. But it earns dividends. Pages might be
written about the old miners' superstitions, but even underground
these things have died out; even the perils are now lessened by modern
science. Yet at Wheal Owles, in 1892, eighteen men lost their lives
through the flooding of the workings.

Just beyond Levant is Pendeen Village, with a new lighthouse on the
coast. At Pendeen manor-house, now a farm, was born the eminent
Cornish antiquary, Dr. Borlase, in 1695. For his age he was a
tolerably enlightened archæologist, and his works on local antiquities
have supplied the basis of much subsequent writing; but of course they
present pitfalls for the unwary. He was Vicar of Ludgvan for fifty
years. The curious _fogou_ of Pendeen Vau was actually in the garden
of his birthplace, so that he had an early stimulus to research.
Pendeen has now its own church, which is of remarkable interest
although quite recent. In plan and exterior it is modelled on Iona
Cathedral, and was built by the Cornish missioner, Robert Aitken, who
influenced his people so powerfully that the granite was both given
and wrought free of cost. A castellated wall with a fine arched
gateway surrounds the building, which proves that under the right
impulse the people may still become church-builders--and will still
attend church. Eastward of Pendeen is the church town of Morvah. This
tract of coast from Land's End to St. Ives has perhaps been neglected
by visitors and writers, only one spot, and that not the finest,
Gurnard's Head, being really familiar. The stony barrenness of the
inland country is compensated by a real grandeur of coast-line,
invisible from the road and therefore often left unexplored. Morvah
has traditions of mermaids, with some idea that its name may be a
corruption of the Breton _morverch_; but we must probably seek some
other derivation. Tonkin says the name simply means _locus maritimus_.
Stories of mermaids are common enough, or rather were so, along this
north shore, doubtless explained by the seals that were once
frequent, and would be still if not shot off by the usual insensate
"man with a gun." The small church is Perpendicular, with a pinnacled
tower. In this parish is the magnificent Chûn or Chywoon castle, on a
hill about 700 feet high. This western extremity of Cornwall was
guarded by a line of hill forts, of which this Chûn, if not the most
powerful, remains in best preservation. We cannot speak with decision
as to the date of their earliest use, but this stronghold of Chûn was
almost certainly utilised as late as the fifth or sixth centuries, and
may have seen fighting during the days when Irish invaders, even if
they came as travelling saints, were not always welcomed. The first
and second vallum can be traced with their ditches, and there was
doubtless an inner wall. The masonry is of different character from
that cyclopean piling of boulders which was all the earlier men had
known of building. Of such cyclopean style, though it is a small
specimen, is the Chûn cromlech, standing near. In the near
neighbourhood are the _Mên Scryfa_ (the inscribed stone), the
_Mên-an-tol_ (the holed stone), the Nine Maidens, the Lanyon Quoit,[A]
the huts of Bosporthennis, the Mulfra Quoit--all being monoliths, or
other survivals of wonderful interest, with the strange fascination of
their mystery. Cairns, barrows, sepulchral monuments, we can
understand, for death and burial are ever with us; but what was the
meaning of these circles and standing-stones--who built them, and for
what purpose? They are interpreted astronomically now--the latest,
perhaps the correct, theory. The earliest peoples who brought any
culture to these shores came from the East, and we cannot tell what
profundities of astrologic science they carried with them. It is
generally acknowledged that when the rough Teutons came they
encountered and checked a mental culture higher than their own. But we
can only conjecture dimly, and leave the controversialists to wrangle.

    [A] See illustration, page 181.

On the moorland beyond Morvah rises the tor of Carn Galva, standing
stern and solitary like a little patch of Dartmoor. On the coast is
the grand sheer cliff of Bosigran, the western protection of Porthmeor
Cove, with traces of prehistoric fortification; it is a noble bluff of
granite, with a drop of 400 feet. Puffins nest in the crevices below.
A little westward are the pinnacled rocks of Rosemergy, covered with
lichens and in parts clad in ivy; the neighbouring turfy slopes are
fragrant with heather and gorse. Little streams filter their way from
the moorland to the coves, reaching the sea through hollows rich with
ferns--there are still rare ferns to be found in the more inaccessible
shelters. Just beyond is another Treryn Dinas, like that of the Logan
near St. Levan; but this Treen is better known as the Gurnard's Head.
It is a favourite show-place, winning perhaps more attention than it
deserves in comparison with other places near it; but the rocky and
turf-clad headland, with its traces of a far-distant past, is really
very beautiful, reaching like a couchant beast into the waves that are
sometimes of the purest blue, sometimes white with seething foam.
There was an old chapel on the neck of the promontory, and near are
remains of some rude granite huts. The popularity of the place has
brought a modern hotel.

[Illustration: GURNARD'S HEAD.

_Photo by Gibson & Sons._]

The cove of Porthglaze with its strange turret-like rocks, the coves
of Pendour and Zennor--all these are beautiful, and cannot be seen
from the road; the visitor must explore them by scrambling along the
cliffs, crossing summits and gorges and gullies, not deterred by
difficulties that to a careless or nervous climber might become
dangers. Only so can this fine coast be fully known.

In its situation the village of Zennor is like some of the wild, stony
parts of Ireland; but the cottages are too comfortable to be Irish.
Close to it stretches the stone-strewn moorland. Everywhere we have
proof of the abundance of stone, the scarcity of wood; hedges are of
rough boulders and pebbles; stiles are the charming Cornish
"gridirons"; there is a stream crossed by rugged little stone bridges.
The church is of the thirteenth century, restored in 1890; of course
there had been earlier restoration, for the tower is Perpendicular.
The dedication is to St. Sinara or Senar, a virgin probably of Irish
origin; but we know nothing about her, and little of the early
building itself, except that in 1270 the Bishop of Exeter granted it
to his college at Glassiney near Penryn, and the living seems to have
been starved. Zennor, indeed, was formerly known as the place "where
the cow ate the bell-rope," a sportive neighbourly reference to its
poverty and infertility. But the most famous feature of the church is
its carved mermaid. There are two good old bench-ends, now forming the
sides of sedilia, and of these the mermaid is one, represented with
comb, mirror, and fishy tail. The story tells that the men of Zennor
were very fine singers in the old days, and one, a squire's son who
sang in the choir, had so beautiful a voice that this mermaid came
all the way up from the sea-beach to hear him, Sunday after Sunday.
How she did it is not explained; but at last her importunity
prevailed, and the youth went away with her. She had lured him to the

    "Sand-strewn caverns cool and deep
    Where the winds are all asleep;
    Where the spent lights quiver and gleam,
    Where the salt weed sways in the stream."

The dial on the tower also bears the figure of a mermaid. There must
have been some origin for such a legend; perhaps some youth was
drowned off the coast, and it was imagined that a mermaid had beguiled
him away. The same sea-lady appears to have been heard of later, for
it is said that "a long time after, a vessel lying in Pendour Cove
cast her anchor, and in some way barred the access to a mermaid's
dwelling. She rose up from the sea and politely asked the captain to
remove it. He landed at Zennor, and related his adventure, and those
who heard it agreed that this must have been the lady who decoyed away
the poor young man." But why poor? The connection may have been a
happy one; the mermaid was evidently courteous in manners, though her
representation on the Zennor bench-end is not exactly beautiful.
Zennor Hill or Beacon rises to 750 feet in desolate grandeur, and on
this high land, often haunted by foxes and badgers, is the great
Zennor Quoit or cromlech, thought to be the finest in Britain. Its
slab, 18 feet in length, has slipped from its rest. It is an immense
titanic monument, whose story no one can tell us; yet in this
district these things are common, and utterly disregarded by the
countryfolk. They have forgotten even the tales of the giants who used
to play "bob-buttons" with them. He who wanders among these undated
relics and wild stony moorlands may easily go astray; the cairns and
tors are very like each other, and paths are few. Sometimes also there
are blinding mists or fierce winds heavy with rain; at other times a
glamour of loveliness steals over the desolate wastes, sunsets wrap
them in atmospheric glory, or dreamy noons brood over them with deep
calm. Between Zennor and St. Ives is the parish of Towednack, where
they tried to build a hedge around the cuckoo. It is just a symbol of
our craving to keep the springtime ever with us; the hedge was not
high enough, and the cuckoo flew out at the top. The name of the
hamlet was formerly Towynnok, which evidently embodies a dedication to
St. Winnoc--probably the same saint as we find at Landewednack. The
low, sturdy little tower has no pinnacles; when the folk were building
it the devil came each night and pulled them down. But this parish
does not touch the sea at all. Off the coast are the rocks known as
the Carracks, beyond which we pass Penynys and Hor Point, and so reach
the "Island" of St. Ives.



CHAPTER XII

ST. IVES


Some years since, when the average man spoke of Cornwall he was
thinking of St. Ives--and perhaps of Tintagel. These were the two
places whose names had taken the public imagination, the one being
typical of the Duchy's romance, the other of her everyday life. But in
those days love of the picturesque had not quite overcome a dislike of
fishy and other smells. Walter White frankly told his readers not to
disenchant themselves by going into St. Ives; he recommended admiring
it from a distance. The town's name was familiar in popular songs, and
it was known as a prosperous fishing-port. Then the artists arrived,
and--perhaps more important still--a much improved railway service. At
the present day the reputation of St. Ives is assured, yet it is
certainly less popular as a holiday resort than some other places in
Cornwall; those who come here usually prefer the suburban district of
Carbis Bay. Newquay has attained an easy supremacy in popularity; Bude
is following in its wake; while South Cornwall has Looe and Fowey, the
Lizard, Penzance, with numerous small coast-side hamlets for the
delight of quieter guests. But St. Ives maintains its position as a
typically Cornish town; its past is thoroughly interesting, and its
records ample; it is a striking and in some respects fascinating link
between the bygone and the present. Old St. Ives seems to derive
entirely from the little headland known as The Island. It was just one
of those places that the ancients loved to fortify, almost insular and
easily defensible. The dry-stone defence known as the Two Edges was
probably constructed by men of the Stone Age; it is certainly
pre-Celtic. Other strongholds of the same date may be found at
Gurnard's Head, at Trencrom, and at Bosigran, to name only a few. The
Island may have been really insular when first fortified. There are
remains of an old chapel of St. Nicholas on the point of the headland,
and it is difficult to say whether this must be associated with the
name of St. Ia; there is also an oratory of St. Leonard, known as "the
Chapel," close to the stone pier. We may fairly conclude that both
these are later than the cell of St. Ia, which was on the site of the
present parish church. This saintly woman must on no account be
connected with the dedications of the Cornish St. Ive (pronounced Eve)
near Liskeard, or the St. Ives of Huntingdonshire. She appears to have
reached Cornwall late in the fifth century, coming in the company of
the Irish prince, Fingar, who renounced his kingdom in order to preach
Christianity. Fingar is claimed as a convert of St. Patrick. St. Ia is
said to have floated to the Island, anciently named Pendinas, on a
miraculous leaf, by which is clearly meant a coracle of the kind still
to be seen in parts of Wales. Her comrades went on to evangelise other
parts of Cornwall, but she remained here, living in a beehive-hut of
the style called "Picts' houses," and doing her best to soften the
faith and manners of the rude inhabitants. It is said that she was
martyred by a local king or chieftain, Tewdrig, or Theodoric. She
resided here long enough to impress her name permanently on the
locality, whose earliest Latin name that we can trace was _Parochia
Sancte Ye_, while the Cornish name was Porthia. The existing church
stands on the site of an oratory which was either her own foundation
or was erected soon after her death by loving disciples. Till 1409 St.
Ives, being only a small fishing hamlet, belonged ecclesiastically to
Lelant; but at that date the people petitioned the Pope, through their
lord of the manor, Champernowne, that they might have a separate
church: "As it had pleased the Almighty God to increase the town
inhabitants and to send down temporal blessings most plentifully among
them, the people, to show their thankfulness for the same, did resolve
to build a chapel in St. Ives, they having no house in the town
wherein public prayers and Divine service was read, but were forced
every Sunday and holy day to go to Lelant church, being three miles
distant from St. Ives, to hear the same, and likewise to carry their
children to Lelant to be baptized, their dead to be there buried, to
go there to be married, and their women to be churched." In response
to this appeal the Pope directed the Bishop of Exeter that the chapels
both of St. Ives and Towednack should be made parochial, "with font
and cemetery, but dependent on Lelant." The people set to work at
once, bringing the necessary granite from Zennor by boat, roads being
then quite unfit for transit of heavy burdens. Completed in 1426, the
church consists of chancel, nave, and two aisles, with a tower 119
feet in height. The roofs are of decorated wagon-form, with figures of
angels at the springings of the braces. The Trenwith aisle was added a
little later. In the original church was an organ, very fine for those
days; it was destroyed in 1648 by the Puritans. There are some very
good bench-end carvings, not all in their original position, and there
is a Trenwith brass with the figure of St. Michael ludicrously
restored. Many other objects of interest may be noted, both within and
without the church, including a fifteenth-century cross in the
churchyard, thrown down by the Puritans and re-erected.

[Illustration: ST. IVES.

_Photo by Gibson & Sons._]

Historically, St. Ives has played no great part, but what may be
called its domestic annals are singularly varied and full. The chief
events that can be called historical are a landing of the French at
Porthminster during the reign of Henry VI., and the anchoring of
Perkin Warbeck in St. Ives Bay, in 1497, when he was proclaimed as
Richard IV. St. Ives was also concerned in the Western Rebellion of
1549, when the Cornishmen rose on behalf of their ancient religion.
There was a question of language also, as well as of faith, as we may
see from the articles of complaint:--

       "We will not receyue the new Servyce, because it is but lyke a
       Christmasse game, but we wyll have our olde Servyce of Mattens,
       masse, evensong and procession in Latten as it was before. And
       so we the Cornyshe men, whereof certen of us understa'de no
       Englysh, utterly refuse this newe Englysh.... We wyll have holy
       bread and holy water made every Sundaye; Palmes and ashes at
       the times accustomed; Images to be set up again in every
       church, and all other aunceint olde Ceremonyes used heretofore
       by our Mother the Holy Church. Item we wyll have everye
       preacher in his sermon and every Pryest at his masse, praye
       specially by name for the soules in purgatory as owre
       forefathers dyd."

This rising, which began in Devonshire, rapidly spread throughout
Cornwall; it was, indeed, the fiercest and most serious of all the
risings against an enforced Reformation. It ended in disaster; many
Cornishmen were killed either in the field or by hanging afterwards;
among whom was John Payne, mayor or portreeve of St. Ives. Of the
religious aspect of the quarrel nothing need be said; but it is
certain that the compulsory introduction of the English Bible and
Prayer Book proved the death-blow of the Cornish language. It did not
die at once, but it speedily began to languish, and two centuries
later was practically extinct. During the Civil War St. Ives sided
with the Parliament, and its church, therefore, does not contain the
letter of thanks from King Charles that is so commonly seen in Cornish
churches. The little town was always strong in local patriotism, and
sturdily nursed its own interests as a fishing port; yet a study of
its Borough Accounts proves that it could be generous at times, and
these accounts are such delightful reading that a few extracts must be
quoted. They begin with the year 1573; the quaintness of diction and
the "indifferent spelling" add piquancy and remoteness to some of the
entries.

Many of these have to do with expenses towards the keep of foundlings,
burying of the dead by the parish, and other charities; thus, a very
few years from the commencement, we have:--

       "Pd. Eliz: Rodger to keepe a base childe founde by the p'rishe
       and for half of a pecke of blye, XVIIId.

       "Pd. Alce caraway who releeveth certaine children of the
       parishe, VId.

       "Pd. a poore man of Morestowe whose house was burnte and his
       wiefe distracted of her witts, XIId."

The charitable doings of these good St. Ives folk were evidently very
numerous and very varied; but these entries are not all of almsgiving.
Thus, in the same year as above, we have the following:--

       "Easter Quarter. Impmis pd. for two dele boordes to make a newe
       seate to the vicar, IIId."

Also:--

       "Item paid to the younge felow which is our clarke, IIs."

Many of the entries have to do with licensed beggars, or shipwrecked
seamen, or the raising moneys for the deliverance of foreign captives;
but the variety is endless and delightful. Thus, after reading of a
shilling bestowed upon "a man of Irelande that had his barke stollen
by pirats," we have the record of a similar sum paid "ffor a paire of
breches ffor John the lasar." This John seems to have cost the parish
sundry amounts for his breeches and jerkins; but in 1596 it would
appear that St. Ives was quit of him, if it is he to whom the
following refers:--

       "Pd. to a cople of women that shrowded ye lazar John Nyclis:
       and ther breake faste yt tyme, VIs."

Immediately after this eightpence is given "to a pore lame sowldior
hurted in the quenes servyce in yrland having a lisens." The town
could make merry at times, as we find when sixpence was paid "for a
pynte of Secke when our burgesse Mr. Harrys was chosen"--which is very
moderate compared with Falstaff's payments for the same liquor. In
1626 we read that special harbour-dues were levied to pay for the
repair of the "peere or Kay of St. Ives"; in which dues there were
special charges for English vessels and somewhat higher for "Alients."
The writer is of divided mind as to the spelling of pier, for he
passes from "peere" to "peor." It is interesting to note that "All
alients for roulinge on the sande te paye pr tonn IId."; which does
not refer to any merry sport of rolling on the sands, as sometimes
practised by exhilarated visitors, but to rolling of fish. It was
doubtless a useful provision that "noe garbadge of ffishe or stinkinge
ffishe should be cast above full sea marke att neape tide on the
sande." What with the queer wordings and the defective punctuation, it
is sometimes difficult to fathom the exact purport of entries. Thus,
about the year 1629, we have mention of two shillings given "to a
poore distressed scholler that came to our towne from Germanie the
27th of ffebruarie to seeke passadge home from Ireland." Query, where
was the poor "scholler" going? In 1640 the famous silver wishing-cup
was presented to the town by Sir Francis Basset, being about a foot in
height; it was really drunk from in old corporation festivities, but
the wine was latterly dipped from it in a ladle. It is inscribed as
follows:--

    "If any discord 'twixt my friends arise
    Within the Borough of beloved Saint Ies,
    It is desyred that this my cup of love
    To every one a peacemaker may prove;
    Then am I blest, to have given a legacie
    So like my heart unto posteritie."

A little later we read of sixpence paid "to one that did whipp the
mayde that would drowne herself"; from which it is clear that the
town did not encourage suicide. Just below is, "Item, more to six
distressed Bristoll men their vessell being taken att Sea, 4s. 6d."
There are many such entries, of which St. Ives may well be proud.

But these accounts also bear record of less peaceful proceedings.
Under the year 1681, after an entry of four shillings received from
"ffower offendors for their breach of the Saboth," we have a
chronicling of disturbance caused by St. Just men, and a fine on them
"for their riotous assembling into the Borough." A little later is the
item: "Pd constables to putt St. Just men to Lanceston, £6 9s. 6d.";
also 5s. "paid Mr. Robinson to dress their wounds." It is pleasant to
think that the St. Ives folk were such good Christians. In 1685 the
borough paid some attention to the condition of its drum: "Pd Henry
Anthony for new making the Towne drum 2s. 6d." Later, there is a
payment to Henry Barber for beating the same. Immediately after there
is much to-do about some sugar stolen by a man named Teage; sugar was
a costly luxury in those days. One of the items is this: "Spent by Mr.
Trentwith, Mr. Robinson, my self & Mr. May, at St. Earth, Gwynear,
Camborne and other places to discover the Sugar stollen by Teage being
out two dayes, £1 3s. 6d." It is amusing to notice how the writer's
modesty held good until he had recorded the names of Trentwith and
Robinson, after which it rebelled and insisted on taking precedence of
Mr. May. This Teage business caused a deal of trouble, and many
witnesses were carried to Launceston as evidence against him, at great
expense; yet the borough did not scruple, shortly afterwards, to
expend a shilling "for poynts to whip the boyes veiweinge the parish
bounds," and another shilling for the drummer on that occasion. In
1681 there was trouble with the vicar who served the three parishes of
St. Ives, Towednack, and Lelant, about the payment of tithes; the
vicar seems to have been non-resident, and often attended to his
pastoral duties at inconvenient times. In 1690 King William's victory
at the Boyne cost the borough a pound in merry-making, to which we may
add the following entry of 5s. 6d. "for a Tar Barrell and Syder." In
the same year an itinerant beggar seems to have won alms from the
authorities under a false ticket:--

       "Given ffrancis Browne by consent who brought a Let pas by that
       name, but afterwards his name apeared to bee ffrancis Jackson
       1s. 0d.

       "Pd. the Cryer to whip him and for thongs 1s. 1d."

Under the year 1693 we are reminded of perils, now happily impossible,
that then lurked around these shores. There is an entry of
half-a-crown paid to William Thomas "for his labour to goe to
ffalmouth to give an account that two ffrench privateers lay in our
bay"; and a little later another half-crown was given "to ffower poore
boyes that were taken by a ffrench privateer." The beginning of 1698
seems to have been especially devoted to charities; we have record of
sums given to two distressed men and their children whose houses were
burnt; to two poor Irishmen cast away at Zennor; to a poor traveller
and his wife, a seaman who had lost his hand, a captain who had lost
all his goods by wreck, and a poor disbanded soldier. Also, four
shillings given to two "poore soldiers which came from Silly." It has
generally been understood that Scillonians object to their name being
spelt in this manner; yet we have a later entry of expense "examining
the Silly Soldiers." One is tempted to quote much further from these
alluring records, and they certainly assist us considerably in
understanding the old-time ways of living, as we ramble about the
tortuous byways, nooks and corners of St. Ives. In the letter the
accounts are strictly local; in the spirit they may be taken as
typical of almost any West Country town of that date, and they have
the frequent touch of humanity that relieves bare figures from
monotony.

In connection with the flourishing condition of Methodism at St. Ives,
it is important to remember that John Wesley paid the town as many as
twenty-seven visits, beginning in 1743 and ending in 1789. There was
already a society of his followers here when he began his visits, but
they were very unpopular with the majority of the townsfolk, who
accused them of sympathy with the Pope and the Jacobites. Wesley's own
reception was very mixed; he received some countenance and a good deal
of mob violence. Not only the vicar and curate of St. Ives were
against him, but he had a still more formidable opponent in Dr.
Borlase, the antiquarian vicar of Ludgvan. When a parishioner tried to
persuade Borlase that Wesley's preaching was doing good, he exclaimed,
"Get along; you are a parcel of mad, crazy-headed fellows." Yet two
years after his first visit Wesley was able to describe St. Ives as
"the most still and honourable post (so are the times changed) which
we have in Cornwall." But when he paid his fifth visit, in 1750, it is
clear that opposition had not died out. He tells us that: "Having
first sent to the mayor to inquire if it would be offensive to him, I
preached in the evening not far from the market-place. There was a
vast concourse of people, very few of the adult inhabitants of the
town being wanting. I had gone through two-thirds of my discourse, to
which the whole audience was deeply attentive, when Mr. S. sent his
man to ride his horse to and fro through the midst of the
congregation. Some of the chief men in the town bade me go on, and
said no man should hinder me, but I judged it better to retire to the
room." We may be sure it was no personal shrinking, but a regard for
the public peace, that caused the preacher's decision. Twenty years
later he wrote: "Here God has made all our enemies to be at peace with
us, so that I might have preached in any part of the town. But I
rather chose a meadow, where such as would might sit down, either on
the grass or on the hedges--so the Cornish term their broad stone
walls, which are usually covered with grass." Of his last visit he
says that "well-nigh all the town attended, and with all possible
seriousness. Surely forty years' labour has not been in vain here."
The numberless meeting-houses and Bethels throughout Cornwall bear at
least one form of testimony to the enduring fruits of that "forty
years' labour."

