Thursday, 30 April 2015

Z is for Zennor …

Zed for Zennor, appropriately in our A – Z Challenge, is alphabetically the last parish in Britain.  The village lies in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty on the north coast coastal road and path about 5 miles from St Ives.

Zennor from Trewey Hill, with
the Atlantic Ocean nearby
Zennor has lots of history … way too much to include in this Z for zee-end post … Zennor Quoit is a megalithic burial chamber about a mile east of the village … it dates to between 2,500 – 1,500 BC and is one of the eight remaining quoits on the West Penwith moors.

Zennor Quoit
St Senara’s Church, after whom Zennor is named, is dedicated to the local saint, and is at least 1,400 years old, though it was rebuilt in the 12th century (1100s).  The current building is partly Norman and partly 13th and 15th centuries.

Zennor Church: it is surrounded by a
circular graveyard, the boundaries of which
have existed since the Bronze Age, and
in which parish residents have been
buried for centuries.

The tower contains tombstones, including one with an inscription for a “Hen-pecked husband” with a beautiful engraving for the “four winds which daily toss this bubble”: don’t ask I haven’t seen them!!

The Mermaid Pew, showing
the bench end

The Mermaid of Zennor is a popular Cornish folk tale, the legend of which has inspired many works: it makes interesting reading with then lots of links to poets, folk songs, novels, children’s books (which Suzanne Furness mentioned yesterday under Y for literature), art works, an opera, and a hymn …

Gurnard's Head: an Iron Age cliff castle/
promontory fort (In Cornish Ynyal -
meaning 'desolate one'
St Senara, too has an interesting history – another water borne saint, this time from Brittany – who is highly venerated.  The Mermaid’s chair, an ancient chair with carvings of fish on the seat and a pew end with a depiction of the mermaid admiring herself in a mirror, is believed to be at least 600 years old.

Tiny pic of the pub sign
 - but I liked the
sou'wester tree

Wayside Folk Museum – see my M post – is on the outskirts of the village … and the pub, the Tinner’s Arms – I know does folk nights. 

The Mermaid of Zennor -
by John Reinhard Wegeulin (1900)
It was originally built in 1271 to house the masons building the church; while the name is derived from the Tinners, with records of tin extraction in the area going back to Tudor times (1450s - 1603). 

Apparently D H Lawrence stayed a fortnight in the pub in 1916 … as you can see the pub sign (very tiny!) is a testimony to its origins.

It is a typical old English pub “all low beams and dark wood” with a “warm fire in the winter”, which retains a medieval ambiance.  Its special beers are “Tinner’s” and “Zennor Mermaid” … it has a “sleepy, timeless quality in a way that has not changed in centuries”.

The Tinner's Arms, Zennor (c/o P H Glasson)
There's a menu on the website

Food sounds good though … more 21st century:

Pigeon breast with mushrooms and tarragon sauce;

Terras Farm Duck breast with braised peas and Cornish new potatoes;

Chocolate fudge cake with clotted cream; OR ‘Moomaid’ ice cream made on the local farm;

OR … you can have an enjoyable ploughman’s with three Cornish cheeses and home-baked bread.

From Project Gutenberg - ebook of Traditions
and Hearthside Stories of West Cornwall by
William Bottrell (1800s)

That is Z for Zennor and Zee end ... from Aspects of British Cornish …

Hilary Melton-Butcher

Positive Letters Inspirational Stories

Wednesday, 29 April 2015

Y is for Why have I not included literature …

Y because this is where it has fallen!  I am relying on you all to add to my list …

A poster

In my morass of books … I have lots of reference books … some scattered around in this post … but no novels, so let’s start and I take no prisoners!

Menabilly - which Daphne du Maurier leased
during her stay in Cornwall

Daphne du Maurier an “incomer” who has written extensively about Cornwall … Rebecca / Frenchman’s Creek / Jamaica Inn. 

Fowey – the towndu Maurier lived near Fowey for many years, and at Menabilly, the in the dower house nearby where she died in 1981 ... drew other authors too ...

A Guide Book of Ward Lock and Co
my mother loved hearing articles
from here - see my post

Sir Arthur Quiller-Couch published under the pen-name “Q” was truly Cornish being born in Bodmin, while he lived in Fowey for many years.  He is mainly known for his monumental Oxford Book of English Verse 1250 – 1900 (– later extended to 1918).

