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The Cornwall Coast
by Arthur L. Salmon
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Beyond St. Agnes Beacon the coast is largely composed of clay-slates, or killas, presenting much desolate grandeur; the slate showing the jagged scars of its unending resistance to oceanic forces. At Cligga Head this slate is blended with decomposed hard granite. Off the shore, about two miles out, rise the two isolated rocks known as the Man and his Men—sometimes also called the Cow and her Calf. "Man" and "Men" are simply corruptions of the Celtic maen, a stone. Between St. Agnes and Perranporth the passage along the cliffs is interrupted by the extensive enclosures of a modern dynamite factory, and the pedestrian who has known this walk of yore is not likely to bless this manufacture of a deadly explosive. But there is a great industrial demand for dynamite in the district, and it is well that its production should be relegated to a neighbourhood where accidents would do the least possible damage. At Perranporth we approach a grim sand-driven tract of country sacred to the name of one of Cornwall's most typical saints, the Irishman St. Piran. Perranporth itself, since the advent of the railway, is drawing some visitors away from Newquay, in quest of equal beauty and greater quiet. The village stands on the cliffs above a small cove, from which there is some fishing, and northward runs a fine stretch of sand. There are capabilities here for almost unlimited growth, and the district, inland and seaward, is full of charm. The coast is hollowed and arched into wonderful caverns, where the deep blue and green waters break with gentle swell or dash with infuriated violence. The church is a chapel-of-ease to Perranzabuloe (Piran-in-sabulo); there are barrows and sand-dunes, and a vague floating rumour of an immemorial past. In fog or grey weather the spot can be dreary, weird, desolate; but in times of fair sunrise or sundown it is glorified with a marvellous beauty, with restful nooks where a dreamer may enter upon a heritage of beatific vision. St. Piran, the dominant personality of the district, is the patron of the tin-miners, but neither they nor others know much about him; he is a ghost of the far past, but a ghost with a dim halo around his head. He belongs to the sixth century, and was therefore a little later than the saints of the Land's End country. In Ireland he is reputed as St. Kieran of Saigir, but the British Celts, according to their usual custom, changed the Gaelic K into P. His Irish record is much more full than his Cornish, but it must not delay us, except to remember that he rescued an Irish girl, Bruinsech, from a chief who had kidnapped her, and that she travelled to Cornwall, probably in his company, to become the Buriena of St. Buryan. Piran is said to have journeyed across the seas on a millstone, which is a mythical way of saying that he brought his altar-stone with him. He is supposed to have landed on these drifting sands that perpetuate his name, and to have founded his first cell here, the oratory that still remains in much mutilated ruin among the towans of Perran. So far as site is concerned, this may be true enough; but the oratory, whose bare foundations are now surrounded by a sheltering rail, is probably at least two centuries later than the day of St. Piran, though it is just possible that the huge skeleton found here might be his. There is no reason why a saint may not also be a giant. But who shall establish the identity of a mouldering skeleton? Only a fragment of gable, a half-buried inscribed slab, and some loose rugged stones, have been left to speak of what may be the earliest religious foundation in England; but even in this matter of antiquity there are competitors. We may suppose that the present oratory was raised over Piran's original cell somewhere about the eighth century; and about two centuries later it was found that the encroaching sands rendered its further use impossible. It was deserted, and a second church raised a little further inland, of which the site is now marked by a cross. Visitors may be warned that both sites are very difficult to discover without a guide. This second church became collegiate in the time of the Confessor, with a dean and canons, being enriched by the offerings of pilgrims who came from all parts of Cornwall to the shrine of St. Piran. The establishment was presented by Henry I. to the canons of Exeter. We may judge that at this time the first chapel was entirely buried in the sands. In 1420 the second church was rebuilt; the older church, even its site, was forgotten. At the close of the eighteenth century the second church itself was threatened by the same peril; the planting of reed-grass was not then understood as a means of binding the sand. This time the parishioners moved their church to a greater distance, establishing their church town at the present Perranzabuloe, where the materials of the second church were largely used in the erection of a new one; they also carried thither an old hexagonal font, which is thought to have come from the original oratory. In the year 1835 a shifting of sand revealed this earliest church, whose memory only survived in vague tradition; the secret came to light after a burial of eight or nine centuries. The discovery made a considerable stir, and was announced to the public in books written by two clergymen, W. Haslam and Trelawney-Collins, neither of whom, however, is a quite reliable guide. Mr. Collins used the occasion as an opportunity for proving that the Church in England was a Protestant Church more than nine hundred years before the Reformation; while the zeal of Mr. Haslam led him to an unfortunate attempt at restoring the oratory. Then followed neglect, and the tourists who came hither were left to pilfer and carry away the sacred stones piecemeal; now, when it is almost too late, such depredation is stopped. The church was a ruin when it was found; it is something almost less than a ruin now. As revealed by the shifting sand, it presented an almost exact resemblance to the oldest oratories in Ireland; its length was about 29 feet, its breadth 16 feet, with an arched doorway, and one little window, walled up, above the altar. The masonry was of the roughest description, the stones appearing to have been put together with little selection; and the floor was a rude kind of concrete, china clay being used instead of lime. Some skeletons were found within the church, and many more without; in fact, human remains are still cast up by the sands. Perhaps this was once a spot of thick population; or, more probably, the fame of St. Piran may have rendered it a popular burying-ground. A notice has been placed here, warning against any disturbance of the soil or of the remains of the dead. The feast-day of St. Piran falls on the 5th of March, and is not yet quite forgotten; it was once an occasion of such merry-making as to furnish a local saying—"As drunk as a Perraner." There is an unhappy tradition that St. Piran himself died in drink, which we may connect with the other rumour that he discovered Cornish tin in an effort to distil Irish whisky. We have reason to believe that Celtic saints were very human, but we need not credit every idle legend. The saint seems to have been something of a farmer, possessing many horses and cattle. We may question the statement that he lived to the age of two hundred, and then dug his own grave in the sand; but the possibility that the large skeleton found here was really his has some support from the fact that it was headless when discovered, and this tallies with an entry in the will of Sir John Arundell of Trerice: "To provide honourable protection for St. Pieran's head, the sum of 40s." Those who wish to find the ancient oratory had better first reach the site of the second church, marked by a high granite cross; from this the older remains lie about a quarter of a mile westward, towards the sea. Another plan-an-guare, resembling that of Redruth, lies near the hamlet of Rose (ros, a moorland); it is about 130 feet in diameter, and has faint traces of seven tiers of seats, which afforded accommodation for two thousand spectators. Originally it was probably a natural subsidence, strengthened by artificial earthworks; and whatever its first use may have been, it became a popular amphitheatre for public performance of miracle-plays. There are many water-mills in this district, and they provide a feature not common in Cornwall.