There are other things besides Methodists at St. Ives; there are
painters and pilchards. The colony of artists here is almost as famous
as that of Newlyn, and there are at least sixty different studios.
Pictures from St. Ives have won world-wide fame; in fact,
artistically, Cornwall would have long since become stale were it not
for its inexhaustible charm. The painters bring something of a Latin
Quarter element with them, and are by no means limited to British in
nationality. Mr. Stanhope Forbes says: "I remember finding in a house
at St. Ives where I was calling, four painters of four different
nationalities. In that town Zorn, the well-known Swedish artist,
painted his first oil picture, which now hangs in the Luxembourg, and
for it his palette was set by an equally celebrated American painter
who at that time resided there."

The studios are specially thronged during the winter months, as the
climate allows much open-air work; in the summer many of the painters
fly to other hunting-fields, leaving Cornwall to the tourist. The
Cornish have grown accustomed to the painters by this time, and cease
to regard them with wondering curiosity; they are recognised as having
distinct local uses. Many of the pictures now displayed in exhibitions
bespeak a close intimacy between the painters and the fishermen. But
the pilchards are of still more importance to the little huddled town
where the fishers live; and these usually begin to arrive about
August, when the huers have already taken up their position on the
high places around, in order to signal the first sighting of the
shoals. The huers are on watch from August till late October, and it
is the method of taking by seine that renders their signalling of
great importance. The exact position of the fish must be ascertained
before the seine-nets are dropped to enclose them. The takes are
sometimes enormous, but seasons greatly vary, as the fish are governed
by laws of feeding whose operation we cannot easily trace. The average
annual taking of pilchards in Cornwall is estimated at 20,000
hogsheads. Gulls in countless numbers hover above the fishing-boats,
and swoop down for their share in the spoil; sometimes, however,
scared away by the more powerful gannets, with whom they dare not
dispute. At times the gulls are a distinct nuisance and something more
to the fisherman; they will snatch fish from his very boat, and the
constant loss must be very considerable; yet there is a superstitious
idea that the gull is the fisherman's friend--an idea in which we
might rejoice more if it led the men to be equally humane towards
other living creatures. The same mercy is by no means shown to the
gannet. But a more serious enemy of the men is the dogfish, who tear
their nets; and the fishers are taking their revenge by trying to
popularise this fish as an article of food, under the name of the
"flake." Besides the prevalent fishing with seines, there is much
drift-fishing from St. Ives, taking place at night; the boats being
dotted about within and outside the bay, with their headlights showing
like twinkling stars. The St. Ives men are not dependent on pilchards
only, happily for them; in winter their seines take many mullet, which
are mostly sent to Paris. The shore-seine used for these is
comparatively small; it is coiled and passed round the school, and the
two ends then drawn ashore. Here, as elsewhere, the men are usually
parcelled into companies--a kind of limited share-company; they take
turns in shooting the nets, and profits are shared. The control of
affairs by husband and wife is a different sort of share-company; the
wife is supreme mistress at home, but the man becomes "boss" as soon
as he gets his sea-boots on. Many mackerel are often brought to St.
Ives, and the men go still further afield after herring; but somehow
the catch of the pilchard seems the most distinctively local feature,
and the fish, once common much further east, is still an important
actuality to all the Land's End fishing ports. The typical Cornishman
has always been a fisher or a tin-miner; and both still flourish.

Picturesque and artistic St. Ives clusters narrowly about the harbour
and on the neck of the Island; the more modern residences and
lodging-houses stretch above Porthminster Beach, with a popular
development at Carbis Bay. More inland suburbs are chiefly devoted to
the mining that has suffered so many vicissitudes--flourishing, then
decadent, and now flourishing again. One such centre is Halsetown, a
mining settlement founded something less than a century ago by James
Halse, of the old Cornwall Hals family; he was a solicitor and a mayor
of St. Ives, intimately connected with the mines. But in this rather
unattractive quarter we are less likely to think of Halse than we are
of Sir Henry Irving, who spent his childhood here. The reputation of a
great actor becomes very much a phantom affair after a few years; but
as we still associate the name of Garrick with a brilliant period of
the Georgian age, so the name of Irving must always be linked with the
later brilliant period of the Victorian. To the younger generation of
theatre-goers he is fast becoming like a half-mythical demigod--one of
those whom the elder folk mention with regretful shakings of the head
when newer favourites are lauded. The actor was not born in Cornwall,
but in Somerset; his mother, however, was a Cornish woman named
Behenna, and one of his aunts was Mrs. Penberthy, wife of Captain
Isaac Penberthy, whose captaincy of course referred to his position as
overseer of mines here at Halsetown. Hither Irving was brought in his
fourth year, and his memories of Cornwall remained vivid to his dying
day. "I recall Halsetown," he said, "as a village nestling between
sloping hills, bare and desolate, disfigured by great heaps of slack
from the mines, and with the Knill monument standing prominent as a
landmark to the east. It was a wild and weird place, fascinating in
its own peculiar beauty, and taking a more definite shape in my
youthful imagination by reason of the fancies and legends of the
people. The stories attaching to rock and well and hill were unending;
every man and woman had folk-lore to tell us youngsters. We took to
them naturally--they seem to fit in wisely with the solitudes, the
expanses, the superstitious character of the Cornish people, and never
clashed in our minds with the Scriptural teachings which were our
daily portion at home. These legends and fairy stories have remained
with me but vaguely--I was too young--but I remember the 'guise
dancing,' when the villagers went about in masks, entering houses and
frightening the children. We imitated this once, in breaking in on old
Granny Dixon's sleep, fashioned out in horns and tails, and trying to
frighten her into repentance for telling us stories of hell-fire and
brimstone. The attempt was not too successful." Mrs. Penberthy was a
Methodist and a teetotaler, of deeply religious instincts; yet the
boy's life with his cousins was evidently free and uncramped. The
uncle was strong, somewhat passionate, but lovable. If there was some
sternness in the home atmosphere, there was also plenty of affection,
and that is the most vital point. "Halsetown gave me a good physical
start in life, at any rate," said the actor. "I attribute much of my
endurance of fatigue, which is a necessary part of an actor's life,
to the free and open and healthy years I lived at Halsetown, and to
the simple food and regular routine ordered by my aunt. We rambled
much over the desolate hills, or down to the rocks at the seashore.
There was plenty of natural beauty to look for, and I suppose we
looked for it. I know the sea had a potent attraction for me. I was a
wiry youth, as I believe, when the time came for me to join a London
school."

The Knill monument mentioned by Irving claims a little more attention.
John Knill, born at Callington in 1733, after being articled to a
Penzance solicitor, became collector of Customs at St. Ives, and in
1767 was chosen mayor. A few years later Government sent him to
Jamaica to inspect the ports; he was private secretary to the Earl of
Buckinghamshire, Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland; and in late life he
became a practising solicitor at Gray's Inn, as well as magistrate for
the county of Middlesex. He died in London, 1811. Long before this
date he had erected his own mausoleum on Worvas Hill, near St. Ives,
and to this his remains were brought. Among many legacies, his will
directed that certain ceremonies should be observed once every five
years, on the festival of St. James the Apostle; £10 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; £5 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; £1 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; £2 to two widows of seamen, fishermen 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; £1 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." These observances have been duly
performed, the last date being 1906, when many visitors attended to
witness the proceedings.

A little eastward of Carbis Bay is Lelant, the mother-parish of St.
Ives. Its full title is St. Uny Lelant, and the dedication is to the
Irish Eoghain or Euinus, whom we find in Brittany as Uniac. There are
other traces of him in Cornwall, as at Redruth and Sancreed; and it is
probable that he arrived in Cornwall about the same time as St. Ia,
but the fullest traditions of him relate to his Irish life. The word
"Lelant" is explained as _Lan-nans_, the "valley-church"; in old books
we still find the parish named as Lanant. The stronghold of Tewdrig,
who murdered St. Ia and other saints, is supposed to have been on the
coast here, its traces concealed by the sweeping sands that very
nearly made an end of the village entirely, as they really did
destroy its one-time harbour. A number of skeletons of prehistoric
date were discovered when cutting for the railway to St. Ives, proving
the early occupation of these coasts. Norden, writing more than three
centuries since, says that Lelant was "sometyme a haven towne, but now
of late decayed by reason of the sande which has choaked the harbour
and buried much of the landes and houses; many devises they use to
prevent the absorption of the churche." But the cultivation of the
sand-rush, _arundo arenaria_, has done what the other "devises" failed
to do; and the rushy towans have now provided an ideal golf-course,
which prospers though the little town is somnolent. It is here that
St. Ives visitors do most of their golfing, and the ground is
described as "a natural seaside course, with charming views in all
directions. The holes are rather short and tricky, and put a premium
on local knowledge. Last, but not least, Lelant can boast a climate
absolutely ideal for golf in winter." Lelant Church is interesting,
but has lost its fine old bench-ends and screen. It is connected with
the memory of a former vicar, Parson Polkinghorne, who was a renowned
ghost-layer, a redoubtable fox-hunter, and a skilled hurler. His
exorcising formula is said to have commenced with the words "in Nommy
Dommy," and we are told it was in Latin throughout--as we may believe
from this specimen. But the days of the exorcist are over now--there
are no ghosts to lay, or only such as will not be laid.

There is a ferry at Lelant, taking the traveller across the Hayle
creek to sandy Phillack, one of the mother-parishes of Hayle. This is
the narrowest section of the Cornish peninsula, and from Hayle River
to Mount's Bay is only about four miles across; a good road makes the
journey from sea to sea. It is just a neck of land dividing north from
south, and persons susceptible to climatic change say that the
difference can be noticed when they get half-way across. Hayle, a
little waterside town of less than two thousand inhabitants, is not
particularly attractive. There is a charm in the endless sand-blown
dunes that stretch on both sides of the estuary, but dismal weather
can make them desolate, and wild weather converts them into a howling
waste; while Hayle itself, with some small shipping and industry, is a
place that the lover of beauty does not often care for. But it is not
altogether to be despised, and it is conveniently situated on the main
Great Western line. This Hayle district was once the great
landing-place of saints from Ireland, who came here rather numerously
about fifteen centuries since; those who came from Wales usually
landed near Padstow or came to Cornwall by way of Devon. One such
Irish saint was Gwythian, who built his oratory a few miles north of
Hayle, and the remains of this rugged little church have lately been
rescued from the sands, with a special service of commemoration held
over it. The Irish saints brought their style of building with them,
and such relics as those of St. Piran and St. Gwythian are exactly
similar in style to the oldest memorials of the same nature in
Ireland. The masonry was of the simplest--a mere laying of rough
stones together without mortar. Some have supposed this oratory of St.
Gwythian to be the earliest religious building surviving in Britain,
but it is very difficult to say anything definite. If the little
church really survived as the saint left it its claim would be a good
one, but, like St. Piran's, it is more likely to be a century or two
later. Visitors must not expect to learn much about the saints or
about the monuments from the countryfolk, either here or anywhere else
in Cornwall. With luck they may get a few quaint notions and
superstitions out of the older people; but the younger folk are
educated in a different manner now--universal school systems tend to
uniformity and usually to a deadening of the imagination. For the
legends and traditions of the country-side it is necessary to go to
the guide-books, which are themselves often misleading. If a traveller
were to go through Cornwall compiling a book that should contain
solely what he saw and heard, it would be something quite different
from the ordinary handbook, and those who only know the Duchy by
reading about it would be chiefly struck by its omissions. The people,
here as elsewhere, no longer care much for the traditions of their
forefathers; and the delightful literary works that belong to
topography are the result and the supply of a culture in which the
ordinary men and women of the localities have small share. The visitor
should carry the best literary guide he can procure with him,
otherwise he is likely to learn little of the country's lore and its
antiquities--unless now and then he applies to a clergyman or perhaps
an intelligent schoolmaster. The days of oral tradition have passed
for ever. We need not complain when we remember that written
literature is a result of this decease.



CHAPTER XIII

FROM HAYLE TO PERRAN


A good road runs from Hayle to Gwythian, skirting the Phillack towans,
and then passes onward to Portreath. For the most part it keeps near
the sea, so that the cyclist need not feel he is losing everything
worth seeing; but the pedestrian, if he does not mind a few rough
places, will do better still by taking the cliff path. Camborne and
Redruth, lying some miles inland, are not likely to tempt the
traveller, unless he be a mining expert intent on studying newest
methods, or unless he be a lover of Rugby football, of which, in the
proper season, he might see some good games. Cornwall, having deserted
hurling for the more modern development of the ball game, has won high
position, and these two mining towns are the chief centres of the
sport. Something other than football, however, attracts most of those
who come to Cornwall, and one such attraction ought to be the lovely
view of St. Ives Bay to be enjoyed from the Godrevy headland. The reef
of rocks lying off this eastward point of the bay has been a deadly
trap for navigation, and the lighthouse, on an island close to the
mainland, was first erected in 1857. One early wreck on these crags is
connected with memories of the beheaded Charles I. On the day of his
execution a fierce storm broke on the coast, easily interpreted by
loyal Cornishmen as a judgment of God. A vessel containing the royal
wardrobe and other furnishings was riding at the time in St. Ives Bay,
being bound for France, and this was driven by the tempest on the
Godrevy rocks. Of the sixty persons on board all were lost with the
exception of a man and boy; these, with a wolfhound, swam to the islet
on which the light now stands and were carried to St. Ives as soon as
the storm permitted their rescue. With all the assistance that a
powerful light can give the Godrevy stones are still perilous. The
lighthouse is finely placed and its white tower is a conspicuous mark
along the coast. The eastward projection of this headland is Navax
Point. A little beyond is the deep and narrow gorge of Hell's
Mouth--not the only spot so named in Cornwall--whose dim caverns and
beach are said to be more frequented by seals than any other part of
the Cornish coast; but the seals will soon be a thing of the
past--they are foolishly and cruelly shot by men whose instinct is to
shoot everything. The caves were once haunted by smugglers also, and
their operations were admirably seconded by Nature. There is a
sprinkling of little islets along the shore here, one of which is
Samphire Isle. About a mile inland, on the left of the road, is Tehidy
House, with its parks and plantations of nearly one thousand acres,
said to have once reached to the foot of Carn Brea. This is the seat
of the Bassets, one of the most memorable of Cornish families, having
played a great part in the Duchy's history. The Bassets were among the
earliest Norman settlers in England and can be traced in Cornwall as
early as the time of Robert de Mortain, half-brother of the
Conqueror. They do not appear to have gained a permanent settlement in
Cornwall, however, till the reign of Henry II., when Thomas Baron
Basset, of Hedendon, Oxfordshire, married Adeliza de Dunstanville and
so took root at Tehidy. The family intermarried with the best local
families--Grenvilles, Trelawneys, Godolphins, Rashleighs, Prideaux.
Francis Basset, who was associated with Grenville in the glorious
victory of Stamford Hill, Stratton, was knighted by Charles I. after
the fight of Braddoc Down. Some of his letters to his wife at this
time are preserved, and they compare with Bevil Grenville's for
touching simplicity and whole-hearted affection. His joy at the
victories, which seemed to have established the Royal cause on a firm
basis--at least in the West--is expressed in several of these.
"Peace," he exclaims, "and I hope perpetual. Sadd houses I have seen
many, but a joyfuller pleasanter day never than this. Sende the money,
as much and as soone as you can. Sende to all our ffriends at home,
especially, this good news. I write this on my saddle. Every friend
will pardon the illness of it, and you chiefly, my perfect joy." To
this he adds in a postscript: "The Kinge and army march presently for
Plymouth. Jesus give the King it and all. The King, in the hearing of
thousands, as soon as he saw me in ye morning, cryed to mee, 'Deare
Mr. Sheriffe, I leave Cornwall to you safe and sound.'" The letter is
addressed "To my Lady Bassett, at her Tehidy, joyfull. After the
success near Lostwithiel." It was not long, however, before this
joyfulness was turned to mourning. Grenville and many another gallant
Cornishman fell in battle; stronghold after stronghold gave way before
the irresistible Fairfax; and Basset himself, after a brave defence
of St. Michael's Mount, had to yield and withdraw to a kind of exile
at Scilly. This dauntless loyalist was closely connected with the town
of St. Ives, which he represented in Parliament, and to which he gave
the silver goblet mentioned in the previous chapter. Tehidy House,
which was enlarged and nearly rebuilt in 1865, is beautifully situated
and contains an excellent collection of pictures, including specimens
by Reynolds, Vandyck, Lely, and Gainsborough. A later notability was
Francis, Baron de Dunstanville and Basset, of Tehidy, born at Walcot
in 1757, whose virtues were so greatly appreciated by the Duchy that
his monument was erected on the summit of Carn Brea, where it stands
as a striking landmark, rising 90 feet from its pedestal; this was
placed in 1836. The top can be reached by an inner stairway, and
commands a magnificent view of land and water. With the death of Lord
Francis the title de Dunstanville became extinct. Carn Brea cannot
actually be said to belong to the coast, being several miles inland,
but it is a dominant feature in any view from a far distance, and it
claims a visit partly on account of this monument and partly for its
prehistoric remains. This mass of granite, rising to a height of about
740 feet, bears traces of immemorial occupation that have been both a
delight and a puzzle to antiquaries. Those familiar with the works of
the artist Cruikshank will remember that the giant Bolster used to
take this hill with one stride from St. Agnes Beacon, and in addition
to this tale of giants there was the usual chatter about Druids and
Druidic monuments in connection with Carn Brea. It is safest to leave
the Druids alone--they are at a discount now; the place is
interesting enough without them, and the view from the summit is
magnificent, reaching as it does from sea to sea. Clusters of hut
circles and signs of neolithic military entrenchment are very obvious,
and a number of pure gold coins have been discovered here. There is
also a mediæval castle, restored, and, of course, the inevitable
logan-stone. Nearer to Redruth is one of the Cornish "places of play"
(_plân-an-guare_), known as Planguary. These rounded hollows, such as
the famous Gwennap Pit, were formerly used for sports and dramatic
performances; they played an important part in the social life of the
past, and Cornwall had its own speciality in miracle-plays or
interludes. Carew tells us that "the Guary Miracle is a kind of
interlude compiled in Cornish out of some Scripture history. For
representing it they raise an earthen amphitheatre in some open field,
leaving the diameter of the enclosed plain some forty or fifty feet.
The country people flock from all sides to see and hear it, for they
have therein devils and devices to delight the eye as well as the ear.
The players speak not their parts without book, but are prompted by
one called the ordinary, who followeth at their back with the book in
his hand and telleth them softly what they must pronounce aloud. The
dramas were acted at one time for several days together and were
similar in character to the English mysteries of the same period."

The parish of Illogan was the birthplace of the engineer Trevithick,
who was born here in 1771. His father, a prominent manager of local
mines, was a Methodist, often visited by Wesley. The boy, educated at
Camborne, was bright and precocious; he is said on one occasion to
have irritated his master by offering to do six sums to his one--a
proposition which no pedagogue is likely to appreciate. He was
powerfully developed physically, and at eighteen could lift ten
hundredweight. In 1794 he became engineer at the Ding Dong Mine, where
he introduced many improvements; and a few years later he was busily
engaged in designing a genuine steam-carriage, which was finished and
made its first short trip on Christmas Eve, 1801, carrying the first
passengers ever known to have been conveyed by steam. Locally this
contrivance was known as the "puffing devil," or as "Cap'n Dick's
Puffer." The next step was to produce an engine running on rails. This
was done in 1804, when Trevithick completed a machine which carried
ten tons of iron, five wagons, and seventy men for a distance of nine
and a half miles, the speed being about five miles an hour. Clumsy and
slow as it was, this was a very marked advance on anything that had
previously been accomplished. But the engineer's genius for invention
was not balanced by adequate business capacity, and he lacked the
means of perfecting and forwarding his devices; they had to wait. He
went to Peru in 1817, and suffered heavy losses through the war of
independence. At this time he was nearly drowned in the Magdalena
River, but was rescued by a Venezuelan officer, who drew him ashore
with a lasso. It is pleasant to learn that he made the acquaintance of
George Stephenson at Carthagena, and received generous help from one
who might have been considered his rival. He died poor and in debt at
Dartford in 1833, when the workmen with whom he had been labouring
clubbed together to give him a suitable funeral. There is now a
memorial window to his memory in Westminster Abbey. His character
seems to have been warm and sanguine, tender-hearted, and easily
depressed. He was notably one of those men into whose labours "other
men enter"--successful to a point, but lacking in the finishing
touches that bring fame and triumph; with all his courage he wanted
persistence. But when we think of Watt and Stephenson in connection
with steam transit we must never forget that the Cornishman Trevithick
deserves at least an equal share of honour.

