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 […]

Read More

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 […]

Read More

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 […]

Read More

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 […]

Read More

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 […]

Read More

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 […]

Read More

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 […]

Read More

Escapes from Helston Prison

Over a period of twenty years at least eight men and one woman are known to have escaped from Helston Prison. Considering the gaol was only open for twenty-nine years in total that seems a pretty poor track record. In fact, while compiling this article I haven’t really come across many other instances of prison […]

Read More

Robert Johns of Penryn & Sir John Franklin’s Doomed Arctic Expedition

By Illustrated London News - Getty - nationalgeographic.fr, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=104706600

On the 19th May 1845 the greatest Arctic expedition ever planned set off from England, its mission – to find to elusive North-West Passage. This was the most technologically advanced and best-equipped enterprise of its age and, despite the failure of many previous attempts, the Admiralty and all those aboard the HMS Erebus and HMS […]

Read More

Bobby Leach – Cornish Daredevil goes over Niagara Falls in a barrel

Robert ‘Bobby’ Leach was a daredevil stuntman said to hail from Cornwall. In July 1911 he became the first man, and only the second person, to go over Niagara Falls in a barrel. After recovering from his injuries he became an international celebrity, travelling the world with his barrel, regaling audiences with his tales of […]

Read More