‘Jack the Ripper’ in Cornwall

In the Whitechapel district of London in 1888 a series of grisly murders were terrorising the population and confounding the police. Far from the capital the ripples of those terrifying events were making themselves felt in the most unlikely of places – the quiet towns and villages of Cornwall. The fear was palpable – could […]

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Saints, Kings & Mermaids – Discovering Breage’s Medieval Wall Paintings

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In medieval Cornwall, as in the rest of Britain, the majority of ordinary folk were unable to read and write. Bible stories and Christian teachings were learnt and understood through oral repetition in church services, watching religious plays such as the Ordinalia and through colourful, attention-grabbing wall paintings. While most of these ancient murals have […]

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The Tale of The Last Man in Crantock’s Stocks

In around 1817 a surprising scene unfolded before a crowd of parishioners gathered in the churchyard of the peaceful village of Crantock. What happened that afternoon became the stuff of local legend and visitors to this quiet coastal church can still buy postcards relating the story to this day. This unusual episode is the hilarious […]

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Anne Basset – Mistress of Henry VIII & Almost Queen of England

In 1528 Honor Basset found herself in need of a husband. John Basset had just died at the age of 66 and Honor, an ambitious woman from an ancient Cornish family, knew only too well the advantages that a good marriage could bring, not just for her but for her children too. It is unlikely […]

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Burial Place of Theodore Paleologus – Soldier, Assassin & Descendant of the Last Byzantine Emperor

On the 29th May 1453 the last emperor of Byzantium fell in battle at Constantinople. Emperor Constantine Paleologus had been fighting the Turkish army led by Mehmet the Conqueror and his death marked the end of an ancient Royal Dynasty, of an empire that had lasted a thousand years and it forced his surviving family […]

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The Mystery of the Gold Bars of Pentreath Beach

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This story is part recorded fact and part local legend. And what makes it all the more fascinating is that this tale of buried treasure didn’t happen back in the mists of time. It happened only around 50 years ago. On the 15th November 1973 the West Briton newspaper ran a front page story about […]

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The Cornish Statue Menhir – a Scilly Oddity

In 1944 the Reverend Henry Ardern Lewis arrived on St Martin’s, Isles of Scilly and alongside his duties for his new congregation, like so many clergymen of that time, he began dabbling in archaeology. And he was certainly spoilt for choice, St Martin’s is peppered with prehistoric remains, from standing stones to chambered cairns. During […]

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The Trelan Bahow Mirror & Trelanvean Cross

There are many objects that have been found in Cornwall lurking in vaults and display cases inside the British Museum. Treasures that I would just love to see with my own eyes . . . or better still, hold in my hands. The intricate Anglo-Saxon silver from the Trewhiddle hoard for example, or the huge […]

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A Penzance Ghost Story – Skeleton under the floor

“murder cannot be hid long . . . the truth will out.” Shakespeare, The Merchant of Venice, 1596 In October 1813 a group of workmen were employed to take down a derelict building near the old quay in Penzance. As they began lifting the stone slabs covering the ground floor they made a grisly discovery. […]

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A Gothic Cookbook – Daphne Du Maurier’s Afternoon Tea

When Ella Buchan, the co-author of ‘A Gothic Cookbook’, contacted me and suggested that we collaborated on a post that combined Cornwall, gothic literature and cakey tea there was no way I was going to say no! And on the lead up to Halloween the idea just seemed perfect! Over to Ella to tell you […]

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