Tremayne Quay on the Helford & its Scandalous Royal Visits

The Helford River is fringed by beautiful ancient woodland. Dominated by oak trees, each of these woods has its own name and its own history. There is Bonallack, Bosahan, Calamansack, Carminowe, Merthen and Roskymmer, old Cornish names that dance on the tongue. Most remain untouched, home to rabbits, the odd deer and perhaps a clamour […]

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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 […]

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The Mystery of Pencalenick Obelisk, near Truro

In a copse of trees known as the Rookery not far from the city of Truro there is a large granite column called the Pencalenick Obelisk. This isolated stone pillar has been the cause of speculation and rumour for more than a hundred years, since those who remember why it was built have all gone. […]

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Wolf Rock Lighthouse

wolf rock

One of the highlights of walking along Cornwall’s stunning coastal path is coming upon a lighthouse perched precariously on a cliff edge or rocky headland. These are magnificent buildings – bold, seemingly impregnable but undeniably functional. Their towers stand smooth and solid against the rough rock and the inconstant sea. But perhaps the most fascinating […]

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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 […]

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Legends of Land’s End – Dr. Syntax, Dr. Johnson, Lyonesse & the Armed Knight

The legendary headland now known as Land’s End is probably Cornwall’s most famous landmark. Whether you love or hate the recent development there no visit to the area is complete without standing on that towering cliff top at the very tip of mainland Britain. For hundreds of years ‘Pilgrims’ have flocked to here for the […]

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The Mysterious Disappearance of John Davidson

A strange thing happened to me a couple of years ago, I bought a secondhand book exactly 110 years to the day that a man mentioned in it had died – the 23rd March. The book was The Oxford Literary Guide to the British Isles, published in 1977. I had started leafing through it in […]

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Wartime Cornwall – a Haven for the French Resistance & Europe’s Refugees

On the 15th June 1940, following France’s fall to German occupation, General Charles de Gaulle, secretly left his homeland. His boat is said to have landed at an undisclosed location somewhere on the Helford River in Cornwall before the military leader-in-exile was driven to London. A few days later, on the 18th June, De Gaulle […]

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‘Adolf Vinnen’ – Last great Sailing ship Wrecked on Cornwall’s Coast

“There is no sight like a sailing vessel ashore, nothing so eloquently tragic . . . Mechanically propelled vessels have not the personality and even when stricken upon the rocks they do not make an appeal to the heart as do their more graceful sisters of the wind.” Western Morning News, 27th April 1936 When […]

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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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