CHAPTER XIV

CRANTOCK, NEWQUAY, MAWGAN

After passing the extensive sands of Perran Bay the coast once more becomes rugged and broken. This is a very quiet and lonely part of the Cornish seaboard, but the popularity of Newquay is bringing it within the knowledge of an increasing number of visitors. The railway now touches the coast here at two points, Newquay and Perranporth, between which limits those who wish to explore the country-side must rely on other methods of transit. The shore is not only broken into rough headlands, but has a number of off-lying islets. Thus there are the Gull Rocks, off Penhale Point; the Chick, off Kelsey Head; and the Goose, off East Pentire. The sands in this district have wrought more havoc than the sea; and if tradition may be trusted there was once a far more dense population. Barrows and traces of encampment are fairly common, but the sand is supposed to hold more secrets yet; and if it surrendered the old lost church of St. Piran, why should it not some day unseal still other mysteries? There is indeed an atmosphere of mystery and of myth brooding over this region, with its gaunt, turf-clad headlands, its drifting sand-towans, its tracks and stone hedges and lonely church-towns. It is easy to yield to the spirit of dream and imagination—to see with other eyes than we use in city life, to hear with other ears, to believe more and dispute less; the very air is an intoxicant and a stimulant to fantastic vision. It comes pure from the Atlantic or from the down-lands, from craggy cliffs or grassy uplands; there is the wonderful glamour of the sea reaching inland to possess and dominate the peaceful charm of the country-side. The inhabitants in this quiet stretch of coast depend rather on agriculture than on fish for their maintenance; the coast is too unprotected, and there is no tolerable harbour to which fisher-boats might run for safety. The cottages for the most part have a pastoral atmosphere, and not the savour of fish and tangle of nets that we meet in so many seaside villages. The lowing of cows comes pleasantly, and the incessant murmur of poultry-yards; in late summer there is the cutting and garnering of golden grain. The stone hedges that divide the fields are generally broad enough to walk on with comfort; very often, indeed, they are the best and quickest of footpaths. Or one can lie on them in delightful languor, after scrambling about the cliffs and towans, basking in the mellow sunlight, laying in a store of warmth and beauty and fragrance as reserve for dreary months of wet and fog. Centuries old, some of these massive walls must be—often constructed doubtless from older monuments of dim religious purpose, just as some of the gate-posts were once menhirs and monoliths. The villagers have their rugged old churches, to which they resort for baptisms and burials, but on Sundays they go in greater numbers to the chapel or meeting-house. In those people whom we classify, often wrongly, as Celtic, there seems to be something that the Anglican Church does not wholly satisfy, though it is necessary to speak with reserve on such a matter. They can be devout Catholics, as in Ireland, or zealous Dissenters, as in Wales and the West of England; perhaps these manifestations of the religious spirit, seemingly so opposed, have yet a common feature in allowing more play to the fancy. Dissent has one great charm for all countryfolk—it gives them a large share in its activities, it allows them to preach and to pray. This is certainly one secret of its success, not limited to Cornwall. Even a parson like Hawker, beloved by all his parishioners as he was, could not win them from Dissent. There is a chance that the priests of Rome will step in and win where the parish clergyman has partly failed. More than twenty years since, Richard Jefferies wrote about the tonsured priest becoming a power in English country lanes. Here in the West Country hundreds of rich acres are held by the monastic orders. The country parson has now to fight against his old opponent, the Methodist or Baptist, and his older opponent, the priest of Rome. But the winds that sweep across the meadows and sand-dunes, the waves that lap peacefully or dash thunderously, tell us nothing of these old and often dismal quarrels. They are but secular things after all; the things that are eternal reach deeper than creed or vestment. We do not ask what fetish or totem the sleepers in the grassy barrows believed in; we may ask if they lived their lives truly and faithfully, doing that which was good according to the light of their primitive consciences.

Between the two headlands of Penhale Point and Kelsey Head lies Holywell Bay, the larger portion of which is in the parish of Cubert. It is a wild region of blown sand. The two headlands are grandly lashed by breaking waves in rough weather, while the interlying beach is swept with great rolling breakers. A little inland are many traces of discontinued mining; and though their suggestions are dismal enough, these are probably more picturesque in their neglect and decay than they could be if in full operation. The bay and the sands are named after the holy well of St. Cubert, formerly one of the most famous of Cornwall's numerous wells. St. Cubert, the titular patron of the parish and well, has been mistaken for St. Cuthbert; but it is obvious to any one who has devoted any study to Cornish saint-lore that the Northumbrian saint has no business here, good man though he was. He has been intruded to displace some earlier and less widely known possessor. Cuthbert was certainly never in Cornwall, and the older Cornish dedications are almost invariably the actual footprints of Celtic missionaries. It is probable that the true Cubert was St. Cybi, or Cuby, whom we find at Cuby near Grampound, and whose name also survives in the Caergybi and Llangybi of Wales. There is another well of St. Cuby at Duloe, north of Looe; and he was related to some of Cornwall's most notable saints. The Holy Well is a fresh-water spring on the north side of the beach; it is in a cave, accessible at low water, and is reached by a flight of rough steps. Its water was once supposed to be highly medicinal—in fact, miraculous. It is true that there is some mineral solution in the water, but this is not of medicinal value. The well or spring is in a kind of grotto at the head of rugged steps in the rock; and its water drips into a series of natural basins, beautiful with the loveliest colouring—quite a fairy grotto, worthy of being a sea-nymph's bathing-place. Our faith in miraculous cures may be slight enough at this present time, but so long as the human eye can appreciate loveliness this spot must ever have its delicate satisfying charm, all the more striking in contrast to the long, weary stretches of sand-dune.

The beauty of the spot abides, but the old-world faith in the waters has well-nigh departed—gone with many another quaint credulity. The change cannot be better emphasised than by a quotation from another writer, who described the same scene several centuries since. The Cornish historian Hals writes: "In this parish is that famous spring of water called Holywell (so named, the inhabitants say, for that the virtues of this water was first discovered on All-hallows Day). The same stands in a dark cavern of the sea-cliff rocks, beneath full sea-mark on spring tides, from the top of which cavern fall down or distil continually drops of water from the white, blue, red, and green veins of those rocks.... The virtues of this water are very great. It is incredible what numbers in summer season frequent this place and waters from counties far distant." It is said that, even within the nineteenth century, the crowd that used to assemble here, especially those bringing rickety and crippled children, was so large that the scene resembled a fair. But now it is curiosity that brings the visitor, or the attraction of a lonely, beautiful scene; Cornish mothers seek other remedies for their delicate children; only perhaps a few of the elder folk fondly nurse a memory and a belief in the powers of St. Cubert's Well. Yet the spring flows on, heedless of its neglect as it was heedless of its worship; it is only the false, the fantastic, the deceptive that have passed—the truth, the loveliness remain.