Q guided the taste of many who never met him, including the American writer Helene Hanff, author of 84, Charing Cross Road … and the fictional Horace Rumpole, via John Mortimer, his literary amanuensis*.

Another Guide Book my
mother loved hearing
stories from 

*Amanuensis … I had to include this snippet … as one day I was chatting with my mother, in the Nursing Centre, about some letters in and out we’d received … she suddenly said “You’re my Amanuensis” … I had no idea what she was talking about and needed her to spell it for me!  Then I needed to check what it meant … essentially her scribe!  Nothing wrong with her brain – she may have had some major strokes, but she was full of repartee … and had us all laughing uproariously.

Kenneth Grahame lived part of the year in Fowey in the 1890s and early 1900s.  Grahame attributed Quiller-Couch as the inspiration for the character Ratty in his “Wind in the Willows”.

Poldark Cookery (1981)

Winston Grahamthe Poldark series – he was also an “incomer” but based his Poldark books in and around Perranporth, where he lived for over 30 years.

The Poldark Cookery Book by Jean Graham (Winston’s wife) …which includes Y for Yeast Bread … I expect this will be reproduced too … lots of fun snippets and recipes …  

1,000 Cornish Place Names Explained … I didn’t use it – but now I’ve found it – I shall use it!!  Its description Cornwall’s strange mellifluous place names give it a flavour quite different from other counties.  Many must wonder where they come from.

This book is designed to help not only the bewildered stranger, but also the born Cornishman who may have taken them for granted since childhood.”  Loved that description.

“The Spirit of Cornwall” by Denys Val Bakerhe highlights artists, authors, potters, sculptors, poets who have all drawn inspiration from that mysterious and majestically beautiful western tip of England: J M W Turner, Thomas Hardy, D H Lawrence, Virginia Woolf, Bernard Leach, Barbara Hepworth, du Maurier .. to name some …

But!! I see he was Welsh ... lived all over the place being Yorkshire born spent time in Sussex, where I am ... his Wiki page makes interesting reading ...  

“The Little Land of Cornwall” by A L Rowsepoet, historian, lecturer: Cornish born, bred and died … living in Oxford for many a year.  In this book he celebrates and illustrates the diversity and variety of Cornwall.  Its main theme is to establish its separate identity, its difference from an ordinary county.  Hence its title …

I quote more from the blurb at the back (what’s its proper name – you authors?!) “The author’s subjects are wide ranging – all the way from the Age of the Saints, through the Middle Ages, Tudor Times, and the Industrial Revolution to the present day (1986).  Fascinating and idiosyncratic personalities are described.  Literature, folklore and legend, as well as history, are drawn upon to describe the creation of a markedly individual people and a familiar and beautiful landscape that still has many secrets to reveal."

Lane down to the hamlet of

The result in “The Little Land of Cornwall” by Rowse is a feast for all who love this unique land.

Rowse lived at Trenarren House – takes me back almost all my life – to great friends of my father … at Oxford, the stove story, my school, and all our holidays in Cornwall … they also lived in Trenarren.

Now who have I missed … lots and lots of authors …

 Charles Dickens and William Thackeray visited St Nectan’s Glen, Trethevy in 1842 (see my posts V, W and X) …

John T Williams author of Pooh and the Philosophers lives in Trethevy.

Rosamunde Pilcher : “The Shell Seekers” ... she was born very close to St Ives... I have read ... 

 John Betjeman – the north Cornish coast inspired some of his most celebrated and evocative poetry … he authored the first Shell Guide on Cornwall …  he lived the last 10 years of his life at St Enodoc ... 

There’s a gentle 4 mile walk: Sir John Betjamen Walk:  on the eastern bank of the Camel along part of the South West Coast Path through the dunes beside the golden beaches on the eastern bank of the River Camel, taking in his grave at St Enodoc Church.  Passing Brea Hill, site of a Bronze Age burial mounds and a later Roman encampment, and there’s an optional detour to the holy well used by the Welsh hermit Enodoc to baptise his converts.”  

William Golding – Cornish – “Lord of the Flies” and others … he won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1983.