Illogan is a mining centre, and thickly populated, though when we
speak of population in Cornwall we must remember that the inhabitants
of the whole Duchy number far less than those of such towns as
Birmingham, Liverpool, or Manchester. The church here was rebuilt in
1848, when all the old monuments were carefully replaced. Portreath is
the thriving little port of the district, and is also popular with
Camborne and Redruth folk as a watering-place. But the presence of
active and prosperous mining does not make for beauty; a mine only
becomes picturesque when it has been deserted and taken back into the
bosom of Nature. Otherwise, Portreath has many attractions, and the
coast is grand. The port has four docks and a pier of about 260 yards
long. Lord de Dunstanville built the first dock here. Copper ore is
exported, and there is an import of coal and iron. What with
commercialism and pleasure, Portreath (formerly named Basset's Cove)
should do well; but the industries certainly bring some disfigurement,
and the stream that flows to the sea discolours the ocean waves with
its ruddy stain. From here to St. Agnes the coast is broken into
coves, one of which, Porth Towan, is popular with excursionists; but
the tripper cannot be here at all times, and when he is absent the
shores are left to majestic loneliness, their caves haunted by seals
and their crags by crying sea-fowl. We do not escape from the mining
when we come to St. Agnes, but we come to a district of notable
memories, and those who climb the Beacon can look towards St. Ives on
the one side and Newquay on the other. We must not suppose that the
Beacon is associated with any memories of the saintly maiden whom
Keats and Tennyson have poetically glorified; St. Agnes here is
pronounced St. Anne's, and it is supposed that this Ann is the
so-named goddess of the Irish Celts, but the identification is rather
difficult. More vivid is the legend that speaks of the love of the
giant Bolster for this saint, and the manner in which she contrived to
get rid of him. As a married man, the giant believed in the virtues of
quick change; he found that a new wife each year was a fairly
satisfactory allowance, and it is reported that he killed the old ones
by throwing stones at them. St. Agnes was much perturbed by his
attentions; she did not approve of his matrimonial methods, and she
had some sympathy with the existing Mrs. Bolster. "At last she
conceived a device, not very saint-like but perhaps necessary. Would
he fill a little hole in the cliff with his blood as a proof of his
affection? Of course he would. He cut his arm and let the blood run;
but the life-stream flowed and flowed, and his strength ebbed away,
and the hole did not fill. At last, when the sea had become red with
his blood, he died. The saint had deceived him; the small hole in the
rock led down into a cavern, and the cavern led to the sea; not even
the ocean could have filled it." Chapel Porth is named as the scene of
this incident. The village of St. Agnes lies at the eastward foot of
the Beacon, and Trevaunance, on the coast, is its port. It is a
neighbourhood where natural beauties contend with the ugliness of
industrialism, and usually emerge triumphant. There is a story told of
St. Agnes in connection with Wesley, which proves how rapidly
folk-lore may spring up; it is even more remarkable, because more
modern, than the manner in which Devonians have associated mythology
with the name of Francis Drake. It is said that "when Wesley visited
this part of Cornwall preaching, he was refused shelter elsewhere than
in an ancient mansion that was unoccupied because haunted by ghosts.
Wesley went to the house, and sat up reading by candle-light. At
midnight he heard a noise in the hall, and on issuing from his room,
saw that a banquet was spread, and that richly apparelled ladies and
gentlemen were about the board. Then one cavalier, with dark, piercing
eyes and a pointed black beard, wearing a red feather in his cap,
said, 'We invite you to eat and to drink with us,' and pointed to an
empty chair. Wesley at once took the place indicated, but before he
put in his mouth a bite of food or drank a drop, said, 'It is my
custom to ask a blessing; stand all.' Then the spectres rose. Wesley
began his accustomed grace, 'The Name of God, high over all'--when
suddenly the room darkened, and all the apparitions vanished." There
is yet another memory at St. Agnes. The painter Opie (said to have
been born Hoppie) was born at Harmony Cottage in the year 1761, his
father being a carpenter. At ten years of age he began to teach others
in the village school; and at twelve he opened an evening school for
poor children. Having already developed an extraordinary taste for
drawing, it is related that he once purposely irritated his father in
order to catch the expression of anger for a picture. He soon began to
practise in a humble way as a portrait-painter, and was advised by Dr.
Wolcot ("Peter Pindar") to raise his price to half a guinea a head;
from which we may guess that his previous terms had been excessively
modest. Wolcot was a good friend to Opie, though their intercourse did
not remain very cordial; but for a time they even entered into some
sort of partnership together, in London, and there can be no doubt
that the painter was thus introduced to a wider circle than he would
otherwise have reached. He became the "Cornish Wonder," and felt able
to tell Wolcot that he could get on by himself. This may sound like
ingratitude, but we do not know enough of the story to form a
judgment. When Northcote returned to London from abroad Joshua
Reynolds said to him, "My dear sir, you may go back; there is a
wondrous Cornishman who is carrying all before him." "What is he
like?" asked Northcote. "Like? Why, like Caravaggio and Velasquez in
one." Opie began to exhibit at the Royal Academy in 1782, and in the
same year he married a lady who eloped from him. Divorcing her, he
married, many years later, the novelist Mrs. Opie. The flood of his
popularity waned considerably, as such sudden fashions do, but still
he had plenty of work, and a solid reputation grew on a sounder basis.
In 1787 his "Assassination of David Rizzio" procured his election as
A.R.A., and a year afterwards he became full member. The lectures that
he delivered at the Academy were admirable both in matter and in
manner, and are worthy of ranking even with those of Reynolds, whose
life Opie wrote. Dying in 1807, after a second married period of great
happiness, the painter was buried at St. Paul's. Among those whose
portraits he painted were Dr. Johnson, Fox, Burke, Dr. Parr,
Northcote, and many other celebrities of his day. Apart from his own
special art, he was passionately devoted to poetry, and is said to
have had a wonderful memory for recitation. The house at which he was
born is situated about half-way between St. Agnes and Perranporth.
Trevaunance Porth, which now has some insignificant accommodation for
shipping, is notable for the difficulties that opposed even such small
harbourage. The manor belonged to the Tonkin family, who spent much
money in the attempt to build a pier, but the force of the sea always
frustrated them. About the year 1700 Winstanley, the famous builder of
Eddystone, constructed an excellent quay and basin, but a gale
destroyed this after a very few years. Tonkin, the parochial historian
of Cornwall, whose work is valuable in spite of its errors, laid out a
considerable sum in an effort to repair the quay, and to raise the
money he had to part with a small piece of land, which speedily repaid
its purchaser by the richness of its mineral wealth. A jetty built
later withstood the sea better than its more ambitious predecessors
had done.

[Illustration: CHURCH OF ST. PIRAN.

_Photo by Gibson & Sons._]

Beyond St. Agnes Beacon the coast is largely composed of clay-slates,
or killas, presenting much desolate grandeur; the slate showing the
jagged scars of its unending resistance to oceanic forces. At Cligga
Head this slate is blended with decomposed hard granite. Off the
shore, about two miles out, rise the two isolated rocks known as the
Man and his Men--sometimes also called the Cow and her Calf. "Man" and
"Men" are simply corruptions of the Celtic _maen_, a stone. Between
St. Agnes and Perranporth the passage along the cliffs is interrupted
by the extensive enclosures of a modern dynamite factory, and the
pedestrian who has known this walk of yore is not likely to bless this
manufacture of a deadly explosive. But there is a great industrial
demand for dynamite in the district, and it is well that its
production should be relegated to a neighbourhood where accidents
would do the least possible damage. At Perranporth we approach a grim
sand-driven tract of country sacred to the name of one of Cornwall's
most typical saints, the Irishman St. Piran. Perranporth itself, since
the advent of the railway, is drawing some visitors away from Newquay,
in quest of equal beauty and greater quiet. The village stands on the
cliffs above a small cove, from which there is some fishing, and
northward runs a fine stretch of sand. There are capabilities here for
almost unlimited growth, and the district, inland and seaward, is full
of charm. The coast is hollowed and arched into wonderful caverns,
where the deep blue and green waters break with gentle swell or dash
with infuriated violence. The church is a chapel-of-ease to
Perranzabuloe (_Piran-in-sabulo_); there are barrows and sand-dunes,
and a vague floating rumour of an immemorial past. In fog or grey
weather the spot can be dreary, weird, desolate; but in times of fair
sunrise or sundown it is glorified with a marvellous beauty, with
restful nooks where a dreamer may enter upon a heritage of beatific
vision. St. Piran, the dominant personality of the district, is the
patron of the tin-miners, but neither they nor others know much about
him; he is a ghost of the far past, but a ghost with a dim halo around
his head. He belongs to the sixth century, and was therefore a little
later than the saints of the Land's End country. In Ireland he is
reputed as St. Kieran of Saigir, but the British Celts, according to
their usual custom, changed the Gaelic _K_ into _P_. His Irish record
is much more full than his Cornish, but it must not delay us, except
to remember that he rescued an Irish girl, Bruinsech, from a chief who
had kidnapped her, and that she travelled to Cornwall, probably in his
company, to become the Buriena of St. Buryan. Piran is said to have
journeyed across the seas on a millstone, which is a mythical way of
saying that he brought his altar-stone with him. He is supposed to
have landed on these drifting sands that perpetuate his name, and to
have founded his first cell here, the oratory that still remains in
much mutilated ruin among the towans of Perran. So far as site is
concerned, this may be true enough; but the oratory, whose bare
foundations are now surrounded by a sheltering rail, is probably at
least two centuries later than the day of St. Piran, though it is just
possible that the huge skeleton found here might be his. There is no
reason why a saint may not also be a giant. But who shall establish
the identity of a mouldering skeleton? Only a fragment of gable, a
half-buried inscribed slab, and some loose rugged stones, have been
left to speak of what may be the earliest religious foundation in
England; but even in this matter of antiquity there are competitors.
We may suppose that the present oratory was raised over Piran's
original cell somewhere about the eighth century; and about two
centuries later it was found that the encroaching sands rendered its
further use impossible. It was deserted, and a second church raised a
little further inland, of which the site is now marked by a cross.
Visitors may be warned that both sites are very difficult to discover
without a guide. This second church became collegiate in the time of
the Confessor, with a dean and canons, being enriched by the offerings
of pilgrims who came from all parts of Cornwall to the shrine of St.
Piran. The establishment was presented by Henry I. to the canons of
Exeter. We may judge that at this time the first chapel was entirely
buried in the sands. In 1420 the second church was rebuilt; the older
church, even its site, was forgotten. At the close of the eighteenth
century the second church itself was threatened by the same peril; the
planting of reed-grass was not then understood as a means of binding
the sand. This time the parishioners moved their church to a greater
distance, establishing their church town at the present Perranzabuloe,
where the materials of the second church were largely used in the
erection of a new one; they also carried thither an old hexagonal
font, which is thought to have come from the original oratory. In
the year 1835 a shifting of sand revealed this earliest church, whose
memory only survived in vague tradition; the secret came to light
after a burial of eight or nine centuries. The discovery made a
considerable stir, and was announced to the public in books written by
two clergymen, W. Haslam and Trelawney-Collins, neither of whom,
however, is a quite reliable guide. Mr. Collins used the occasion as
an opportunity for proving that the Church in England was a Protestant
Church more than nine hundred years before the Reformation; while the
zeal of Mr. Haslam led him to an unfortunate attempt at restoring the
oratory. Then followed neglect, and the tourists who came hither were
left to pilfer and carry away the sacred stones piecemeal; now, when
it is almost too late, such depredation is stopped. The church was a
ruin when it was found; it is something almost less than a ruin now.
As revealed by the shifting sand, it presented an almost exact
resemblance to the oldest oratories in Ireland; its length was about
29 feet, its breadth 16 feet, with an arched doorway, and one little
window, walled up, above the altar. The masonry was of the roughest
description, the stones appearing to have been put together with
little selection; and the floor was a rude kind of concrete, china
clay being used instead of lime. Some skeletons were found within the
church, and many more without; in fact, human remains are still cast
up by the sands. Perhaps this was once a spot of thick population; or,
more probably, the fame of St. Piran may have rendered it a popular
burying-ground. A notice has been placed here, warning against any
disturbance of the soil or of the remains of the dead. The feast-day
of St. Piran falls on the 5th of March, and is not yet quite
forgotten; it was once an occasion of such merry-making as to furnish
a local saying--"As drunk as a Perraner." There is an unhappy
tradition that St. Piran himself died in drink, which we may connect
with the other rumour that he discovered Cornish tin in an effort to
distil Irish whisky. We have reason to believe that Celtic saints were
very human, but we need not credit every idle legend. The saint seems
to have been something of a farmer, possessing many horses and cattle.
We may question the statement that he lived to the age of two hundred,
and then dug his own grave in the sand; but the possibility that the
large skeleton found here was really his has some support from the
fact that it was headless when discovered, and this tallies with an
entry in the will of Sir John Arundell of Trerice: "To provide
honourable protection for St. Pieran's head, the sum of 40s." Those
who wish to find the ancient oratory had better first reach the site
of the second church, marked by a high granite cross; from this the
older remains lie about a quarter of a mile westward, towards the sea.
Another _plân-an-guare_, resembling that of Redruth, lies near the
hamlet of Rose (_rôs_, a moorland); it is about 130 feet in diameter,
and has faint traces of seven tiers of seats, which afforded
accommodation for two thousand spectators. Originally it was probably
a natural subsidence, strengthened by artificial earthworks; and
whatever its first use may have been, it became a popular amphitheatre
for public performance of miracle-plays. There are many water-mills in
this district, and they provide a feature not common in Cornwall.



CHAPTER XIV

CRANTOCK, NEWQUAY, MAWGAN


After passing the extensive sands of Perran Bay the coast once more
becomes rugged and broken. This is a very quiet and lonely part of the
Cornish seaboard, but the popularity of Newquay is bringing it within
the knowledge of an increasing number of visitors. The railway now
touches the coast here at two points, Newquay and Perranporth, between
which limits those who wish to explore the country-side must rely on
other methods of transit. The shore is not only broken into rough
headlands, but has a number of off-lying islets. Thus there are the
Gull Rocks, off Penhale Point; the Chick, off Kelsey Head; and the
Goose, off East Pentire. The sands in this district have wrought more
havoc than the sea; and if tradition may be trusted there was once a
far more dense population. Barrows and traces of encampment are fairly
common, but the sand is supposed to hold more secrets yet; and if it
surrendered the old lost church of St. Piran, why should it not some
day unseal still other mysteries? There is indeed an atmosphere of
mystery and of myth brooding over this region, with its gaunt,
turf-clad headlands, its drifting sand-towans, its tracks and stone
hedges and lonely church-towns. It is easy to yield to the spirit of
dream and imagination--to see with other eyes than we use in city
life, to hear with other ears, to believe more and dispute less; the
very air is an intoxicant and a stimulant to fantastic vision. It
comes pure from the Atlantic or from the down-lands, from craggy
cliffs or grassy uplands; there is the wonderful glamour of the sea
reaching inland to possess and dominate the peaceful charm of the
country-side. The inhabitants in this quiet stretch of coast depend
rather on agriculture than on fish for their maintenance; the coast is
too unprotected, and there is no tolerable harbour to which
fisher-boats might run for safety. The cottages for the most part have
a pastoral atmosphere, and not the savour of fish and tangle of nets
that we meet in so many seaside villages. The lowing of cows comes
pleasantly, and the incessant murmur of poultry-yards; in late summer
there is the cutting and garnering of golden grain. The stone hedges
that divide the fields are generally broad enough to walk on with
comfort; very often, indeed, they are the best and quickest of
footpaths. Or one can lie on them in delightful languor, after
scrambling about the cliffs and towans, basking in the mellow
sunlight, laying in a store of warmth and beauty and fragrance as
reserve for dreary months of wet and fog. Centuries old, some of these
massive walls must be--often constructed doubtless from older
monuments of dim religious purpose, just as some of the gate-posts
were once menhirs and monoliths. The villagers have their rugged old
churches, to which they resort for baptisms and burials, but on
Sundays they go in greater numbers to the chapel or meeting-house. In
those people whom we classify, often wrongly, as Celtic, there seems
to be something that the Anglican Church does not wholly satisfy,
though it is necessary to speak with reserve on such a matter. They
can be devout Catholics, as in Ireland, or zealous Dissenters, as in
Wales and the West of England; perhaps these manifestations of the
religious spirit, seemingly so opposed, have yet a common feature in
allowing more play to the fancy. Dissent has one great charm for all
countryfolk--it gives them a large share in its activities, it allows
them to preach and to pray. This is certainly one secret of its
success, not limited to Cornwall. Even a parson like Hawker, beloved
by all his parishioners as he was, could not win them from Dissent.
There is a chance that the priests of Rome will step in and win where
the parish clergyman has partly failed. More than twenty years since,
Richard Jefferies wrote about the tonsured priest becoming a power in
English country lanes. Here in the West Country hundreds of rich acres
are held by the monastic orders. The country parson has now to fight
against his old opponent, the Methodist or Baptist, and his older
opponent, the priest of Rome. But the winds that sweep across the
meadows and sand-dunes, the waves that lap peacefully or dash
thunderously, tell us nothing of these old and often dismal quarrels.
They are but secular things after all; the things that are eternal
reach deeper than creed or vestment. We do not ask what fetish or
totem the sleepers in the grassy barrows believed in; we may ask if
they lived their lives truly and faithfully, doing that which was
good according to the light of their primitive consciences.

Between the two headlands of Penhale Point and Kelsey Head lies
Holywell Bay, the larger portion of which is in the parish of Cubert.
It is a wild region of blown sand. The two headlands are grandly
lashed by breaking waves in rough weather, while the interlying beach
is swept with great rolling breakers. A little inland are many traces
of discontinued mining; and though their suggestions are dismal
enough, these are probably more picturesque in their neglect and decay
than they could be if in full operation. The bay and the sands are
named after the holy well of St. Cubert, formerly one of the most
famous of Cornwall's numerous wells. St. Cubert, the titular patron of
the parish and well, has been mistaken for St. Cuthbert; but it is
obvious to any one who has devoted any study to Cornish saint-lore
that the Northumbrian saint has no business here, good man though he
was. He has been intruded to displace some earlier and less widely
known possessor. Cuthbert was certainly never in Cornwall, and the
older Cornish dedications are almost invariably the actual footprints
of Celtic missionaries. It is probable that the true Cubert was St.
Cybi, or Cuby, whom we find at Cuby near Grampound, and whose name
also survives in the Caergybi and Llangybi of Wales. There is another
well of St. Cuby at Duloe, north of Looe; and he was related to some
of Cornwall's most notable saints. The Holy Well is a fresh-water
spring on the north side of the beach; it is in a cave, accessible at
low water, and is reached by a flight of rough steps. Its water was
once supposed to be highly medicinal--in fact, miraculous. It is true
that there is some mineral solution in the water, but this is not of
medicinal value. The well or spring is in a kind of grotto at the head
of rugged steps in the rock; and its water drips into a series of
natural basins, beautiful with the loveliest colouring--quite a fairy
grotto, worthy of being a sea-nymph's bathing-place. Our faith in
miraculous cures may be slight enough at this present time, but so
long as the human eye can appreciate loveliness this spot must ever
have its delicate satisfying charm, all the more striking in contrast
to the long, weary stretches of sand-dune.

The beauty of the spot abides, but the old-world faith in the waters
has well-nigh departed--gone with many another quaint credulity. The
change cannot be better emphasised than by a quotation from another
writer, who described the same scene several centuries since. The
Cornish historian Hals writes: "In this parish is that famous spring
of water called Holywell (so named, the inhabitants say, for that the
virtues of this water was first discovered on All-hallows Day). The
same stands in a dark cavern of the sea-cliff rocks, beneath full
sea-mark on spring tides, from the top of which cavern fall down or
distil continually drops of water from the white, blue, red, and green
veins of those rocks.... The virtues of this water are very great. It
is incredible what numbers in summer season frequent this place and
waters from counties far distant." It is said that, even within the
nineteenth century, the crowd that used to assemble here, especially
those bringing rickety and crippled children, was so large that the
scene resembled a fair. But now it is curiosity that brings the
visitor, or the attraction of a lonely, beautiful scene; Cornish
mothers seek other remedies for their delicate children; only perhaps
a few of the elder folk fondly nurse a memory and a belief in the
powers of St. Cubert's Well. Yet the spring flows on, heedless of its
neglect as it was heedless of its worship; it is only the false, the
fantastic, the deceptive that have passed--the truth, the loveliness
remain.

About two and a half miles from the well, across the sand-downs and
commons, is the little church-town of Cubert. It stands high,
overlooking the sand-wastes of Holywell and Perran Bays, and its
church serves the purpose of a landmark in this somewhat trackless
district. It is Early English in character, with later additions, such
as the Decorated woodwork about its roof; the graceful tower has an
octagonal upper stage and low spire, with three bells in the belfry.
The church was struck by lightning in 1848, and restored under the
care of G. E. Street, R.A. The font, of Norman design, was preserved
from mutilation in Puritan times by veiling its beauties beneath a
covering of plaster. During the restoration a granite monumental stone
was unearthed, of Romano-British character; it has been placed in the
wall outside the tower, and its inscription reads _Conectoci fili
Tegerno Mali_. Whether legends of the lost Langarrow are true or not,
there was evidently a considerable population of this part in early
British times. Cubert is still peaceful and primitive, being a little
too far from Newquay to be overrun by the summer visitors. A pleasant
and fairly good road leads towards Crantock, passing by Trevowah,
beyond which a turning to the left takes us to West Pentire and the
small bay known as Porth or "Polly" Joke. The "joke" needs
explanation; possibly it is the corruption of some forgotten Cornish
word. It is a charming little bay lying snugly between the two
headlands of Kelsey and West Pentire, both of which command fine views
of coast and sea. We are now in the parish of Crantock, whose
antiquity and importance have been over-shadowed by the ever-growing
popularity of the comparatively juvenile Newquay; yet present-day
Crantock owes so much to Newquay that it cannot afford to be
disdainful. In these days no picturesque village can afford to scorn a
wealthy neighbour; yet Crantock claims to have been a populous town
before Newquay was dreamed of.

Crantock, or St. Carantoc, stands a little way inland from the coast,
and the older part is cradled in a sheltering hollow. Its boast of
former importance is by no means an idle one. Even within
comparatively recent years the estuary of the Gannel, now sand-locked,
was navigable for large fishing-craft; and the "new quay" of the
prosperous neighbour points indirectly to a time when there was an old
quay here. In the sand-flats and rocks around the river-mouth it is
possible to trace signs of old shipping, old mooring-rings, and
curious excavations. Hals tells us that "in this parish is the port or
creek or haven, called the Gonell or Ganell. It also, at full sea,
affordeth entrance and anchorage for ships of greatest burthen, if
conducted by a pilot that understandeth the course of the channel."
But tradition goes further back than this, and 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. With wealth drawn from a fertile soil, a
productive sea, and from rich mines of tin and lead, the inhabitants
waxed proud in their prosperity, and revelled in luxurious vice. It
would seem that a problem as to the provision of labour for the
mines--still a vexed question in parts of the British dominions--led
the Government of that day to convert Langarrow into a criminal
settlement. There were no opposition newspapers in those times, or
their perusal would be deeply interesting. The convicts were not
allowed to reside within the town, but had a reservation or compound
outside, and they passed most of their time toiling in the mines for
the enrichment of others. Such work was probably done chiefly by means
of quarrying and "streaming," rather than by the burrowing underground
which we now generally understand as mining. This importation of
criminal labour added greatly to the wealth of the neighbourhood, but
it gradually induced its ruin. The daughters of Langarrow began to
marry with the convicts; a slow process of contamination took place
among those whose morals were already sapped by luxury. At last the
town absolutely reeked with wickedness--so says the highly moral
legend. When the sin had reached its utmost the wrath of God
descended. The cities of the Plain were destroyed by fire; this
Cornish town was overwhelmed by a terrible uprising of wind and sea.
The waves broke angrily over the haunts of man's degradation, followed
by driving sands that blotted them out for ever. But perhaps it may
not be for ever. Some day the fickle sand may desert that which it
once buried, or the spade may lay bare relics that shall prove the
tradition's truth. The lost church of St. Piran has been found; it may
be so with the lost Langarrow. Already many human remains have been
found among the sand-heaps that extend intermittently from here to
Perranporth, and traces of "kitchen-middens" which would throw back
the date of Langarrow a thousand years or so. Some have imagined that
the destruction occurred at the time when Lyonesse was swallowed by
the waves, leaving only the Scillies to point to its former extent;
and there have been those who identified this catastrophe with the
tempest mentioned in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle under the date 1099.
Others, again, without daring to name a date, have thought that the
storm which destroyed Langarrow may have been the same as that which
overwhelmed the "Lost Hundred" of Cardigan Bay. But without denying
these convulsions of nature, we cannot venture to identify or time
them.