About two and a half miles from the well, across the sand-downs and commons, is the little church-town of Cubert. It stands high, overlooking the sand-wastes of Holywell and Perran Bays, and its church serves the purpose of a landmark in this somewhat trackless district. It is Early English in character, with later additions, such as the Decorated woodwork about its roof; the graceful tower has an octagonal upper stage and low spire, with three bells in the belfry. The church was struck by lightning in 1848, and restored under the care of G. E. Street, R.A. The font, of Norman design, was preserved from mutilation in Puritan times by veiling its beauties beneath a covering of plaster. During the restoration a granite monumental stone was unearthed, of Romano-British character; it has been placed in the wall outside the tower, and its inscription reads Conectoci fili Tegerno Mali. Whether legends of the lost Langarrow are true or not, there was evidently a considerable population of this part in early British times. Cubert is still peaceful and primitive, being a little too far from Newquay to be overrun by the summer visitors. A pleasant and fairly good road leads towards Crantock, passing by Trevowah, beyond which a turning to the left takes us to West Pentire and the small bay known as Porth or "Polly" Joke. The "joke" needs explanation; possibly it is the corruption of some forgotten Cornish word. It is a charming little bay lying snugly between the two headlands of Kelsey and West Pentire, both of which command fine views of coast and sea. We are now in the parish of Crantock, whose antiquity and importance have been over-shadowed by the ever-growing popularity of the comparatively juvenile Newquay; yet present-day Crantock owes so much to Newquay that it cannot afford to be disdainful. In these days no picturesque village can afford to scorn a wealthy neighbour; yet Crantock claims to have been a populous town before Newquay was dreamed of.

Crantock, or St. Carantoc, stands a little way inland from the coast, and the older part is cradled in a sheltering hollow. Its boast of former importance is by no means an idle one. Even within comparatively recent years the estuary of the Gannel, now sand-locked, was navigable for large fishing-craft; and the "new quay" of the prosperous neighbour points indirectly to a time when there was an old quay here. In the sand-flats and rocks around the river-mouth it is possible to trace signs of old shipping, old mooring-rings, and curious excavations. Hals tells us that "in this parish is the port or creek or haven, called the Gonell or Ganell. It also, at full sea, affordeth entrance and anchorage for ships of greatest burthen, if conducted by a pilot that understandeth the course of the channel." But tradition goes further back than this, and speaks of Crantock as having been once part of a large town or district named Langarrow, or sometimes Languna, most of which now lies beneath the sand-towans. This town is said to have had many fine churches and buildings, vying with the best cities in the Britain of that day, which seems to have been the tenth century. With wealth drawn from a fertile soil, a productive sea, and from rich mines of tin and lead, the inhabitants waxed proud in their prosperity, and revelled in luxurious vice. It would seem that a problem as to the provision of labour for the mines—still a vexed question in parts of the British dominions—led the Government of that day to convert Langarrow into a criminal settlement. There were no opposition newspapers in those times, or their perusal would be deeply interesting. The convicts were not allowed to reside within the town, but had a reservation or compound outside, and they passed most of their time toiling in the mines for the enrichment of others. Such work was probably done chiefly by means of quarrying and "streaming," rather than by the burrowing underground which we now generally understand as mining. This importation of criminal labour added greatly to the wealth of the neighbourhood, but it gradually induced its ruin. The daughters of Langarrow began to marry with the convicts; a slow process of contamination took place among those whose morals were already sapped by luxury. At last the town absolutely reeked with wickedness—so says the highly moral legend. When the sin had reached its utmost the wrath of God descended. The cities of the Plain were destroyed by fire; this Cornish town was overwhelmed by a terrible uprising of wind and sea. The waves broke angrily over the haunts of man's degradation, followed by driving sands that blotted them out for ever. But perhaps it may not be for ever. Some day the fickle sand may desert that which it once buried, or the spade may lay bare relics that shall prove the tradition's truth. The lost church of St. Piran has been found; it may be so with the lost Langarrow. Already many human remains have been found among the sand-heaps that extend intermittently from here to Perranporth, and traces of "kitchen-middens" which would throw back the date of Langarrow a thousand years or so. Some have imagined that the destruction occurred at the time when Lyonesse was swallowed by the waves, leaving only the Scillies to point to its former extent; and there have been those who identified this catastrophe with the tempest mentioned in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle under the date 1099. Others, again, without daring to name a date, have thought that the storm which destroyed Langarrow may have been the same as that which overwhelmed the "Lost Hundred" of Cardigan Bay. But without denying these convulsions of nature, we cannot venture to identify or time them.

The name of Langarrow, however, may safely be regarded as historic; and this, with its variants of Languna or Langona, is the earliest name that we can trace at Crantock. It proves the existence of a settlement here before the time of St. Carantoc; it seems also to prove the earlier existence of a church. The "garrow" might denote an untraceable St. Garrow or Carrow. Langona has been differently interpreted as the "Meadow Church" and the "Church on the Downs," either of which names would be appropriate. But we reach something more definite when we come to St. Carantoc himself, the Irish Cairnech or Crannach. He is a genuine personality of British saint-lore, the only doubt being whether he was an Irishman, a Welshman, or a Cornishman. All three countries have claimed him. Most likely he was a Welshman, and as he lived at a time when Wales and Cornwall were practically one land, Cornwall must not feel defrauded if this decision is arrived at. The most notable point about Cairnech is his connection with St. Patrick, who appears to have been his intimate friend; some even say that Patrick was baptized by Cairnech. It is clear that Cairnech was associated with Patrick in the famous revision of the Brehon Laws which became known as the Senchus Mor. It was natural that, in Cornish, his name should become Crannog, Latinised into Carantocus; in Wales it seems to have become Caranog. Singularly enough, not far from the Welsh Newquay there is one of his churches, Llangranog, so that both Newquays have their Crantock. The fact that Cairnech was chosen to make one of this committee of revision establishes the esteem in which he was held; though it must be confessed that some authorities doubt that the Brehon Laws were ever revised at all at this date. When the saint came to Cornwall (always supposing that he was not born here), he is reputed to have landed in the Gannel, and to have built his cell on a strip of land that the local chieftain gave him. While whittling the handle of his mattock he noticed that a wood-pigeon picked up the shavings in its mouth and carried them to a certain spot. He took this as a sign that he was to build his church there, and this, says tradition, is the present site of Crantock Church. There was a collegiate foundation here in Saxon times, mentioned in the Exeter Domesday as Langorroc; but the oldest existing portions of the building are Transition-Norman and Early English, dating from the reign of Edward III., at which time the previous collegiate establishment seems to have been restored. The accommodation was for a dean and nine prebendaries, which proves that Crantock must have served a large neighbourhood. There must have been a much older building on the site, perhaps coeval with the ancient St. Piran's; for a large sandstone coffin, of at least a thousand years in antiquity, was discovered in the churchyard some years since, and now lies there to be marvelled at by the casual visitor and to delight the antiquary. Not many years ago the church had fallen into sad decay, but the Rev. G. M. Parsons set himself to remedy this, and by strenuous collecting he was enabled to reopen the restored edifice in 1902. At the time of the Dissolution the establishment here consisted of a dean, nine prebends, and four vicars-choral, quite a cathedral foundation; but at that time the revenue was very small, there being barely enough to support one vicar, and the prebends must have been simply honorary titles bestowed on neighbouring clergy. There is every proof that the church was intended for a large body of resident priests, there being an important division between choir and nave. There are other collegiate relics in the village, besides the usual holy well. The church stands finely on a sloping meadow looking towards the sea. The village is typically Cornish even to the extent of having no public-house (unless that defect has lately been remedied). A few years since the inhabitants regarded the lack with befitting pride; but the views of visitors differ. It is amusing to learn the experiences of those who had arranged a stay at Crantock without previous knowledge of this missing source of refreshment; and the fact has afforded an explanation of their very frequent walks to Newquay. As a commercial centre it may freely be admitted that Crantock is limited. Its chief link with civilisation is the tiny post-office, which is also a provision store; but Cornwall has acquaintance with a kind of glorified hawking or peddling with which dwellers in town have no concern. A shop on wheels may occasionally be seen in the heart of some quiet hamlet, surrounded by speculative housewives and wondering children. But Crantock has its charm of the present, as well as a delightful association with the past. Close to its undulating slopes lies the grandeur of a glorious coast, meeting the deep blues and greens of the Atlantic. On the headland across the Bay there are barrows that tell of days before the coming of Saxon and Norman; and among these sport numberless rabbits, vanishing with marvellous quickness at the slightest movement. In storm all is magnificence; in calm there is the brooding of a fathomless peace. It is a perfect rest to lie on the sandy dunes or breezy warrens, gazing dreamily at sky and waters. The air rings with the cry of sea-fowl and the song of the lark, while from beyond comes the eternal wash of waves or the low boom from hidden caves. Blended with these comes the more homelike sound of cattle, and often the laugh of children. At nightfall the village and its surrounding meadows soon become slumberous. The field-paths and lanes become utterly lonely and solemn. Bats swoop down, and around the isolated farms may be heard the strange cry of the owl. It is little wonder that superstition dies slowly in such an atmosphere; and there was one such superstition that long lingered around the Gannel gorge. Perhaps it is not yet quite dead, but is told by some mothers to their children at nightfall.



