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The Cornwall Coast
by Arthur L. Salmon
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Passing westward from Kynance there are numberless features of the coast that might cause one to delay; and the coastguard's walk above the cliffs is rendered plain by the white stones that are so necessary at night. In one place is the intervening cleft called Gue Graze, which may be scrambled across or skirted, leading to the precipice that rises above the cavernous Pigeon Hugo; this cave can only be approached from the water, and then very rarely. Fields of buttercups and clover come near to the shore, but inland lies the moorland waste of Pradanack and Goonhilly Downs. Beyond Pigeon Hugo are two notable headlands, Vellan and Pradanack. This brings us to Mullion, another small metropolis of what is considered the Lizard district, though we have now left the true Lizard five or six miles behind us. This is another region of shipwrecks, but if we can forget them Mullion Cove, with its outlying islet, is purely delightful, and is reaping the fruit of its charms by the establishment of hotels, boarding-houses, and golf-links. Both Polurrian and Poldhu share some of this favour. The coast here is quite as fine, some think even grander, than it is around the Lizard; while the air, though temperate, has a bracing freshness from the Downs. The true name of Mullion Cove is Porthmellin, and it is probable that Mullion itself is a corruption of Mellin, for the church is dedicated to Melyan or Melanus, the father of Mylor. The church-town is about a mile distant from the Cove, and its church, with "black-and-white" tower of granite and serpentine, somewhat resembles that of Landewednack. The tower dates from 1500, but portions of the remaining building are obviously earlier; it was restored in 1870. There is a curious crucifixion over the west window, with the figure of the Father standing behind that of the Son; and in front of the altar are carved wooden figures which may have formed part of a screen; one of these is supposed to represent St. Cleer, or Cleher. The bench-ends are of rare excellence for this part of the Duchy—in fact, they are among the finest in the West of England, and to say that is to say much. They probably date from the fifteenth century, and bear all manner of devices, letterings, symbols. One series, in the western nave, gives the arms of the Passion, while others bear fleurs-de-lis and different crosses. The gallery that was formerly here has been removed. In the chancel is an inscription to the memory of Thomas Flavel, vicar, who died in 1682, being well known locally as a ghost-layer. Such duties were at one time a recognised part of a clergyman's vocation. The epitaph of this reverend exorcist is quaint enough to bear quotation:—

"Earth, take mine earth, my sin let Satan havet, The World my goods; my Soul my God who gavet; For from these four—Earth, Satan, World and God, My flesh, my sin, my goods, my soul, I had."



There is a ballad of Goethe's ("De Zauberlehrling") which tells how a magician's apprentice, who had learned enough of his master's craft to be dangerous to himself, once succeeded in raising spirits during the wizard's absence, but was quite unable to dismiss them. A similar tale is told of Flavel's servant-maid. During her master's absence at church she unwarily opened one of the books in his study, "whereupon a host of spirits sprung up all round her. Her master discovered this, though then occupied at church, closed his book and dismissed the congregation. On his return home he took up the book with which his servant had been meddling, and read backwards the passage which she had been reading, at the same time laying about him lustily with his walking-cane; whereupon all the spirits took their departure, but not before they had pinched the servant-girl black and blue." It is said that this parson used to charge five guineas for laying troublesome ghosts; but as there are no longer ghosts at Mullion, it is not advisable to attempt a revival of the business. Nor are there smugglers, though the locality had once a reputation not only for smuggling but for wrecking. It may not have been often that persons deliberately drew vessels on the coast by false signals, but that this was sometimes done seems indisputable. More often still, boats may have been deceived by lights that were merely displayed as signals or warnings during operations of the smugglers. But there was little need to do anything that might lead to shipwreck; the deadly coast itself was enough. To relate the stories of even a few might be monotonous, after those of which we have already spoken at the Manacles. Of a fresher interest is the station of the Marconi Wireless Telegraph Company, at Poldhu (formerly written Poljew), whose four highest towers or scaffolds, each over 200 feet in height, have become a prominent local landmark. It is not easy to describe these; an illustration can best convey the impression, and no immediate scrutiny is allowed to the public. The activities of this station must remain mysteries to the uninitiated, but it must be a weird and wonderful experience to ascend those white winding stairways around the iron poles during a strong wind. Poldhu has one of the fine modern hotels that come as a surprise to the rambler in the district that has hitherto been so lonely and desolate. Around the wireless station is a network of posts, wires, and lower towers.

Poldhu was chosen in 1900 as the site of a station for the purpose of establishing communication by wireless telegraphy with America, Mr. Marconi being assisted at that time by Professor Fleming, of London. No such distance had hitherto been attempted, and the employment of very powerful magnetic waves was necessary. These were obtained, Mr. Marconi has himself told us, "by means of a generating plant consisting of an alternator capable of an output of about 25 kilowatts, which, through suitable transformers, charged a condenser having a glass dielectric of great strength." A corresponding station was erected at Cape Cod, but in the autumn of 1901 the masts and aerial at Poldhu were wrecked by a storm, and this caused delay. In November, 1901, Mr. Marconi crossed to Newfoundland with the hope of opening communication; and in December he was satisfied that he received signals from Cornwall, proving to him that messages might be transmitted by electric waves from a distance of 2,000 miles. Two months later further satisfactory tests were carried out between Poldhu and the American liner Philadelphia. In 1902 a new station at Glace Bay, Nova Scotia, was put into touch with Poldhu; and at this time the four wooden lattice-towers, 210 feet in height, were raised at the Cornish station, the buildings for the generating plant being placed in the space between them. The superior equipment at Glace Bay caused the communication from Canada to be excellent, while the reverse was not so good; Canada had granted a subsidy, and England had not. But the communication was established; and a message from President Roosevelt, sent to Cape Cod and transmitted to Glace Bay, was safely received at the Poldhu station. Although the efficiency of this station was greatly increased by the addition of the numerous wires, sloping umbrella fashion, Mr. Marconi decided to establish a new long-distance station in Ireland; and the Poldhu station is now used for transmitting news to vessels on the Atlantic, whereby, with the addition of intelligence received from the Cape Cod station, most of the first-class liners to America are enabled to publish daily news journals throughout their voyage—a very wonderful thing, when we remember how completely a sea voyage used to cut one away from news of home. Though it is not at the moment the foremost of the Marconi stations, therefore, Poldhu has all the merit of having been the earliest permanent wireless station; and in the near future it is probable additions will be made to its plant, so as to bring it up to the standard of the Company's station at Clifden in Ireland, when it will become available for regular commercial communications between England and America.



A little river flows into the Poldhu cove, running down from the charming wooded estate of Bochym, mentioned in Domesday as Buchent. There was formerly some fine old tapestry and stained glass in the mansion, but these have gone; however, its oak room with sliding panel and secret staircase remains, and the garden has some remarkable tropic growths. A number of prehistoric relics have been discovered on this estate. Close to Bochym is another old manor, Bonython; it is said that the poet Longfellow was descended from one of the Bonythons, who was an early settler in America. We are now in the parish of St. Cury, or Corentin. He is a saint better known in Brittany that in Cornwall, but it must always be remembered that the two countries are very closely connected in race and tradition; also even in name, for there was a Cornouaille in Brittany which former chroniclers have sometimes confused with the English Cornwall.

The church, which is chiefly late Decorated, has a very good Norman doorway, and a most interesting hagioscope, resembling that of Landewednack, with the difference that the Cury window is a single light. Much change and mutilation seems to have taken place in this church; a former vicar found many remains of alabaster figures hidden among plaster and debris behind a slab. There is a very singular aumbry or alms-box, formed in an oak bench-end near the door. The rugged old building is finely placed, with a magnificent view over land and sea. But the ordinary visitor takes more notice of Grunwalloe, which is one of the most curiously situated churches in the kingdom, standing where the sea-spray sometimes makes a clean sweep over it. Its churchyard walls rise immediately from the sands of Gunwalloe Church Cove—at times the very graveyard has been invaded by dashing waves; and its little campanile tower is literally built into the solid rock. Thus founded on rocks, it stands old and weather-beaten, in a desolate district of sand-towans. The dedication is to St. Winwaloe, and it must be left to more learned hagiologists to decide who this Winwaloe really was, or whether he was identical with the founder of Landewednack. There are about half a dozen churches with detached belfries in Cornwall, but this of Gunwalloe is perhaps the most striking; the campanile here stands 14 feet west of the main building. It is difficult to account for the peculiarity, but of course there are stories that attempt to solve the mystery. The church itself is said to have been the votive offering of a survivor from shipwreck; some, however, speak not of a single survivor, but of two sisters whose lives were saved here, and who could not agree about the exact position of the church they desired to erect as a thank-offering. The result was a compromise. There are traditions of buried treasure here, as well as of wrecked dollars; and in both cases much time and money have been spent by treasure-seekers.