Richard Tangye
- the story of his
company and back
story of his start in

Richard Tangye he is not strictly an author, but his grandsons were … Derek and Nigel … their Cornish history though is interesting … see Wiki

Hawker's Hut
Robert Stephen Hawker (1803 – 1875) – priest, poet, antiquarian of Cornwall and reputed eccentric.  He is best known as the writer of The Song of the Western Men”with its chorus line of:

And shall Trelawny die?
Here’s twenty thousand Cornish men
Will know the reason why!

Which he published anonymously in 1825 – Charles Dickens acknowledged his authorship in the serial magazine Household Words.

Cornish Fishing in the
days of sail
Richard Carew and his Survey of Cornwall, published in 1602, I mentioned under V for vocabulary, together with The Ancient Language, and the Dialect of Cornwall by Professor W P Jago.

We have at least three bloggers and/or authors that I know of – who live in Cornwall … one is “an import” I gather!

Annalisa Crawford - author of "Cat and the Dreamer" and her blog ... she has been participating in the A - Z.

 Suzanne Furness - is not doing the A -Z, but like Annalisa has been a good blogging friend for years ... 

Zannie Shaman, who lives in Perranporth ... I've only just met through the A-Z ...

Yiminy Crickets … boy do I have lots of reference books on Cornwall … but apparently no novels!!  I found the reference books on W day … not much help.   But I wasn’t really able to walk much as I was hip-hopping happily around getting used to that new inch and that new hip … can’t believe I’ve so many books/booklets – could easily do another ten A-Zs I reckon!  The subject is being changed for next year though.

Boy can I W for waffle ... I admit it!!

So that is Y for Why I eventually got to Yachting around and to Yammer to Yourselves out there in the A to YZ Yippee of reaching Y sphere … and realising Why could be for  Y  I have, until Y,  not included any literature … so that is my Y from Aspects of British Cornish …

Check out Goodreads – Best Books Set in Cornwall
List of Cornish Writers - Wikipedia

and all the suggestions you will all be leaving for us - and under Z I found some others ... and there are plenty of others.

PS I'm adding Sarah Foot (1939-2915) - a charismatic West Country writer and scion of the Foot clan.  She wrote atmospheric books on Cornwall and her personal memoir of her grandfather, Isaac Foot, threw fresh light on the Devon carpenter's son who rose to become a prominent lawyer, orator, Liberal politician and founder of an extraordinary dynasty.  Her first book, the best-seller 'Following the River Fowey', included interviews with old Cornish characters her grandfather would have known, such as the retired tinner Ralph Finch who recalled the appalling conditions he endured in the mines on Bodmin Moor.  Nine more West Country titles followed.

Hilary Melton-Butcher
Positive Letters Inspirational Stories

Tuesday, 28 April 2015

X is for x-factor number of oddities …

That famous : the ‘X’ one … which will provide many of us with much difficulty to come up with a suitable post … so here are my x-factor number of oddities … found during the course of my search on all things Cornish … and I’m open to questions … which I can answer in a follow-up post in May …

c/o Evocative Cornwall calendar 2016
Charlestown Harbour - Poldark location

Let’s start with two Ts … Trewhiddle and Trethevy:
for further info please go to Wikipedia

Trewhiddle is just outside St Austell, on the way to the LostGardens of Heligan, a now non-existent tiny settlement, where plenty of interesting snippets came to light:

Trewhiddle Hoard at the British
250 years ago in 1774, miners streaming for tin uncovered a hoard of 114 Anglo-Saxon gold coins, together with a Silver Chalice and other gold and silver objects: hidden in about 868 AD to protect them from Viking raiders.  The finds are now in the British Museum, and are decorated in the Trewhiddle style.

Raspe's Munchausen
In 2003 another remarkable discovery was made, when a 150 year old lump of tungsten was found at the farm … its smelting requires extremely high temperatures, which were not known at the time … leading to the speculation that it may have been produced during a visit by Rudolf Erich Raspe – Raspe is best known as a rogue, and as an author or translator of the Baron Munchausen stories … 

... but he had an interest in chemistry, with a particular interest in tungsten.  Tungsten is also known as Wolfram ... the name tungsten comes from the Swedish for heavy (tung) stone (sten).

Tungsten rods, with evaporated crystals
partially oxidised with colourful varnish

 Legendary Cornish smuggler “Cruel Coppinger” may have bought the estate in the 1790s … I didn't mention him in my Smuggling post - he was cruel!