Penpoll Creek is reached by a delightful wild-flower lane leading from Crantock; it is the quickest way into Newquay. What may be called the main road goes inland, by Trevemper Bridge, a good four miles—sometimes to be chosen instead of taking the ford. The Gannel is only a small stream in itself, but here, at its sandy mouth, it broadens to a considerable width, and flows with rapid current. At Penpoll the road runs to meet the river on either side, and there is a narrow plank-bridge by which travellers can pass dryshod when the tide is low. But the banks of sand are very shallow, and are quickly flooded by the incoming water; this little bridge of planks is soon washed by the waves, and during some hours each day the Gannel cannot be forded. In broad daylight, when visitors from Newquay are passing and repassing, the spot may be cheerful enough; but at nightfall a dusky solemnity possesses it. There is the rumour of immemorial tradition in the air; it comes with the lap of the water and the low sob that breathes from the sands; it speaks in the cry of the birds as they wing their way restlessly from bank to bank. The countryfolk whisper that these birds are the souls of those who have been drowned at the ford—those who have dared to pass unwarily when the tide was pouring in with the force of the ocean behind it. The moment of safety had gone, but rather than drive many miles round to the bridge at Trevemper, they risked the passage, their horses became confused by the whirl of waters, and by the sands, that are always treacherous in a rising tide; the flow was too strong for swimming; the waves soon bubbled mockingly above the drowned heads of man and beast.

But there is another cry that suddenly resounds through the stillness, a long-drawn, mysterious utterance, passing drearily, difficult to locate, more difficult to name—one of those sounds by which Nature at times reaches to the dark places of our spirit and terrifies us with vague dread of the unknown. Is it the wail of an owl or other bird of the night? It pervades the air wildly and lingeringly. Those who come late to the ford and hear this sudden strange call draw rein and turn backward; it is better to drive the weary distance to the bridge than to brave a crossing when this warning is abroad. Those who are familiar with this country-side, with its dim lingerings of Celtic tradition, its strange borderland of myth and reality, know the meaning of the cry in their hearts, though, perhaps, they decline to give mention to it with their lips. They have been told in their childhood of a man who once lived in these parts, whose life was stained by many black deeds, and lightened by a single good one. He had been a smuggler, a wrecker, a pirate; his hand was red with blood, his soul dark with the soil of crime. One night a cottager lay dying, and was praying that a priest might be fetched to his bedside. Moved by a rare impulse of pity, the man of many sins set forth to cross the Gannel and to bring the priest from a religious house beyond. But the time for fording had passed; the river was running swiftly, and waves were leaping hungrily about the usual track of passage. Yet it meant a long delay to go round by the bridge, and the occasion was pressing. Merging all his virtue into one brave deed, the man plunged into the boiling torrent, and never reached the other side. In consideration of this last action the doom that would otherwise have been his was mitigated into a nobler penance. He is permitted to haunt the shores, and by his cries to warn passengers when the ford has become perilous. So does he save others and work out his own salvation.

Immediately beyond the Warren, with its old-world tumuli, is Fistral Bay, the eastern point of which is Towan Head, giving Newquay its finest promenade. Here, just beyond the golf-links, are two of the largest hotels, and beyond these is the lifeboat-house, with its slip for launching. Beneath are caverns and natural tunnels once devoted to smuggling; while a memorial of old Newquay's other industry exists in the quaint Huer's House, on the eastern point of the headland. It was from this look-out that the hue-and-cry was raised when the shoals of pilchards were sighted; a man being on watch here, to give signal to the fishing-boats. But the pilchards do not come so far eastward now; the house remains to remind Newquay, now in the day of its pride and fashion, that it was a humble lowly fishing village. Carew, three centuries since, spoke of "newe Kaye, a place in the north coast of Pydar Hundred, so called because in former times the neighbours attempted to supplie the defect of nature by art, in making there a kay for the rode of shipping."

There is usually some amount of charm about a harbour; but neither the harbour nor even the sea is visible from the streets of Newquay, except in rare glimpses. Modern Newquay seems to have striven to render itself uninteresting; Mr. Hind says that it is the ugliest though the most popular coast-town in Cornwall. Of course, this only applies to the town, not to its situation, its fine cliffs and broad sands; Newquay townsfolk might with a little foresight have made their leading street into a most attractive promenade by leaving one side open towards the sea. As it is, the streets are resorted to for shopping and business purposes, and for nothing else; they have nothing else to offer. Commonplace on this plateau above the cliffs, the coast becomes glorious below, eaten out as it is into grand caves and hollows, with alluring stretches of weeded beach and firm shell-sand. Fistral Beach and the bracing headlands have their own special charm; but the popular beach at Newquay is that which reaches towards St. Columb and Trevalgue Head. Visitors find particular delight in the Island, a mass of rock that is really insular at high water, and the numerous caves are a constant temptation to young and old explorers. There are barrows also above the Crigga Rocks, linking modern Newquay with a far-forgotten past; and at St. Columb Porth, generally called Porth for short, are traces of submerged forest. Trevalgue Head is practically an island, joined to the mainland by a narrow bridge; and in tempestuous weather this is a grand spot for noting the force and sublimity of Cornish seas. The Banqueting Hall and Cathedral Cavern are especially fine caves here. Of course, care must always be taken to watch the tides, or trouble may be expected. About a mile inland from the Porth is the village of St. Columb Minor, the mother-parish of Newquay; farther inland still is St. Columb Major, and both churches appear to be dedicated to a maiden Columba, who suffered martyrdom in Gaul. We must not think of the great Irish Columba here. The district has long been a chief centre of Cornwall's popular game of hurling, which still enjoys an annual revival, sometimes in the village itself, sometimes on the sands reaching towards Newquay. The ball used on these occasions is a little smaller than a cricket-ball, and has a coating of silver; it is inscribed with the verse—

"St. Columb Major and Minor, Do your best; In one of your parishes I must rest."