It is possible that the Goonhilly Downs, which occupy the high-lying and barren interior of this Lizard district, really embody a corruption of the name of Gunwalloe, though the name is generally explained as meaning "hunting down." These downs belong to the true meneage or stony district, but in the past they seem to have been covered with thickets and wild beasts. It is still a lonely, deserted track of country, with prehistoric hut-circles and entrenchments, crossed by two good roads, now often traversed by brake and motor and cycle, leading from Helston to St. Keverne and the Lizard. Leland speaks of "a wyld moor, called Gunhilly, wher ys brood of catyle"; perhaps the cattle were the once-famous Goonhilly nags referred to by Norden. "There is a kinde of nagge," he says, "bred upon a mountanous and spatious peece of grounde, called Goon-hillye, lyinge between the sea-coaste and Helston; which are the hardeste naggs and beste of travaile for their bones within this kingdome, resembling in body for quantitie, and in goodness of mettle, the Galloway naggs." The breed seems now to be extinct, though there are doubtless living descendants; and Goonhilly remains an almost treeless table-land, broken by streamlets where it meets the sea. There are many to whom this inland portion of the Lizard country may seem dreary enough, but others will be touched by its indefinite charm of breezy expanse, the beautiful colour of its Cornish heath, the loneliness of its pools and hollows, the call of its curlews, the hum of its summer bees.

Just below Gunwalloe fishing-cove are the fine Halzaphron cliffs, on which a transport was wrecked about a century since, and the bodies then buried are said to have been the last shipwrecked persons to be laid in unconsecrated ground. Public opinion rebelled against the so-called heathen burial given to such remains, and an Act was passed in Parliament sanctioning their interment in the churchyards of the parishes on which they were cast. Whatever advantage there may be in lying in consecrated earth is now freely granted; the unknown drowned are given the benefit of the doubt, and their bodies committed to the dust in Christian fashion. In parishes like these of the Lizard, and on the north Cornwall coast at places like Morwenstow, this duty of giving Christian sepulture has been no sinecure.

We come across traces of an ancient Cornish family at Carminow, the eastern creek of Loe Pool; but the most tangible relics of the Carminows now remaining are the two effigies in the church of Mawgan-in-Meneage, in which parish we find ourselves once more after having made the tour of the Lizard peninsula. Various tales are told of the Carminows; it is said they claimed descent from King Arthur—it is even said that a Carminow fought against the Romans at their first landing, which would carry them far eastward of Cornwall. Hals thought that the Mawgan figures were brought from the old chapel of their manor-house, which stood here by the Carminow creek; but Blight is of opinion that the effigies were removed from Bodmin. In Loe Bar we have a formation slightly resembling the famous Chesil Ridge of Dorset, and the bar at Slapton Sands in Devon; but this Loe Bar is on a much smaller scale. Being formed of very fine pebbles, the waters of Loe Pool are in ordinary times able to percolate to the sea; but after much rain there is more water than can thus be carried off, and it was formerly the custom to cut the Bar at such times that the superfluous flood might rush through. A culvert has now been constructed for this purpose, so that the cutting of the Bar is now superseded. A writer who was at school at Helston tells us that "when the floods became serious, and the Loe too near Helston to be pleasant, there was a solemn function performed by the men of Helston, with the Mayor at their head, called breaking the Bar. The Loe was so full that a small trench cut between it and the sea let out the waters; there was then a rush of water and the Loe became connected with the sea by a deep chasm through which the tide flowed. I have never seen the Bar broken, but I have seen the deep chasm in the bar of sand with the tide flowing in and out. The natural forces which originally made the Bar restored it, and in the course of some months it became the same as before." Mr. Hind says he was told by a sailor that "when he was a boy Loe Bar used to be broken once a fortnight"; but we sometimes exaggerate the things that we remember of our boyhood, and certainly the cutting can never have been as frequent as this. C. A. Johns, who knew Helston well, says that it was rarely necessary to cut the Bar more than twice a year, sometimes not even once; and further, describing a cutting, he says: "In a few hours a deep mighty river is bursting out with inconceivable velocity, and engaging in violent conflict with the waves of the ocean; as the two meet they clash together with terrific uproar, while the sea for twenty, or even thirty miles, is tinged of an ochreous hue. Even at the Scilly Islands the cutting of the Loe Bar has been notified by the altered colour of the water." As the pool belonged to the lord of Penrose, it was customary to present him with a purse containing three-halfpence to obtain his permission for the cutting of the Bar. All this is a thing of the past, but Loe Pool remains as the only sheet of water in Cornwall worthy to be termed a lake, with banks finely wooded and carpeted with flowers. In shape it is more like a broad river than a lake, and it is in fact the land-locked estuary of the Cober, cut off from full intercourse with the sea by this pebbly and sandy spit. Helston claims that it was once a seaport, with vessels sailing close up to its walls; and the formation of the Loe Bar, which destroyed all access, is said to have been one of the accidents of the doomed Tregeagle, whose story will be told later. The Pool is about seven miles in circumference, and affords some excellent fishing; it is the one great attraction that Helston can boast. When Tennyson wrote his "Morte d'Arthur," the germ from which all his Arthurian Idylls sprang, and in some respects the finest portion of them, he described how the knight Bedivere carried the wounded Arthur after his last battle—

"And bore him to a chapel nigh the field, A broken chancel with a broken cross, That stood on a dark strait of barren land. On one side lay the Ocean, and on one Lay a great water, and the moon was full."

It has been sometimes imagined that this "great water" was none other than Loe Pool, and certainly the spot has a better claim than Dozmare on the Bodmin Moors; but the placing this last battle in the West at all is merely a concession to fancy, and to the desires of West Countrymen. History tells us that Arthur's last fight must almost certainly have taken place in Scotland. But Tennyson's localities are a land of dream and myth; we do better not to try to identify them—their beauty may go with us from place to place, their atmosphere bring peace and soothing to us wherever our steps may be.

It is probable that the origin of the name of Helston is the Cornish hel, "water," as at Helford and Hayle; but some Saxon derivations have been suggested, and certainly the name was once Henlistone. It is a clean, bright little town of about five thousand inhabitants, with a broad main street. Relatively, the town was once of greater consequence than now; its earliest known charter was granted by King John, with many later charters from other monarchs. It was an active centre of mining, and became a stannary or coinage town. The Grammar School (now extinct) was notable in the days of Derwent Coleridge, son of the poet, who was headmaster here at a time when Charles Kingsley was pupil; the second master was Johns, known to all botanists by his Flowers of the Field, and to all lovers of Cornwall by his Week at the Lizard. Kingsley utilised his knowledge of this corner of Cornwall when he wrote his Hereward, and there is no doubt that he derived much good from his schooling under such excellent masters as Coleridge and Johns. When writing of Helston it is customary to say a great deal about its Flora, or Furry Day, the 8th of May—a relic of old Maytide saturnalia. Though the dance through the streets to a special kind of hornpipe, in at the front doors and out at the back, is still continued, the old spirit that actuated it is dead—it has become very much of a make-believe, a show for visitors, a galvanised custom that might as well be decently buried.

If we believed the guide-books, we might imagine that Cornish folk were still a gay, childlike, merry-making people, carrying on the customs of their forefathers, cherishing the old traditions, nursing the old myths and superstitions, dreaming dreams and seeing visions. Even writers who might know better try to present them as a race apart, sharing to the full in that character of mysticism and vision which is attributed to Celtic peoples. As a matter of fact the Cornish are by no means gentle-minded simpletons nor poetic visionaries, though, of course, there may be a few of either class among them; and these nominally Celtic folk have no greater power of imagination than the natives of other English counties nominally Saxon. There is a strain of difference—something that is possibly pre-Celtic—something at times sinister, passionate, incoherent; but there is nothing that is more romantic, more thoughtful, than may be found in the average countryman of the southern counties. We have all met delightful Cornish people—hospitable, kindly, lovable; but, thank God, such are to be met with elsewhere. It is not that the Cornish are to be under-valued or slighted, but they are to be defended from the foolish claims of casual visitors and the equally unwise assertions of some natives. There is one grave charge that may be laid against the people—Mr. W. H. Hudson made it in his beautiful book on the Land's End: this is a charge of cruelty, especially against birds. There could be no good in repeating this—it is never pleasant to say things that sound unkind and perhaps uncharitable—unless it be that when the people realise that certain practices are thought cruel by outsiders, they may in time come to see the cruelty themselves. There is also the supposed religiousness of Cornwall. From reading certain books we might be led to imagine that Wesley found the Cornish savages and left them Christians. He did a great deal certainly—let no one say a word against that noble-hearted man. But the aspects of Wesley's teaching that took chief root in Cornwall, as also in Wales, were just those parts on which he himself would have laid least emphasis—the excitability, the emotionalism. We do a grave wrong to Wesley in giving his name to those manifestations of frothiness and of undue familiarity with the Deity that have too often been classed as Wesleyanism. These, coupled with sectarian bitterness against the Church of England, may flourish if their votaries desire; but why should they take the name of one who was an earnest and sober-minded Churchman? Of course there is much in Cornwall of which Wesley or any other religious teacher might well be proud; but there are other aspects also, and plenty of room for those who shall teach the people love, charity, and tenderness towards all forms of sentient life.



