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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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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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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Mary Newman of Saltash – Wife of Sir Francis Drake

On 4th July 1569 St Francis Drake married his young sweetheart Mary Newman in St Budeaux Church on the Tamar estuary. While Drake was to become a household name and the greatest seaman of the Elizabethan Age his Cornish wife remains an obscure figure. Something I hope to rectify that a little here. Mary Newman […]

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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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Memories of a South Crofty Miner

When South Crofty tin mine closed in 1998 a gaping hole was left in our community, not only for the miners and their families but for the whole of Cornwall. It was the end of an era. In recent years the Canadian company, Strongbow Exploration, has made positive steps towards re-opening this iconic mine. But […]

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