The sides are not now confined to the parishes, but usually consist of "Married versus Single," or "Townsmen versus Countrymen." The ball is thrown up and hurled from hand to hand, no kicking being allowed; and the game is won by him who reaches the opponents' goal with it. From Carew's account of the game as formerly played, we may judge that a very extensive ground was used; he speaks of the players as taking "their way over hills, dales, hedges, ditches—yea, and thorou bushes, briers, mires, plashes, and rivers whatsoever—so as you shall sometimes see twenty or thirty lie tugging together in the water, scrambling and scratching for the ball. A play verily both rude and rough." A writer of half a century since gives this description: "A ball about the size of a cricket-ball, formed of cork or light wood and covered with silver, was hurled into the air, midway between the goals. Both parties immediately rushed towards it, each striving to seize and carry it to his own goal. In this contest, when any individual having possession of the ball found himself overpowered or outrun by his opponents, he hurled it to one of his own side, if near enough, or if not into some pool, ditch, furze, brake, garden, house, or other place of concealment, to prevent his adversaries getting hold of it before his own company could arrive." It is clear that hurling somewhat resembled football as anciently played in England and Scotland between parish and parish. In old times the ball was provided by the corporations of the different localities; we read in the St. Ives parish accounts for the year 1639: "Item for a Silver Bole that was brought to towne, 6s. 6d." On such balls was often inscribed the Cornish motto, Guare teag yu guare wheag—"Fair play is good play." A curious method of forming sides, in the past, was to set all the Toms, Williams, and Johns on one side, while their neighbours of other Christian names were ranged against them; from whence came the rhyme—

"Toms, Wills and Jans, Take off all on the sands."

But even St. Ives seems now to have abandoned the old sport, and it is limited to these parishes of St. Columb. Cornwall now devotes itself, and very successfully, to our customary football.

The two Columb churches are both interesting, that of St. Columb Minor having the second highest tower in Cornwall. Porth Island is really a portion of the Glendorgal estate, the home of the late Sir Richard Tangye, who did so much for the preservation of local antiquities. Just beyond is Flory Island (Flory being clearly a corruption of Phillory), sometimes known as Black Humphrey's Isle; Black Humphrey was one of the pirate-smugglers whose tales are common around this coast.

Beyond the northern end of Watergate Bay we come to Mawgan Porth, and a mile beyond this are the famous Bedruthan Steps. Both places, but especially the Steps, afford a very favourite excursion from Newquay, seven miles distant; and whether the journey is performed on foot, or by cycle, motor-car or carriage, it is full of interest and beauty. It is best to come during the ebb of a spring tide, when the coves and caves may safely be explored; at other times there is grave peril. The caverns at Mawgan Porth are remarkably fine, and the grandly wild stretch of beach can hardly be spoken of with too great enthusiasm. The coast is as pitiless as it is beautiful, and many relics of wreckage are often washed ashore; after heavy storms the crags and caves are still searched for jetsam. It may be noted that those who do not wish to examine the caves, but who desire to see massive waves breaking on a magnificent coast-line, should come when the tide is nearing the full after prolonged westerly winds; they will see something that is even grander than high-arched dusky caverns and glimmering rock-tunnels. The beach at Bedruthan has nothing specially to distinguish it from those at Newquay and Porth, with the exception of the isolated masses of rock and boulder that in some sense cause it to resemble Kynance. Several of these have been given fanciful names—such names being always dear to the average tourist; one of these is the striking Queen Bess rock, and another is the Good Samaritan. This last is so named, not very aptly, because it proved the destruction of an East Indiaman, the Good Samaritan, many years since; but as it is an ill wind that blows no one any good, so it is certain that the wreck of this richly-cargoed vessel provided the womanfolk of the district with fine silks and satins for many years after. We can thus understand the point of the local saying, "It is time for a Good Samaritan to come." The coast-people's attitude towards wrecks has never been one of ingratitude—except when Preventive officers proved too wary. Diggory Island, a little to the north, has two natural arches, making a fine spectacle at floodtide.



Perhaps it is partly by reason of its contrast with the wild, stark coast that the far-famed Vale of Lanherne has won its reputation. It is a spot that has excited the enthusiasm of painters, versifiers, and guide-books; yet probably its chief charm is the surprise of its sylvan and pastoral character in a tract of country that is not notable for either. Counties farther east can show hundreds of such scenes; but the quiet rusticity and woodland features here come with a special touch of soothing and repose after the long, bare moorlands, sandy dunes, and stern, naked cliffs. There is also another attraction—the convent of Lanherne, once the manor-house of the Arundells. Mr. Baring-Gould says that "Lanherne lies in the loveliest vale in Cornwall"; Mr. Hind says, "the Vale of Lanherne did not rouse my enthusiasm." Most visitors agree with the Rector of Lew Trenchard. The mansion, now the convent, came into possession of the "great Arundells" in 1231 by marriage with a daughter of John de Lanherne. It was in the reign of Henry VII. that a later Arundell purchased Wardour Castle, in Wiltshire, and gifted it to his son Sir Thomas, who was married to a sister of Catherine Howard; and it is at Wardour that the family of Arundell still flourishes. The family remained Catholic through the Reformation, and the sanctuary lamp in Lanherne Chapel was never extinguished; so that English Catholics have a very special regard for this spot, where the light of their faith still burns brightly after so many centuries. The front of the old house dates from 1580; but many buildings have been added of late years for the accommodation of the nuns, whose seclusion is very strict. It came into possession of the Carmelites in 1794, when a party of nuns, driven from France by the Revolution, came to England, having in vain tried to find safety at Antwerp. They were given this mansion by Henry, eighth Lord Arundell of Wardour.

Here they have been ever since, the settlement having been much enriched and enlarged more recently. Their presence has drawn other Catholics to the spot, so that the district is quite mediaeval in its spiritual atmosphere; besides which many visitors not of the faith come hither to worship in the beautiful chapel, and to try to obtain glimpses of the fair recluses. Having once taken the veil, these nuns never again leave the precincts. They attend the services in a gallery concealed by a grating; they take exercise in a high-walled garden; when they die they are buried in the convent cemetery. There cannot fail to be a touch of sadness in thinking of these ladies thus secluded from the "stir of existence," severed from the interests of their brothers and sisters, not even having the fair country-side and grand coast as a feast for their eyes, their lives spent in ceaseless prayer and liturgy. It is strange that such things should be, and we can only imagine the haven to be welcome to those who, in their declining years, crave perfect peace and retirement after the stress of uttermost sorrow or restless buffetings. There are paintings of Vandyke and Rubens in the chapel. Outside the door is an old cross, brought from Gwinear, which is supposed to be Anglo-Saxon; its inscriptions have never been deciphered. They are thought to be in both Saxon and Latin. There is a secret chamber in the older part of the convent, dating from those Elizabethan days when priests lurked about the Cornish country-side, nourishing their faith in the villagers, who were very slow to welcome the Reformation, and always seeking if possible to stir a rising against the new order. It is said that a priest was once successfully concealed here for eighteen months.