CHAPTER VIII

MOUNT'S BAY

From Loe Bar the Porthleven sands take us on to the busy little fishing-port of Porthleven itself, whose mother-parish is Sithney. It is becoming quite a popular watering-place, not only with Helston folk, who have only about two and a half miles to come, but with visitors from a greater distance. Porthleven is now a separate parish, with a modern church of its own, and a large Methodist chapel at Torleven that cost L3,500. Its name clearly embodies that of St. Levan, whom we shall meet again near Land's End. An association with that saint gives it a tolerable antiquity, but the place lacks any picturesque garb of the ancient, and its chief pleasantness lies about the harbour. There are fine views of Mount's Bay to be gained from the higher grounds. The harbour and docks were incorporated a century since; the pier is 465 feet long, and the basin has stout granite jetties. Granite and china-clay, fire-bricks and fish are exported here, and the fishing done is fairly extensive. The harbourage is good, but rather difficult to make in rough weather; south-westerly winds drive the seas fiercely against its mouth. As might be imagined, wrecks have been plentiful here, and along the Methleigh shore are the graves of many drowned persons—interred here in days when the right to consecrated earth was denied. The coast had also an evil reputation for wrecking—not what the underwriters style "act of God," but the dark and mysterious crime of luring vessels on a rock-bound shore:—

"God keep us from rocks and shelving sands, And save us from Breage and Germoe men's hands!"

The parish of Breage has a specially attractive church, dedicated to St. Breaca, who landed in the Hayle estuary some time in the sixth century; she was an Irish lady, said to have been the sister of St. Uni, of Euny Lelant and other churches. The church is large and shapely, but its ancient character has hardly been preserved by the redecoration that took place in 1890, though happily that restoration revealed some fine frescoes that had been covered with whitewash. One of the figures is the popular one of St. Christopher, like that of Poughill in north Cornwall; other figures are St. Michael, St. Giles, and St. Cury. The altar-slabs are old, and may once have been taken from altar-tombs. There is a good tower-arch, a five-shafted font, and excellent wagon-shaped roofs; chancel-screen and reredos are modern. Of the two bells, one, the tenor, is the largest in Cornwall, with a diameter of 54 inches; it is said that there was formerly a peal, but that the bells were recast into this single form. It is natural to find traces of the Godolphins here, their seat being so near. The national history has much to say of one Godolphin only, Sidney, the Lord Treasurer, whom Macaulay treated not too tenderly; but Cornwall knows of many, and is especially loving to the memory of Margaret, the wife of Sidney, whose tomb is in the church of Breage. She has had the benefit of a memoir by John Evelyn, her faithful friend, and his account of her is a beautiful picture of womanhood. Being appointed Maid of Honour to the Duchess of York in her twelfth year, the girl retained her purity in a Court that was notoriously impure, and it was thus that she met her two friends, the young Godolphin who married her nine years later, and the older man Evelyn, who gave her devotion and tender counsel. It was in 1678 that Margaret Godolphin died, after the birth of her only child. A few days before her illness she had written to her absent husband: "If I might, I would beg that my body might lye where I have had such a minde to goe myselfe, att Godolphyn, among your friends. I believe, if I were carried by sea, the expense would not be very great; but I don't insist on that place, if you think it not reasonable; lay me where you please." To Cornwall her sorrowing husband brought her, laying her in this church of Breage, where her remembrance is of a very sweet savour; and when we recollect how fondly her lord had loved her, and how he never sought to fill the vacant place, we must needs think with greater gentleness of one who, for his age, was a patriotic and high-minded statesman. An earlier Godolphin had been one of the "four wheels of Charles's Wain." There are heroic memories clinging to the now extinct family; and it is well to find that at least the name survives in vital fashion here around their old manor-house. That house is now a farm, but it retains traces of old manorial grandeur—some panelled rooms with great windows, a hall with lofty fireplace, and the fishponds of the gardens. On the seaward side of the house rises Godolphin Hill to a height of about 500 feet, giving a noble view of St. Michael's Mount and Bay. There are many remains of former mining. Tregonning Hill, close by, is somewhat higher, and its summit has a fine entrenchment with a striking inner vallum. The Latin epitaph to Margaret Godolphin upon her altar-tomb was written by Evelyn, and the same inscription was placed upon her coffin. It is followed by her favourite motto, the beautiful Un Dieu, un amy ("One God, one friend"). Evelyn knew better than to write any fulsome compliments upon her tomb.

A little westward of Tregonning is Germoe, its church dedicated to St. Germoe, or Germoc. The pinnacles of the Perpendicular tower are specially notable, while the gable-cross and corbels of the porch are of a kind rare in this part of the country. The body of the church is Decorated, but its font must be far earlier; it is rather like a huge stoup, of remarkably rude formation, and may perhaps be Saxon in date. But the structure known as St. Germoe's Chair, in the graveyard, is even more curious; it consists of three roofed sedilia, fronted by two pillared arches. W. C. Borlase thought that the erection was simply an altar-tomb, but, as another writer has said, "there is more than one story attached to this chair. One is to the effect that the saint sat in the central chair with the two assessors, one on either side of him; another legend is that the priests rested in the chair; whilst a third is that pilgrims to the tomb of the saint also rested therein. Be that as it may, however, it is possible that this is a shrine, and that the body of St. Germoe rests underneath it." There is a folk-rhyme attaching to the parish:—

"Germoe, little Germoe, lies under a hill, When I'm in Germoe I count myself well; True love's in Germoe, in Breage I've got none; When I'm in Germoe I count myself at home."

Pengersick in this parish has still some remains of a castle built in the time of Henry VIII. by a man named Milliton, but there was evidently a far older castle here belonging to the Pengersicks, and a cluster of ancient legends gathered around the place. Cornish imagination usually stopped short at folk-lore and gave nothing to literature; in folk-lore it was certainly rich. One of the stories is of a former inhabitant of the castle who had doings with a king's daughter abroad, and when she followed him to his Cornish home, he threw both the lady and her child into the sea. The boy was rescued by a passing vessel (of course to return later); the woman changed into a white hare, who one day ran in front of the man's horse, startling it so that it rushed with its rider into the waves, and both were drowned. White hares play a striking part in Cornish traditions. Another story says that the castle was purchased by one of the Millitons, who, having murdered a man, shut himself up here in terror and remorse. A further legend speaks of another Milliton who lived here with a wife whom he hated, and whom he often tried to get rid of, but her wits proved equal to his. At last, feigning reconciliation, he invited her to sup with him, and then suddenly told her that the wine she had drunk was poisoned. "Then we die together," she answered, "for I had my doubts and I mixed the contents of the goblets." A terrible tempest came on, and wild shrieks came from the chamber; the servants, hastening to the room in alarm, found their master and mistress lying dead on the floor, while looking through the window they could see their spirits being carried off in triumph by a winged demon. It is singular how legends of this nature should attach themselves to certain localities and persons; but the occupants of Pengersick appear to have had differences with the clergy in old times, and the priests generally contrived to blacken the characters of those who became obnoxious to them. It was a terrible power, the making or marring of future reputation.



On the coast the beautiful Praa sands stretch for a mile towards Prussia Cove, with Praa Green at their head; the sands in its season are glorified with wild convolvulus, and the gently lapping waves often have little enough to tell us of their disastrous fury in time of storm. But enough has been said on the dismal subject of wrecks. Human remains, supposed to date from the Old Stone Age, have been found at this spot; they, if they could speak, might tell us something well worth listening to. But their memories would be of a Cornwall very different from the present, and they would probably look to see St. Michael's Mount in the midst of a forest.