The name of Langarrow, however, may safely be regarded as historic;
and this, with its variants of Languna or Langona, is the earliest
name that we can trace at Crantock. It proves the existence of a
settlement here before the time of St. Carantoc; it seems also to
prove the earlier existence of a church. The "garrow" might denote an
untraceable St. Garrow or Carrow. Langona has been differently
interpreted as the "Meadow Church" and the "Church on the Downs,"
either of which names would be appropriate. But we reach something
more definite when we come to St. Carantoc himself, the Irish Cairnech
or Crannach. He is a genuine personality of British saint-lore, the
only doubt being whether he was an Irishman, a Welshman, or a
Cornishman. All three countries have claimed him. Most likely he was a
Welshman, and as he lived at a time when Wales and Cornwall were
practically one land, Cornwall must not feel defrauded if this
decision is arrived at. The most notable point about Cairnech is his
connection with St. Patrick, who appears to have been his intimate
friend; some even say that Patrick was baptized by Cairnech. It is
clear that Cairnech was associated with Patrick in the famous revision
of the Brehon Laws which became known as the _Senchus Mor_. It was
natural that, in Cornish, his name should become Crannog, Latinised
into Carantocus; in Wales it seems to have become Caranog. Singularly
enough, not far from the Welsh Newquay there is one of his churches,
Llangranog, so that both Newquays have their Crantock. The fact that
Cairnech was chosen to make one of this committee of revision
establishes the esteem in which he was held; though it must be
confessed that some authorities doubt that the Brehon Laws were ever
revised at all at this date. When the saint came to Cornwall (always
supposing that he was not born here), he is reputed to have landed in
the Gannel, and to have built his cell on a strip of land that the
local chieftain gave him. While whittling the handle of his mattock he
noticed that a wood-pigeon picked up the shavings in its mouth and
carried them to a certain spot. He took this as a sign that he was to
build his church there, and this, says tradition, is the present site
of Crantock Church. There was a collegiate foundation here in Saxon
times, mentioned in the Exeter Domesday as Langorroc; but the oldest
existing portions of the building are Transition-Norman and Early
English, dating from the reign of Edward III., at which time the
previous collegiate establishment seems to have been restored. The
accommodation was for a dean and nine prebendaries, which proves that
Crantock must have served a large neighbourhood. There must have been
a much older building on the site, perhaps coeval with the ancient St.
Piran's; for a large sandstone coffin, of at least a thousand years in
antiquity, was discovered in the churchyard some years since, and now
lies there to be marvelled at by the casual visitor and to delight the
antiquary. Not many years ago the church had fallen into sad decay,
but the Rev. G. M. Parsons set himself to remedy this, and by
strenuous collecting he was enabled to reopen the restored edifice in
1902. At the time of the Dissolution the establishment here consisted
of a dean, nine prebends, and four vicars-choral, quite a cathedral
foundation; but at that time the revenue was very small, there being
barely enough to support one vicar, and the prebends must have been
simply honorary titles bestowed on neighbouring clergy. There is every
proof that the church was intended for a large body of resident
priests, there being an important division between choir and nave.
There are other collegiate relics in the village, besides the usual
holy well. The church stands finely on a sloping meadow looking
towards the sea. The village is typically Cornish even to the extent
of having no public-house (unless that defect has lately been
remedied). A few years since the inhabitants regarded the lack with
befitting pride; but the views of visitors differ. It is amusing to
learn the experiences of those who had arranged a stay at Crantock
without previous knowledge of this missing source of refreshment; and
the fact has afforded an explanation of their very frequent walks to
Newquay. As a commercial centre it may freely be admitted that
Crantock is limited. Its chief link with civilisation is the tiny
post-office, which is also a provision store; but Cornwall has
acquaintance with a kind of glorified hawking or peddling with which
dwellers in town have no concern. A shop on wheels may occasionally be
seen in the heart of some quiet hamlet, surrounded by speculative
housewives and wondering children. But Crantock has its charm of the
present, as well as a delightful association with the past. Close to
its undulating slopes lies the grandeur of a glorious coast, meeting
the deep blues and greens of the Atlantic. On the headland across the
Bay there are barrows that tell of days before the coming of Saxon and
Norman; and among these sport numberless rabbits, vanishing with
marvellous quickness at the slightest movement. In storm all is
magnificence; in calm there is the brooding of a fathomless peace. It
is a perfect rest to lie on the sandy dunes or breezy warrens, gazing
dreamily at sky and waters. The air rings with the cry of sea-fowl and
the song of the lark, while from beyond comes the eternal wash of
waves or the low boom from hidden caves. Blended with these comes the
more homelike sound of cattle, and often the laugh of children. At
nightfall the village and its surrounding meadows soon become
slumberous. The field-paths and lanes become utterly lonely and
solemn. Bats swoop down, and around the isolated farms may be heard
the strange cry of the owl. It is little wonder that superstition dies
slowly in such an atmosphere; and there was one such superstition
that long lingered around the Gannel gorge. Perhaps it is not yet
quite dead, but is told by some mothers to their children at
nightfall.

[Illustration: CRANTOCK CHURCH.

_Photo by Alex. Old._]

Penpoll Creek is reached by a delightful wild-flower lane leading from
Crantock; it is the quickest way into Newquay. What may be called the
main road goes inland, by Trevemper Bridge, a good four
miles--sometimes to be chosen instead of taking the ford. The Gannel
is only a small stream in itself, but here, at its sandy mouth, it
broadens to a considerable width, and flows with rapid current. At
Penpoll the road runs to meet the river on either side, and there is a
narrow plank-bridge by which travellers can pass dryshod when the tide
is low. But the banks of sand are very shallow, and are quickly
flooded by the incoming water; this little bridge of planks is soon
washed by the waves, and during some hours each day the Gannel cannot
be forded. In broad daylight, when visitors from Newquay are passing
and repassing, the spot may be cheerful enough; but at nightfall a
dusky solemnity possesses it. There is the rumour of immemorial
tradition in the air; it comes with the lap of the water and the low
sob that breathes from the sands; it speaks in the cry of the birds as
they wing their way restlessly from bank to bank. The countryfolk
whisper that these birds are the souls of those who have been drowned
at the ford--those who have dared to pass unwarily when the tide was
pouring in with the force of the ocean behind it. The moment of safety
had gone, but rather than drive many miles round to the bridge at
Trevemper, they risked the passage, their horses became confused by
the whirl of waters, and by the sands, that are always treacherous in
a rising tide; the flow was too strong for swimming; the waves soon
bubbled mockingly above the drowned heads of man and beast.

But there is another cry that suddenly resounds through the stillness,
a long-drawn, mysterious utterance, passing drearily, difficult to
locate, more difficult to name--one of those sounds by which Nature at
times reaches to the dark places of our spirit and terrifies us with
vague dread of the unknown. Is it the wail of an owl or other bird of
the night? It pervades the air wildly and lingeringly. Those who come
late to the ford and hear this sudden strange call draw rein and turn
backward; it is better to drive the weary distance to the bridge than
to brave a crossing when this warning is abroad. Those who are
familiar with this country-side, with its dim lingerings of Celtic
tradition, its strange borderland of myth and reality, know the
meaning of the cry in their hearts, though, perhaps, they decline to
give mention to it with their lips. They have been told in their
childhood of a man who once lived in these parts, whose life was
stained by many black deeds, and lightened by a single good one. He
had been a smuggler, a wrecker, a pirate; his hand was red with blood,
his soul dark with the soil of crime. One night a cottager lay dying,
and was praying that a priest might be fetched to his bedside. Moved
by a rare impulse of pity, the man of many sins set forth to cross the
Gannel and to bring the priest from a religious house beyond. But the
time for fording had passed; the river was running swiftly, and waves
were leaping hungrily about the usual track of passage. Yet it meant a
long delay to go round by the bridge, and the occasion was pressing.
Merging all his virtue into one brave deed, the man plunged into the
boiling torrent, and never reached the other side. In consideration of
this last action the doom that would otherwise have been his was
mitigated into a nobler penance. He is permitted to haunt the shores,
and by his cries to warn passengers when the ford has become perilous.
So does he save others and work out his own salvation.

Immediately beyond the Warren, with its old-world tumuli, is Fistral
Bay, the eastern point of which is Towan Head, giving Newquay its
finest promenade. Here, just beyond the golf-links, are two of the
largest hotels, and beyond these is the lifeboat-house, with its slip
for launching. Beneath are caverns and natural tunnels once devoted to
smuggling; while a memorial of old Newquay's other industry exists in
the quaint Huer's House, on the eastern point of the headland. It was
from this look-out that the hue-and-cry was raised when the shoals of
pilchards were sighted; a man being on watch here, to give signal to
the fishing-boats. But the pilchards do not come so far eastward now;
the house remains to remind Newquay, now in the day of its pride and
fashion, that it was a humble lowly fishing village. Carew, three
centuries since, spoke of "newe Kaye, a place in the north coast of
Pydar Hundred, 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."

There is usually some amount of charm about a harbour; but neither the
harbour nor even the sea is visible from the streets of Newquay,
except in rare glimpses. Modern Newquay seems to have striven to
render itself uninteresting; Mr. Hind says that it is the ugliest
though the most popular coast-town in Cornwall. Of course, this only
applies to the town, not to its situation, its fine cliffs and broad
sands; Newquay townsfolk might with a little foresight have made their
leading street into a most attractive promenade by leaving one side
open towards the sea. As it is, the streets are resorted to for
shopping and business purposes, and for nothing else; they have
nothing else to offer. Commonplace on this plateau above the cliffs,
the coast becomes glorious below, eaten out as it is into grand caves
and hollows, with alluring stretches of weeded beach and firm
shell-sand. Fistral Beach and the bracing headlands have their own
special charm; but the popular beach at Newquay is that which reaches
towards St. Columb and Trevalgue Head. Visitors find particular
delight in the Island, a mass of rock that is really insular at high
water, and the numerous caves are a constant temptation to young and
old explorers. There are barrows also above the Crigga Rocks, linking
modern Newquay with a far-forgotten past; and at St. Columb Porth,
generally called Porth for short, are traces of submerged forest.
Trevalgue Head is practically an island, joined to the mainland by a
narrow bridge; and in tempestuous weather this is a grand spot for
noting the force and sublimity of Cornish seas. The Banqueting Hall
and Cathedral Cavern are especially fine caves here. Of course, care
must always be taken to watch the tides, or trouble may be expected.
About a mile inland from the Porth is the village of St. Columb Minor,
the mother-parish of Newquay; farther inland still is St. Columb
Major, and both churches appear to be dedicated to a maiden Columba,
who suffered martyrdom in Gaul. We must not think of the great Irish
Columba here. The district has long been a chief centre of Cornwall's
popular game of hurling, which still enjoys an annual revival,
sometimes in the village itself, sometimes on the sands reaching
towards Newquay. The ball used on these occasions is a little smaller
than a cricket-ball, and has a coating of silver; it is inscribed with
the verse--

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

The sides are not now confined to the parishes, but usually consist of
"Married _versus_ Single," or "Townsmen _versus_ Countrymen." The ball
is thrown up and hurled from hand to hand, no kicking being allowed;
and the game is won by him who reaches the opponents' goal with it.
From Carew's account of the game as formerly played, we may judge that
a very extensive ground was used; he speaks of the players as taking
"their way over hills, dales, hedges, ditches--yea, and thorou bushes,
briers, mires, plashes, and rivers whatsoever--so as you shall
sometimes see twenty or thirty lie tugging together in the water,
scrambling and scratching for the ball. A play verily both rude and
rough." A writer of half a century since gives this description: "A
ball about the size of a cricket-ball, formed of cork or light wood
and covered with silver, was hurled into the air, midway between the
goals. Both parties immediately rushed towards it, each striving to
seize and carry it to his own goal. In this contest, when any
individual having possession of the ball found himself overpowered or
outrun by his opponents, he hurled it to one of his own side, if near
enough, or if not into some pool, ditch, furze, brake, garden, house,
or other place of concealment, to prevent his adversaries getting hold
of it before his own company could arrive." It is clear that hurling
somewhat resembled football as anciently played in England and
Scotland between parish and parish. In old times the ball was provided
by the corporations of the different localities; we read in the St.
Ives parish accounts for the year 1639: "Item for a Silver Bole that
was brought to towne, 6s. 6d." On such balls was often inscribed the
Cornish motto, _Guare teag yu guare wheag_--"Fair play is good play."
A curious method of forming sides, in the past, was to set all the
Toms, Williams, and Johns on one side, while their neighbours of other
Christian names were ranged against them; from whence came the rhyme--

    "Toms, Wills and Jans,
    Take off all on the sands."

But even St. Ives seems now to have abandoned the old sport, and it is
limited to these parishes of St. Columb. Cornwall now devotes itself,
and very successfully, to our customary football.

The two Columb churches are both interesting, that of St. Columb Minor
having the second highest tower in Cornwall. Porth Island is really a
portion of the Glendorgal estate, the home of the late Sir Richard
Tangye, who did so much for the preservation of local antiquities.
Just beyond is Flory Island (Flory being clearly a corruption of
Phillory), sometimes known as Black Humphrey's Isle; Black Humphrey
was one of the pirate-smugglers whose tales are common around this
coast.

Beyond the northern end of Watergate Bay we come to Mawgan Porth, and
a mile beyond this are the famous Bedruthan Steps. Both places, but
especially the Steps, afford a very favourite excursion from Newquay,
seven miles distant; and whether the journey is performed on foot, or
by cycle, motor-car or carriage, it is full of interest and beauty. It
is best to come during the ebb of a spring tide, when the coves and
caves may safely be explored; at other times there is grave peril. The
caverns at Mawgan Porth are remarkably fine, and the grandly wild
stretch of beach can hardly be spoken of with too great enthusiasm.
The coast is as pitiless as it is beautiful, and many relics of
wreckage are often washed ashore; after heavy storms the crags and
caves are still searched for jetsam. It may be noted that those who do
not wish to examine the caves, but who desire to see massive waves
breaking on a magnificent coast-line, should come when the tide is
nearing the full after prolonged westerly winds; they will see
something that is even grander than high-arched dusky caverns and
glimmering rock-tunnels. The beach at Bedruthan has nothing specially
to distinguish it from those at Newquay and Porth, with the exception
of the isolated masses of rock and boulder that in some sense cause it
to resemble Kynance. Several of these have been given fanciful
names--such names being always dear to the average tourist; one of
these is the striking Queen Bess rock, and another is the Good
Samaritan. This last is so named, not very aptly, because it proved
the destruction of an East Indiaman, the _Good Samaritan_, many years
since; but as it is an ill wind that blows no one any good, so it is
certain that the wreck of this richly-cargoed vessel provided the
womanfolk of the district with fine silks and satins for many years
after. We can thus understand the point of the local saying, "It is
time for a Good Samaritan to come." The coast-people's attitude
towards wrecks has never been one of ingratitude--except when
Preventive officers proved too wary. Diggory Island, a little to the
north, has two natural arches, making a fine spectacle at floodtide.

[Illustration: BEDRUTHAN STEPS.

_Photo by Alex. Old._]

Perhaps it is partly by reason of its contrast with the wild, stark
coast that the far-famed Vale of Lanherne has won its reputation. It
is a spot that has excited the enthusiasm of painters, versifiers, and
guide-books; yet probably its chief charm is the surprise of its
sylvan and pastoral character in a tract of country that is not
notable for either. Counties farther east can show hundreds of such
scenes; but the quiet rusticity and woodland features here come with a
special touch of soothing and repose after the long, bare moorlands,
sandy dunes, and stern, naked cliffs. There is also another
attraction--the convent of Lanherne, once the manor-house of the
Arundells. Mr. Baring-Gould says that "Lanherne lies in the loveliest
vale in Cornwall"; Mr. Hind says, "the Vale of Lanherne did not rouse
my enthusiasm." Most visitors agree with the Rector of Lew Trenchard.
The mansion, now the convent, came into possession of the "great
Arundells" in 1231 by marriage with a daughter of John de Lanherne. It
was in the reign of Henry VII. that a later Arundell purchased
Wardour Castle, in Wiltshire, and gifted it to his son Sir Thomas, who
was married to a sister of Catherine Howard; and it is at Wardour that
the family of Arundell still flourishes. The family remained Catholic
through the Reformation, and the sanctuary lamp in Lanherne Chapel was
never extinguished; so that English Catholics have a very special
regard for this spot, where the light of their faith still burns
brightly after so many centuries. The front of the old house dates
from 1580; but many buildings have been added of late years for the
accommodation of the nuns, whose seclusion is very strict. It came
into possession of the Carmelites in 1794, when a party of nuns,
driven from France by the Revolution, came to England, having in vain
tried to find safety at Antwerp. They were given this mansion by
Henry, eighth Lord Arundell of Wardour.

Here they have been ever since, the settlement having been much
enriched and enlarged more recently. Their presence has drawn other
Catholics to the spot, so that the district is quite mediæval in its
spiritual atmosphere; besides which many visitors not of the faith
come hither to worship in the beautiful chapel, and to try to obtain
glimpses of the fair recluses. Having once taken the veil, these nuns
never again leave the precincts. They attend the services in a gallery
concealed by a grating; they take exercise in a high-walled garden;
when they die they are buried in the convent cemetery. There cannot
fail to be a touch of sadness in thinking of these ladies thus
secluded from the "stir of existence," severed from the interests of
their brothers and sisters, not even having the fair country-side and
grand coast as a feast for their eyes, their lives spent in ceaseless
prayer and liturgy. It is strange that such things should be, and we
can only imagine the haven to be welcome to those who, in their
declining years, crave perfect peace and retirement after the stress
of uttermost sorrow or restless buffetings. There are paintings of
Vandyke and Rubens in the chapel. Outside the door is an old cross,
brought from Gwinear, which is supposed to be Anglo-Saxon; its
inscriptions have never been deciphered. They are thought to be in
both Saxon and Latin. There is a secret chamber in the older part of
the convent, dating from those Elizabethan days when priests lurked
about the Cornish country-side, nourishing their faith in the
villagers, who were very slow to welcome the Reformation, and always
seeking if possible to stir a rising against the new order. It is said
that a priest was once successfully concealed here for eighteen
months.

Many stirring things are told of the Arundells, who were dauntless
Royalists. One is the siege of Wardour Castle in 1643, when it was
heroically defended by Blanche, wife of Lord Arundell, who was with
the King at Oxford. This lady, with a garrison of fifty, so stoutly
resisted the Parliamentary attack that most honourable terms of
capitulation were granted; but these terms were not kept. It was
another Arundell, then a very old man, who defended Pendennis. The
family had another house at Trerice, about three miles south-east of
Newquay; and at the Restoration, when their confiscations were
removed, the title of Lord Arundell of Trerice, now extinct, was
created. Carew has some curious remarks about them. He says: "Their
name is derived from Hirondelle, in French, a swallow, and out of
France at the Conquest they came, and six swallows they gave in
arms. The country people entitled them the Great Arundells; and
greatest stroke, for love, living, and respect, in the country
heretofore they bear. Their house of Lanhearn standeth in the parish
called Mawgan. It is appurtenanced with a large scope of land which
was employed in frank hospitality."

[Illustration: MAWGAN CHURCH.

_Photo by Alex. Old._]

The next attraction at Mawgan is its church. Perpendicular in style
but dating from the thirteenth century, its pinnacled tower is
surrounded by beautiful Cornish elms, and close to the graveyard runs
a prattling brook. The restoration by Butterfield was not all that
might be desired, but it happily spared the carved bench-ends, the
fine pulpit and the screen. There are also some good brasses and
memorials of the Arundells. In the churchyard is a remarkable
lantern-cross--not Celtic but mediæval; it is described by Blight as
"the most elaborate of the kind in Cornwall. What is intended to be
represented by this carving is not very evident; an angel seated on a
block in a corner holds a serpent turning round a pillar, and with its
head touching the face of a king. By the king's side is the figure of
a queen kneeling before a lectern." There is also in the graveyard a
curious monument, the stern of a boat, bearing the record of ten
seamen who drifted ashore in their little vessel, frozen to death, at
Beacon Cove in 1846. Before leaving Mawgan most visitors will take a
ramble through the beautiful Carnanton woods, while some may remember
that Carnanton was the residence of William Noye, Attorney-General to
Charles I., who as member for St. Ives had signalised himself as a
champion of parliamentary rights. Ministerial rank worked a wonderful
change; so much so that Noye was actually the originator of the
ship-money tax which played so large a share in embroiling the nation.
Hals goes so far as to say that Noye "was blow-coal, incendiary, and
stirrer-up of the Civil War"; and it was he who prosecuted the
arrested members of the House of Commons. He had the reputation of a
miser, so that, when he died, it was stated that his heart had
shrivelled into the shape of a leather purse. It is rather a pitiful
memory to attach to so delightful a district.



CHAPTER XV

THE PADSTOW DISTRICT


When we turn from the Mawgan district to make our way towards the
Padstow estuary the grand, broken coast goes with us, ever presenting
new aspects of varying beauty--coves of golden sand succeeded by
gaunt, caverned headlands, with here and there a craggy islet lying
among the tumbling breakers. The great plateau of the Bodmin Moors
here touches the coast, bringing its profusion of prehistoric
remains--though in that matter there is little of Cornwall that is not
plentifully endowed. Immediately above Bedruthan there is one
cliff-castle, and on Park Head, a little beyond, are the burial tumuli
of some unknown people. We are now in the parish of St. Eval, whose
church stands on high ground about two miles inland. It is said that
Bristol merchants, in the eighteenth century, found this church so
useful a landmark for their vessels that they rebuilt it at their own
cost. Eval is a saint not easy to identify; there is an inscribed
stone in Pembrokeshire giving the name _Evali fili Dencui_, so that he
may have been a missionary from South Wales. North of Park Head are
the Butter Coves, and the coves of Porthmear and Portcothan. They are
magnificent in times of rough weather. In a quiet way Porthcothan is
beginning to attract visitors, but the place is not very accessible,
and has little but its loveliness to recommend it. There is, however,
a remarkable _fogou_, or subterranean cavern, about 38 feet long and 6
feet in height, with a passage leading into another similar chamber.
_Fogou_ is the Cornish word for cave (sometimes corrupted into Hugo);
but it usually signifies a cavern or passage of artificial
construction, built at an early date for the concealment of persons or
of property. There are good specimens at Cairn Uny, at Trelowarren,
and at Trewoofe near Lamorna. In most of these passages only a few
yards can now be traversed, as they have fallen into disuse, and
unless repaired frequently the sides and roofs have a tendency to fall
in. Sometimes they obviously connect with old hill-castles and
strongholds, in which case their construction takes us beyond the
reach of history; and generally their formation was assisted or
suggested by nature. But their comparatively recent use by smugglers
for the concealment of run goods makes it particularly difficult to
speak with certainty as to their true antiquity; and the coves around
Porthcothan saw the landing of many an illicit cargo. Stories of
fugitive Royalists taking refuge in these _fogous_ are common, and
have doubtless a basis of fact. It is supposed that the entire length
of the Porthcothan _fogou_ must have been over 1,000 yards, one
gallery leading to Trevethan, whence another communicated with the
beach at Porthmear.