Many stirring things are told of the Arundells, who were dauntless Royalists. One is the siege of Wardour Castle in 1643, when it was heroically defended by Blanche, wife of Lord Arundell, who was with the King at Oxford. This lady, with a garrison of fifty, so stoutly resisted the Parliamentary attack that most honourable terms of capitulation were granted; but these terms were not kept. It was another Arundell, then a very old man, who defended Pendennis. The family had another house at Trerice, about three miles south-east of Newquay; and at the Restoration, when their confiscations were removed, the title of Lord Arundell of Trerice, now extinct, was created. Carew has some curious remarks about them. He says: "Their name is derived from Hirondelle, in French, a swallow, and out of France at the Conquest they came, and six swallows they gave in arms. The country people entitled them the Great Arundells; and greatest stroke, for love, living, and respect, in the country heretofore they bear. Their house of Lanhearn standeth in the parish called Mawgan. It is appurtenanced with a large scope of land which was employed in frank hospitality."



The next attraction at Mawgan is its church. Perpendicular in style but dating from the thirteenth century, its pinnacled tower is surrounded by beautiful Cornish elms, and close to the graveyard runs a prattling brook. The restoration by Butterfield was not all that might be desired, but it happily spared the carved bench-ends, the fine pulpit and the screen. There are also some good brasses and memorials of the Arundells. In the churchyard is a remarkable lantern-cross—not Celtic but mediaeval; it is described by Blight as "the most elaborate of the kind in Cornwall. What is intended to be represented by this carving is not very evident; an angel seated on a block in a corner holds a serpent turning round a pillar, and with its head touching the face of a king. By the king's side is the figure of a queen kneeling before a lectern." There is also in the graveyard a curious monument, the stern of a boat, bearing the record of ten seamen who drifted ashore in their little vessel, frozen to death, at Beacon Cove in 1846. Before leaving Mawgan most visitors will take a ramble through the beautiful Carnanton woods, while some may remember that Carnanton was the residence of William Noye, Attorney-General to Charles I., who as member for St. Ives had signalised himself as a champion of parliamentary rights. Ministerial rank worked a wonderful change; so much so that Noye was actually the originator of the ship-money tax which played so large a share in embroiling the nation. Hals goes so far as to say that Noye "was blow-coal, incendiary, and stirrer-up of the Civil War"; and it was he who prosecuted the arrested members of the House of Commons. He had the reputation of a miser, so that, when he died, it was stated that his heart had shrivelled into the shape of a leather purse. It is rather a pitiful memory to attach to so delightful a district.



CHAPTER XV

THE PADSTOW DISTRICT

When we turn from the Mawgan district to make our way towards the Padstow estuary the grand, broken coast goes with us, ever presenting new aspects of varying beauty—coves of golden sand succeeded by gaunt, caverned headlands, with here and there a craggy islet lying among the tumbling breakers. The great plateau of the Bodmin Moors here touches the coast, bringing its profusion of prehistoric remains—though in that matter there is little of Cornwall that is not plentifully endowed. Immediately above Bedruthan there is one cliff-castle, and on Park Head, a little beyond, are the burial tumuli of some unknown people. We are now in the parish of St. Eval, whose church stands on high ground about two miles inland. It is said that Bristol merchants, in the eighteenth century, found this church so useful a landmark for their vessels that they rebuilt it at their own cost. Eval is a saint not easy to identify; there is an inscribed stone in Pembrokeshire giving the name Evali fili Dencui, so that he may have been a missionary from South Wales. North of Park Head are the Butter Coves, and the coves of Porthmear and Portcothan. They are magnificent in times of rough weather. In a quiet way Porthcothan is beginning to attract visitors, but the place is not very accessible, and has little but its loveliness to recommend it. There is, however, a remarkable fogou, or subterranean cavern, about 38 feet long and 6 feet in height, with a passage leading into another similar chamber. Fogou is the Cornish word for cave (sometimes corrupted into Hugo); but it usually signifies a cavern or passage of artificial construction, built at an early date for the concealment of persons or of property. There are good specimens at Cairn Uny, at Trelowarren, and at Trewoofe near Lamorna. In most of these passages only a few yards can now be traversed, as they have fallen into disuse, and unless repaired frequently the sides and roofs have a tendency to fall in. Sometimes they obviously connect with old hill-castles and strongholds, in which case their construction takes us beyond the reach of history; and generally their formation was assisted or suggested by nature. But their comparatively recent use by smugglers for the concealment of run goods makes it particularly difficult to speak with certainty as to their true antiquity; and the coves around Porthcothan saw the landing of many an illicit cargo. Stories of fugitive Royalists taking refuge in these fogous are common, and have doubtless a basis of fact. It is supposed that the entire length of the Porthcothan fogou must have been over 1,000 yards, one gallery leading to Trevethan, whence another communicated with the beach at Porthmear.



Passing other jagged points and creeks, we come to Constantine Bay, where the ordinary visitor may pardonably suppose he is on the steps of a Roman emperor, but the Constantine here recorded was a genuine Cornish saint. Perhaps his name was Cystennyn, Latinised after, as was a common custom. He was of the Cornish royal family, being son of Cador; and Geoffrey of Monmouth tells us, fabulously, that he succeeded Arthur as King of the British. He is chiefly remembered in literature by the abuse that Gildas heaped upon him, in those letters, written about 546, that are notable for imperfect accuracy, fervent religion, and virulent bad temper. Gildas calls Constantine the "tyrannical whelp of the unclean lioness of Damnonia"; and further asks, "Why standest thou astonished, O thou butcher of thine own soul? Why dost thou wilfully kindle against thyself the eternal fires of hell?" It is quite likely that Constantine had done some bad things and been no better than his neighbours; but it is supposed that he was converted in his old age, through the preaching of St. Petrock, whom we shall meet more intimately at Padstow. It is said that Constantine was hunting, and the stag that he was pursuing took refuge in Petrock's cell; the animal's recognition of the saint's holiness and appeal to his protection so touched his heart as to lead to a change of life. Another story refers his conversion to grief at the death of his wife. Mr. Baring-Gould tells us that: "So completely did he sever himself from the world, that it was supposed by some that he had been murdered by Conan, his successor. He retired to a cell on the sands in the parish of St. Merryn, near Padstow, where there was a well, and where he could be near Petrock, through whom he had been brought to the knowledge of himself." It is probable that he journeyed later to the creek of the Helford River, in South Cornwall, and founded the Constantine that we find there. It is doubtless on the site of his original cell that the old church of St. Constantine stands, overwhelmed and ruined by sand-storms long since, buried utterly for a time like that of St. Piran, and now again visible, a few broken and rugged walls among the towans. The sand that destroyed the church destroyed also the village, and the parish was merged in that of St. Merryn, whither the beautiful font was conveyed. This font and other portions of St. Merryn Church are of the well-known Cataclew stone, from the Cataclew quarries by Trevose Head. This stone was formerly put to very effective use in church-building, and it is pleasant to know that it has again come into popularity.



