The Cornish Witch Trials

On the 24th November 1653 the Mercurius Politicus, a weekly newspaper published in London, reported the following: CORNWALL A witch near Lands End accused, and accuses others. Eight sent to Launceston goal. Some probably executed. Unfortunately any details of this particular case, and along with undoubtedly many others, have vanished in the intervening three hundred […]

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Jubilee Rock, Bodmin Moor

jubilee rock

Let joys uncurb’d swell every soul, And let us own our extacy; For free from sorrow and controul, We’ll celebrate the Jubilee! JOhn Rogers, 1810 Just a short walk north of the moorland village of Blisland are the Pendrift Downs and here, part way up the gorse-covered slope, the walker will find an enormous boulder, […]

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Truro’s Forgotten Past – Our City’s Hidden Secrets

Truro sits in the heart of Cornwall – our only city and our most populous area. These days it is home to Cornwall’s cathedral and a multitude of shops as well as a theatre and the Royal Cornwall Museum. But what lies beneath the buildings and carparks and what lurks in quiet side-streets, forgotten by […]

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Review: A Selection of Cornish Books from 2020

I know that 2020 isn’t quite over yet but let’s just say it didn’t exactly turn out as we had all hoped! One silver lining for me this year is that I have been given the opportunity to review some really wonderful books published by Cornish writers or written about Cornwall. I thought that I […]

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Captain John Piers – Cornish pirate

In early October 1581 the Cornish pirate John Piers and fifteen of his crew were arrested on a beach in Dorset. According to legend although Piers was very much a wanted man his capture was pure fluke. There had been no betrayal, no gem of intelligence that had led the arresting officer, Thomas Walshe, to […]

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Mulfra Quoit

mulfra quoit

You can find Mulfra Quoit in ‘the land of granite and gorse’, high up on a hill overlooking the wide sweep of Mounts Bay. On a clear, bright day a finer location would be hard to imagine. Of the quoits found in Penwith this is one of the smallest but what it lacks in size […]

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Moresk Castle – the lost castle at St Clement

As a youngster I often pondered why the small muddy footpath that leads along the waters edge from St Clement to Malpas had its own road sign. As I grew older I realised that the name on the sign – Denas Road – must have some connection to the Cornish word for castle, dinas, but […]

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‘For the Fallen’ – the famous war poem written at Pentire Head

One day in early September 1914 the poet Laurence Binyon sat on the Cornish cliffs gazing out at the sea. It was the first few weeks of the First World War and the terrible news of the casualties in France must have weighed heavily on his mind. It was in that moment, so far from […]

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The Parson Ghost Layers – Cornwall’s Exorcists

“It is said that the best way to be converted to a belief in ghosts is to make the personal acquaintance of one . . .” A. A. Clinnick, Old Cornwall, 1931 Accounts of a village parson bravely pitting his wits against evil spirits from the underworld or doing battle with pesky ghostly apparitions is […]

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Kennall vale – the haunted woodland

By 1800 the mining industry in Cornwall was becoming increasingly hungry for gunpowder, some 4000 barrels a year were being brought in from up country at great expense. The first Cornish mill to manufacture the explosive was set up in Cosawes Woods near Ponsanooth in 1809 and another, roughly a mile away, was established by […]

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