[Illustration: PORTHCOTHAN BAY.

_Photo by Alex. Old._]

Passing other jagged points and creeks, we come to Constantine Bay,
where the ordinary visitor may pardonably suppose he is on the steps
of a Roman emperor, but the Constantine here recorded was a genuine
Cornish saint. Perhaps his name was Cystennyn, Latinised after, as was
a common custom. He was of the Cornish royal family, being son of
Cador; and Geoffrey of Monmouth tells us, fabulously, that he
succeeded Arthur as King of the British. He is chiefly remembered in
literature by the abuse that Gildas heaped upon him, in those letters,
written about 546, that are notable for imperfect accuracy, fervent
religion, and virulent bad temper. Gildas calls Constantine the
"tyrannical whelp of the unclean lioness of Damnonia"; and further
asks, "Why standest thou astonished, O thou butcher of thine own soul?
Why dost thou wilfully kindle against thyself the eternal fires of
hell?" It is quite likely that Constantine had done some bad things
and been no better than his neighbours; but it is supposed that he was
converted in his old age, through the preaching of St. Petrock, whom
we shall meet more intimately at Padstow. It is said that Constantine
was hunting, and the stag that he was pursuing took refuge in
Petrock's cell; the animal's recognition of the saint's holiness and
appeal to his protection so touched his heart as to lead to a change
of life. Another story refers his conversion to grief at the death of
his wife. Mr. Baring-Gould tells us that: "So completely did he sever
himself from the world, that it was supposed by some that he had been
murdered by Conan, his successor. He retired to a cell on the sands in
the parish of St. Merryn, near Padstow, where there was a well, and
where he could be near Petrock, through whom he had been brought to
the knowledge of himself." It is probable that he journeyed later to
the creek of the Helford River, in South Cornwall, and founded the
Constantine that we find there. It is doubtless on the site of his
original cell that the old church of St. Constantine stands,
overwhelmed and ruined by sand-storms long since, buried utterly for a
time like that of St. Piran, and now again visible, a few broken and
rugged walls among the towans. The sand that destroyed the church
destroyed also the village, and the parish was merged in that of St.
Merryn, whither the beautiful font was conveyed. This font and other
portions of St. Merryn Church are of the well-known Cataclew stone,
from the Cataclew quarries by Trevose Head. This stone was formerly
put to very effective use in church-building, and it is pleasant to
know that it has again come into popularity.

[Illustration: RUINS OF CONSTANTINE CHURCH.

_Photo by Alex. Old._]

But the fact that has given greatest distinction to this spot, and
that which does more than anything else to draw visitors, is the
discovery, about ten years since, of a prehistoric burial-ground at
Harlyn Bay. The _Athenæum_ of that date announced to its readers that
"a discovery of the highest importance to the study of the prehistoric
races inhabiting England before the first Roman invasion has recently
been made in a remote corner of Cornwall. On a sloping sandy hillside
overlooking the picturesque white sand-bay of Harlyn excavations were
being made by Mr. Reddie Mallett for sinking a well preparatory to
building a house overlooking the sea. The spot selected for boring
turned out to be exactly in the centre, not of a tumulus containing
but two or three interments, but of a perfect cemetery, with three
distinct layers of burials of men, women, and children. The drift
sand that is so extensive in this part of Cornwall rose some 8 to 10
feet above the graves, but when the original hardly compressed sand
was reached, the great slates with which the kists were carefully
formed were often not more than 2 feet below this surface." Dr. Beddoe
pronounced the remains to be neolithic, and the persons here interred
were of a dolichocephalic or long-skulled race--sometimes known as the
long barrow-builders, who generally buried their dead without
cremation. There were some tiny kists for children, but a great number
of the bodies had been buried uncoffined. The district had afforded
earlier similar traces of pre-Roman interment, but nothing on so large
a scale as this. Although a great deal of excavation has gone on
since, and there is a small museum erected close by to contain the
more striking finds, much more may yet be done and other secrets be
revealed. It is not quite certain yet where the persons lived whose
bones have thus been uncovered to the gaze of a late generation of
sight-seers, but it is supposed that their habitations must have been
near this site. They were, of course, in a higher state of
civilisation than mere cave-dwellers, but their huts may have been of
perishable wattle, or they may have come from some of the hut-circles
of the Bodmin Moors. The remains, like those around St. Piran's,
bespeak a somewhat dense population. As Harlyn Bay has become popular
for picnic parties from Padstow and elsewhere, this old necropolis
often resounds with laughter and merry-making; but in winter and in
rough weather it is left to its own solemnity. A spirit of awe broods
above it; we remember the words of Ezekiel: "The hand of the Lord was
upon me, and carried me out in the Spirit of the Lord, and set me down
in the midst of the valley which was full of bones."

Meeting the ocean westward of Harlyn is Trevose Head, with its
lighthouse and coastguard station. The headland rises to nearly 250
feet, and its light is sorely needed, the coast, with its outlying
masses of crag, being a deadly peril to navigation. The views to be
obtained here are of exceptional grandeur, and the lighthouse-keepers,
though far less lonely than on many similar stations, generally
welcome a visit.

[Illustration: TREVOSE LIGHTHOUSE.

_Photo by Alex. Old, Padstow._]

Padstow is situated on the western side of the Camel estuary, below
the sandbank known as the Doom Bar (probably _dune-bar_). The gates of
the river-mouth are the Stepper Point, with its white day-mark, and
Pentire Point; the Doom Bar lies well within these, almost blocking
the passage, which, with vessels of any draught, must be made on the
Stepper side. The name Doom Bar is, of course, provocative of legend,
and an appropriate one has been found. It is said that Padstow had
once a safe and commodious harbour, whose mouth was haunted by a
beautiful mermaid. The harbour was under her special protection, and
she was consequently revered by the inhabitants. But one day a youth
foolishly fired on her from the cliffs. With a cry of rage she plunged
into the water, but reappeared for a moment to vow that henceforth the
harbour should be ruined. An old Cornishman who told the story in the
days when such traditions still passed current, used to add: "We
have had commissions and I know not what about converting this place
into a harbour of refuge. A harbour of refuge would be a great
blessing, but not all the Government commissions in the world could
keep the sand out, or make the harbour deep enough to swim a frigate,
unless the parsons can find out the way to take up the merry-maid's
curse." But there is another tradition attaching to the Bar. This is
the country of Tregeagle--he lies buried at St. Breock, close to
Wadebridge: "John Tregeagle, of Trevorder, Esqr., 1679." His story
forms a curious mixture of the recent and the prehistoric. We see that
a man named Tregeagle truly lived and died something more than two
centuries ago; but the Tregeagle or Tergagle of legend belongs to
folk-lore rather than to modern social life. Very old ideas and
superstitions have in some manner become attached to a recent name;
tradition has a knack of bringing forward its dates; stories of
immemorial antiquity are related as though they were the experience of
the narrator's father or grandfather, and are modernised to suit that
supposition. Legend never sticks at absurdity or anachronism. From
some versions of the story it would appear that Tregeagle could not
have lived earlier than the seventeenth century, in actual accordance
with the date on his tombstone; but in others certain of the early
Cornish saints are introduced, carrying the history twelve centuries
back or further still. It would seem that Tregeagle was a landowner in
the neighbourhood of Bodmin, holding the Trevorder estate; but he won
his chief notoriety as steward on the lands of the Robartes family, at
Lanhydrock. There is still a room in the Lanhydrock mansion known as
Tregeagle's. The man doubtless did many things of which morality
cannot approve, but tradition has overdone itself in attributing to
him every possible crime, including the murder of his wife, his
children, and his sister. He was an unjust steward, grinding the
tenants unmercifully, and enriching himself not only at their expense
but at that of his employer. But he contrived to purchase the goodwill
of the Church, and at his death it was only seemly that the clergy
should do what they could for him. When the spirits of darkness came
to claim the soul of the dying wretch they were successfully repelled
by the priests with the powers of bell, book, and candle. The Church
wrangled with the fiends above the breathless body, defeated them in
heated theological controversy, dismissed them with contumely, and
laid Tregeagle to rest with his fathers at St. Breock. He was not
destined to repose there long. There was a heritage of trouble in
connection with the Lanhydrock estate, and the defendant in one
particular case sorely needed the witness of Tregeagle himself, to
settle a disputed point. By some means he managed to procure it; the
clergy provided a safe-conduct, and the figure of the dead Tregeagle
was led into the witness-box. A thrill of horror passed through the
court, but this spectral witness gave evidence faithfully, and gained
a triumphant verdict for defendant. The trouble now was what to do
with Tregeagle. The fiends were still waiting for him; defendant who
had summoned him took no further interest in the matter; but the
clergy felt that they still owed him a duty. They knew that the dead
man's chance at the Day of Doom was not a good one, but in the
meantime they would do what they could. It was decided to give him a
perpetual penance, which might keep the evil spirits at a distance. He
was led away to the shores of Dosmare Pool, on the desolate Bodmin
Moors, and there set to drain the pool with a leaky limpet-shell. In
those days Dosmare was supposed to be bottomless--a reputation which
it has since destroyed by drying in hot summers. For long years
Tregeagle toiled at his hopeless task. If he ceased from his labour
for a moment he would be at the mercy of the devils.

One night, after many years of fruitless toil, there came a terrific
storm, with thunder and earthquake. In sheer horror and despair
Tregeagle fled. Immediately the demons were on his track, chasing him
so closely that he could not stay to dip his limpet-shell in the
foaming water. Feeling that they were upon him, he rose with a cry of
anguish, and fled across the pool, thus gaining a temporary advantage,
for spirits of evil cannot cross water. He made for the hermitage on
Roche Rock, the yelling pursuers at his heels. Just as they were about
to seize him he thrust his head within the small window of the
hermit's chapel, and thus was safe. There was still a difficulty about
his position. He could not get further into the church, nor does it
appear that the hermit desired it; and he could not withdraw his head
lest the fiends should seize him. He had to stay and listen to the
good man's prayers and liturgies, which only added to the terrors of
his guilty conscience, so that his remorseful screams were heard above
all the psalms and prayings. The hermit found it a great affliction,
for the population of the district was kept away by the unpleasantness
of Tregeagle's presence. At last two other clergy came to his
assistance, and Tregeagle was led away to the coast at Padstow. His
new task was to make ropes of sand--one of the familiar penances of
such traditions. He could not do it; it was worse than draining
Dosmare. Night and day he rendered the place hideous with his frantic
cries, and the Padstow folk did not like it at all. It was making the
neighbourhood unbearable. At their earnest request another effort was
made by the priests to dispose of poor Tregeagle. He was ruining the
harbour by his attempts to make the ropes of sand; every rising sea
scattered these ropes, however carefully formed, and the sand was
accumulating in a bar of Doom. It is said that St. Petrock himself,
the spiritual founder of Padstow, forged a chain of which every link
was a prayer, and thus led away the unhappy ghost to Helston. In the
estuary of the Hel River he spoiled the harbourage also, for a devil
tripped him one day, when toiling across with a sack of sand, and the
sand was spilt right across the mouth of the river. At last he was
cast out from Helston also, and dismissed to Land's End, where he
remains labouring to this day, endeavouring to sweep the sands from
Porthcurno Cove into Nanjisal. Of course, it cannot be done; the full
force of the Atlantic drives around Land's End, and the sands are
driven backward again and again. But he is safe from the immediate
attack of the fiends, and he is out of the way of the countryfolk. His
cries are lost in the crash of the seas that dominate that desolate
shore, and the fishermen have given up thinking about Tregeagle.
The legends vary in telling his doom; some make the draining of
Dosmare his last penance and some this task at the Land's End. But if
an imaginative reason is desired to account for the formation of the
Padstow Doom Bar, surely this tale will do as well as any other.

[Illustration: CLIFFS NEAR PADSTOW.

_Photo by Alex. Old._]

It will be seen that this chronicle of Tregeagle carries him back to
the time of Petrock, the patron saint of Padstow, whose name is a
corruption of Petrock's-stow. Little Petherick, sometimes called St.
Petrock Minor, is thought to be a corruption of the same name. Petrock
was a Celtic saint, probably a Welshman, who went to Ireland for his
religious education; he crossed to Cornwall in a coracle, and landed
in this estuary of the Camel. He founded an oratory here, and probably
another at Little Petherick. It is also suggested that he established
another cell at Place, the seat of the Prideaux, but it seems more
likely that the chapel at Place was founded by St. Samson. After
spending many years at Padstow the saint is said to have voyaged to
the East, visiting India, and also going on a visionary journey to
some Island of the Blest, after the manner of St. Brendan. After
returning to Cornwall he removed to Bodmin and established the most
important of his religious foundations. Like Padstow, Bodmin was
formerly named Petrockstow, and this has caused endless confusion to
the chroniclers as well as some quarrels between the two towns.
Further, the saint evidently went into Devon; we trace his footsteps
at Dartmouth, Exeter, Hollacombe, Anstey, and elsewhere. Bodmin can
boast precedence of Padstow in certain respects, for it attained
episcopal consequence, besides being the county town of Cornwall; but
with regard to priority in connection with Petrock, it is clear
Padstow has the first claim. At one time Padstow appears to have been
called Lodenek or Lodernek, but in the thirteenth century it was
certainly known as Aldestowe; in fact, the town has been troubled with
a multiplicity of names, which is always a regrettable thing, for a
person or a place. The town is about two miles within the estuary, and
were it not for the sands that block its entrance, this would be truly
a fine harbour; even so, it is the best that North Cornwall possesses.
Two vessels sailed from here for the siege of Calais; and in the
sixteenth century some sort of corporation was granted, but this seems
to have been lost. At the present day it is a picturesque, quaint old
town, in a beautiful and most interesting site, dominated by a
weather-beaten old church. But Mr. Hind, though he finds much to
admire, does not regard Padstow as in any sense typically Cornish. He
says: "An air-voyager dropped from a flying-machine upon the roof of a
Padstow house would never think that he was in Cornwall. If he walked
out to Stepper Point, or strode some miles westward to Trevose Head,
the first land sighted in old days by Canadian timber vessels trading
to Padstow, the majestic sweep of coast, the jagged headlands and
scattered rocks would certainly suggest Cornwall; but the estuary of
the Camel from Wadebridge to Padstow, although beautiful, has no claim
to the epithet wild. The panorama induces reflection, moves one to a
mood of gentle melancholy; but it does not stimulate. Nowhere in
Cornwall have I seen such sand--gold, grey and yellow, equally lovely
at all tides. Looking across the river, the eye is soothed by these
wastes of blown sand stretching inland from the sea to where the
little hamlet called Rock rises from the shore." Sundries are imported
at the docks, and there is some shipment of corn; but the
ship-building, once notable, has greatly declined, and the town now
does little but repairing. It is satisfactory to find that the sands
of the Doom Bar have a certain value, as they contain much carbonate
of lime, and they are carried inland for agricultural purposes. The
church, which stands well above the town, has a good Early English
tower, and a beautiful, finely carved catacleuse font; in the south
porch the parish stocks are preserved. In the chancel, over the
piscina, is an effigy sometimes mistaken for that of St. Anthony, but
almost certainly the figure is St. Petrock himself, with his usual
symbols, the staff and wolf, at his feet. There are modern monochrome
pictures from drawings by Hofmann in front of the organ. It is natural
to find monuments of the Prideaux family both within the church and
without; in the churchyard also are two granite crosses, one much
mutilated.

Prideaux Place, generally named Place, stands a little higher than the
church, in a glorious situation; it is a finely designed Elizabethan
mansion--Elizabethan in style if not exactly in date--erected by Sir
Nicholas Prideaux about the year 1600. Its old staircase was brought
thither when Stowe House, once the seat of the Grenvilles, was broken
up. The Prideaux are a Cornish family of ancient note, whose names we
often meet with in the Duchy's annals; but the most widely known was
Humphrey Prideaux, born here in 1648, who at one time was Rector of
St. Clement's, Oxford, and later became Dean of Norwich. He wrote a
Life of Mahomet, and also a work in which he attempted to bridge over
the interval between the Old and New Testaments--rather a ticklish
job, one might imagine. There are a good many excellent pictures at
the house--a Vandyck and many Opies; but the visitor, unless specially
introduced, will have to be content with the outside of the beautiful
manor-house.

Padstow has been associated from immemorial times with a special
celebration of the May-Day festival, immediately deriving from the old
folk-plays and mummings that were once universal. The special survival
here is of the Hobby Horse, that once played so prominent a part in
these boisterous masquerades, but such life as it still enjoys at
Padstow is somewhat a galvanised existence, just as children still
occasionally dress in poor tinsel and gaiety in order to collect a few
coppers. Such exhibitions are melancholy rather than interesting--

    "For who would keep an ancient form
    Thro' which the spirit breathes no more?"

The horse is a wooden circle, with a dress of blackened sailcloth, a
horse's head, and a prominent tail. Readers of Scott's _Abbot_ will,
of course, remember that the Hobby Horse was equally popular in
Scotland. The Hobby Horse song, as rendered at Padstow, was probably
only a variant of verses common elsewhere, but local and topical
allusions were freely introduced, and stanzas were addressed to
special personages. The performance is in a moribund condition, and it
is certainly not worth while for a stranger to travel to Padstow on
May-Day to see it. Very likely he would not see it; it is a thing
that may be discontinued at any time. If we were devoting our
attention to Cornwall as it used to be, much would come into this book
which is now utterly obsolete, and would cause as great surprise to
Cornish folk as to others.

[Illustration: A ROUGH CORNISH SEA.

_Photo by Alex. Old._]

If the tide serves, it is certainly worth while to go up to
Wadebridge, if only for the sake of the grand old bridge, originally
built of seventeen arches, in the year 1485, by Thomas Lovibond, Vicar
of Egloshayle. The bridge has been widened since its erection, but is
not otherwise much changed. There was a ferry here in the past, but it
was perilous, and Lovibond could not rest till, with the assistance of
his bishop, he had collected money for this beneficent work. There was
a great difficulty in sinking foundations for the bridge, owing to the
shifting sands, but, guided by a dream, Lovibond is said to have
resorted to packs of wool--the same method reported by tradition of
Bideford Bridge. The bridge is 320 feet long, and remains the best
specimen of its class in England, as it retains its protecting angles
for the use of pedestrians, which at Bideford have been removed.
Lovibond was not only a bridge-builder; he also erected the fine tower
of his church at Egloshayle (the mother-parish of Wadebridge).
Egloshayle probably means the "church by the river" (_eglos-hêl_); its
church is particularly interesting for its western doorway, its Norman
font, and its Kestell monument, while there is some good carving in
the roof of the south aisle. The church of St. Breock is distant
nearly a mile from Wadebridge, on the western side of the river, and
is perhaps still more delightful in its position; it is noteworthy for
its monuments, which, however, have been much displaced. It is here
that the remains of Tregeagle lie entombed; his spirit, if we may
credit tradition, is otherwise engaged. St. Breock is supposed to have
arrived in Cornwall, from Wales, earlier than Petrock. He was an old
man, and, as Mr. Baring-Gould tells us, one day his companions "left
him to sing psalms in his cart whilst they were engaged at a distance
over some pressing business. When they returned they found a pack of
wolves round the old man, but whether his sanctity, or toughness, kept
them from eating him is left undecided." Surely it must have been his
sanctity. His name attaches to the Breock Downs, a high-lying moorland
rising to about 700 feet, thickly strewn with prehistoric remains.
Wadebridge has suffered by the opening of the railway to Padstow, but
it can boast that its rail to Bodmin was the second line to be opened
in England. Many jests were current in reference to the speed of this
early railway. Professor Shuttleworth, who was born at Egloshayle
Vicarage, says: "I have often seen the train stop while people got out
and gathered blackberries. But it is lovely country down around
Egloshayle and Wadebridge, just as pretty and quiet as can be." Mr.
Arthur Norway also has a very tender regard for the district, for a
similar reason, and he has given some weird stories of local
superstition. But it cannot be claimed that Wadebridge is on the
coast, and we must retreat seaward.

[Illustration: WADEBRIDGE.

_Photo by Alex. Old._]

Readers of Baring-Gould's stirring novel, _The Roar of the Sea_, are
sure to look eagerly for St. Enodoc's Church. It lies among the
sand-dunes on the eastern bank of the estuary, and is now protected
from the sands that once practically buried it by the growth of
rush-grass and tamarisk hedges; even now it lies low within a deep
trench, and we can easily picture its condition in days when the
parson used to enter through the roof to perform service, so as to
keep his tithes. Built in 1430, it was the successor of an earlier
cell of the saint's. Its slightly crooked spire of slate is the sole
landmark to guide a visitor. In the graveyard is a curious collection
of stoups and water-bowls. It is about forty years now since the
church was excavated from the sands that rose to its roof and restored
to usefulness. Those familiar with Mr. Baring-Gould's book will
remember that he places the home of Cruel Coppinger in this district,
with his house at Pentire Glaze; but we shall find the true home of
Coppinger further northward, near Morwenstow. Just within Hayle Bay is
the little village of Polzeath, which in time may become a popular
watering-place; it has a wonderful charm of position, and enough sand
to satisfy anybody. The fine headland of Pentire reaches beyond, with
its off-lying islet of Newland. Mr. Norway thinks that the stretch of
coast visible from Pentire is the finest in all Cornwall, and he
speaks with authority. On the west the view extends to Trevose, and
embraces the whole of the beautiful Padstow harbour, together with an
unlimited ocean of marvellous ever-changing colours. "On the east the
prospect seems almost boundless. Port Isaac Bay lies just below,
sweeping far back into the land, half hidden by the Eastern Horn of
Pentire. Across the bay Tintagel lies directly opposite, eight miles
away over the sea, every crevice and gully of its riven island clearly
marked in the translucent air; and beyond it the eye follows leagues
and leagues of iron cliffs towering far higher than any others in the
west, and point after point of noble jagged promontories, past
Boscastle, set back a little out of sight, past Bude and Cambeak, and
rugged Morwenstow, till it rests at last on the dim line of Hartland
Point, full 40 miles away as a bird would fly. It is idle to compare
any other view in the West Country with this either in extent or
grandeur, or in the immediate beauty of its surroundings. It is little
known, and rarely visited by any but by shepherds. Yet it is more easy
of access from Wadebridge than the Land's End or the Logan from
Penzance; and there will be some to whom its very loneliness is an
additional attraction. However this may be, those who leave Cornwall
without visiting Pentire have missed its noblest scenery."