The second “T” under this X post!  Trethevy, a village between Boscastle (WitchcraftMuseum) and Tintagel Castle (King Arthur and his Knights), where a Roman gatepost, an inscribed granite pillar, has been found with the inscription (now covered in lichen!):

For the Emperor Caesars our Lords Gallus and Volusian

The Roman Guide/Gate post
Trevonianus Gallus and Antoninanus Volusianus reigned in the years 251 – 253 AD … 

... the pillar lends weight to the importance of the nearby trading post of Tintagel Island, where merchants from the Mediterranean came to trade with the Cornish for their tin.  (Tintagel is on the north coast of Cornwall).

St Nectan's Glen
In the heart of Trethevy is Saint Piran’s Chapel, dating from at least the mid 15th century, and a holy well, also dedicated to Saint Piran.    St Nectan’s Glen protects the spring and holy well ... the Trevillet River emerges through the slate rocks … and is believed to be a sacred place or cloutie well … with the telltale ribbons, crystals, and other devotions adorning the foliage and rock walls near the waterfall.  (See my W post for Clouties).

Men-anTol - is very near Ding Dong Mine
Neolithic Standing Stones see my N post

The Ding Dong Mine complex lies in the old and extensive mining area situated in Madron, just north of Penzance and looking out over St Michael’s Mount Bay.  

Tin Miners at Geevor mine

It is thought the name may refer to the ‘head of the lode’ or the outcrop of tin on the hill.  In Madron church there is a Ding Dong Bell that was rung to mark the end of the last shift of the miners in 1879 … reminding us of, or for whom the bell tolled.

Jerry Crow of the The White Crow Medicine Show sings about theDing Dong Mine … with some wonderful evocative photos of Mining Cornwall, as well as mining down the mine … it is 4 minutes long.

Emily Hobhouse, whom I mentioned under M for Liskeard and DistrictMuseum, who has a connection with my mother, via Jenny Hobhouse her cousin, wrote, page 34, from the Netherlands to her brother in England for his birthday in 1916 and wondered whether …

Scone with black berry jam and clotted cream
with Cornishware in the background
(I couln't find a blackberry pasty photo!)

… “he and his family would have a picnic with blackberry pasties and clotted cream where they were in Cornwall.  Her body longed to be with them at Bude in Cornwall.”

Sarah Lay's Evocative Cornwall's cards
A few years ago … I was in Penzance before Christmas and did a quick whizz around seeing what I could get for our Cornish family … and came across Sarah Lay’s cards and Calendars … I’ve ordered every year since … Sarah sent out her latest email re her 2016 range … to which I asked if I could promote her on my blog – here is her response: 

What a great thing to do - and good for you for thinking up interesting alphabetical aspects of Cornwall - how pleasing to have such interaction too.  What a novel way of being introduced to things you might not know about.  

The A is for Artists and Anemones couldn't be more fitting for the Newlyn Artists Calendar 2016 cover!  Of course I would be really delighted for you to link my website to your blogs - thank you for suggesting it. Reaching new people is always good.

Sarah Lay's Evocative Cornwall
Newlyn Artists Calendar 2016

I timed my A post (Artists and Anemones) well this year … as you can see … and I love Sarah’s cards – they are different, and they are such fantastic views of Cornwall …  I feel nostalgic ‘for home’ though I’ve never lived in Cornwall …

Someone asked about the definition of the "West Country" and Wiki has a map - it's quite clear and rather good!:

The counties of the West Country - starting in the west
Cornwall with Land's End, Penzance, etc
Devon with Torquay, Exeter etc
Somerset with Taunton, Yeovil and Frome etc
Dorset with Weymouth, Poole, etc
Wiltshire with Salisbury, Trowbridge
Avon and Glos - with Bristol and Gloucester: I wouldn't
strictly call West Country ... but they are here!

That is X for x-factor number of oddities ... from Aspects of British Cornish …

Hilary Melton-Butcher
Positive Letters Inspirational Stories

Monday, 27 April 2015

W is for War in Cornwall and Holy Wells …

War in Cornwall never really ceased until recent times, despite the west being out on a limb .. the Phoenicians and the Spanish … all used the English Channel approach – with Cornwall as a first line of attack …

Perranporth Airfield - where Bob Scotney trained in the
1950s ... and my step-grandfather helped change it into a
small airfield with a gliding club attached - where in
the 1960s I learnt to glide

Wessex was an Anglo-Saxon kingdom in the south of Britain, from 519 AD until the emergence of a unified English state during the early 10th century.  We know that the Cornish were an obstreperous peoples … which the Saxon chiefs tried to drive out of Cornwall ... failing, as did the Romans before them, and William the Conqueror afterwards (1066 and all that) … let sleeping dogs lie and let them (to a point) administer themselves.