But the fact that has given greatest distinction to this spot, and that which does more than anything else to draw visitors, is the discovery, about ten years since, of a prehistoric burial-ground at Harlyn Bay. The Athenaeum of that date announced to its readers that "a discovery of the highest importance to the study of the prehistoric races inhabiting England before the first Roman invasion has recently been made in a remote corner of Cornwall. On a sloping sandy hillside overlooking the picturesque white sand-bay of Harlyn excavations were being made by Mr. Reddie Mallett for sinking a well preparatory to building a house overlooking the sea. The spot selected for boring turned out to be exactly in the centre, not of a tumulus containing but two or three interments, but of a perfect cemetery, with three distinct layers of burials of men, women, and children. The drift sand that is so extensive in this part of Cornwall rose some 8 to 10 feet above the graves, but when the original hardly compressed sand was reached, the great slates with which the kists were carefully formed were often not more than 2 feet below this surface." Dr. Beddoe pronounced the remains to be neolithic, and the persons here interred were of a dolichocephalic or long-skulled race—sometimes known as the long barrow-builders, who generally buried their dead without cremation. There were some tiny kists for children, but a great number of the bodies had been buried uncoffined. The district had afforded earlier similar traces of pre-Roman interment, but nothing on so large a scale as this. Although a great deal of excavation has gone on since, and there is a small museum erected close by to contain the more striking finds, much more may yet be done and other secrets be revealed. It is not quite certain yet where the persons lived whose bones have thus been uncovered to the gaze of a late generation of sight-seers, but it is supposed that their habitations must have been near this site. They were, of course, in a higher state of civilisation than mere cave-dwellers, but their huts may have been of perishable wattle, or they may have come from some of the hut-circles of the Bodmin Moors. The remains, like those around St. Piran's, bespeak a somewhat dense population. As Harlyn Bay has become popular for picnic parties from Padstow and elsewhere, this old necropolis often resounds with laughter and merry-making; but in winter and in rough weather it is left to its own solemnity. A spirit of awe broods above it; we remember the words of Ezekiel: "The hand of the Lord was upon me, and carried me out in the Spirit of the Lord, and set me down in the midst of the valley which was full of bones."

Meeting the ocean westward of Harlyn is Trevose Head, with its lighthouse and coastguard station. The headland rises to nearly 250 feet, and its light is sorely needed, the coast, with its outlying masses of crag, being a deadly peril to navigation. The views to be obtained here are of exceptional grandeur, and the lighthouse-keepers, though far less lonely than on many similar stations, generally welcome a visit.



Padstow is situated on the western side of the Camel estuary, below the sandbank known as the Doom Bar (probably dune-bar). The gates of the river-mouth are the Stepper Point, with its white day-mark, and Pentire Point; the Doom Bar lies well within these, almost blocking the passage, which, with vessels of any draught, must be made on the Stepper side. The name Doom Bar is, of course, provocative of legend, and an appropriate one has been found. It is said that Padstow had once a safe and commodious harbour, whose mouth was haunted by a beautiful mermaid. The harbour was under her special protection, and she was consequently revered by the inhabitants. But one day a youth foolishly fired on her from the cliffs. With a cry of rage she plunged into the water, but reappeared for a moment to vow that henceforth the harbour should be ruined. An old Cornishman who told the story in the days when such traditions still passed current, used to add: "We have had commissions and I know not what about converting this place into a harbour of refuge. A harbour of refuge would be a great blessing, but not all the Government commissions in the world could keep the sand out, or make the harbour deep enough to swim a frigate, unless the parsons can find out the way to take up the merry-maid's curse." But there is another tradition attaching to the Bar. This is the country of Tregeagle—he lies buried at St. Breock, close to Wadebridge: "John Tregeagle, of Trevorder, Esqr., 1679." His story forms a curious mixture of the recent and the prehistoric. We see that a man named Tregeagle truly lived and died something more than two centuries ago; but the Tregeagle or Tergagle of legend belongs to folk-lore rather than to modern social life. Very old ideas and superstitions have in some manner become attached to a recent name; tradition has a knack of bringing forward its dates; stories of immemorial antiquity are related as though they were the experience of the narrator's father or grandfather, and are modernised to suit that supposition. Legend never sticks at absurdity or anachronism. From some versions of the story it would appear that Tregeagle could not have lived earlier than the seventeenth century, in actual accordance with the date on his tombstone; but in others certain of the early Cornish saints are introduced, carrying the history twelve centuries back or further still. It would seem that Tregeagle was a landowner in the neighbourhood of Bodmin, holding the Trevorder estate; but he won his chief notoriety as steward on the lands of the Robartes family, at Lanhydrock. There is still a room in the Lanhydrock mansion known as Tregeagle's. The man doubtless did many things of which morality cannot approve, but tradition has overdone itself in attributing to him every possible crime, including the murder of his wife, his children, and his sister. He was an unjust steward, grinding the tenants unmercifully, and enriching himself not only at their expense but at that of his employer. But he contrived to purchase the goodwill of the Church, and at his death it was only seemly that the clergy should do what they could for him. When the spirits of darkness came to claim the soul of the dying wretch they were successfully repelled by the priests with the powers of bell, book, and candle. The Church wrangled with the fiends above the breathless body, defeated them in heated theological controversy, dismissed them with contumely, and laid Tregeagle to rest with his fathers at St. Breock. He was not destined to repose there long. There was a heritage of trouble in connection with the Lanhydrock estate, and the defendant in one particular case sorely needed the witness of Tregeagle himself, to settle a disputed point. By some means he managed to procure it; the clergy provided a safe-conduct, and the figure of the dead Tregeagle was led into the witness-box. A thrill of horror passed through the court, but this spectral witness gave evidence faithfully, and gained a triumphant verdict for defendant. The trouble now was what to do with Tregeagle. The fiends were still waiting for him; defendant who had summoned him took no further interest in the matter; but the clergy felt that they still owed him a duty. They knew that the dead man's chance at the Day of Doom was not a good one, but in the meantime they would do what they could. It was decided to give him a perpetual penance, which might keep the evil spirits at a distance. He was led away to the shores of Dosmare Pool, on the desolate Bodmin Moors, and there set to drain the pool with a leaky limpet-shell. In those days Dosmare was supposed to be bottomless—a reputation which it has since destroyed by drying in hot summers. For long years Tregeagle toiled at his hopeless task. If he ceased from his labour for a moment he would be at the mercy of the devils.

