The Cornish Witch Trials

On the 24th November 1653 the Mercurius Politicus, a weekly newspaper published in London, reported the following: CORNWALL A witch near Lands End accused, and accuses others. Eight sent to Launceston goal. Some probably executed. Unfortunately any details of this particular case, and along with undoubtedly many others, have vanished in the intervening three hundred […]

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Moresk Castle – the lost castle at St Clement

As a youngster I often pondered why the small muddy footpath that leads along the waters edge from St Clement to Malpas had its own road sign. As I grew older I realised that the name on the sign – Denas Road – must have some connection to the Cornish word for castle, dinas, but […]

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‘For the Fallen’ – the famous war poem written at Pentire Head

One day in early September 1914 the poet Laurence Binyon sat on the Cornish cliffs gazing out at the sea. It was the first few weeks of the First World War and the terrible news of the casualties in France must have weighed heavily on his mind. It was in that moment, so far from […]

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The Parson Ghost Layers – Cornwall’s Exorcists

“It is said that the best way to be converted to a belief in ghosts is to make the personal acquaintance of one . . .” A. A. Clinnick, Old Cornwall, 1931 Accounts of a village parson bravely pitting his wits against evil spirits from the underworld or doing battle with pesky ghostly apparitions is […]

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Kennall vale – the haunted woodland

By 1800 the mining industry in Cornwall was becoming increasingly hungry for gunpowder, some 4000 barrels a year were being brought in from up country at great expense. The first Cornish mill to manufacture the explosive was set up in Cosawes Woods near Ponsanooth in 1809 and another, roughly a mile away, was established by […]

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The Ghost of Tryphena Pendarves

tryphena pendarves

When Tryphena Pendarves died at the age of 94 in October 1873 the Cornish newspapers reported the return of her mortal remains to Camborne. Her funeral was supposedly attended by numerous local dignitaries and Mrs Pendarves was apparently laid to rest in the imposing family tomb at Treslothan Church, close to Pendarves House. (I say […]

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Unusual Epitaphs in Cornwall

I seem to have spent a lot of time in churches and graveyards. Not because I am particularly religious or morbid but because these places are a truly wonderful historical resource. A priceless repository of our collective heritage. And there is always something interesting to discover including some rather strange and unusual epitaphs. We have […]

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Ralph’s Cupboard – Giants & Smugglers near Portreath

It is fair to say that if you look hard enough every nook and cranny of the Cornish coast has some tale or other to tell. Whether it is shipwrecks, mermaids, ancient cliff castles, strange geology or wily smugglers, it’s really hard to find a cove or cliff without some story attached to it. While […]

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Four Falmouth men & The Spanish Armada

The first place that the Spanish Armada was sighted on mainland Britain was supposedly at Lizard Point in July 1588. From there, in a pre-arranged signal, a great chain of beacons was lit. The glow of fires jumped from one hilltop to the next up across the country to warn of the enemy‚Äôs arrival to […]

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Discover Tregargus Valley

tregargus

The Clay Country region of Cornwall is an area that I know very little about, somehow I have passed through but never really lingered or come to understand it. Strange I suppose considering that its towering white waste mountains haunt the horizon from so many of Cornwall’s high places. They never seem far away. So […]

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