Saturday, 4 April 2015

D is for Delabole and the Duchy of Cornwall …



Delabole Slate has been extracted since the 15th century and by 1602 the ‘hole’ was a notable feature recorded in Richard Carew’s 'Survey of Cornwall’.
 
Delabole Slate - almost
like Standing Stones



During the reign of Elizabeth I (1533 – 1603) the five quarries assumed considerable importance, delivering slate “through the realm, and even exporting by sea to Brittany and the Netherlands”.









The start of the Slate Road


This wonderful bluish-hued slate is of high quality … still being valued today … and now the Quarry has been updated taking advantage of modern mining techniques.




Coat of Arms of the
Duchy of Cornwall
Before Delabole Slate came to the fore, the Duchy of Cornwall was established in 1337 by Royal Charter, out of the former Earldom of Cornwall by Edward III for his son, Edward, Prince of Wales, the “Black Prince”, who became the first Duke of Cornwall.


The Duchy consisted of two parts: the title and honour, and the landed estate that supported it financially.  The estate does not cover the same boundaries as the county, and much of the estate has always been outside the Cornish County.


100 year old Oak - used for Richard III's
coffin in his recent reinterment
from the Duchy's Hereford estate

The Duchy has any number of objectives – especially maintaining its estates, its properties, protecting the environment … and in recent years celebrating their organic brand – which all started with an oatcake over two decades ago.


Duchy Originals adds to this perspective on life – preserving our heritage, upholding traditional skills and supporting local communities … all were of fundamental importance to the brand.


That is D for Delabole Slate and the Duke’s Duchy of Cornwall with its Duchy Originals ... from Aspects of British Cornish …


Hilary Melton-Butcher

Positive Letters Inspirational Stories

55 comments:

Rhonda Albom said...

hey, I am first, and quick to admit I had to look up the term Duchy, when I first came to it, although had I read on first, I think I would have understood it. The Delabole Slate is really interesting. Love the photo and wish I had seen it whilst in the UK.

D.G. Hudson said...

I find that quite interesting, Hilary, and recently watched a special on the exhuming of the Richard III bones and the burial. Didn't know it was in a 100 yr old Oak coffin, though. Richard sure was beaten and stabbed a few times, judging from the injuries they found on the skull. History comes alive when they find evidence like this.

Nilanjana Bose said...

I followed the docu on Richard III too. Duchy products were available here about 10 years ago, I used to get them for a treat. Haven't spotted them this time around though :(

Tammy Theriault said...

Love the standing stones!!

Sara C. Snider said...

The Duchy of Cornwall has an interesting Coat of Arms. I wonder what all those yellow spheres mean?

Sophie Duncan said...

It always confused me when I was younger that The Duchy of Cornwall was not all based in Cornwall. :)
Sophie
Sophie's Thoughts & Fumbles
FB3X
Wittegen Press

Rhodesia said...

The slate sounds interesting as does the Duchy of Cornwall. Having lived out of the UK for so long many of these things are new to me so thanks for the history lesson. I appreciate the info.
Diane

Fil said...

I love the word Duchy - it feels like such an ancient word. We used to see their products over here, particularly biscuits, but haven't seen them for a long time.
Have a lovely Easter Hilary
Best wishes
Fil
Fil’s Place - Old songs and Memories

Manzanita said...

Interesting post. I'm always fascinated by stone quarries.. I grew up near one and played on the stones that were jutting up from the earth.
Delalobe slate sounds like one I'd like to see.

Natasha Duncan-Drake said...

I didn't realise the first Duke of Cornwall was the Black Prince. I learn something new every day here :)
Tasha
Tasha's Thinkings | Wittegen Press | FB3X (AC)

Carrie Ann Tripp said...

Minion Carrie dropping by to cheer you on! Keep up the excellent work! :D Enjoy your day off tomorrow and have a blessed Easter!

Out on the prairie said...

Very interesting history.I eat it up like candy on Easter. I write historical fiction and enjoy always learning more.

T. Powell Coltrin said...

I learned some new things from your post. Very interesting.

I would LOVE blue slate floors. :) Probably wouldn't work.

Annalisa Crawford said...

Duchy Originals cookies are delicious! The Black Prince had a castle in my town.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Rhonda – you sure are first; glad you understood about the Duchy after reading my post and the Delabole Slate is a family business now – quality products ..

@ DG – I found Richard III’s exhumation and re-interment fascinating to watch – a very unique memory for us. These snippets I find fascinating .. so the Duchy oak was notched into my brain to use at some stage!

