Elizabeth Trevanion – the Cornishwoman who raised a King

When Charles, the second son of King James I and Anne of Denmark, was born in Scotland in November 1600 he was a sickly baby who grew to be a “weak and backward child”. The Royal physicians feared for his health and yet under the care of Elizabeth Trevanion the boy who would one day […]

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John Bray of Poughill – Recorder of Wrecks

Reverend Robert Hawker, the eccentric vicar of Morwenstow, has become a much celebrated figure. He is perhaps best known as the author of Cornwall’s unofficial national anthem “Song of the Western Men”, better known as ‘Trelawney’, but he is also remembered for recording the dark tales of smugglers, wreckers and shipwrecks that occurred in his […]

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The Tomb of Sir James Tillie, Pentillie Castle

Pentillie Castle, built by James Tillie in 1698, is one of the best kept secrets of the Tamar Valley. An elegant home tucked away in deep woodland beside a bend of the river, it is an impossibly idyllic spot. But this grand house, and the wonderful estate that surrounds it, also has one of the […]

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Hugh Peter – The Cornishman who killed a King?

It would of course be unfair to blame just one man for the death of King Charles I but the Cornishman Hugh Peter may well have played a significant role in the monarch’s downfall. He was certainly guilty of stirring up malicious, regicidal feelings towards the king, encouraging Parliament to inflict the ultimate punishment on […]

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The Ghost of Godolphin House – The Life & Death of Margaret Godolphin

It’s a familiar story . . . an isolated and ancient country house where a ghostly figure is said to haunt the corridors and glide through the moonlit gardens. This particular version takes place at Godolphin, one of Cornwall’s best-known manor houses and involves the Godolphin family who once lived there and were amongst the […]

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Captain James Williams – a Daring Smuggler of St Ives.

Today the small fishing port of St Ives is best known for its beaches, its vibrant art scene and its ice cream but in the 18th and 19th centuries it was something of a smuggler’s paradise. And as was so often the case in Cornwall it seems the whole community was in on the enterprise […]

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Cornwall’s Connections to the Crew of the Mary Rose

mary rose

On 19th July 1545 the Mary Rose, the pride and joy of King Henry VIII and the flagship of the Royal Navy, sank during the Battle of the Solent. Of the roughly 500 crew on board only 34 would survive. It was a national disaster and a serious embrassment for the Crown. It is said […]

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The Tomb of John Bevill of Killigarth – Scandal, Angry Bulls & Daphne du Maurier

In the late 16th century a stonemason called Peter Crocker was living in the area around Looe. His work was so fine, so elegant and intricate that the gentry of Elizabethan Cornwall commissioned him again and again to carve their likenesses into their slate tombs. Almost nothing is known about Crocker but because of him […]

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Willy Wilcox’s Cave, Polperro

In Polperro at the end of the 18th century, as in so many of Cornwall’s coastal villages, fishing and farming were the mainstays. However, while both industries could be reasonably profitable or at the very least support a family, they were also unreliable and seasonal. Many men chose to supplement their income with a little […]

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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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