Napoleon Bonaparte in Cawsand Bay

In July 1815 the captured Napoleon Bonaparte was waiting to hear his fate on board HMS Bellerophon. After his escape from Elba the previous year and subsequent defeat at Waterloo the British Government was debating what should be done with the ex-emperor. He had arrived at Plymouth Sound on the 26th July but his presence […]

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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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Building the Royal Albert Bridge

The opening of Brunel’s Royal Albert Bridge in May 1859 marked a turning point in Cornwall’s history. No longer cut off from the rest of the country by the wide, watery barrier of the River Tamar, from that moment on travel to the region became quicker and easier than ever before. Within just a few […]

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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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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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Borderlands – Crossing the River Tamar

In 1828, when he was just 22 years old, Isambard Kingdom Brunel stood on the banks of the Tamar at Saltash. Surveying the wide, tidal river he concluded that it was ‘much too wide to be worth having a bridge’. Some 20 years later however, he was to design the Royal Albert Bridge for that […]

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Dodman Point & the Napoleonic Signal Station

Dodman Point is the highest headland on Cornwall’s south coast, standing at 374ft (114m) above the waves below. For centuries it has held a strategic and symbolic place in the hearts and minds of those that have lived close to it. Once a place of refuge for our ancient ancestors, the point has also been […]

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Silas Finn & Amram Hooper – Smuggling at Portwrinkle

Portwrinkle

For many years smuggling in Cornwall was regarded as an honourable profession and the men who practiced it were euphemistically called as ‘fair traders’. In fact, these men and women were often ‘upstanding’ members of the community. A known smuggler in Falmouth, Isaac Cocart, was actually mayor of the town twice, as well as being […]

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Largin Castle – Iron Age Hillfort

Largin Castle

Hidden deep in woodland above the River Fowey is what remains of Largin Castle. It sits on the top of a steep ridge that towers above the Glynn Valley, and is the perfect spot for a defensive structure. But Largin was no Roman outpost or ‘motte and bailey’ affair. This ‘castle’ was built in the […]

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