If we are tired of shipwrecks, perhaps we are not tired of smugglers, and we come on their footsteps in very vivid fashion at Prussia Cove, whose original name was Porthleah. The place was a veritable hot-bed of smuggling long before the days of John Carter, prince of smugglers, who went by the name of King of Prussia, and gave its present name to the little cove. Some say that in boyish play-fights he always assumed the name of King of Prussia, and the title stuck. In Cornwall his reputation quite over-shadowed that of his Continental namesake; so that when the news of the battle of Jena and the defeat of the real King of Prussia reached West Cornwall, a Mousehole man exclaimed, "Misfortunes never come single; I'm sorry for that man. Not more'n six weeks ago he lost three hundred keg o' brandy, by information, so I'm towld." Carter had a brother almost equally famous, Captain Henry, and the two between them, with much able assistance, rendered this coast a very hot corner for the Preventive men. Sometimes it very closely resembled actual war, as when the smugglers, mounting a small battery, fired openly on a revenue cutter. "A smuggler chased by a revenue cutter, being somewhat pressed, ran through a narrow channel amongst the rocks between the Enys and the shore. The cutter, not daring to venture amongst the shoals, sent her boat in. And the King, with his merry men, opened fire on the boat. They loaded up the little guns so that every time they fired the guns kicked over completely backwards, and had to be replaced. The boat was driven back, and the cutter held off for the night. Next morning the fight was renewed, the cutter opening fire from the sea, while a company of riders fired from the hedge at the top of the hill on the rear of the men in the battery. This turned the tables on the smugglers, who sought shelter in Bessie Bussow's house." Nothing serious appears to have happened, however. Bessie Bussow, who kept the "Kiddleywink" inn, has passed to immortality in connection with Bessie's Cove, which Nature seems to have contrived especially for the doings of smugglers. The tempting caverns remain, but we cannot compass much smuggling now, however much we might like to; and the coves are chiefly devoted to crabbing. Men like the Carters were heroes in the profession and gave it a certain amount of dignity; romance and picturesque colour it always had.

Perranuthnoe, a little beyond the modern Acton Castle, whose situation is of great beauty, is locally known simply as Perran; the second half of its name seems to point to an earlier saint than Piran. Perhaps there was a St. Uthnoe whose name survives also at Sithney. The fourteenth-century church is very interesting, with a granite figure of St. James over the south doorway, said to have been brought here from Goldsithney, about a mile inland. Another mile along the coast, and we are at Marazion—

"Where the great vision of the guarded Mount Looks towards Namancos and Bayona's hold."

It is the presence of the Mount that gives its wonderful charm to this wide Bay, beautiful in itself, but from this feature receiving something of the mystic and spiritual, a touch of varying suggestiveness, a glamour of the remote and the unusual. There is nothing else quite like it in Britain; to match and surpass it we have to go to that other Mont St. Michel across the Channel. There is a strange kinship in the two Mounts; but in spite of the superior architecture of the Norman eminence, we might not perhaps be very willing to take it in exchange for our own Cornish mount of St. Michael. It is natural that myth and tradition should haunt here and at Marazion, whose very name has an Oriental suggestion of romance about it. And yet the name seems to mean nothing more romantic than a market-place; and in spite of its alternative Market-Jew, seized eagerly by those who are trying to prove that all Britons are Israelites, neither name must be taken to denote any connection with Jews or Jerusalem. The oldest name was doubtless Marghas-iou, meaning "the markets" in an early form of Cornish; and in a later form of Cornish we have Marasion, which meant the same thing. But Camden says that the name Market-Jew arose from the town's having a market on Thursday, the day of Jove or Jupiter—quod ibi mercatus die Jovis habeatur; an explanation that is probably quite fanciful. Of course, the name has been held to prove the claim of St. Michael's Mount to be the Ictis of the ancients, but the idea that the natives would have carried their tin across to this incommodious little islet for the sake of selling seems absurd, when we consider that they could have sold it much better on the mainland. The description by Diodorus Siculus, often quoted, has a tempting look, but it cannot persuade us that the Mount was Ictis. He says: "They that inhabit the British promontory of Belerium, by reason of their converse with merchants, are more civilised and courteous to strangers than the rest. These are the people that make the tin, which with a great deal of care and labour they dig out of the ground. Then they beat it into square pieces like a die, and carry it to a British isle, near at hand, called Ictis. For at low tide, all being dry between them and the island, they convey over in carts abundance of tin." To suppose that Ictis was the Isle of Wight would carry us too far back, for it was only in prehistoric days that Wight was connected to the mainland so closely; and the general conclusion now seems to be that Ictis was the island of Thanet, in every sense convenient for the traffic. Our connection with the Continent has always been most intimate at this eastern corner, and the tin was conveyed along the trackways from west to east. Sea passage was a consideration in those days. That Phoenicians and other eastern merchants came to the Cornish coasts cannot be denied, and for those who came by sea from the Mediterranean Cornwall was more convenient than Kent; but the more regular centre of traffic must have been at the eastern corner, and in no case can we suppose that this steep rock would have been selected as a market-place. Marazion is different, and may have welcomed many early traders; but there is little to record of its past. It was certainly a smelting-place for tin. Formerly in the parish of Hilary, it now has a church of its own. Historically its chief incident seems to be the attack by the French in 1514; and there was also trouble here in connection with the religious revolt of 1549. The mother-church at Hilary stands so high that it is said St. Ives folk used to make a regular allowance to pay for its spire being whitewashed, that it might serve as a mark at sea. Spires are rare in Cornwall, and this one, of early Decorated style, is of special interest, having happily survived the fire that destroyed the main building in 1853. There are some curious blocked spire-lights. Outside the church is an oblong stone of some size, of which the only decipherable words are Noti-noti, with some indistinct symbols. This has been interpreted as the inscription of a certain Notus; but others have regarded it as simply a Roman milestone.



There is another stone, formerly outside the church but now taken within, which gives the name of Constantine Caesar, thus establishing its date as 306. Marazion is a pleasant little place, but of course its chief interest is as the stepping-stone to St. Michael's Mount. It is well known that Mount's Bay gives many traces of submerged forest, and the old Cornish name of the Mount, meaning "the hoar rock in the wood," gives further evidence. William of Worcester tells us that it once stood six miles from the sea, in a track of country that must have been a portion of the lost Lyonesse. The archangel himself is said to have appeared on its summit in the fifth century, but we need not associate the name of the Mount with any visit of this sort, for churches on high places were constantly dedicated to the charge of St. Michael, with the idea that he could protect them from evil powers of the air. There may have been a religious cell here at a very early date, but the earliest establishment of which we are certain is the chapel endowed by Edward the Confessor, and gifted to the monks of St. Michel in Normandy. The position of the Mount caused it to become not only ecclesiastic but a secular stronghold, and it is in this connection that it chiefly claims historic notice. In the time of Richard I. it was held for King John by Henry de Pomeroi, but in no part of the country was John greatly beloved, and on the return of Richard from captivity the garrison surrendered voluntarily, Pomeroi, it is said, committing suicide. During the Wars of the Roses some fugitives from the battle of Barnet gained admittance to the Mount in the disguise of pilgrims, and then, declaring themselves, held the castle against all comers. Doing his duty as sheriff of the Duchy, Sir John Arundell was killed in attacking them, and they resisted till a pardon was granted them. In those days almost the only danger in such a spot was the risk of famine; apart from that the place was practically impregnable. Yet during the religious rebellion of 1549 it twice yielded to attack, being taken for the King during the absence of its governor, Arundell of Lanherne, and retaken by the Cornish; in both cases we must suspect that the defence was half-hearted or the supplies insufficient. In the Civil War Sir Francis Basset held the Mount for the Royal cause, but surrendered after a gallant defence when his case became hopeless. The Mount is now the seat of Lord St. Levan, the representative of the St. Aubyn family, who gained possession after the Bassets; and the little hamlet of St. Michael lying at its foot is occupied by their retainers. The entire rock is only about a mile in circumference, yet room is found on the very small portion of level ground for a tennis-court, and even golf is sometimes played. Anciently a resort of pilgrimage as the shrine of St. Michael, the pilgrims that now cross by the causeway at low tide, or are rowed over to the small quay, are lovers of the romantic and the picturesque; but they are not allowed to ramble at will about the buildings. Only a part is shown, including the chapel, which is Perpendicular with some older fragments. The tower was a sort of lighthouse or beacon for the guidance of fishermen—churches have often fulfilled this double purpose, a lighthouse for both worlds; and the lantern is now known as St. Michael's Chair, with a tradition that whichever of man and wife sits there first will thereafter rule supreme in all domestic matters; but the true Chair, as Carew described it, was "a little without the castle," a craggy seat on the western side of the Mount, where there was once an oratory. There was good reason why pilgrims should resort hither in the past: "Know all men that the most Holy Father Gregory, in the year from the incarnation of our Lord 1070, bearing an affection of extraordinary devoutness to the Church of St. Michael's Mount, has piously granted to all the faithful who shall reach or visit it, with their oblations, a remission of a third part of their penances." The human aspect peeps out in the mention of alms and oblations; centres of pilgrimage have always had a rich pecuniary value. Southey deals with St. Michael's Chair in one of his ballads, which reminds us that St. Keyne, whom he also treated poetically, is supposed to have visited the Mount when she came to Cornwall—to which we must add a surmise that this saint may not have been a woman at all, but was really St. Kenwyn. The Mount is only insular during high tide, yet at such times, exposed to the full force of the sea, the passage sometimes becomes impracticable; and there are many low tides when it is not safe or even possible to cross the causeway. Perhaps at any time those who see the rock from a distance can best appreciate its charm. From Marazion to Penzance there are three miles of flat, uninteresting road—perhaps the dullest bit of coast-road in all Cornwall, were it not for the beauty of the Bay.