History does come alive when they’re able to trace so much from ‘old bones’ … I do find it incredible … the one I wrote on the Skeletons in Stirling Castle was fascinating – traced someone of nobility back 600 years.

@ Nila – I’m so glad you saw the documentary on Richard III – that’s good to know. The Duchy organisation had a bit of blip – but now food and some items can be found under Waitrose’s food line – so I expect they’ll be getting a broader profile again.

@ Tammy – in fact those are slabs of slate in rock form .. I will be writing about standing stones though …

@ Sara – the bezants, in heraldry, are deemed a category of the gold discs. The arms were acquired during the Crusades .. but I don’t know exactly why 15 bezants … and Heraldry is an art form all to itself!

@ Sophie – I know it is a strange truism .. that the Duchy has lands and property all over the place …

@ Diane – an aunt (in name only – great friend of my parents) had her Cornish granite barn reroofed before she died … supporting the Delabole slate works. It looks incredible …

So glad you’re appreciating the snippets of history appearing in my posts and reminders of Cornwall …

@ Fil – it does feel like an ancient word doesn’t it. The Duchy brand had a blip, but now the food and associate products are marketed by Waitrose … perhaps they’ll start making a comeback …

@ Manzanita – they do do tours now … and I imagine playing in a quarry would be such fun for small children – completely ‘de rigeur’ now. They are able to minimise the wastage with modern cutting methods – thus preserving the slate reserves a little …

@ Natasha – well I can reliably assure you I find out fascinating facts as I draft up my posts … and then some from the comments – so thank you for that.

@ Carrie Ann – thanks all around .. all going well here.

@ OOTP – that’s good to know you write historical fiction … and am so pleased my posts could (almost!!) be taken for candy … and am so glad you enjoy reading these snippets.

@ Teresa – thank you so much .. and a blue slate floor would be beautiful as long as the weather was warm!!

@ Annalisa – I know the Duchy brand is good quality isn’t it. Interesting about the Black Prince and his castles … I see 4 in Cornwall ..

Thanks so much – Happy Easter to one and all - Hilary

Jo said...

Interesting that the slate is still being mined. I thought the mine was closed. I am not sure exactly what Duchy Originals are Hilary. Are they oat cakes or does it cover several items of food?

So, from the Black Prince to Charles. I wonder who will be next William or George?

Inger said...

I know I'm going to miss a lot of your stories of Cornwall. Just as I missed visiting the Duchy when I lived in England. I know it will all be so interesting and well researched. Good luck with the rest of the A to Z and thank you for all your support.

Jerralea said...

I certainly learned a lot today about Cornwall. Thanks for your research.

Nick Wilford said...

I didn't know about the Duchy of Cornwall. But the pie on the front of the book looks quite nice. Good to see they are still mining the slate after hundreds of years.

cleemckenzie said...

I've never heard of Delabole Slate, so I loved reading this today. There must be an unending supply if it's been taken from the quarries since the 15th century.

The information about the Duchy was also interesting. Glad they're protecting the land and resources.

loverofwords said...

Isn't Camilla the Duchess of Cornwall? Blue Slate, a beautiful hue and fascinating history. Glad the mines can be re-opened and perhaps boost the economy in that area. Always like being in a history class to read your blogs, Hilary.

Stephanie Finnell said...

We have numerous abandoned quarries in my county and they are filled up with water now. Some add fish to them while others are just full of snakes. yuck! Love yours much better!
A to Z Blogger

Trisha F said...

I remember learning about various Duchys while doing medieval studies at uni. That word always takes me back!

I hadn't ever heard of Delabole.

Bob Scotney said...

Slate from a village near where I lived was used for all the local houses. Not blue slate like Delabole. Glad the mine is still in operation.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

So are the recipes mostly organic then?

Lisa said...

Reading this made me think of the film I just watched on Highclere, where Downton Abbey is filmed because they too, are trying to keep the estate intact and profitable. Such a hard thing to do in this day and age I think and I wish them all the luck in the world... thanks for dropping by Hilary! Lisa, co-host AtoZ 2015, @ http://www.lisabuiecollard.com

J E Oneil said...

Bluish slate sounds pretty. How funny that most of the estate is outside of Cornish County.

Chrys Fey said...

Those standing stones are amazing! I'd love to take a picture of me standing next to one. :)

Silvia Villalobos said...

The sweets, oh the sweets look awesomely delicious. Such a great history lesson, Hilary. One of the reasons I enjoy coming in here, aside of course from spending time with you.

Mark Koopmans said...

I remember playing with slate and using it in school when I was a kid... It always made for the *best* skimming stones :) ... so now I wonder if "my" slate came from the Duchy...

