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

pentreath

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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The Daymark & the Grave of an African Boy, St Martin’s

Clearly visible for miles around the Daymark is undoubtedly the most iconic structure on St Martin’s. Wherever you are on the island somehow it feels like it is drawing you towards it. Despite the Scillonian boatman trying to convince gullible visitors that the stripped tower is the cone of a rocket it is in fact […]

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Neolithic Greenstone Axe ‘Factory’, Polstrong Valley, Camborne

Much of prehistory is a complete mystery to us. There are so many unanswered questions. Practically everything we know about the Neolithic comes from the few objects that have survived the intervening centuries, and how we have subsequently interpreted those finds. But if we had to choose just one object to be the iconic symbol […]

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Electric Cornwall – Street Lighting Powered by Pilchards

https://www.flickr.com/photos/elsaw/16024303526/

According to local legend in 1895 Mevagissey became the first place in Cornwall, maybe even one of the first places in the UK, to have electric street lighting. Amazingly the harbour’s new power station was run entirely on pilchard oil. But this innovation is actually less surprising once you learn that this small fishing community […]

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The Ruin of Berry Tower, Bodmin

berry tower

Bodmin is one of the oldest settlements in Cornwall and the only Cornish town of any size to be mentioned in the Domesday Book. This ancient settlement is said to have been founded by two saints. The first, St Guron built a hermit’s cell in the valley sometime in the early 6th century and then […]

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