CHAPTER IX

THE PENZANCE DISTRICT

Whatever claims other places may set up, Penzance is truly the business capital of western Cornwall, the metropolis of the Land's End district. It is first and foremost a market-town. Of course, it is also a coasting port and fishing port and a watering-place; but none of these things so wholly absorb it as do the weekly markets, when countryfolk from all the neighbouring villages throng Market-Jew Street with their conveyances, their parcels and packages, their cattle, their eager chatter. These people and their forbears have made Penzance what it is; they have not sought to beautify it much—a reputation as a holiday resort has been thrust on the place by its convenience, its commanding position as the gate-town of Land's End; Penzance did little to advertise itself, but the visitors have come, and are coming, and the town is doing its best to give them a fair entertainment. Though from the coast or the sea it often makes a fine appearance, the town is one of utility rather than of adornment. It feels that its existence is fully justified, without having to resort to artificial attractions. It builds no pavilions or glass-houses or aquarium, it needs no constructed lakes to retain its sea, nor towers to emulate rocks that Nature has denied. Primarily a place of business rather than of pleasure, one soon learns to admire and to respect it; there is nothing garish and little that is fashionable about it. Not many of its buildings are calculated to make an impression on the visitor, except the Market Hall that makes Market-Jew Street a rather striking thoroughfare, and the church of St. Mary, which has at least a charm of position. The Municipal buildings are a handsome piece of architecture; but it is not in these features, nor in the Morrab Gardens, in spite of their subtropical vegetation, that the charm of the town lies. That charm is a certain homely friendliness in the aspect of the place, the bustle, the soberness and geniality of its people. Further, Penzance is a good place to get away from—which sounds like a left-handed compliment, but has really quite other meaning; it is a fine centre for the whole far west of Cornwall.

As a town Penzance cannot claim great antiquity, though its district is remarkably rich in prehistoric remains. The name is pen-sans, the "holy headland"; evidently misread by the town authorities as "holy head," when they adopted the head of John the Baptist as the town arms. There was an ancient chapel standing on the present Battery Rocks, and this without doubt was the sacred headland which the title refers to. The mother-parish was St. Madron, about 2 1/2 miles to the north-west; and it is by no means clear who Madron was. Some think he was an Irish Medhran, some a Welsh Madrun; some even assert that he was none other than the great Padarn of Wales. But in 1835 St. Mary's was built at Penzance, on the site of an old chapel to Our Lady, of which some relics are preserved. The town was granted a market in 1332, a charter in 1512, and in 1614 deeds of incorporation. But the most important event in the history of early Penzance was its burning by the Spaniards in 1595. There was an old Cornish folk-rhyme which foretold that—

"They shall land on the rock of Merlin, Who shall burn Paul, Penzance, and Newlyn";

and perhaps this led the inhabitants to regard the enemy as invincible when they really did land, especially as their descent took place on a rock at Mousehole that bore the name of Merlin. The Spanish were left to do pretty well as they pleased, burning and pillaging Mousehole, Paul, Newlyn, and Penzance, but they thought it advisable to retreat to their galleons in Mount's Bay for the night, and next day, the countryfolk having plucked up some heart, and there being rumours of English seamen drawing near, it was found prudent to decamp altogether. A new town rose from the ashes of the old one, but there was further trouble in the time of the Civil War, and Penzance suffered for loyalty to the King. Under the circumstances we must not look for any remains of great antiquity in the town, though that which is historical antiquity is mere youth in comparison with the immemorial age that invests this farthest corner of Britain with a garb of wonder and mystery. Close to Chyandour (the "house by the water"), and not far from the Penzance terminus, is the Lescudjack encampment, or castle, which carries us back to the early settlement of the shores of Mount's Bay; only about three miles inland are the huts of Chysauster, where there was evidently an extensive village in days long before Penzance was dreamed of. Whether it was that this farthest neck of land became the refuge of driven races, pushed further and further westward by new encroaching hordes, it is certain that the Land's End district offers more relics of prehistoric antiquity than any other equal tract of land can show.



When Defoe came to Penzance, he seems to have been surprised to find it so civilised and so comfortable, "being so remote from London, which is the centre of our wealth." That is the remark of a true Londoner, showing an attitude of mind towards the provincial that is not quite extinct. He says: "This town of Penzance is a place of good business, well built and populous, has a good trade, and a great many ships belonging to it, notwithstanding it is so remote. Here are also a great many good families of gentlemen, though in this utmost angle of the nation." It is clear he expected to find a village of savages. As a matter of fact Penzance now, with its admirable train service, seems nearer to Paddington than many places that are not half so far off; every express that comes westward brings a savour of the great city with it, just as each train that leaves Penzance carries material evidence of Cornwall's existence into the very heart of old London. All the flowers from Scilly go by this route, and the Penzance neighbourhood has many flowers, fruits, and early vegetables of its own to dispatch to Covent Garden, together with a considerable quantity of fish. The railway is carried by viaduct across Marazion sands; in 1869 a large portion was shattered by the sea, and the line had to be removed further back. Sea and winds remain as untamable as they were when men of the Stone Age broke each other's heads at Chysauster. In Alverton Street (retaining the name of the old Alwaretone estate, mentioned in Domesday) are the museums and buildings of the Natural History, Antiquarian, and Cornish Royal Geological Societies, with the Guildhall, and a public room for meetings; but the Penzance Library, containing about 25,000 volumes, many of great rarity, is kept at Morrab House. There are Schools of Art and of Mining—both subjects strongly to the front in Cornwall. Immediately below the domed market-house, once the Town Hall, is a statue of the town's most famous son, Sir Humphry Davy, born here in 1778, his father being a wood-carver. He was educated partly at Truro, and early evinced that taste for poetry and angling that never left him. After serving with a Penzance surgeon, he went to Dr. Beddoes at Clifton, where he met Coleridge and Southey, and discovered the curious effects of "laughing-gas." His further career does not belong to Cornwall, but he proved himself a true son of the Duchy by inventing the Davy safety-lamp for miners. Another great man in a different school of activity, Pellew, better known as Lord Exmouth, though born at Dover, spent much of his boyhood with his Cornish grandmother at Penzance. His gallant deeds against the enemies of his country form a stirring page in our national history, but Mr. Norway has told us of one occasion on which he ran away from a pursuer. He was a mischievous lad, and once, "having wandered with a friend up Castle Horneck Avenue, he was inspired to discharge a few shots through the latticed window of a cottage inhabited by two excellent old maiden ladies. The pellets were aimed at pewter plates, and struck those only, but the insult knocked at the heart of one of the old ladies, who seized the firehook, as the nearest weapon, kilted up her gown, and gave chase. Pellew's courage dissolved at the first sight of this gaunt apparition, running as he thought no lady of her age could run. He fled like a hare; she cast away her firehook and followed; he threw away his musket and gained some ground; she caught him up again, and in Madron church-town was almost on his back, when there came a kindly hill. The old lady's wind was gone, she could spurt no more; so while the culprit fled away in shameful rout without his arms, she retreated honourably, the one person (if she could have known it) who ever terrified Pellew."

