Roche Rock

Roche Rock is a spectacular geological phenomenon that has been the focal point of the surrounding communities for so long that there are numerous ancient myths and legends associated with it. I set out to discover the history of this striking landmark and the many stories that seem to cling to these enigmatic ruins like […]

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St Nonna’s Well & a 17th century Cure for Madness

“Once upon a time, as all good stories begin, St Nonna, the reputed mother of St David happened upon this pleasant place . . .” The Cornwall Village Book, Cornwall W.I., 1991 The moorland village of Altarnun nestles in a river valley. Idyllic, secluded and peaceful. The ancient church, often called ‘the cathedral of the […]

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Cornwall’s Strongmen – feats of strength & record breakers

Over the centuries there have been many men in Cornwall who have become famous for their feats of physical strength, men who were known as the real Cornish giants, such as Anthony Payne, Bob Fitzsimmons or Charles Chilcott. Some of our strongmen are much less well known however, their names and achievements have been all […]

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Dick Williams of Penryn – The Cornish Strongman

Richard ‘Dick’ Williams was born in Penryn on 16th April 1911, the son of Arthur and Leana Williams who lived in a cottage close to Tremough. Arthur’s work as the assistant station master at Penryn Railway Station, though a responsible one, wasn’t particularly physically demanding, so it isn’t clear where Dick’s enthusiasm for performing incredible […]

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Building the Royal Albert Bridge

The opening of Brunel’s Royal Albert Bridge in May 1859 marked a turning point in Cornwall’s history. No longer cut off from the rest of the country by the wide, watery barrier of the River Tamar, from that moment on travel to the region became quicker and easier than ever before. Within just a few […]

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The Death of Sir Francis Basset & the Dunstanville Memorial, Carn Brea

When Francis Basset, Baron de Dunstanville, died in Knightsbridge in London in 1835 he was one of the wealthiest landowners in Cornwall and the head of one of its most ancient families. There had been Bassets in Cornwall for nearly 900 years and his death came as a shock to his friends and family and […]

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Caer Bran Hillfort, Sancreed – Cornwall Heritage Trust

caer bran

Like so much of Penwith the parish of Sancreed is pretty much bursting with ancient remains. From Bronze Age standing stones and Iron Age villages to holy wells and Celtic crosses. This is an incredibly rich historic landscape that offers us so much and needs our protection. So it was wonderful to hear in February […]

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Gurnard’s Head – Ancient Stronghold & Medieval Hermitage

gurnard's head

The jutting, rugged finger of rock known as Gurnard’s Head has to be one of my favourite places in Penwith. From its dramatic heights I have watched gannets diving for fish and seen sleepy seals bottling; sometimes I have picnicked on warm grass in golden, evening sunshine and sometimes hidden behind rocks slick with rain […]

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Owen Phippen – Captured by Barbary Pirates, Buried in Truro Cathedral

For over 300 years Barbary pirates preyed upon the coasts of the south west of England. Thousands of the ordinary folk were taken captive and held for ransom or sold as slaves in markets in North Africa. Those most at risk were fishermen and merchant sailors whose unarmed boats made easy targets, as Owen Phippen, […]

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