And how cool that Richard III's coffin came from 100-year-old oak.. that was a cool idea.

Danielle L Zecher said...

I really enjoy the mini history lessons from visiting your blog. That cookbook looks like fun.

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

Great history. I would so love to explore that area. Someday.

mail4rosey said...

Every single thing here is brand new to me, which I love!! Happy Easter to you. :)

Clarabelle Rant said...

I find the "royal" heritage of England fascinating --that land given in the 1300's is still in some way owned by the same title/family. Here in the US I feel ownership rolls over frequently. I'm happy the brand is organic and I read they donate profits to Prince Charles' charity foundation. It makes a case for royal titles ;)

You can find me here:
ClarabelleRant

Gattina said...

That's funny I just have seen a whole reportage of this quarry in Escape to the country !!

Rosie Amber said...

The Duchy Od Cornwall is a great D, I now several people who have gone to work for them and the originals products are very tasty.

Elise Fallson said...

I like the color of Delabole slate. The slate that I'm used to seeing in France is black, pretty, but I like the bluish hue of the Delabole. Happy Easter!

Susan Scott said...

Thanks Hilary, this was so interesting and those delicious oatcakes ... my favourites. I too was interested in the recent discovery of Richard 111's skull, but I think I missed out on knowing about the Delabole slate. Thank you and I hope your Easter is good and great.

Lynn said...

That DID make me think of standing stones.

You're in the thick of the challenge, I see.

Happy Easter, Hilary!

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Jo – the mine has had a precarious past – but now is back up and running with a management buyout and a family run enterprise. Duchy originals are a range of products – that have also had a hiccup past .. but are now up and running again – they started out with their oatcakes. I expect William will be next …

@ Inger – no worries – they’ll be here for you to read. Pity about not getting down to Cornwall .. but so many places to see. I’m thinking of you – as you know.

@ Jerralea – it’s all Cornwall this year .. so plenty more to come.

@ Nick – the Duchy is an interesting institution and Prince Charles is dragging it into the 21st century. The pie does look good doesn’t .. I haven’t tried any of their recipes. And yes good news re the slate

@ Lee – it’s a very small mine – but there has been quarrying there for over 1,000 years and they reckon they’ve got supplies for another 1,000 years, now they’re using modern methods of extraction and cutting.

@ Nat – yes absolutely Camilla is now the Duchess of Cornwall. The blue slate is lovely – when I saw it in use at my aunt’s barn. At least the quarry is open and giving employment to some people – not as many as in the old days of labour .. but there are other opportunities now – in the tourist centre etc

@ Stephanie – I can believe many of the abandoned quarries are filled with water, or many fish, snakes et al .. wonderful wildlife areas!

@ Trisha – the Duchys (or Duchies) … not sure at all – there’s a lot of stuff to learn on each one .. I sort of look at heraldic information and the various machinations of the ducal families and lose track – so good for you – and I bet you learnt lots too .. most people won’t have heard of Delabole.

@ Bob – when it was accessible slate was used a great deal locally. The blue slate is a quality slate .. and yes it is good that they’ve managed to keep the mine open.

@ Alex – yes … the produce is – Prince Charles likes organic .. so I’m sure the recipes would advocate the use of organically grown plants, meat, fish etc ..

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Lisa – I haven’t been watching Downton .. but many of our estates are re-evaluating their administrations, or changing their approach to their land .. lots of ideas out there. As you say some more successful than others ..

@ Jean – the bluish slate is stunning … and just one of those quirks of England .. our dukes own land everywhere!

@ Chrys – well if you come over – we’ll make a plan to take that photo!

@ Silvia – the Duchy range does have some good biscuits, desserts and chocolate goodies. Thanks for the comment ..

@ Mark – the idea of slate skimming stones sounds ideal – my mother was brilliant at playing skimming stones. Your slate could come from the Duchy – but much more likely from your local source – sorry to disappoint you!

Yes – we seem to be good at coming up with inventive uses for things .. the new coach for the Queen is extraordinary.

@ Danielle – thanks so much .. and I’m sure the cookbook has some fascinating recipes in it – I’d better have a look next time I see one!

@ Susan – I hope you can get over .. and come and see Cornwall with its many fun places ..

@ Rosey – delighted that you enjoy the visit to learn ..

@ Clarabelle – some of the nobles have lost land in recent centuries, and even 500 or more years ago … if a noble was conquered or backed the wrong king – he lost his lands.

Yes the Duchy Originals profits do go to the Charity ….