Penzance has quite a commodious harbour, as it deserves, having spent at least L100,000 on it; there is a regular service to Scilly, a good deal of coasting, much fishing, and some ship-building. The west arm of the pier is built on a vein of felspar porphyry, visible at low water. Around the harbour cluster the narrow streets of the older town, with nothing particular to recommend them; beyond this is the town's one conventional feature, its promenade. A rather dreary and unkempt mile of road takes us to Newlyn; and in this part Penzance has certainly unduly emphasised its carelessness of appearance. It need not be quite so slovenly and slipshod. Newlyn, the paradise of artists, deserves a better approach, and Penzance itself merits a fairer exit.

But before passing on to Newlyn something must be said both of Gulval and of Madron. The tract of sheltered land in which Gulval lies, reaching from Mount's Bay to Ludgvan, is one of the most productive in Cornwall, being chiefly devoted to market-gardens and flowers; its rare mildness and productiveness is proved by the wealth of exotic vegetation around Gulval Church and Vicarage. In this respect the place actually rivals Tresco, and the fields of narcissi are as luxuriant as those of the Scillies. Much of this soil is worked by hand, in the good old-fashioned style, whose results always seem better than those of machinery. It is quite an idyllic corner of land, with a tangible outcome that goes to the markets in the shape of early vegetables and spring flowers. Below stretches the wide Bay, with its gem, the Mount, of which it is so glorious a setting. There is another gem close at hand, and that is Gulval Church itself, dedicated to a St. Gudval or Wolvele. The general character of the church is Early English, but there were two restorations in the past century, the last being in 1892, and a great deal of modern decoration has been added, largely in Derbyshire felspar, with excellent result. The church has been under the special care of the Bolitho family, whose monuments abound here, and it is a proof that old ecclesiastic buildings may be beautified by modern adornment, without the disastrous result that sometimes attends such attempts. Gulval holy well was one of the most famous in Cornwall, and there can be little doubt that the saint's early oratory was on the site of the church—a few traces, indeed, may remain in the walling, a successful blending of the very ancient and the recent. Even more famous was the well of St. Madron or Maddern, which was quite a Lourdes in its way. The church here, probably on an older site, dates from the time of Richard I., being built by one of the Pomeroys; but little remains of this earlier building except its very curious and apparently mutilated font. The present church is chiefly Perpendicular.

In the graveyard is the epitaph of George Daniell, the founder of Madron schools in days when men built schools instead of quarrelling about them:—

"Belgia me birth, Britaine me breeding gave; Cornwall a wife, ten children, and a grave."

Madron Feast (Advent Sunday) was always an occasion of prolonged merrymakings and dissipation. It seems to have been in this district that the last bull-baiting took place in Cornwall. A witness states that it took place in Gulval parish, in the summer of 1814: "I remember the black bull being led by four men. The crowd was dispersed early in the morning by a severe thunderstorm, which much alarmed the people, who thought it (I was led to believe) a judgment from heaven." This proves that their minds were already uneasy. It is devoutly to be wished that all those whose so-called sports cause suffering to animals may be equally on the watch for judgments from heaven. The village of old Madron is very beautiful and interesting.

Newlyn, a long mile beyond Penzance, in spite of the painters who have carried its name far and wide, is still largely unspoiled. It must be said for painters that they do not spoil a place as other visitors so often do; in fact, all change—modernising, restoring, destroying—is opposed to their sense of fitness; they are champions of the picturesque and sworn foes of the jerry-builder. Newlyn remains quaint and fishy, though it has its little Art Gallery and its Rue des Beaux Arts. There are artistic industries also—copper repousse and enamel jewellery; a new Renaissance has come to this Cornish fishing-village—its youths and maidens are learning mysteries of beautiful craft which may save them from the deadly inanities of the average British workman. When we speak of early Newlyn days, of course we mean the days of the first artistic settlement, some thirty years since; older Newlyn has little to tell, except that it was burnt by the Spanish, and that its life has always been bound up with the fortunes of the fishery. Mr. Stanhope Forbes has told us something of the place as he first knew it. "I had come from France, where I had been studying, and wandering down into Cornwall, came one spring morning along that dusty road by which Newlyn is approached from Penzance. Little did I think that the cluster of grey-roofed houses which I saw before me against the hillside would be my home for so many years." But he bewails that Newlyn is not what it was; there has been some spoliation, some pulling down of old cottages, some unsightly intrusion of the ugly and modern, though certainly less than might have been feared. It was here that Frank Bramley painted his "Hopeless Dawn" and "After Fifty Years"; here Walter Langley painted "Among the Missing," and Mr. Forbes "The Health of the Bride." It would be hopeless to attempt to name all the pictures that have carried different aspects of Newlyn life to the London exhibitions—the piers, the blue-guernseyed fishermen, the brown-sailed smacks (now partly giving place to steam-drifters), the rich-complexioned old men and women, the lovely bright-eyed children, the sturdy lads, the gulls, the wonderful bay. From the first there was an excellent understanding between the painters and the people; great tact was shown by the artists, and a mutual pride sprang up between them. What is true of Newlyn is true also of St. Ives and of all the haunts around Land's End where painters have established; rarely has there been any friction, even if the artists have sometimes been regarded as amiable madmen. It is true that John Brett, the marine painter, before Newlyn's most palmy days, managed to offend the natives by his too outspoken religious opinions and his habit of laying on colour with his palette-knife. "What can you expect," asked a fisherman, "of a man who says there's no God and paints his pictures with a knife?" It will be remembered that religious differences have been a cause of strife before now between Cornish fishermen and fishers who brought laxer views of Sunday fishing from the East Country. Such things have still a strong hold on those who "do business in great waters." But there are times when politics, blown to white-heat by the Bethels, will drive even religion from the minds of the fisher-folk, as we may judge by a story told by Mr. Hudson. It was after the visit of a lady missioner, who usually reaped a rich harvest of converts; some one asked the minister how many souls had been won on this occasion. "Not one this time," he answered; "we were too busy with the elections."

The Newlyn corner of Mount's Bay is named Gwavas Lake, and it is said that it once really was a lake. A little southward we get into the parish of Paul, whose name probably embodies no dedication to any St. Paul, but is a corruption of the Cornish pol—a pool or creek. Mousehole, one of the most delightful fishing-villages in England, is in this parish, far more unspoiled even than Newlyn. As has been already mentioned, Paul was burned by Spaniards, July 23, 1595, on which day, the parish register tells us, "the church, towre, bells, and all other things pertaining to the same, together with the houses and goods, was burn'd and spoil'd by the Spaniards in the said parish, being Wensdaie the daie aforsaid, in the 37th yeare of the Reigne of our Sovereigne Ladie Elizabeth, by the grace of God, of England, Fraunce, and Ireland, defender of the Faith." It seems, however, that the church was not so utterly destroyed as this might lead us to believe; much of the stonework survived, including the lofty granite tower. Most persons remember Paul as the burial-place of Dolly Pentreath, whose claim to be the last person speaking Cornish can hardly be maintained, though even she did not speak it habitually. Her married name appears to have been Jeffery, but that did not matter; when the wife was the better half her maiden name often prevailed over that of the husband, in later days than this. In 1768 Daines Barrington visited her, and was heartily abused by her in Cornish because he slyly suggested that she did not understand the tongue. He says: "She does indeed talk Cornish as readily as others do English, being bred up from a child to know no other language, nor could she talk a word of English before she was past twenty years of age, as, her father being a fisherman, she was sent with fish to Penzance at twelve years old, and sold them in the Cornish language, which the inhabitants in general, even the gentry, did then well understand. She is positive, however, that there is neither in Mousehole, nor in any other part of the county, any other person who knows anything of it, or at least can converse in it. She is poor, and maintained partly by the parish and partly by fortune-telling and gabbling Cornish." The stone above her grave was erected in 1860 by "the Prince Louis Lucien Bonaparte, in union with the Rev. John Garrett, Vicar of St. Paul." Prince Lucien, nephew of the first Napoleon, was an eager student of philology. In 1854 George Borrow, then touring Cornwall (his father was a Cornishman), visited Paul Church, and noticed a Cornish epitaph on the walls—said to be the only inscription in the old vernacular surviving in this fashion. It may be given as a specimen of the extinct language:—

"Bounas heb dueth Eu poes Karens wei tha Pobl Bohodzhak Paull han Egles nei";

which has been thus rendered:—

"Eternal life be his whose loving care Gave Paul an almshouse and the church repair."

Two words here prove how Cornish was affected by the Roman occupation—pobl for people, and egles for church.



