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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William Wilton – Mathematical, Philosophical & Optical Instrument Maker

william wilton

The growth of the mining industry in Cornwall transformed not only the economy and countryside but also the lives of the people living and working in and around it. A population explosion saw villages become towns and towns become tent cities. There was also an amazing burgeoning of enterprise and invention which rippled out from […]

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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 enemyโ€™s arrival to […]

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Bosiliack Chambered Cairn


Having so many prehistoric monuments in such a relatively small area as the Penwith can mean that sometimes something rather special gets overlooked. I was sitting beside Bosiliack Cairn recently, eating my picnic and enjoying the last bit of sun. In the distance Lanyon Quoit was attracting a steady stream of visitors, as was Men […]

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Discover Tregargus Valley


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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Davidstow Moor – a Haunted Landscape

davidstow moor

“The sour and uninviting upland pastures” J.R.A. Hockin, 1939 It seems that some places by their very nature create their own mythology. The austere wildness of the vast tracts of Davidstow Moor have conceivably led to it being regarded by many as a dark and haunted landscape. However, a number of strange and unfortunate occurrences […]

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The Notorious Women of the Killigrew Family

The Killigrew family are said to have been the original builders and benefactors of Falmouth. They were the first to realise and exploit it’s potential as a harbour and a centre for trade. With their deep connections to the monarchy from the time of the reign of Henry III in the 13th century they were […]

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