Thomas Hardy's Wessex

Spanish invaders ransacked the villages and coastline as they tried to conquer further inland during Tudor times (1485 – 1603) … inevitably the Cornish were along the seafaring route.

Henrv VII started building bigger ships – the navy came into existence; Henry VIII built his Device forts of which there are a few in Cornwall:  on the Fal estuary: Pendennis Castle and St Mawes Castle; at Fowey -  St Catherines Castle.

St Catherine's Castle, Fowey:
a small Device fort
While in 1595, in Elizabeth I’s reign, the Battle of Cornwall took place – a Spanish naval fleet attacked Penzance, Mousehole, Paul and Newlyn … causing extensive damage.

Cornwall was a Royalist enclave in the generally Parliamentarian south-west during the Civil War (1642 – 1651).  A number of battles took place … with the royalists losing out … these were on land and at sea.

At the end of the 1700s existing coastal fortifications were re-armed due to the threat of a French invasion before the outbreak of the Napoleonic Wars (1803 – 1815).

Showing the west of Cornwall .. Falmouth Harbour,
Lizard Point, Penzance (Mount's Bay), Perranporth is
north-east up the coast form St Ives
 During the First World War German U-boats patrolled the English Channel sinking many merchant vessels and Royal Naval warships.  A major airship station, RNAS Mullion, was constructed on the Bonython Estate on the Lizard peninsula.

c/o Bonython Manor's site

Garden Lovers, Poldark Lovers … this link takes you to Bonython Manor’s website … showing the gardens, and the sites of Poldark- locations …

Soldiers were quartered at Porthwrinkle – a small fishing village south east of Saltash (opposite Plymouth) – for training to fight in the trenches.

Penzance Harbour resumed the role it had played in the Napoleonic period as a naval base.  Falmouth (deep water) Harbour became a drifter base and towards the end of the War a centre for ship repairs.

Newlyn Harbour, looking across to Penzance in
Mount's Bay
Cornwall played a major role in World War Two as it was at risk from air and sea … thousands of bombs fell, and there were even airborne landings of enemy troops.  Ports were heavily defended, beaches protected by minefields, barbed wire, pillboxes and gun emplacements. 

Military airfields were constructed … aircraft defended against enemy raiders, protected convoys of merchant shipping and engaged German U-boats. 

"For the Fallen" Memorial
poem by Laurence Binyon ... it is
believed he wrote these words while
staying in Polzeath
D-Day and the Normandy Landings in 1944 … Cornwall played a major role in providing accommodation for the mass of American troops taking part in the landings.  Troops were housed in bell tents forming temporary camps.

Further research is being made into the history of those stationed in Cornwall … memorials being erected, stories being told, friends and relatives being traced … the Cornish guard their history closely … all through time castles, forts and batteries have defended Cornwall from the land, the sea and the air.

Dupath Well

To change the subject dramatically … Holy Wells, also known as Cloutie wells, are places of pilgrimage in Celtic areas.

They are wells or springs, almost always with a tree growing beside them, where strips of cloth or rags have been left, usually tied to the branches of the tree as part of a healing ritual.

Madron Well - my mother lived in
this village for a while; the spring
was Penzance's only supply of water
til the 1700s

Prayers of supplication are said to the spirit of the well ... in modern times usually a saint, but in pre-Christian times a goddess or local nature spirit … by or on behalf of those seeking healing or to honour the spirit of the well.

May flowers
Sacred trees found at wells are usually Whitethorn (May), though Ash trees are also common … the rags all tapestried about …

I’m sure I have more information here … but as yesterday was V day and I’m still writing W (which I forgot about completely – my alphabet has 25 letters!!), X, Y and Z … all decided upon – I just need to W for write and am not going to research more on Holy Wells.

War in Cornwall gave me most of my thoughts on War … and I thankthem …

That is W for watery Wells, Wars in Cornwall – Where hasn’t there been a War ... from Aspects of British Cornish …

Hilary Melton-Butcher
Positive Letters Inspirational Stories