[Illustration: PORT ISAAC.

_Photo by Gibson & Sons._]

It is a large claim that Mr. Norway makes, but surely it is justified.
The parts of Cornwall that are best known are naturally those that
come within range of the more popular resorts--Newquay, Bude,
Penzance, St. Ives, Falmouth--while eastern Cornwall is accessible
from Plymouth. But this stretch of coast is near no popular centre,
and, with the exception of Tintagel and Boscastle, it remains
neglected. If Padstow or Polzeath, Portquin or Port Isaac, ever become
more popular, visitors will flock to these grand cliffs and marvel
that they never came here before. There is a remarkable triple
entrenchment on the eastern Horn of Pentire, above its stark, rugged
caverns; but those who came here and fortified this noble headland, in
far-back days of which we can only dream, came not in search of the
picturesque as we do, nor probably for the spiritual repose that we
crave in this age of hurry. Even sterner necessities governed their
existence. Cliff-camps of this nature cannot have been designed
against any foe from the sea--even to-day it would be a perilous thing
indeed to attempt a forcible landing at such places--they were more
likely a last refuge from invading tribes that came overland from the
south-east. The struggles witnessed here must almost certainly have
been far earlier than the coming of Roman or Teuton; it was probably
successive waves, or antagonist tribes, of Stone Age men that here
contended and opposed each other. But the ditches and embankments have
little to tell us; tradition is silent, the lonely barrows are dumb.
Yet the blood of the peoples still flows within Cornish veins; and
those characteristics that we vaguely speak of as Celtic often derive
from a far earlier source.

The little island to the east of Pentire is the Mouls, and to the
right is Portquin Bay. Port Isaac Bay, beyond Kelland Head and Varley
Point, takes its name from the delightful little fishing village of
Port Isaac, of which Port Gaverne may almost be considered as a
suburb. Both are in the parish of St. Endellion, but Port Isaac has
its own church, erected in Early English style in 1882. Its small pier
is said to date from the time of Henry VIII., and before the railway a
good deal of Delabole slate was shipped here. The fishing for
pilchards is here done by trawlers, not by seines, as round Land's
End. The name may probably be interpreted as _porth izic_, the "corn
port," though certainly this is not a grain country. Very
appropriately, it is said that fish are exhibited among the fruits
and flowers at the Port Isaac annual harvest service. Some other West
Country fishing-towns have introduced nets and oars at such services,
but to bring in the actual fish seems peculiar to this place. The fish
has always been a sacred symbol in Christian art, and it represents to
fisher-folk what the fruits of the earth do to the field labourer.
Both these little twin ports--Isaac and Gaverne--are entirely
charming, and much to be commended to all who would know unspoiled
Cornwall. Nestling within their tiny coves, they have a varied
background of interesting country, pleasant little beaches, beautiful
cliffs, and a glorious sea. There is one other resort to be visited
before reaching Tintagel, and that is Trebarwith Strand, which
similarly reaches the sea by a tiny cove, with the Gull Rock lying off
shore as a target for storms. Trebarwith is likely to become
fashionable. It has a fine stretch of sands, and provides some of the
best bathing to be had in North Cornwall. Those who wish to be near
Tintagel and yet close to the sea had better come to Trebarwith rather
than to the Tintagel village itself.



CHAPTER XVI

TINTAGEL AND BOSCASTLE


When we come to the region that is specially sacred to traditions of
King Arthur we find ourselves in the presence of wonderful natural
charm and of considerable historic perplexity. Those who are content
with the ordinary guide-books, and who have no conception of Arthur
beyond what they may have gained from snatches of Tennyson, will not
be troubled by this perplexity; they will take the crumbling walls on
Tintagel heights to be the actual castle in which the Celtic prince
was born, and any round table will suffice them as being that around
which the king and his chieftains sat. But something a little better
than this is desirable. We want Arthur to be something more than a
mere ghost, something even more than the blameless hero of a beautiful
Victorian poem. Yet if we go to the learned authorities the ghost
becomes more ghostlike, the phantom becomes more dim; it is mainly
destructive criticism that we meet with, and assertions that are
largely negative. In spite of this, there must be something tangible
behind so persistent a rumour as this tradition of Arthur. Wherever
the Brythonic tribes extended, there we find traces of him. The Gaels
know nothing of him. Finn, Oisin, Cuthullin, Cormac--such as these
were the great Goidhelic heroes. But the British tradition reached
from Armorica to the Forth, and carried Arthur with it. The Welsh
claim him, the Bretons, the Cornish, the Lowland Scotch. Cornwall,
with Tintagel as an asset of faith, claims his birth; Somerset, with
Cadbury on the river Camel, claims Camelot; and Glastonbury boasts of
his grave. Of these claims, that of Cornwall is the most powerfully
supported; there is not only Tintagel, but Kelly Rounds, Damelioc, and
Cardinham. One of the Welsh Triads speaks of the three chief palaces
of Arthur as being Caerleon-on-the-Usk, Celliwig in Cornwall, and
Penrhyn Rhionedd in the north. Celliwig may safely be identified with
the partially effaced earthwork near St. Kew Station, known as Kelly
Rounds (probably from the Cornish _killi_, meaning woods or groves),
standing in what may be described as a Kelly district, for we have
here in a cluster such names as Kelly Green, Kelly Farm, Bokelly,
Kelly Brae, Calliwith. The Rounds have been cut across by a road, but
there are distinct traces of two ramparted circles, with some remains
of a sheltering earthwork to the west. Damelioc, a large and strong
entrenchment with three concentric ramparts, lies about seven miles
south-west of Tintagel; and it was here that Gorlois, Duke of
Cornwall, took up his position after placing his wife Igerne for
safety within Tintagel itself. The common story says that Uther, mad
with love, overcame and slew Gorlois at Damelioc, and gained admission
to Tintagel in his guise, thus becoming the father of Arthur. Of
course, there is the other tradition that represents Arthur as of
supernatural birth, washed to the shore by the waves, rescued by
Merlin, and given to the world as a son of Uther. Cardinham, the other
almost certain Arthurian locality in Cornwall, is about five miles
east of Bodmin, and is identified with the Caradigan where Arthur
sometimes held court. It is a large, lonely earthwork, in a field near
a farmhouse. It must not be forgotten that the guide-books usually put
forward Camelford as another most important Arthurian place,
mentioning Slaughter Bridge as the scene of the king's last battle.
There certainly was a battle here between Britons and Saxons, but this
took place at least two centuries after Arthur's time; and though a
spot named Arthur's Grave is shown to visitors, all definite
connection between the king and Camelford must be surrendered. The
last great battle, according to all authentic tradition, was fought
against Picts, and what would Picts have been doing in Cornwall? The
grave at Glastonbury, it must be owned with regret, is now generally
understood to be a monkish fable. It is not pleasant for a West of
England man to surrender either Camelford or Glastonbury, but truth
must be faced, and the fact is almost certain that Arthur's last
battle, and therefore his grave, must be sought in Scotland.

[Illustration: TINTAGEL.

_Photo by Gibson & Sons._]

We may assume that Arthur was a Romanised Briton, born in the late
fifth century at Tintagel; his name being possibly a Celtic form of
the Latin _Artorius_. He became the champion of his race against
encroaching Saxons, North-Country Picts, and wandering pagan hordes
who fought for lust of bloodshed and pillage. Against these it is
likely that Arthur sought to maintain a semi-Romanised, partially
Christianised civilisation. He is credited with twelve great battles,
in all of which he proved victorious; some of these were certainly in
Somerset, and the last of his triumphs, that of Badon Hill, somewhere
in Wessex. His rule thus established on a firm foundation, for many
years Britain knew comparative peace and good government. The Round
Table of which we hear so much is probably a symbolic addition of the
bards, unless it means that in Arthur's time persons of good class
began to sit decently together at tables. The thirteenth battle, in
which he lost his life fighting against his nephew Mordred, has
usually been given to the West of England--Malory and Tennyson both do
so. But the traditions that became most popular sprang up in an age
when the Cymry were forgetting the former wide extent of their tribal
sway, and were limiting their racial pride to a part of the country
that was still free from the Teuton. The fact that Arthur's last fight
was with the Picts, and against Mordred, is almost conclusive as to
its location. His sister, the mother of Mordred, had married Llew or
Lot, of the Lothians, and there is reason to believe that the king was
already familiar with this part of Scotland. The battle is always
given as fought at Camlan, and this name has diverted later writers to
the Camels of Cornwall and of Somerset. But the Celtic _cam_ in
place-names is quite common; it signifies crooked, and we find it in a
number of river-names. Mordred had become a chieftain of the Picts,
and he possibly resented any claims of suzerainty on the part of
Arthur. The fight, whose date is stated as 542, was almost certainly
waged at Camelon on the river Carron, near Falkirk. Arthur was
defeated--it is likely that his forces were greatly outnumbered; and
he died, either on the field or as an immediate result of a wound
then received. Not many miles distant is an earthwork still known as
Mordred's Castle; and at Carron, nearer still, there was formerly a
mound or cairn known as Arthur's Oon (oven). All the picturesque
detail in Tennyson's wonderful "Passing of Arthur" must be attributed
to Cymric bards, to the genius of Malory, and to the poet's
imagination; we must be content with the conclusion that Arthur was
born but did not die in Cornwall.

[Illustration: KING ARTHUR'S CASTLE.

_Photo by Alex. Old._]

In any case nothing of the present ruins at Tintagel existed in the
time of Arthur. Geoffrey of Monmouth, who wrote about the year 1150,
says of the stronghold that "it is situated upon the sea, and on every
side surrounded by it; and there is but one entrance into it, and that
through a straight rock, which three men shall be able to defend
against the whole power of the kingdom." Even Gorlois, we remember,
only gained admittance by stratagem. Tintagel, Dundagel, or Dundiogl,
the _Dunecheniv_ of Domesday, seems certainly to have belonged to
Gorlois when Uther was Pendragon or Head-king of Britain; it would
have been a cliff-castle such as that on Pentire Head. As years passed
the rock probably became more insular, and when the Norman stronghold
was built it was connected with the mainland by a drawbridge. From
earliest times the castle attached to the Earls of Cornwall, one of
whom protected David, Prince of Wales, during his revolt against
Edward I. Later it was used as a kind of prison, a Mayor of London
being confined within it. Elizabeth had some thought of restoring it,
for it had already become ruinous; Leland says: "The residue of the
buildings of the Castle be sore wetherbeten, and yn ruine; but it
hath beene a large thinge." Its outworks extended to the mainland, but
the great keep was on the isolated mass of rock. Here also are the
remains of St. Juliet's chapel, with its altar-slab and stone benches.
It is not easy to say much about the Juliot or Julitta to whom this
chapel was dedicated; but the chapel is certainly that mentioned in
the thirteenth-century _High History of the Holy Grail_. "They came
into a very different land, scarce inhabited of any folk, and found a
little castle in a combe. They came thitherward and saw that the
enclosure of the castle was fallen down into an abysm, so that none
might approach it on that side, but it had a right fair gateway and a
door tall and wide, whereby they entered. They beheld a chapel that
was fair and rich, and below was a great ancient hall." But the spirit
of modernism now comes very near to this sacred spot of antiquity; on
an opposite headland stands a commodious hotel, and the Tintagel
golf-links come very close to the castle. A tiny port lies below, from
which a little slate is sometimes shipped. The village, whose correct
name of Trevena is being displaced by that of Tintagel, lies about a
mile inland; it is clean and comfortable, but not remarkably
picturesque except for the old gabled building that was once its
post-office. Those who want the perpetual presence of the sea will not
be contented with it. Its church, dedicated to SS. Marcelliana and
Materiana (of whom the latter may be the Welsh Madron), stands at a
distance, above the cliffs west of the castle; it is a stern, bare
building, magnificently placed, so fully exposed to the force of
Atlantic gales that the very tombstones have been buttressed. A
portion of the walls, in their rude simplicity, appears to be
Saxon, but many orders are represented here, from the late Norman
chancel-arch to the Decorated south transept and Perpendicular screen.
There is a rugged circular font, and what is supposed to be a Roman
milestone. The vestry was formerly a Lady-chapel, possibly Saxon, with
a thirteenth-century door and a curious mutilated altar. The
south-transept window is to the memory of J. Douglas Cook, founder of
the _Saturday Review_, who returned to his native Cornwall to die. In
the churchyard are the graves of drowned seamen, British and foreign.
It is a striking and solemnising little church, quite in harmony with
a district of myth and sublimity. It is possible that some who come to
Tintagel for the first time may be disappointed. If so, they have
expected too much, or have expected the wrong thing. There is no gloss
of false romance about the place; the ruins have not the hollow
pretentious grandeur of some Norman castles; what we see is the
unadorned, unveiled reality of a majestic coast, the low, stark walls
of ruin on an immemorial site, the naked wind-beaten church on the
heights, the sea breaking into gaunt caverns below. Sheep feed within
the enclosure to which we scramble by a ragged path. Sentiment may
resent the hotel and the golfers, but any jarring note can easily be
ignored. Yet even Tennyson seems to have been disappointed at first;
afterwards, the spirit of the place sank into him and prevailed.
Perhaps old Hawker has described it best, in few pregnant words:--

    "Hark! stern Dundagel softens into song.
    They meet for solemn severance, knight and king,
    Where gate and bulwark darken o'er the sea."

He gives us the words of Arthur, when the listeners "hush their hearts
to hear the king":--

    "I would not be forgotten in this land:
    I yearn that men I know not, men unborn,
    Shall find, amid these fields, King Arthur's fame.
    Here let them say, by proud Dundagel's walls--
    'They brought the Sangraal back at his command,
    They touched these rugged rocks with hues of God,'
    So shall my name have worship, and my land."

And after the king had spoken:--

    "That night Dundagel shuddered into storm--
    The deep foundations shook beneath the sea."

And we have the grand final picture:--

    "There stood Dundagel, throned; and the great sea
    Lay, a strong vassal at his master's gate,
    And, like a drunken giant, sobb'd in sleep."

There was a time when Trevena, with Bossiney and Trevalga, formed a
borough, and sent members to Parliament, of whom Francis Drake was
one. It needed little apology to disfranchise such a small corporation
as this, but the first Reform Bill had to deal with far greater
anomalies. Bossiney has other attractions than such memories as this,
having a delightful cove protected by the fine headland of Willapark.
The fishing hamlet is close to an ancient burial-mound or barrow, from
which election writs were once read and the local mayor proclaimed.
From this cove we can pass upward into the glorious Rocky Valley, with
its broken crags, its tangled foliage and rushing stream, its old
mill. It is just a little like the gorge at Lynmouth, but wilder.
This is the stream forming the famous cascade known as Knighton's (or
St. Nectan's) Kieve. It is not very easy to find, and, here as at
Tintagel, a key must be procured before its beauties can be examined.
The Kieve is a basin of rock, into which the water has a fall of about
40 feet. St. Nectan is supposed to have been a brother of Morwenna, of
Morwenstow; it is said he had an oratory here, and when he was dying
he threw its silver bell into the waterfall. But Mr. Baring-Gould says
that he died at Hartland. Following the usual guide-book convention,
this would be the right moment for quoting Hawker's ballad, "The
Sisters of Glen Nectan," but that piece is not one of his happiest
efforts, and the legend is at least dubious. Those who journey afoot
from Bossiney to Boscastle will find it almost impossible to keep to
the coast, as the Rocky Valley forms an impediment, especially when
its stream is in flood after heavy rains. But they can find a
tolerable road to Trevalga, crossing the stream at the Long Bridge,
and at Trevalga they will find an interesting little church. The shore
here is broken into some small creeks of great beauty, but one chasm
is so dark and sombre that it has won the name of Blackapit. There are
dangers along these wild beaches; the poet Swinburne, when a boy, was
almost cut off by the tide near Tintagel. From Blackapit we rise to
Willapark Point and the church of Forrabury. The view from the Point
is very fine, covering the ravine and haven of Boscastle on the east,
and looking towards Tintagel on the west. Forrabury, the parish church
of Boscastle, is dedicated to St. Symphorian, whoever that saint be
(perhaps St. Veryan); and in situation it much resembles that of
Tintagel. The pulpit and the woodwork of the altar date from the
fifteenth century. There is a good granite cross in the churchyard.
Here again there is a temptation, into which most writers fall, of
quoting from Hawker, with his poem, "The Silent Tower of Bottreaux,"
in which he gives us a legend accounting for the fact that this church
has only a single bell. But as he frankly confessed, in after life,
that he had invented the story on the very slightest foundation, it is
better to avoid quoting from the ballad, except solely for the
melodious smoothness of its burden:--

    "Come to thy God in time,
    Thus saith the ocean chime;
    Storm, whirlwind, billow past,
    Come to thy God at last."

[Illustration: ST. KNIGHTON'S KIEVE.

_Photo by Alex. Old._]

Boscastle, taking its name from the old Norman family of Bottreaux
(though there are many other place-names in Cornwall beginning with
_bos_, which means abode or dwelling-place), is certainly the most
romantic and picturesque haven in the Duchy, though there may be
others that surpass it in actual beauty. The coast has a wild grandeur
rather than loveliness, and in dismal or stormy weather there is a
weird, solemn gloom. The little town lies sheltered at the head of a
gorge in which two rivulets meet and form the haven. Old Leland in his
graphic manner mentions one only of these brooks: "There cummith down
a little broke from South-Est out of the Hilles thereby, and so
renning by the West side of the Towne goith into Severn Se betwixt two
hilles, and there maketh a pore Havenet, but of no certaine
salvegarde." It is the river Valency of which he speaks, the more
important of the streams that join just above the haven. This is a
tiny land-locked harbour with stone piers, at which some coal, lime,
and general merchandise are imported; the entrance is very difficult
to make, and vessels that succeed in doing so have to be warped in by
immense hawsers. Seeing this, and the small haven at Bude, one
realises the wildness of this unsheltered coast, where such perilous
places are called harbours. The village, though not large, is a long
one, straggling down a hill and along the narrow ravine. Its activity
is maintained by the daily arrival and departure of cars from
Camelford, Bude, Otterham, and Tintagel, bringing many visitors in the
summer season. Some come to stay, but most make only a fleeting call;
Nature has placed grave obstacles in the way of Boscastle's ever
becoming a fashionable watering-place. Its charm is unique and
undeniable; but it appeals to the artist, the sturdy pedestrian and
climber, the lover of solitude that at times is absolute desolation,
rather than to the parent of a family. But the desolation, if that is
not too stern a word to use, only applies to the coast; the Valency
Valley is verdant and beautiful. It runs among furze and bracken by
the riverside, and by this path we can reach the quiet, lovely vale in
which Minster stands, so named from a former monastic establishment.
Like the church at Tintagel, this of Minster is dedicated to St.
Materiana, whom Mr. Baring-Gould identifies with the Welsh Madrun. The
tower is of a single stage; there are good bench-ends and
roof-carvings. A portion of the church having fallen in one Sunday,
after morning service, it was rebuilt about forty years since. The
priory was founded by William de Bottreaux in the reign of Richard
I., but does not seem to have had a long existence. Minster is a large
parish, but Forrabury is one of the smallest in Cornwall.

Pentargon, the bay and headland beyond the Boscastle golf-links, is
sometimes interpreted as "Arthur's Head," but this is doubtful. The
caves here, and those below Willapark, were once much haunted by
seals; the coast being absolutely honeycombed by the constant fretting
of the waves. At times, but rarely, the Cornish chough may be seen on
the cliffs, recalling the old tradition that the spirit of Arthur
lingers around his native rocks in this form--a tradition that was
even familiar to Cervantes, though he knew the Welsh version of it,
which makes Arthur a raven. Eastward past Beeny the cliffs gradually
rise, till at High Cliff they reach the height of 700 feet; it needs
some enthusiasm for a pedestrian to keep to the coast-line, though
every mile has its grandeur. Beyond Cambeak lies the delightful
Crackington Cove, which will some day become a watering-place; it
stands at the mouth of a verdant valley with a stream like that of the
Valency. It is in the parish of St. Genny's, whose church is dedicated
to St. Genesius of Auvergne, of whom it is related that after being
beheaded he walked about with his head under his arm. The saints of
Cornwall are reported to have done some extraordinary things, but they
do not usually descend to absurd actions of this nature; and there may
be a shrewd suspicion that Genesius has no business here at all.
William Braddon, a Parliamentary officer and member in the time of the
Civil War, lived at Treworgye in this parish, and was buried in the
church; some have supposed that he was vicar here. Pencannow Head,
the north limit of Crackington Cove, rises sheer from the shore to the
height of 400 feet. Dizzard Point is far less precipitous. A few miles
further east the cliffs break to allow room for a fine stretch of
sands at Widemouth Bay, and here we have another spot that is certain
to develop into a pleasure-resort of the future. It cannot, of course,
compare with the coast magnificence of the shore from Pentire to
Boscastle, but it has what these wilder spots lack--a possibility of
conventional settlement and expansion in the style of watering-place
that the British public chiefly loves.



CHAPTER XVII

BUDE


We read in the memoir of Tennyson that in the year 1848 he felt a
craving to make a lonely sojourn at Bude. "I hear," he said, "that
there are larger waves there than on any other part of the British
coast, and must go thither and be alone with God." So he came, with
the subject of his Idylls simmering in his mind. He found the great
rollers, the grand, open coast, the solitude; these are still there,
to be found of all that seek. There may be some lessening of the
solitude, but only in parts; Bude has not yet become widely popular;
it is the haunt of those who love bracing air and quiet. It grows, but
grows slowly; old friends may return to it without being tortured by
too glaring a change.

The coast must indeed be destitute of harbours that can call Bude a
haven; yet the name Bude Haven stands, as if in deadly irony. This
whole north coast of Cornwall and Devon has little enough of refuge
for seamen in distress; and if they endeavour to make Bude when seas
are running high they are simply courting disaster; it were better to
stay far out, if the cruel Atlantic will let them. Yet a rumour of
history says that Agricola landed here. It is not impossible, though
accredited history tells nothing of such a visit; seas are not always
stormy, even on the shores of North Cornwall--there are days when the
waters from St. Ives to Lundy are peaceful as a child asleep. But such
slumbering is not their characteristic mood; there is generally a
strong ocean swell, and when westerly winds chafe the tide its force
and fury are tremendous. Hawker, who was familiar with every yard of
the district, has a ballad to the purpose:--

    "Thus said the rushing raven
    Unto his hungry mate:
    'Ho! gossip! for Bude Haven;
    There be corpses six or eight.
    Cawk, cawk! the crew and skipper
    Are wallowing in the sea;
    So there's a savoury supper
    For my old dame and me.'

    .     .     .     .     .     .

    'Cawk, cawk!' then said the raven;
    'I am fourscore years and ten;
    Yet never in Bude Haven
    Did I croak for rescued men.--
    They will save the captain's girdle,
    And shirt, if shirt there be;
    But leave his blood to curdle
    For my old dame and me.'"

