Billy Bray’s Dancing feet

Once while on one of our trips my other half and I were taking in just another orange Caribbean sunset when we heard what we thought was a party just a few dusty streets away. It may have been the rum or the weeks on the road with little in the way of night life but we […]

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Celebrating the Rather Eccentric Mr Knill

John Knill loved St Ives. And more than 2oo years after his death St Ives is still remembering him.  This rather eccentric philanthropist (sometimes smuggler) wanted to provide for the people he had grown so fond of. And to also guarantee that his name would be remembered for all time in the town that he made […]

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The Singular Mr Daniel Gumb & his house of rocks

Walking out in to the silence of Bodmin moor when the sky is bright blue and the air is still there is a kind of rare peacefulness for me.  The whisper of the breeze though the dried grasses. The buzz of various flying beasties seems so loud in that vast open space.  Tricked by the recent […]

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Celia Fiennes: Through Cornwall, side-saddle!

Celia Fiennes was born in 1662 but she had very different ideas about what a woman of her time should be and how they should behave.  Celia refused to be bound by convention and she never married. At a time when making a journey for its own sake was a new and rather racy idea, Celia became […]

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Hannah Jory: Mother, Prostitute & Convict

I find researching and writing about an ordinary person from the past fascinating (perhaps it is my natural nosiness).  At times it is captivating, at others, difficult to comprehend. After all these folks aren’t around to explain their actions or to defend themselves.  Records for the regular person on the street are scant, we often left with small […]

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Granny Boswell: Cornwall’s Gypsy Queen

There are some women in history that I really wish I could meet and Granny Boswell, Gypsy Queen, would be one of them. Granny Boswell was of course not always a granny, Ann Boswell was born in 1813. She and her husband, Ephraim, locally known as the King of the Gypsies, are said to have come from Tipperary, […]

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Anthony Payne: A Real Cornish Giant

  There are many tales of giants in Cornwall, look up them in a book of legends and they seem to spend quite a lot of their time throwing massive boulders about and striding great distances.  But there was one giant who we known truly existed and by all accounts he was a giant of a man […]

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Remembering the Murder of Charlotte Dymond

Charlotte Dymond’s body was found on the lonely moors near Camelford. It was April 1844 and Cornwall was overcome with shock. But there was something else too – a kind of unsavoury excitement.  This was the stuff of Penny Dreadful fiction and the public was loving it. A beautiful and pious young girl brutally murdered on a Sunday, while […]

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Who was Pirate John ‘Eyebrows’ Thomas?

What happens when the truth turns out to be far duller than the legend?  Do you try to get the facts to fit the exciting story that you would like to believe. Or do you acknowledge that history and time can sometimes make fools of us? And then of course there is a third option. To present […]

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