When Paul was burned Mousehole suffered also, and its only house that survived was the manor of the Keigwins, now the "Keigwin Arms," whose appearance quite justifies the antiquity claimed for it. Borrow, when he came here, must have been struck by the similarity of the name of Mousehole with that of Mousehold Heath, with which he was so familiar at Norwich; there seems no satisfactory explanation of either name. Perhaps both embody some Celtic root. Mousehole was once called Porth Enys, the island-port; and there is a little islet, St. Clement's, lying off it. The place is in every way quieter than Newlyn; there are fewer visitors in the summer months, less bustle on the quays, less stir of fish-auctions; even the artists are rarer. All is quaintness and primitive seclusion. There may be a somewhat too aggressive savour of pilchards; but we must excuse this when we remember what the pilchards mean to these fisher-folk, who were once considered somewhat of a race apart, with a supposed infusion of Spanish blood in them. There was a quay here and a chapelry in very early days, and the place was active enough before Penzance had come forward as a port at all; it is said that there was also a small oratory on St. Clement's Isle. The fisher-folk have spent a good deal on improving their harbour. The coast is grand and cavernous. On both sides, near Newlyn and at Lamorna, there is some busy quarrying; the quarries at Lamorna supplied much of the granite for the Thames Embankment. Being a favourite trip from Penzance, the cove at Lamorna is pretty well known; it opens to the sea from a very beautiful little valley formed by the Lamorna stream, wooded with hazels and alders. There need be no complaint just here that Cornwall is treeless, though beyond and above the land stretches unwooded and desolate. But it is a grand sort of desolation; only in thick weather or fierce driving storms do we feel in a kind of lost world. At the head of the Lamorna valley is an estate known as Trewoofe, or Troove, with a remarkable fogou (subterranean passage), not easy to find and not easy to enter. It runs for about 36 feet, being 6 feet high and nearly as wide, and is formed of rugged unhewn blocks. Stories tell that it successfully sheltered a party of fugitive Royalists once, and it may also have been used by smugglers of later date; but for its origin we must go farther back, and perhaps it takes us to the dim days when race was struggling with race on this far western limit of land. There are so many prehistoric relics near as to be almost bewildering, and this is surely not the place in which to discourse learnedly of them all; besides which, the utmost learning does little but reveal our dense ignorance of their real significance. Troove belonged to the Le Veales, or Levelis, family, who came over with the Conqueror, and flourished in this spot for six centuries, dying at last in the person of Arthur Levelis, who was buried at St. Buryan in 1671. The modern house retains only a few fragments of the mansion; but the doorway remains, its jambs sculptured with queer figures, and three calves' heads carved above it as the family arms. About half a mile westward is Boleigh, or Boleit, with the Pipers—two rough granite figures. When Athelstan traversed Cornwall from end to end, about the year 936, he is said to have fought his last battle against the defeated British at Boleit; not content with the whole of Cornwall, he crossed to the Scillies and took these also. It is quite possible that there was fighting here at that time, but very certainly the Pipers were not then raised as burial monoliths; they are clearly of far earlier date. In an open field near is the stone circle of Dawns men, the dancing-stones, known as the Merry Maidens; there are nineteen rough boulders of granite, and there was probably a twentieth. Naturally, there is the usual story that they were maidens who danced on the Sabbath and were thus punished, the Pipers being similarly doomed for playing the dances.

Though St. Buryan lies about three miles from the coast, it must be visited for the beauty of its church and the interest of its traditions. The church is so named after Buriena, a beautiful Irish girl who came to Cornwall to become a saint, but it is very difficult to decide definitely as to her personality. We may conjecture that she came to Cornwall about the same time as St. Piran, perhaps in his company, and that she set up her cell in a field formerly called the Sanctuary, and later the Sentry. The present church is always understood to have been founded by Athelstan, when he sighted the Scilly Isles from this high ground, and vowed that if he returned safely from their conquest he would endow a collegiate establishment here. The expedition to Scilly accomplished, he observed his vow, and founded an establishment consisting of a dean and three prebendaries, with jurisdiction over the parishes of Buryan, Levan, and Sennen. There was trouble later, because the Buryan priests claimed freedom from episcopal control; but we find the Bishop of Exeter dedicating the church here in 1238, of which some Norman arches, font, and stoup survive; Athelstan's church has quite vanished. The building is about 100 feet long, and compared with the nave the chancel is almost like a cathedral choir, thus proving its collegiate character, the stalls still remaining. Much foolish restoration has done irreparable damage, but the church is still beautiful in design and detail; unhappily the screen was badly mutilated, and many bench-ends destroyed. When Blight wrote his admirable book on the churches of West Cornwall the Miserere seats could be raised; later, they were very stupidly fixed down. On the floor of the tower lies the ancient tomb of "Clarice La Femme Cheffrei De Bolleit," with an inscription in Norman-French characters of the thirteenth century, begging visitors to pray for her soul, and promising a ten days' pardon to those who do so; there can be no harm in our testing the efficacy of this offer. The tower that rises above this remarkably interesting grave is 90 feet in height, and as the church itself stands high it forms a fine landmark. Outside there is a shaftless cross of Celtic appearance, but not supposed to be Celtic in origin, though it certainly may have been adapted from a Celtic original. There is another old cross outside the churchyard gate, which may perhaps at one time have been included within the sacred pale, as traces of burial have been found. But churchyards were not often diminished in this manner, and the graves must probably be otherwise accounted for. In the church is an altar-cloth, now rarely used, worked by two maiden ladies more than two centuries since.

St. Buryan is familiar to all visitors to the Land's End, as the cars usually make it a halting-place. Even more famous, and perhaps more attractive to the conventional sight-seer, is the Logan Stone of Treryn, or Treen; but what makes this spot truly worth seeing is not the mass of poised rock, which certainly stirs clumsily when pushed, but the grand headland itself, on which there is a dinas, or old entrenchment. The coast here has more beauties than can be named, but this immemorial stronghold of a vanished race, on its magnificent bluff of granite that juts from a turf-clad neck of land, is far more glorious than any logging-stone, even though it may have been displaced and replaced by a nephew of the poet Goldsmith. The little hamlet of Treen is just across the fields. Logan rocks are simply a freak of nature, in spite of the Druidic nonsense that has been talked about them; softer soils have been eroded beneath, and the rock has remained balanced. Treen is in the parish of St. Levan, but we have to pass Porthcurnow Cove before reaching that saint's immediate locality. Porthcurnow, with its fine shore and grand seas, and its memories of Tregeagle, whose doom is to sweep the sands from Porthcurnow to the farther side of Land's End, has in some sense had its romance knocked out of it by the establishment of the Eastern Telegraph Company, and the presence of about a hundred keen, sport-loving telegraphists. They have a comfortable settlement for their exile here, with excellent cricket and tennis grounds and perfect accommodation. Their duties resemble those of any telegraph instrument-room in the country, but the locality should render their leisure hours delightful. Hunt tells a tale of a Spectre Ship at Porthcurnow, but all these traditions were dying when he told them, and that is a good while ago now. The name of Porthcurnow is interesting, as it probably embodies the root of the name of Cornwall itself; and there was once a very ancient chapel here, raised on a burial cairn of far greater antiquity; very slight traces remain. Perhaps Penberth and St. Loy's Coves ought to have been mentioned; but we must pass on to St. Levan, who was a very attractive saint, with an engaging touch of human nature about him. Even so, his identity is a little doubtful. The prefix St. is quite modern in Cornwall, and as this parish was once spoken of as Siluan, and is still sometimes called Slevan, it is possible that the real saint was Silvanus, and not Levan at all. Whoever he was, he had a little oratory and holy well on the cliff below the site of the present church; and he lived on a single fish each day. One day two fish persisted in being caught; and when he reached his cell he found that his sister Breaca (whose name survives at Breage) had paid him a visit with her two children. This legend goes on the usual supposition that the saint was really the Irish Levan, brother of St. Breage. Unhappily the children ate so eagerly that they were choked by the fishbones, in memory of which bream (or sometimes chad) used to be called "choke-cheeld." Mr. Baring-Gould says this caused a coolness between brother and sister. He had another unpleasantness with a woman Joanna, who lived near, who was a rigid vegetarian, and quarrelled with the saint for catching his fish on Sunday. He said that to fish was no worse than to do gardening. We may repeat these old stories, but the Cornish folk of to-day know nothing of them; they are dead, except as matter for the guide-books. St. Levan Church is snugly sheltered. It has been carefully restored and is very attractive, with a good tower, some fine bench-ends, and a beautiful screen. Outside the church is a cleft boulder of granite, and there used to be a local saying that when a pack-horse should ride through St. Levan's stone the world would come to an end. A little beyond is the really delightful Porthgwarra, with its rugged stone slip and tunnels leading to the little fishing-cove. Visitors are beginning to discover Porthgwarra, and it is one of those quiet, lonely haunts where lodgings must be booked long in advance. Cornwall has a good many such—the resort of those who shun the ordinary watering-place.