The graveyards, the fields, the farmyards, will bear out this grim
character; there are traces of shipwreck everywhere--memorials of
drowned seamen in the burial-ground, figure-heads of shattered vessels
placed here and there, beams and spars applied to unintended
agricultural uses. One such figure-head is that of the _Bencoolen_, in
the churchyard, reminding us of a vessel wrecked in 1862, when only
six were saved from its crew of thirty-five. The _Bencoolen_ was
trading from Liverpool to Bombay. We may take Hawker's description of
the disaster, recollecting, however, that he wrote in great
excitement, and that he was a little unjust to the men of Bude. The
wreck took place towards the end of October, after a hurricane that
"lasted seven days and nights. On Tuesday at two o'clock afternoon a
hull was seen off Bude wallowing in the billows. All rushed to the
shore. At three she struck on the sand close to the breakwater--not
300 yards from the rocks. Manby's apparatus was brought down--a rocket
fired and a rope carried over to the ship. The mate sprang to clutch
it--missed--and fell into the sea, to be seen no more alive. 'Another
rope!' was the cry. But from the mismanagement of those in charge
there was no other there. They then saw the poor fellows constructing
a raft and launching it. A call for the lifeboat, one of large cost,
provided with all good gear, kept close by. She was run down to the
water. A shout for men--none--a few of the Hovillers, pilotmen, got on
board, but refused to put off--all Bude lining the cliffs and
shore--Well, well--to abbreviate a horror, the raft was tossed over.
About six were washed ashore with life in them, four corpses, and the
rest were carried off to sea dead--26 corpses are somewhere in our
water, and my men are watching for their coming on shore. The County
gives 5s. for finding each corpse, and I give 5s. more. Therefore they
are generally found and brought here to the vicarage, where the
inquest and the attendant events nearly kill me.... Hordes of people
picking up--salvors with carts and horses--and lookers on. It reminded
me of old Holingshed's definition, 'a place called Bedes Haven (Bede,
a grave).' When the masts went over the captain, married a fortnight
before, rushed down into his cabin, drank a bottle of brandy, and was
seen no more. The country rings with cries of shame on the dastards of
Bude." A calmer eyewitness quite absolves the Bude men from all
blame--to render more help had been impossible. The vessel was being
steered skilfully to take the haven, but she was too large for its
mouth. But, unjust or not, we must love Parson Hawker. He tells of his
procedure when a corpse was reported: "I go out into the moonlight
bareheaded, and when I come near I greet the nameless dead with
the sentences 'I am the Resurrection and the Life,' &c.
They lay down their burthen at my feet--I look upon the
dead--tall--stout--well-grown--boots on, elastic, and socks--girded
with a rope round the waist. I give him in charge to the sexton and
his wife to cleanse, to arrange, to clothe the dead. I order a strong
coffin, and the corpse is locked in for the night. I write a letter to
the coroner and deliver it for transit to the police. And here the
misery begins." To every corpse discovered Hawker gave burial in
consecrated ground; it was not many years since the law had forbidden
this. The few graphic words quoted give us an idea of his days spent
on this lonely, pitiless coast--days which he varied by acts of
beneficence to his parishioners, and by the writing of much beautiful
poetry. Close to the mouth of this perilous haven is the low
breakwater, built to connect an outlying mass of rock that was
formerly insular with every tide. Carew (1602) speaks of this rock; he
says: "We meete with Bude, an open sandie bay, in whose mouth riseth a
little hill, by euerie sea-floud made an Iland, and thereon a decayed
chapell: it spareth roade only to such small shipping as bring their
tide with them, and leaveth them drie, when the ebb hath carried away
the salt water." He tells how Arundel of Trerice had a house here
named Efford, now the Bude vicarage; and how this gentleman "builded a
salt-water mill athwart this bay, whose causey serveth, as a verie
convenient bridge, to save the way-farers former trouble, let and
daunger." The present church stands near, built by Sir Thomas Acland
in 1835. The chapel on the islet, decayed even in Carew's time, was
dedicated to St. Michael, its dedication being transferred to the
present church; only a few faint traces of the old building can be
seen. It was this same Sir Thomas Ackland who constructed the
bathing-pool at the end of the breakwater, where it forms a very
pleasant little swimming-bath. But in time of storm, rock and pool and
breakwater are a mass of snowy, quivering foam; even in less
tempestuous times it is fine to see the waves rush seething up the
sides of the substantial little breakwater, with suggestiveness of
what they can do in wilder hours.

It must be confessed that this corner by the haven is the most
interesting portion of Bude, which some visitors have condemned as an
unattractive place. Certainly the growth of lodging-houses has not
added to its charm, as these houses have all the tameness, though
doubtless also the convenience, of modern street-architecture. It is
by the haven and on the banks of the now useless canal that there is
anything of an old-world atmosphere. As compared with places like
Polperro or Boscastle, Bude has a touch of the commonplace, but its
coast is fine, and it is an excellent centre for a district of
supreme attraction. Readers who care to see how it figures in modern
fiction should turn to the _Seaboard Parish_ of the late George
Macdonald, in which Bude is the Kilkhaven of the story. Even here the
novelist had to borrow another church for his setting; the present
Bude Church is by no means that of the romance. The town is now
reaching from the canal banks to the breezy Summerleaze Downs, and
beyond; and of course the golfer is here in all his glory. But if we
go a little more than a mile inland we find all that may be lacking in
Bude at Stratton, which may or may not be named after an old "street"
that passed this way from Devonshire. That street was almost certainly
not Roman, even if the Romans used it. There is a little stream here
called the Strat, which does not help us, for the stream _may_ have
been called after the town. Stratton shares with Stowe in the glorious
memories of Sir Beville Grenville, his wife Grace, and his servant
Anthony Payne; but Bideford has also its claim to long association
with the Grenvilles--it was from Bideford that Sir Richard sailed the
_Revenge_. Stowe, in the parish of Kilkhampton, a few miles north of
Bude, is now a farm, showing very few traces of the Grenville
manor-house, which was one of the finest and most extensive in the
West. There were two houses, an earlier and a later, but both are now
things of the past. At Stratton, however, there is still the Tree Inn,
which seems to have been the business residence of Sir Beville,
whither he came to settle matters with his tenants and followers; and
it was here that his servant, Anthony Payne, was born. Payne, who
stood seven foot four in his stockings, was devoted and loyal to his
heart's core; it was he who, when Sir Beville fell fighting for King
Charles at Lansdown, led the knight's son up the hill at the head of
the gallant, irresistible Cornishmen. These Cornishmen had already
proved their powers much nearer to Stratton. The battlefield known as
Stamford Hill is close by; it was here that Sir Beville and Hopton
defeated the Parliamentary forces under the Earl of Stamford and
Chudleigh. The fight took place in 1643, and was one of those Royalist
victories in the West that for a time made the cause of the King look
very hopeful. The Cornish troops were outnumbered almost by two to
one; they were tired and hungry, and they had the worst of the ground,
for the Roundheads had entrenched themselves; yet they stormed the
hill, routed the Parliament men, and took 1,700 prisoners. An old gun
still lies there to mark the spot, and above is the inscription: "In
this place an army of ye Rebels under ye command of ye Earl of
Stamford received a signal over-throw by ye valour of Sir Bevill
Grenville and ye Cornish Army." If there be ever glory attaching to
battlefields, it may be found here. While the battle was raging Grace
Grenville, the wife of Sir Beville, was waiting in anguish of heart at
Stowe, only to be pacified when her husband himself came home at night
to tell her of the issue. Yet scarce two months had flown when the
sorrowful Payne wrote telling his beloved mistress the sore tidings of
Lansdown, where the Cornishmen followed their slain master's son up
the hill with tears in their eyes. "They did say they would kill a
rebel for every hair of Sir Beville's beard. But I bade them remember
their good master's word when he wiped his sword after Stamford fight;
how he said, when their cry was 'stab and slay,' 'Halt, men; God will
avenge.' I am coming down with the mournfullest burden that ever a
poor servant did bear, to bring the great heart that is cold to
Kilkhampton vault. Oh, my lady, how shall I ever brook your weeping
face?"

Never was a sweeter communionship of husband and wife than that
between Sir Beville and Lady Grace, thus brought to an earthly end; it
gives a lovely touch of domestic affection to annals that are
otherwise stern and bloody enough, with all their glory. There are
some charming letters preserved, that passed between the two; showing
the beautiful simplicity of their natures and the tone of their home
life. "My dearest," wrote the knight from London, "I am exceedingly
glad to hear from you, but doe desire you not to be so passionat for
my absence. I vow you cannot more desire to have me at home than I
desire to be there." And again: "Charge Postlett and Hooper that they
keepe out the Piggs and all other things out of my new nursery, and
the other orchard too. Let them use any means to keepe them safe, for
my trees will all be spoild if they com in, which I would not for a
world." And the lady, addressing "Sweet Mr. Grenvile," adds in a
postscript to her letter: "If you please to bestowe a plaine black
Gownd of any cheape stufe on me I will thank you, and some black
shoes." She died about four years after her husband fell at Lansdown.
These two lie buried at Kilkhampton, but Payne, the loyal servant, is
somewhere within the noble church of Stratton; there is no monument to
say where. The church is of excellent restored Perpendicular, with
fine pinnacled tower. Within are a Norman font, a Jacobean pulpit, and
the black marble tomb of Sir John Arundel (1561), whose former
manor-house at Efford is now Bude Vicarage; there are brasses of the
knight, his wives and their children. The fourteenth-century effigy of
a knight in the north aisle is supposed to be that of Sir Ranulf de
Blanchminster, who is commemorated in one of Hawker's ballads. It is
fitting to think of the poet-parson in this spot; not only are we now
approaching very near his own parish, but his father was Vicar of
Stratton and lies buried in the church's chancel. Hawker was often
asked to preach here, but he long declined, fearing that the
associations would be too overwhelming for him. This proved to be the
case when at last, in his old age, he preached at the church. Suddenly
breaking in his sermon, he explained with faltering voice, "I stand
amid the dust of those near and dear to me." It is little wonder that
his listeners shared his emotion; and some touch of it may still come
over those to whom the records of Hawker are very dear. The number of
such lovers should have been much increased by the adequate biography
that is now at the service of the public, prepared by the son-in-law
of the poet; and Hawker is pre-eminently one of those whom we learn to
love even more through his memoirs than by his writings. For his life
was a life of noble deeds, not only of beautiful words.



CHAPTER XVIII

MORWENSTOW


There is a fine stretch of sands protecting the Bude shores, but the
background of these sands is cliff. It was this sand that made one of
the chief uses of the canal from Bude to Holsworthy, now superseded by
the railway; containing a large proportion of lime, it is valuable for
agricultural purposes. The sands have a further use now as a
playground for visitors; very few watering-places become really
popular without such a beach for the children and the bathers. But the
true coast is, of course, the background of cliff, and this continues
grandly rugged and broken to the Devon borders, and beyond. Little
more than a mile north of Bude is Poughill, pronounced Puffill. The
church, dedicated to St. Olaf, is one of the few Teutonic foundations
in Cornwall; but, indeed, this northern corner of the neighbouring
counties, with its "weeks" and "hams" and "worthies," must have been
largely held by settlements of Saxons. The value of place-names in
such matters is very great, though it must never be pressed too far.
Poughill Church, with a good Perpendicular tower, is chiefly notable
for its frescoes, somewhat glaringly restored; they resemble those of
St. Breage, in the Helston district. Both figures represent St.
Christopher bearing his sacred burden across the tide, and the details
are in an advanced stage of symbolism. Far more pleasing,
artistically, are the beautiful bench-ends of the early sixteenth
century, with their various emblems of the Crucifixion, their armorial
insignia, their symbols and initials. This church is peculiarly
attractive, and its situation is delightful. From thence the road runs
to Kilkhampton, whither recollections of the Grenvilles have already
carried us. We are now getting into the heart of the Hawker district,
but other associations are so numerous here that it seems impossible
to deal with them all in anything like an adequate manner. The
Perpendicular church of Kilkhampton chiefly dates from the Elizabethan
days when one of the Grenvilles was rector here; but it embodies the
beautiful Norman doorway from the church supposed to have been built
in the eleventh century by another Grenville. Some other Norman traces
are preserved--Rector Grenville was a judicious restorer. Of his date
are the oak bench-ends, which are as good as Poughill's, and there is
an elaborate screen. The monument of Sir Beville Grenville, erected
long after his death by his grandson, is perhaps not quite what it
ought to be--it is too dismal and conventional. It is very much in the
spirit of the Calvinistic clergyman, James Hervey, who, when curate at
Bideford, was so much impressed by Kilkhampton Church that it prompted
his once famous _Meditations among the Tombs_. The work and others of
its author's, such as _Theron and Aspasio_, may still be met with
occasionally on old-fashioned bookshelves, or on the second-hand
stalls; and they forcibly remind us of the style of second-rate
reflection which, in a different dress, is still dear to the average
sober-minded individual. But Hervey is not at all bad, of his sort,
and our great-grandfathers thought him profound. Probably, however, he
was dearer to their wives; it is chiefly women who support this kind
of moralising. To Hervey Kilkhampton Church was "an ancient Pile,
reared by Hands that ages ago moulded into Dust--the Body spacious,
the Structure lofty, the whole magnificently plain." He was at
Bideford in 1740. Much more lively in its nature was the connection
with this parish of the notorious Cruel Coppinger, smuggler, wrecker,
and desperado.

    "Will you hear of Cruel Coppinger?
      He came from a foreign land;
    He was brought to us by the salt water,
      He was carried away by the wind."

Coppinger has become almost mythical, by reason of older traditions of
pirate-smugglers being attributed to him. The Rev. S. Baring-Gould
himself, in his book on the _Vicar of Morwenstow_, has located
Coppinger in the Kilkhampton district; but his novel, _In the Roar of
the Sea_, places its hero, somewhat humanised, at St. Enodoc. The
truth is, there are similar traditions in several parts of the Cornish
coast, and elsewhere. There was a floating mass of legend ready to be
appropriated by any character that might seem to deserve it; and we
may take Coppinger as a kind of generic title, the clustering of
varying Cornish traditions of wrecking and piracy round one name. Such
being the case, he may as well be placed at Kilkhampton as anywhere
else. He is reported sometimes as a Dane, sometimes as an Irishman,
who was thrown on the coast in a tempest, who leaped upon her horse's
back behind a girl who had come to witness the wreck, and who
ultimately married her. He proved to be one of the blackest villains
Cornwall had ever known, but as he had a powerful gang of followers
who aided him in all his misdoings, there must have been plenty as bad
as he, though they might lack his gift of leadership and initiative.
He is said to have chopped off a gauger's hand on the gunwale of a
boat--rumour reported even worse things than this; and he once soundly
horsewhipped the parson of Kilkhampton, who had offended him. There is
also a story of his carrying a terrified tailor to "mend the devil's
breeches." He departed as mysteriously as he came, after many years of
vile outrage; he "who came with the water went with the wind." It is
clear that a great deal of old-time folk-lore has gathered round this
name, and probably no single man must be held answerable for all the
wild doings related of Cruel Coppinger. In all such traditions Hawker
is a most unsafe guide; he did not consciously "falsify the books,"
but he had misled many who came after, particularly the popular
guide-books, by his looseness and his play of fancy. But he came to
this district at a period when smuggling, if not actual wrecking and
piracy, was at its height--not only in Cornwall, be it remembered, but
in many other parts of the coast, such as Sussex and Kent. It was a
time when the Cornish used to thank God for wrecks; and if they did
not actually lure vessels to destruction on their cruel coasts, which
it may be feared they did sometimes, they at least did nothing to
avert the disasters which, to their mind, were sent by a merciful
providence. There was even a proverb that it was unlucky to rescue a
drowning man--widespread, for Scott mentions it in the "Pirate"; the
bad luck which these coast-folk had in view being the fact that a
rescued personage could claim his property that the sea had cast up.

[Illustration: MORWENSTOW.

_Photo by Gibson & Sons._]

Hawker was born in Norley Street, Plymouth, December 29, 1803; his
grandfather and uncle were both clergy in Plymouth at the time. Thus,
though he has won a world-wide fame as the Cornish poet, Hawker was
really Devonian; in this borderland of the two counties there is
practically no difference. In the same manner the Grenvilles were of
Devonshire, yet Cornwall treasures their memories with justifiable
pride. In after years Hawker used to say that, could his mother have
foreseen how sorrowful his life would be, she would have given a
gentle pressure to his throat in his first hour, and so have averted
all his earthly trials. He grew to be a mischievous and daring lad.
One of his pranks was to swim out to the crags at the mouth of Bude
haven, and there pose as a mermaid; which he did to the prolonged
bewilderment of the countryfolk. He was educated at Liskeard,
Cheltenham, and Oxford; coming to Morwenstow in 1834 after having held
the curacy of North Tamerton. He had already married a lady who was
twenty years older than himself--a marriage of the deepest lasting
affection. His second marriage, in his old age, was to a lady forty
years his junior; but by this time the poet's spirit had been broken
by solitude, grief, failure to win literary success, and by the
terrible scenes of shipwreck and death that often distracted him. He
died in 1875, having been received into the Romish Church a few hours
before his death; and the remains were laid in Plymouth Cemetery. On
his tombstone is a line from his own beautiful poem, "The Quest of the
Sangraal"--

    "I would not be forgotten in this land."

There is now an elaborate memorial window in Morwenstow Church,
unveiled in 1904. The poet has not been forgotten in this land, nor is
he likely to be. He has impressed himself so vividly on the district
that was long his home, that we may now as justly speak of the Hawker
country as we do of the Scott or the Wordsworth country. The work was
accomplished even more by the man's personality than by his writings.
If only these writings had been preserved he would not pass to
posterity quite as fully as he merited; only a portion of the man
would survive. But there was the tradition of the man himself,
assisted by some inadequate memoirs; and now we have one of the most
charming biographies of recent times to bring him before us. He was
not only poet and essayist; he was cleric and mystic, preacher,
prophet, symbolist, philanthropist--some may add reactionary. His life
was permeated with Catholic doctrine and colour. When he passed, in
his closing hours, to a sister communion, the step was a natural and
easy one, however unnecessary some of us may think it to have been. He
loved the Church of England devotedly and unfailingly; but he always
looked upon her as the Old Church, rather than as a reformed body; and
to his unquestioning mind a few extra dogmas would never have
presented any difficulty. It was disbelief, doubt, that he abhorred.
Like Sir Thomas Browne, he was greedy for more mysteries, more
marvels, more sublimities for unhesitating acceptance. He was always
in sympathy both with the Roman and the early Greek Churches, and
sometimes in his own ritual he borrowed from both; yet he could
fulminate hotly enough at times against the excesses of either. He
loved deeply and hated strongly; but the love was permanent and real,
the hatred transient and superficial.

He had a lifelong bitterness against Dissenters, and lived on the
tenderest terms with many. His bark was very much worse than his bite.
"I understand, Mr. Hawker," once said a Nonconformist lady to him,
"that you have an objection to burying Dissenters?" "Madam," he
replied, "I should be only too delighted to bury you all." But there
was no real sting behind the words, and some of his dearest and
kindest parishioners were not Churchmen. He spent his days in doing
good deeds to man and beast, saving strangers from the devouring sea,
or giving their bodies Christian burial; tutoring the rugged hearts of
his people; and living himself, in spite of much sorrow,
disappointment, loss, in a world of holy dream and vision, conversing
in spirit with saints and angels. Hawker believed that his dear
country was given over to doubt and laxity; and every affliction of
war, misfortune, bad weather, he interpreted as the chastening hand of
God. He would have had his world coloured entirely by faith and
religious observance; stained as it were, like the glass of church
windows, by sacred image and story. But practicalities pressed heavily
upon him and almost broke his heart; his poetic impulse failed under
sore discouragement; he did not proceed with his finest poem; those of
his poems that became popular did so without the attachment of his
name. Very much of this was due to his own procedure; yet the man had
much hardship, neglect, and suffering, for which he could in no sense
be held responsible. He was a true descendant of the early Cornish
saints, born perhaps several centuries too late, and thrust upon a
world where he had to turn to sea and wind and woodland for the mystic
symbolism which was his life-breath, finding too little of it in the
ways and words of Victorian England.

The present vicarage at Morwenstow was built by Hawker himself, there
having been no vicar in residence for long years before his coming. It
was here, in 1848, that Tennyson visited him, coming over from Bude,
where he was staying at the Falcon Hotel. In stepping hastily from the
garden to reach the sea, when he first arrived, the poet had fallen;
there was no protecting rail there at that time. The injury proved so
serious that he had to see a surgeon; and this surgeon happened to be
Mr. John Dinham, Hawker's brother-in-law. Two days after the accident
Tennyson drove over to Morwenstow with Dinham to see Hawker. His own
note on the visit is brief and unsatisfying: "In a gig to Rev. S.
Hawker, at Morwenstow, passing Comb Valley, fine view over sea,
coldest manner of vicar till I told my name, then all heartiness. Walk
on cliff with him; told of shipwreck." This is very meagre. Happily
Hawker himself wrote down a more detailed account, and this was
discovered among his brother's papers. It was headed with a cross,
signifying that it recorded what Hawker deemed a mark of divine
favour. "It was in the month of June, 1848, that my brother-in-law,
John Dinham, arrived at Morwenstow with a very fine-looking man whom
he had been called in to attend professionally at Bude for an injury
in the knee from a fall.... I found my guest at his entrance a tall,
swarthy, Spanish-looking man, with an eye like a sword. He sate down,
and we conversed. I at once found myself with no common mind. All
poetry in particular he seemed to use like household words.... Before
we left the room he said, 'Do you know my name?' I said, 'No, I have
not even a guess.' 'Do you wish to know it?' 'I don't much care--that
which we call a rose, &c.' 'Well then,' said he, 'my name is
_Tennyson_!' 'What!' said I, '_the_ Tennyson?' 'What do you mean by
_the_ Tennyson? I am Alfred Tennyson who wrote Locksley Hall, which
you seem to know by heart.' So we grasped hands, and the Shepherd's
heart was glad.... Then, seated on the brow of the cliff, with
Dundagel full in view, he revealed to me the purpose of his journey to
the West. He is about to conceive a poem--the hero King Arthur--the
scenery in part the vanished Land of Lyonesse, between the mainland
and the Scilly Isles.... Then evening fell. He arose to go; and I
agreed to drive him on his way. He demanded a pipe, and produced a
package of very common shag. By great good luck my sexton had about
him his own short black dudheen, which accordingly the Minstrel filled
and fired. Wild language occupied the way, until we shook farewell at
Combe. 'This,' said Tennyson, 'has indeed been a day to be
remembered.'" Hawker had a presentiment that they would never meet
again, and they never did, though Tennyson visited Cornwall in later
years. There was some slight correspondence, and an interchange of
books; but the two drifted apart in spirit--perhaps they had never
been very near. Tennyson's theology was that of Maurice, whom Hawker
came to regard as an arch-enemy of Catholic truth. On one ground they
both met in later life--when they chose the subject of the Holy Grail
for poetic treatment; and on this ground the lesser poet beat the
greater, as Tennyson himself frankly acknowledged. Yet both in their
different ways lived near to the spirit that is typified by the Grail;
but the one abode in solitude on his wild Cornish cliffs and the other
lived in the blaze of popular fame, visited and loved by the greatest
in the land. Who shall say that Hawker's life, after all, was not the
nearest to his best ideals? Morwenstow vicarage is curious for its
chimneys, which Hawker himself designed from church-towers in his
neighbourhood and at Oxford. The church and vicarage stand in
loneliness; there is no central village at Morwenstow, but the
residences are scattered about the swelling downs and high-banked
lanes. At the entrance to the graveyard is the lich-gate and mortuary,
where many wrecked seamen were taken for burial. Such burials recall
the unforgettable incident that occurred during the conveyance of one
poor mangled body from the shore. "It was dark, and the party of
bearers, with the Vicar at their head, were making their way slowly up
the cliff by the light of torches and lanterns, when suddenly there
arose from the sea three hearty British cheers. A vessel had neared
the shore, and the crew, discovering by night-glasses what was taking
place, had manned their yards to greet the fulfilment of duty to a
brother mariner's remains." Morwenstow is really Morwenna-stow,
Morwenna being a grand-daughter of Brychan, and thus belonging to a
famous Welsh family of saints. The church is therefore a Celtic
foundation, not Saxon as Hawker believed; he was always a little shaky
in such details. In some maps and old local signposts the name is
still written Moorwinstow, and was anciently Morestowe. Probably the
earliest relic in the church itself is the font, which appears to
belong to the tenth century; three typical Norman pillars support the
northern arcade of the roof, and there is a very fine Norman door at
the south porch. The Vicar loved to interpret the zigzag moulding as
the "ripple of the lake of Gennesareth, the spirit breathing upon the
waters of baptism"; he was doubtless more correct in reading a
symbolic meaning into the carved vine that creeps from the chancel
down the church. On the furze and bracken-clad slope above the cliffs,
not far distant, is the hut that Hawker himself constructed, building
it of wreckage; this was the sanctuary to which he loved to retreat
for contemplation and literary work. It was here that he wrote his
Sangraal poem, and the strong picture of its close might apply to this
scene as forcibly as it does to its original.

