The Daymark & the Grave of an African Boy, St Martin’s

Clearly visible for miles around the Daymark is undoubtedly the most iconic structure on St Martin’s. Wherever you are on the island somehow it feels like it is drawing you towards it. Despite the Scillonian boatman trying to convince gullible visitors that the stripped tower is the cone of a rocket it is in fact […]

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Electric Cornwall – Street Lighting Powered by Pilchards

https://www.flickr.com/photos/elsaw/16024303526/

According to local legend in 1895 Mevagissey became the first place in Cornwall, maybe even one of the first places in the UK, to have electric street lighting. Amazingly the harbour’s new power station was run entirely on pilchard oil. But this innovation is actually less surprising once you learn that this small fishing community […]

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The Ruin of Berry Tower, Bodmin

berry tower

Bodmin is one of the oldest settlements in Cornwall and the only Cornish town of any size to be mentioned in the Domesday Book. This ancient settlement is said to have been founded by two saints. The first, St Guron built a hermit’s cell in the valley sometime in the early 6th century and then […]

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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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Port Quin – the Mystery of ‘the Hopeless Dawn’

port quin

Port Quin is a beautiful place, a picturesque little Cornish inlet. It is considered a safe habour, though somewhat shallow, with the rocks at its narrow entrance between Doyden Point and Kellan Head appearing to almost touch. Yet despite its sheltered position, and having Newquay and Padstow on one side and Port Isaac on the […]

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The Hayle to Marazion Canal

Hayle marazion canal

“The two seas, the waters of St Ives Bay separated only by a narrow stretch of land from the ocean where St Michael’s Mount guards Marazion. Cut a canal and western Cornwall is an island.” Claud Williamson shaw, The Cornishman, 20th September 1906 For a number of years during the late 19th and early 20th […]

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The Mysterious Lewannick Cresset Stone

In the early hours of Sunday morning, 12th January 1890, Lewannick church caught fire. The alarm was raised at one o’clock and pretty soon the whole village was awake, crowding in the narrow roads around the building, wondering what to do. The Launceston fire crew was sent for but it was already too late. The […]

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The Truro Poltergeist

In 1848 the author Catherine Crowe published a book called The Night Side of Nature, it was an exploration of ‘ghosts and ghost seers’. The book quickly became a bestseller and interestingly it introduced its readers to a new word – Poltergeist. Originating in Germany in the mid-19th century poltergeist came from poltern meaning to […]

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First Flights – Tales of Early Aviation in Cornwall

For the jet-setters of the 21st century it is hard to imagine a world without powered flight, but just for a moment put yourself in the shoes one of the people in the enormous crowds that gathered around Mounts Bay on July 23rd 1910. They were there to see their first aeroplane take to the […]

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King Henry VIII & Anne Boleyn’s Honeymoon on the Roseland.

A few years ago I visited the Tower of London and for some reason, with all its 1000 years of history, all those momentous episodes that have played out within its walls, the one memory that sticks with me is standing on the spot where Anne Boleyn lost her head. I find her a fascinating […]

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