CHAPTER X

THE SCILLY ISLANDS

Geologically, we are still on the mainland when we reach the isles of Scilly; they belong to the axis of the Cornish peninsula, and are in what may still be called, comparatively, the narrow seas. The hundred-fathom line lies far beyond them; these waters, though thoroughly oceanic in character, are not oceanic in depth. We may regard the islands as the last upward thrust of the granitic backbone that runs, at a diminishing gradient, from Dartmoor to Land's End, while the submarine plateau follows a similar gradient. Structurally, therefore, these isles are a continuation of Land's End, but the granite has become less consistent and more friable; it is largely broken into felspar, quartz, and mica, with schorl, chlorite, and hornblende. No great elevation is attained—nothing above 160 feet; the grandeur of the coasts, which certainly does not equal that of North Cornwall, consists in their rugged wildness and the fantastic weathering of their crags. Contorted formations, logans and rock-basins, reveal the decomposition of softer measures that has been proceeding for ages. The isles lie about 27 miles west of Land's End, but the journey from Penzance to St. Mary's is about 40 miles, and the small steamers that make the passage usually take about four hours. More often than not this passage is an uncomfortable one; the islands stand in the ocean gateway of the two Channels, and they catch whatever is going in the way of sea, while of course winds play upon them with unbroken force. It is rather surprising that their strategic importance should be neglected by the Government. There was indeed some talk of forming a naval base here, but the scheme seems to have been abandoned; yet a station with extensive harbourage could be planned without vast cost, and would be a dominant factor in controlling the navigation of the English Channel. During the Franco-German War, when the navy of Germany was much less powerful than that of France, Germany made considerable use of the Scillies as a neutral port for the convenience of vessels making the Channel; and a time may easily come when a naval base here would be of untold advantage to Great Britain, as its absence might become a positive disaster.



The archipelago occupies an area of about 30 square miles, the isles, reckoning many that are mere fragments of rock, numbering about two hundred; the principal of which range in size from the 1,600 acres of St. Mary's to the five acres of Little Ganniley. St. Mary's is about three miles long and two in breadth, with a circumference of nine miles and a population of about 1,500—about three-quarters of the entire population. It contains the capital, Hugh Town, which is more often simply styled St. Mary's, and which stands chiefly on a neck of land that appears to be rather perilously threatened by the sea. Four other islands are inhabited—Tresco, St. Martin's, St. Agnes, and Bryher; they are all considerably smaller. The first to come into definite view from a vessel making the isles is St. Martin's, with its day-mark standing at a height of about 160 feet.

It must be confessed that, for their beauty, the islands depend very largely on sunshine and atmospheric effect; without the sun they can become very dreary. Meteorologic figures prove that the average summer temperature is only 58 deg. Fahrenheit and the winter about 45 deg.; so that there is little oppressive heat, and frost is very rare. But in spite of these figures the islands can become sultry under a blaze of sunshine; and in winter the winds are sometimes piercingly keen. No trees will grow unless protected from this wind; yet the tropical vegetation that flourishes in the open air conclusively proves the remarkable equability of the climate; while rainfall, which is seldom excessive, is quickly absorbed or evaporated. To the lover of history, legend, and romance the Scillies are a rich mine of treasure, and their inaccessibility keeps them immune from the spoiling tendencies of fashion. At one time this inaccessibility was far greater, and only those came to Scilly who had business there. It is claimed by tradition that these islets are a portion of the lost land of Lyonesse, the old-world haunt of Arthur and Tristram—a land of villages, pastures, smiling vales, now buried beneath the waves. Persons sometimes apply the name of Lyonesse to the whole of Cornwall, but this is a mistake; the true Lyonesse of legend was a tract of country lying to the south-west of Land's End, which we may connect, racially or otherwise, with the Leon of Brittany. There are many traces of submerged forest in Mount's Bay and elsewhere along the southern coast; and the old Cornish name of St. Michael's Mount represents that rock as having once stood in the centre of woodland. It is impossible to say when or how the Scillies first became insular, whether by sudden cataclysm or by gradual erosion; the latter seems more likely, but tradition has preferred to speak of a sudden catastrophe, such as that which is supposed to have overwhelmed Cardigan Bay. There is a story which says that a member of the Trevilian family was only saved from the inrush of waters by the speed of his horse, which struggled inland from the pursuing waves, reaching a rocky cleft on the shore at Perranuthnoe. It is possible that slow erosion may have paved the way to some such immediate disaster, such as that caused by a great storm in 1099, when, according to the Saxon Chronicle, many villages and churches were swept away. It was this storm, accompanied perhaps by a tidal wave, that converted the estates of Earl Godwin into the dreaded Goodwin Sands; and it may have caused tremendous damage, not definitely recorded, in the West. But another tradition attributes the formation of the islands to magic. It was said, by those who placed Arthur's last great battle in the West of England, that, after the fight was over, the triumphant Mordred chased the King's despairing followers to the extreme limits of Lyonesse, where they lay "between the devil and the deep sea," like the Israelites pursued by Pharaoh. The cruel Mordred was close at their heels, rejoicing in the prospect of exterminating the last remnant of Arthur's Round Table, when suddenly the wizard Merlin appeared in his path. The magician raised his hand and summoned the elements to his aid. The earth began to heave and the rocks to split; waters came rushing into immense fissures and yawning chasms. Mordred and his men turned back horror-stricken, attempting to flee from this upheaval of nature; but the ocean was too quick for them. Where there had been smiling acres of pasture and tillage, valley and moorland, waves were now seething and foaming; there was no refuge to the east or to the west; the breakers overtook them on all sides. But while they were thus overwhelmed in the ruin of Lyonesse, the followers of Arthur stood on land that had been spared. This far-west cluster of hill-summits had been changed into a group of islets; and in this home of refuge that was miraculously left to them, the fugitives settled into peaceful residence, building houses and churches. Such, the story says, is the ancestry of the Scillonians.

All this belongs to the region of romance; history knows nothing of it. Even the name of Scilly is a puzzle, though perhaps the best authorities think that it derives from the widespread tribe of the Silures. Strictly speaking, the name Scilly only attaches to one small islet lying off Bryher, but somehow it has affixed itself to the whole group. Many derive it from silya or selli, meaning conger-eels, a favourite Cornish dish; others suggest the Celtic sulleh, or "sun-rocks," denoting the old sun-worship. It is interesting to note that there is a Sully isle lying off Glamorgan, south of Cardiff, and there may have been some connection between the two names, for Scilly was sometimes spelt Sully; there is also a Scilly in Ireland. The Romans usually called the islands Sillinae, but Sulpicius Severus used the form Sylinancis, which Sir John Rhys associates with the Silulanus of an inscribed stone at Lydney. Another name was Silura; Richard of Cirencester wrote of the Sygdilles, "also denominated the Oestromenides and Cassiterides"; the Danes spoke of the Syllingar; and in French charts the isles are "les Sorlingues." The whole question is very difficult, and this is hardly the place in which to discuss it. It is almost certain that the isles cannot have been the Cassiterides, or tin-islands; they present only slight traces of tin-working, and it is far from likely that the tin-workers of Cornwall would have shipped their metal to this isolated spot in order to find a market with foreign traders. It is more probable that the name of Tin Islands was applied by the ancients to the British Isles in general, whose number and extent were little known in those days. Rome seems to have used the isles as a place of banishment and penal settlement, and in days of early Christianity two heretical bishops were exiled here. Early in the tenth century Athelstan made a progress through Cornwall, ostensibly to conquer it as a part of Wessex; and when he reached the high land near the present St. Buryan it is said that he sighted these islands in the distance and was not content till he had visited them. He vowed to build a church on the spot where he then stood if he returned safely from the expedition. The church of St. Buryan stands as a memorial of his fulfilled vow. On the isles themselves he is said to have founded Tresco Abbey, dedicated to St. Nicholas, which became a wealthy religious establishment, though now only a few fragments remain. Later in the same century King Olaf of Norway came hither during one of the marauding cruises that made him a terror of the British shores. It is related that a hermit living at St. Mary's gave him timely warning of a mutiny among his seamen; Olaf crushed the mutiny, but received a severe wound. He was carried to the monastery at Tresco, and consented to be baptized; after which he became a saint himself, and churches were dedicated to him—there is one such at Exeter. Longfellow has told us of

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