In this parish is Tonacombe, a finely preserved specimen of the
mediæval manor-house, its hall containing the old minstrels' gallery.
This deeply interesting house has many memories of Charles Kingsley as
well as of Hawker. Kingsley was a visitor here while writing his
_Westward Ho!_ and Tonacombe figures in that book as "Chapel." Hawker
met Kingsley at this time, and introduced him to the Grenville
localities. It is not likely that the two men got on well together;
they were complete contrasts in nature and gifts. Hawker did not care
greatly for _Westward Ho!_ when it appeared, and thought its local
colour defective. He rarely mentioned Kingsley in later life without a
note of depreciation. He was far more in sympathy, intellectually and
spiritually, with Kingsley's great antagonist, John Henry Newman. At
Tonacombe are preserved a curious old lantern and walking-stick that
formerly belonged to Hawker. The lantern "was made for Thomas Waddon
of Tonacombe, who died in 1755. His brother Edward Waddon lived at
Stanbury, and their sister Honor was the wife of the Rev. Oliver
Rouse, Vicar of Morwenstow. The three families used to meet regularly
at each other's houses for dice and cards. In the excess of their
merriment the cronies would dash their glasses on the table, and the
broken pieces were preserved as a record of the jest. In course of
time there was a goodly collection of these fragments, and in order
that their memorial should not perish the lantern was made of solid
oak, square, with a pointed roof and little windows formed of the
round bases of the broken glasses and other pieces cut in the shape of
dice, hearts, clubs, diamonds, and spades. Thereafter, when the
festive party broke up, those whose turn it was to walk homewards
through the dark lanes had their way lighted before them by this
emblem of their wit and humour." Stanbury, an old manor south of
Tonacombe, claims some notice as the birthplace of John Stanbury (or
Stanberry), confessor of Henry VI., who was appointed by that king to
be first Provost of Eton. From being a Carmelite friar at Oxford he
rose to be bishop, first of Bangor, finally of Hereford. He died in
the Carmelite convent at Ludlow, 1474, and was buried at Hereford.
Marsland-mouth, the northward boundary of Morwenstow parish, is also
the boundary between Cornwall and Devon. Its utter loneliness and
wildness are in complete contrast to the great southward boundary at
the mouth of the Three Rivers. Here at Marsland Devon and Cornwall
merge imperceptibly; the characteristics of the one are carried over
into the other; in scenery, people, dialect, no change can be noted.
This close community was emphasised, in Hawker's day, by the fact that
for the last twenty-five years of his life he held charge of Welcombe
parish as well as Morwenstow, Welcombe (most suitably named) being the
first parish in Devon. In his old age, when Dr. Temple was appointed
to the diocese of Exeter, the Vicar had some fear that he would be
deprived of this additional cure, as Temple was expected to be no
friend to Dr. Phillpotts' nominees; but, somewhat to his surprise,
Hawker found that he got on fairly well with the new Bishop, though he
detested his theological standpoints. Obviously, the name of Welcombe
might be "Well-combe," there being a holy well of St. Nectan here; but
that derivation does not seem to be correct. In the Exeter Domesday
Book the parish is given as _Walcomba_, and probably the name
signified Welsh-combe, marking the juncture when Saxonised West Devon
passed into "West Wales." The church is three miles' distance from
Morwenstow, and Hawker used to ride over every Sunday afternoon for
service. On one occasion he forgot to bring his watch, and he needed
some guide in timing his service so that he might return to officiate
at Morwenstow in the evening. He asked the folk standing about the
church porch if they could oblige him in this particular. "But time is
of no great import at Welcombe, and no watch was to be had. At last,
just as the service was beginning, an old woman hobbled up the aisle
and handed to the Vicar a large and ancient timepiece. 'Her's only got
one hand, your honour,' she said, 'but yu must just gi' a guess.'"
Perhaps the name Welsh-combe (Welsh being taken in the old sense of
"foreign") denoted some survival of earlier occupation here, some
lingering neolithic remnant; the Welcombe folk are still distinguished
by their dark hair and skins, and as being somewhat of a race apart.
In Hawker's day they were very ignorant and superstitious, though
sufficiently devout. They had "no farrier for their cattle, no medical
man for themselves, no beer-house, no shop; a man who travels for a
distant town (Stratton) supplies them with sugar by the ounce, or tea
in smaller quantities still. Not a newspaper is taken in throughout
the hamlet, although they are occasionally astonished and delighted by
the arrival, from some almost forgotten friend in Canada, of an
ancient copy of the _Toronto Gazette_. This publication they pore over
to weariness, and on Sunday they will worry the clergyman with
questions about Transatlantic places and names, of which he is obliged
to confess himself utterly ignorant. An ancient dame once exhibited
her prayer-book, very nearly worn out, printed in the reign of George
II., and very much thumbed at the page from which she assiduously
prayed for the welfare of Prince Frederick." He himself used to act
as their postman. Perhaps it is misleading to say that Welcombe is
only three miles from Morwenstow; visitors who try to find their way
through the rambling narrow lanes will find it much nearer to five or
six. But the loveliness of Marsland vale is a recompense, and a
charming introduction to the beauties of North Devon.

On the Cornish side of Marsland-mouth is a secluded old farmhouse,
which Hawker solemnly averred was haunted. It was once truly haunted
by smugglers. Mr. Baring-Gould introduces it into his novel, _The
Gaverocks_. Hawker once said to a visitor, "You must go and look at
the old house there--there is a very curious old lady there you may
see--come into my study and I will show you her picture--she died, at
least her body did, some sixty years ago. I frequently see her and
talk with her." This spot must not be quitted without recalling that
Marsland-mouth is the home of Lucy Passmore, the white witch in
_Westward Ho!_ It was hither that Rose Salterne came to perform the
love-charm that should reveal her lover. It can hardly be said that
such superstitions have yet died out of the West Country, but it is
the older people now that cherish these ideas, secretly and furtively.
The youngsters are being taught differently in the Council Schools.

There are some fine headlands in this part of the coast, such as the
two Sharpnose Points, but the finest of all is Hennacliff, which rises
to about 450 feet, and drops sheer into the Atlantic waves. Even where
there is a beach beneath these rugged cliffs, it is usually difficult
to reach; in many parts the breakers dash full against the granite
precipices, and there are often outlying reefs of cruel jagged crag.
Noting the deadly features of the coast, we can understand how even
Bude attained its name of Haven, however bitterly ironic that name may
often have sounded. But it is a grand coast and mainland confronting
the wild, unresting sea, and the traditional atmosphere of the
district is wholly in keeping with its physical features. Rumours of
bygone peoples float around us--of Saxon and Celt and of earlier
people still; the legends that they fostered are repeated to us, the
footsteps of old saints may be traced, together with secular records
of pirate and smuggler. There are memories of glorious and gracious
personages, as well as of those whose villainy at least was
picturesque; there are sad memorials of shipwreck, death, and
heartbreak. There are stretches of undulating upland, with fragrant
turf, gorse, bracken; valleys almost too low for sunlight to enter,
the wild and tortuous mouths of rapid streams, patches of meadow and
pasture, with lonely cottages and isolated church-towns. Different
from the southern coast in aspect, more desolate, less fertile, there
is yet a special charm even in the desolation, a stimulating appeal in
the solitude, and a marvellous purity in the bracing winds that blow,
sometimes with ruthless violence, from a thousand leagues of ocean.



INDEX


    Acland, Sir T., 358

    Addison, 109

    Agnes, St., 356, 360

    Aitken, Rev. R., 223

    Anthony-in-Meneage, 110-11

    Anthony-in-Roseland, 79

    Antony, East, 27

    Armada, Spanish, 20, 25-7

    _Armorel of Lyonesse_, 198, 208

    Arthur, King, 335-46

    Arundel _family_, 292-9

    Arundel, John, 86-7, 270, 362

    Arwenack, 86, 88

    Athelstan, 184-5, 197

    Atwell, Martin, 69

    Austell, St., 66


    Baring-Gould, Rev. S., 36, 51, 326, 365, 379

    Bassets, 254-6

    Bedruthan Steps, 293-4

    _Bencoolen_, Wreck of the, 355

    Benson, Dr., 103, 210

    Besant, Sir W., 198

    Bessie's Cove, 159

    Beville, Sir J., 40

    Bligh, Capt., 110

    Bochym, 138

    Bodinnick, 51

    Bodmin, 319

    Bodmin Moors, 301

    Bodrigan, 73

    Boleigh, 184

    Bolster, 260-1

    Bonaparte, Lucien, 180

    Borlase, Dr., 115, 223, 242

    Borrow, George, 180

    Boscastle, 347-51

    Bossiney, 346

    Braddon, W., 352-3

    Breage, St., 151, 188

    Breock, St., 325-6

    Brett, J., 178

    Brutus, 17

    Bude, 354-8

    Burney, Fanny, 22

    Buryan, St., 185-6, 197, 265

    Byron, 81


    Cadgwith, 118

    Calais, Siege of, 60

    Cambeak, 352

    Camelford, 339

    Cape Cornwall, 221

    Carclaze Mine, 67

    Cardinham, 339

    Carew, 28, 73, 257, 357

    Carhays, St. Michael, 76

    Carminow, 143

    Carnanton, 299

    Carn Beacon, 78

    Carn Brea, 256

    Carn Galva, 225

    Carn Kenidzhek, 222

    Carter, "King of Prussia," 158

    Cataclew Stone, 306

    Cawsand, 24, 38

    Celts, 17, 58, 147, 273

    Chapel Carn Brea, 221

    Charlestown, 65, 67

    China-clay, 64, 66-7

    Choughs, 352

    Chûn Castle, 224

    Chysauster, 170

    Cinque Ports, 60

    Clarendon, 76, 87

    Coleridge, Derwent, 147

    Collins, Rev. J., 95

    Columb Major and Minor, St., 288, 290

    Constantine, St., 305-6

    Cook, Capt., 92

    Coppinger, Cruel, 329, 365-6

    Corineus, 17-18

    Cornish character, 147, 252

    Cornish language, 96, 124-5, 180, 236

    Cornwall, Formation and appearance, 14-15

    Cotehele, 24

    Couch, Jonathan, 44, 46

    Couch, Sir A. T. Quiller, 60

    Coverack, 117

    Crackington Cove, 352

    Crantock, 277-82

    Crantock Church, 280-1

    Crowza Downs, 116

    Cubert, 274, 276

    Cuby, St., 274

    Cury, St., 138-9


    Damelioc, 336

    Davy, Sir Humphry, 173

    Defoe, 82, 108, 170

    Dingerrein, 77

    Disraeli, B., 82

    Dodman, 75

    Dollar Hugo, 122

    Doom Bar, 310-19

    Dosmare Pool, 77, 146, 315

    Downderry, 27, 40

    Drake, 19, 26

    Drayton, 17

    Dryden, 89

    Dunstanville, de, 256, 259

    Dutch, 63


    Edgcumbe, 20, 24, 73, 75

    Edward IV., 62

    Egloshayle, 325

    Enodoc's, St., 326-9, 365

    Eval, St., 301

    Evelyn, 152

    Ewe, St., 69

    Exmouth, Lord, 173


    Fal, River, 100

    Falmouth, 81-96

    Finbar, St., 59

    Fishery, 35, 71-2

    Flavel, 133

    Flushing, 98

    _Fogous_, 122, 184, 302

    Forbes, Stanhope, 177

    Forrabury, 347

    Fowey, 55-65

    Fyn and Joan, 38


    Gannel, 277, 285

    Garrick, 22

    Genny's, St., 352

    George's, St. (Looe Isle), 37

    Geraint, 77-9

    Germoe, 153-4

    Gerrans Bay, 77

    Gilbert, 74

    Gildas, 305

    Glassiney College, 96

    Glastonbury, 339

    Godolphin _family_, 151-3, 198

    Godolphin Hill, 153

    Godrevy Rock and Lighthouse, 253

    Goethe, 135

    Gogmagog, 17-8

    Goonhilly Downs, 115, 142

    Gorlois, 336

    Gorran Haven, 74-5

    Gotham, Men of, 75

    Grade, 121

    Grenville _family_, 40, 51, 199, 359, 364

    Grenville, Sir Bevil, 40, 76, 359-62, 364

    Grenville, Grace, 359-62

    Gulf Stream, 207

    Gulval, 175

    Gunwalloe, 141

    Gurnard's Head, 225

    Gweek, 107, 108

    Gwythian, St., 251

    Gyllyngvase, 86


    Hall House, 50

    Hals, 61, 246, 275

    Halsetown, 246

    Halzaphron, 143

    Harlyn Bay, 306

    Hawker, Rev. R. S., 41, 345-7, 348, 355-7, 362, 369-78

    Hayle, 251

    Helford, 106-7, 306

    Heligan, 68-9

    Helston, 144-6, 316

    Hennacliff, 379

    Henry VII., 25

    Henry VIII., 99

    Hereward the Wake, 107

    Hervey, Rev. J., 364-5

    Hilary, 163

    Hind, C. L., 320

    _Holy Grail, High History of the_, 342

    Holywell Bay, 274-5

    Housel Bay, 126

    Hudson, W. H., 148, 178, 215

    Hurling, Game of, 289-90


    Ia, St., 232

    _Ictis_, 160

    Illogan, 257, 259

    Irving, Sir Henry, 246-8

    Ives, St., 231-46, 254, 256

    Ives, St., Borough Accounts, 237-42


    Jews in Cornwall, 160

    Johns, Rev. C. A., 122, 145, 147

    Johnson, Dr., 22

    Juliet, St., 342

    Just, St., 116

    Just-in-Penwith, St., 221


    Kaiser, the, 21

    Kelly Rounds, 336

    Kennack Sands, 118

    Kenwyn, 104

    Keverne, St., 115-17

    Kilkhampton, 359, 364

    Killigarth, 40

    Killigrews, 85-6, 88-90, 95, 97

    King Harry's Ferry, 101

    Kingsand, 24

    Kingsley, Rev. C., 70, 107, 147, 375-6

    Knighton's Kieve, 347

    Knill Monument, 248-9

    Kynance, 128


    Lamorna, 183

    Landewednack, 123-4

    Land's End, 211-17

    Langarrow, 276-9

    Lanherne, Vale and Nunnery of, 249-6

    Lansallos, 46

    Lanshadron, 69

    Lanteglos-by-Fowey, 48-50

    Lanyon Quoit, 224

    Leland, 45, 142, 341, 348

    Lelant, 235, 249-50

    Levan, St., 188-9

    Levant, 222

    Lizard, 123

    Lizard Lighthouse, 127

    Lizard Town, 126

    Loe Pool, 144-6

    Logan Stone, 186-7

    Longships, 217

    Looe, 29-40

    Looe Island, 37

    Lostwithiel, 63

    Lovibond, T., 325

    Lyonesse, 14-5, 194-6, 279


    Macdonald, George, 359

    Madron, St., 168, 176, 351

    Mail Packets (Falmouth), 90-5

    Maker, 24

    Manaccan, 110

    Manacles, 111-12

    Marazion, 159

    Marconi Station, 136-8

    Market-Jew, 160

    Marsland-mouth, 377-9

    Martin, St., 35-6

    Mary's, St. (Scilly), 193

    Mawes, St., 81, 99

    Mawgan-in-Meneage, 107

    Mawgan-in-Pydar, 299

    Mawgan Porth, 293

    Mawnan, 106

    _Mên Scryfa_, 224

    _Mên-an-tol_, 224

    Menabilly, 64

    Menagew, 67

    Meneage, 107

    Merlin, 195, 218

    Merry Maidens, 185

    Merryn, St., 305-6

    Mevagissey, 69-73

    Michael, St., 25, 160, 358

    Michael's Mount, St., 159-66

    Milliton, 154

    Milton, 17

    Minster, 351

    Mohuns, 50

    Mordred, 195, 340

    Morvah, 223

    Morwenstow, 369, 374-5

    Mount's Bay, 150

    Mount Edgcumbe, 20-4

    Mousehole, 179-83

    Mullion, 131-2

    Mylor, 98-9


    Napoleon III., 21

    Nare Head, 77

    Nash, 76

    Nectan, St., 347, 377

    Neolithic cemetery, 306-10

    Newlyn, 176-8

    Newquay, 287

    Norway, A. H., 43, 90, 173, 326, 329

    Noye, W., 299


    Olaf, King, 197

    Opie, 262-3

    Ordulf, 121


    Padstow, 301, 319-22

    Par, 64

    Paul, 179

    Payne, Anthony, 359

    Pellew (Lord Exmouth), 173

    Pendeen, 222-3

    Pendennis, 81, 86-8

    Pengersick, 154

    Penny-come-quick, 85

    Penpoll Creek (Newquay), 285

    Penryn, 85, 96-8

    Pentewan, 67

    Pentire Glaze, 329

    Pentreath, Dolly, 179-80

    Penwarne, 73

    Penzance, 167-74

    Perranporth, 264

    Perranuthnoe, 159

    Perranzabuloe, 266

    Petherick, Little, 319

    Petrock, St., 305, 316, 319

    Phillack, 250

    Pigeon Hugo, 131

    Pilchards, 35, 71-2, 118, 244, 287, 333

    Pipers, the, 185

    Piran, St., 115, 159, 264-70

    Place House, 59, 79, 321

    _Plân-an-guare_, 221, 257, 270

    Plymouth, 15-20

    Poldhu, 136-8

    Pole-Carew, 27

    Polkinghorne, 250

    Polperro, 42-7

    Polruan, 48-9

    Poltesco, 118

    Polwhele, 110

    Polzeath, 329

    Port Isaac, 333-4

    Porthcothan, 301-2

    Porthcurnow, 187

    Porthglaze, 226

    Porthgwarra, 189

    Porthleven, 150

    Porthoustock, 111, 113

    Porthpean, 67

    Portloe, 77

    Portholland, 77

    Portmellin, 73

    Portreath, 259

    Portscatho, 79

    Poughill, 363

    Praa Sands, 157

    Prideaux, Dean, 321-2

    Prideaux Place, 321

    Prussia Cove, 157

    Prussia, King of, 158


    Rame Head, 25, 75

    Rashleigh, 64

    Reynolds, Sir J., 21

    Roads, 16

    Rocky Valley, 346

    Romanism in England, 273

    Romans, 16, 104

    Roseland, 77

    Rosemullion, 106

    Ruan or Rumon, St., 121

    Ruan Lanihorne, 121


    Samson, St., 198

    Sandplace, 40

    Scilly cable, 206

    Scilly flowers, 203-5

    Scilly Islands, 190

    Scilly, Origin of name, 196-7

    Scilly, St. Mary's, 193, 207

    Scilly seabirds, 209

    Scilly, Tresco, 197-8, 200, 208

    Seagulls, 53, 244

    Sennen, 217-18

    Serpentine, 122

    Shuttleworth, Professor, 326

    Sidonia, Medina, 20, 26

    Slanning, 76

    Smith, Augustus, 200

    Southey, 166

    Stamford Hill, Battle of, 255, 360

    Stanbury, 376

    Storm of 1703, 108-9

    Stowe, 359

    Stratton, 359

    Submarine platform, 13

    Swinburne, 347


    Talland, 32

    Tavistock, 121

    Tehidy, 254-6

    Teilo, St., 78

    Tennyson, 101-2, 145, 212, 341, 354, 372-4

    Tewdrig, 235, 249

    Thackeray, 50

    Tin, 16

    Tintagel, 335-46

    Tonacombe, 375-6

    Tonkin, 263

    Towednack, 230, 235

    Trackways, 16

    Trebarwith, 324

    Treffry, 59, 62

    Tregeagle, 313-19

    Tregonning, 153

    Trelawne, 41

    Trelawney, 41-2

    Trenwith, 236

    Trerice, 296

    Treryn Dinas (logan stone), 186-7

    Treryn Dinas (Gurnard's Head), 225

    Tresco Abbey, 197-8, 200

    Trevanion, 76

    Trevemper, 285

    Trevena (Tintagel), 342, 346

    Trevithick, 257-9

    Trevose, 310

    Trewoofe (or Troove), 184

    Truro, 100-4

    Tywardreath, 65


    Uny, St., 151

    Uther, 336


    Valency, River, 348

    Vandevelde, 21

    Veryan, 77

    Victoria, Queen, 101


    Wadebridge, 325

    Warbeck, Perkin, 236

    Watergate, 40

    Welcombe, 377-8

    Wesley, 148, 242, 261

    Western Rebellion, 236

    Whitaker, 110

    Whitesand Bay, 25, 27, 38, 221

    Widemouth Bay, 353

    Winoc, St., 123, 230

    Winwaloe, 123-4, 139

    Wolcot, Dr., 262

    Wolf Lighthouse, 217

    Wyllow, St., 48


    Zennor, 226-9

    Zose Point, 79



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