@ Gattina – how very synchronised are ?! … and it’s not a show I watch .. so wouldn’t have seen the quarry …

@ Rosie – the Duchy was an interesting D post .. and that’s good you know a few people who work for them. Their products are good aren’t they ..

@ Elise – yes, the slate is a lovely deep bluey gray .. beautiful when finished. The grey slate is Wales is of a softer hue – and interesting to know that the French slate is black.

@ Susan – the oatcakes are good aren’t they … while I thoroughly enjoyed the programmes on Richard III’s being found and the forensic details, and then the re-interment etc Services during those 5 days …

@ Lynn – yes I’m sorry they are slabs of slate … and yes we’re in the thick of the Challenge …

Cheers everyone and I hope you've all had lovely Easters – and here’s to the rest of the Challenge - Hilary

Guilie Castillo said...

Love this! Cornwall has always seemed like such a magical place to me--and now you and your blog are finally showing me why :)
Guilie @ Quiet Laughter

Gwen Gardner said...

I'm watching the documentary about Richard III being exhumed right now! So interesting. Thanks for sharing!
Untethered Realms

Paula Kaye said...

Cornwall would be quite the place to visit!

Ida Chiavaro said...

Holes that were big in 1602, (how huge must they be now), black princes and duchy organic originals...delightful details I didn't know about thanks Hilary and happy easter
Reflex Reactions

Jean Davis said...

I don't know much about oatcakes, but that pie on the cover of the cookbook makes my mouth water.

Maria said...

Hi Hilary. I google'd about Duchy Originals. It's nice to get a hit for a store here in Singapore. It's located in the main shopping area. I'll most probably try a pack of biscuit and a bottle of cider from there :)

Empty Nest Insider said...

The blue slate must be even more magnificent in person. I'm glad you had the chance to visit, Hilary! Now I would like to sample that delicious looking pie on the cover!
Hope you had a wonderful Easter, Hilary!

Julie

Deniz Bevan said...

I hadn't known about this slate before. And I was wondering where the coffin's wood had come from (the presenters mentioned that it was old oak but I missed the rest). Thanks Hilary!

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Guilie – it is certainly a very beautiful place, with lots of magic around … delighted you’re enjoying it too ..

@ Gwen – that’s great you’re watching the documentary on Richard III – the whole findings and reburial were and are extraordinary aren’t they … the last post in March on Supermoons et al – has a little more about Richard, for which the eclipses were also important …

@ Paula – Cornwall is quite delightful …

@ Ida – there were five slate quarries in the early days .. before they merged – into the one quarry it is now. Glad I’ve added a few extra tidbits to entice …

@ Jean – oatcakes are delicious … especially with cheese, but I agree the pie on the cover of the book does look good …

@ Maria – ha! – well done – I wonder if they’ll give me royalties for any sales made?! Brilliant you were able to find a store that sells Duchy originals … and are going to try a couple of the products: let me/us know what you think!

@ Julie – having seen my aunt’s roof … the slate is stunning. And another one for the pie … better check it out when I next visit Waitrose up the road. Thanks re Easter – today is bliss it’s sunny and warm …

@ Deniz – so pleased you’ve seen the slate; and were wondering about the wood for Richard’s coffin – I saw the photo … so had to put it in here

Thanks everyone – it’s so lovely have such great comments and finding out that you are all enjoying the eclectic pieces of Cornish bits and bobs I post here … Hilary

Carole Anne Carr said...

Oh, you included Rosalind, our dream place. So many happy memories.

Michelle Wallace said...

Delabole slate - beautiful stone!
Hope you had a relaxing Easter, Hilary.

J Lenni Dorner said...

I know someone who would LOVE that cookbook for a Christmas gift. Oh, found it on Amazon! Yay.
Thanks for the idea. Great post.

Sara said...

Wow. I liked the tall slate stones and it was interesting to learn about Delabole Slate.

It was also interesting to learn about the Duchy. I didn't know about this. I'll have to check out the cookbook. It looks like something my eldest daughter would enjoy!

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Carole Anne - I'm not sure what your 'Rosalind' refers to .. but am glad you remembered your dream place and those happy memories.

@ Michelle - the slate is a deep rich colour .. and thanks re Easter - when was that?!

@ J - oh that's great .. and I'm glad you found the cook book on Amazon ... and can hold on to it til Christmas.

@ Sara - thanks so much .. I enjoyed the learn about the Slate Mine ... and then the Duchy - our English heritage is complicated! The Duchy cook book - sounds fascinating .. and I hope you do get it for your daughter .. as J above says it's available on Amazon too ..

Cheers to the four of you - thanks for the comments - Hilary