One night, after many years of fruitless toil, there came a terrific storm, with thunder and earthquake. In sheer horror and despair Tregeagle fled. Immediately the demons were on his track, chasing him so closely that he could not stay to dip his limpet-shell in the foaming water. Feeling that they were upon him, he rose with a cry of anguish, and fled across the pool, thus gaining a temporary advantage, for spirits of evil cannot cross water. He made for the hermitage on Roche Rock, the yelling pursuers at his heels. Just as they were about to seize him he thrust his head within the small window of the hermit's chapel, and thus was safe. There was still a difficulty about his position. He could not get further into the church, nor does it appear that the hermit desired it; and he could not withdraw his head lest the fiends should seize him. He had to stay and listen to the good man's prayers and liturgies, which only added to the terrors of his guilty conscience, so that his remorseful screams were heard above all the psalms and prayings. The hermit found it a great affliction, for the population of the district was kept away by the unpleasantness of Tregeagle's presence. At last two other clergy came to his assistance, and Tregeagle was led away to the coast at Padstow. His new task was to make ropes of sand—one of the familiar penances of such traditions. He could not do it; it was worse than draining Dosmare. Night and day he rendered the place hideous with his frantic cries, and the Padstow folk did not like it at all. It was making the neighbourhood unbearable. At their earnest request another effort was made by the priests to dispose of poor Tregeagle. He was ruining the harbour by his attempts to make the ropes of sand; every rising sea scattered these ropes, however carefully formed, and the sand was accumulating in a bar of Doom. It is said that St. Petrock himself, the spiritual founder of Padstow, forged a chain of which every link was a prayer, and thus led away the unhappy ghost to Helston. In the estuary of the Hel River he spoiled the harbourage also, for a devil tripped him one day, when toiling across with a sack of sand, and the sand was spilt right across the mouth of the river. At last he was cast out from Helston also, and dismissed to Land's End, where he remains labouring to this day, endeavouring to sweep the sands from Porthcurno Cove into Nanjisal. Of course, it cannot be done; the full force of the Atlantic drives around Land's End, and the sands are driven backward again and again. But he is safe from the immediate attack of the fiends, and he is out of the way of the countryfolk. His cries are lost in the crash of the seas that dominate that desolate shore, and the fishermen have given up thinking about Tregeagle. The legends vary in telling his doom; some make the draining of Dosmare his last penance and some this task at the Land's End. But if an imaginative reason is desired to account for the formation of the Padstow Doom Bar, surely this tale will do as well as any other.



It will be seen that this chronicle of Tregeagle carries him back to the time of Petrock, the patron saint of Padstow, whose name is a corruption of Petrock's-stow. Little Petherick, sometimes called St. Petrock Minor, is thought to be a corruption of the same name. Petrock was a Celtic saint, probably a Welshman, who went to Ireland for his religious education; he crossed to Cornwall in a coracle, and landed in this estuary of the Camel. He founded an oratory here, and probably another at Little Petherick. It is also suggested that he established another cell at Place, the seat of the Prideaux, but it seems more likely that the chapel at Place was founded by St. Samson. After spending many years at Padstow the saint is said to have voyaged to the East, visiting India, and also going on a visionary journey to some Island of the Blest, after the manner of St. Brendan. After returning to Cornwall he removed to Bodmin and established the most important of his religious foundations. Like Padstow, Bodmin was formerly named Petrockstow, and this has caused endless confusion to the chroniclers as well as some quarrels between the two towns. Further, the saint evidently went into Devon; we trace his footsteps at Dartmouth, Exeter, Hollacombe, Anstey, and elsewhere. Bodmin can boast precedence of Padstow in certain respects, for it attained episcopal consequence, besides being the county town of Cornwall; but with regard to priority in connection with Petrock, it is clear Padstow has the first claim. At one time Padstow appears to have been called Lodenek or Lodernek, but in the thirteenth century it was certainly known as Aldestowe; in fact, the town has been troubled with a multiplicity of names, which is always a regrettable thing, for a person or a place. The town is about two miles within the estuary, and were it not for the sands that block its entrance, this would be truly a fine harbour; even so, it is the best that North Cornwall possesses. Two vessels sailed from here for the siege of Calais; and in the sixteenth century some sort of corporation was granted, but this seems to have been lost. At the present day it is a picturesque, quaint old town, in a beautiful and most interesting site, dominated by a weather-beaten old church. But Mr. Hind, though he finds much to admire, does not regard Padstow as in any sense typically Cornish. He says: "An air-voyager dropped from a flying-machine upon the roof of a Padstow house would never think that he was in Cornwall. If he walked out to Stepper Point, or strode some miles westward to Trevose Head, the first land sighted in old days by Canadian timber vessels trading to Padstow, the majestic sweep of coast, the jagged headlands and scattered rocks would certainly suggest Cornwall; but the estuary of the Camel from Wadebridge to Padstow, although beautiful, has no claim to the epithet wild. The panorama induces reflection, moves one to a mood of gentle melancholy; but it does not stimulate. Nowhere in Cornwall have I seen such sand—gold, grey and yellow, equally lovely at all tides. Looking across the river, the eye is soothed by these wastes of blown sand stretching inland from the sea to where the little hamlet called Rock rises from the shore." Sundries are imported at the docks, and there is some shipment of corn; but the ship-building, once notable, has greatly declined, and the town now does little but repairing. It is satisfactory to find that the sands of the Doom Bar have a certain value, as they contain much carbonate of lime, and they are carried inland for agricultural purposes. The church, which stands well above the town, has a good Early English tower, and a beautiful, finely carved catacleuse font; in the south porch the parish stocks are preserved. In the chancel, over the piscina, is an effigy sometimes mistaken for that of St. Anthony, but almost certainly the figure is St. Petrock himself, with his usual symbols, the staff and wolf, at his feet. There are modern monochrome pictures from drawings by Hofmann in front of the organ. It is natural to find monuments of the Prideaux family both within the church and without; in the churchyard also are two granite crosses, one much mutilated.

Prideaux Place, generally named Place, stands a little higher than the church, in a glorious situation; it is a finely designed Elizabethan mansion—Elizabethan in style if not exactly in date—erected by Sir Nicholas Prideaux about the year 1600. Its old staircase was brought thither when Stowe House, once the seat of the Grenvilles, was broken up. The Prideaux are a Cornish family of ancient note, whose names we often meet with in the Duchy's annals; but the most widely known was Humphrey Prideaux, born here in 1648, who at one time was Rector of St. Clement's, Oxford, and later became Dean of Norwich. He wrote a Life of Mahomet, and also a work in which he attempted to bridge over the interval between the Old and New Testaments—rather a ticklish job, one might imagine. There are a good many excellent pictures at the house—a Vandyck and many Opies; but the visitor, unless specially introduced, will have to be content with the outside of the beautiful manor-house.

Padstow has been associated from immemorial times with a special celebration of the May-Day festival, immediately deriving from the old folk-plays and mummings that were once universal. The special survival here is of the Hobby Horse, that once played so prominent a part in these boisterous masquerades, but such life as it still enjoys at Padstow is somewhat a galvanised existence, just as children still occasionally dress in poor tinsel and gaiety in order to collect a few coppers. Such exhibitions are melancholy rather than interesting—

"For who would keep an ancient form Thro' which the spirit breathes no more?"

The horse is a wooden circle, with a dress of blackened sailcloth, a horse's head, and a prominent tail. Readers of Scott's Abbot will, of course, remember that the Hobby Horse was equally popular in Scotland. The Hobby Horse song, as rendered at Padstow, was probably only a variant of verses common elsewhere, but local and topical allusions were freely introduced, and stanzas were addressed to special personages. The performance is in a moribund condition, and it is certainly not worth while for a stranger to travel to Padstow on May-Day to see it. Very likely he would not see it; it is a thing that may be discontinued at any time. If we were devoting our attention to Cornwall as it used to be, much would come into this book which is now utterly obsolete, and would cause as great surprise to Cornish folk as to others.



If the tide serves, it is certainly worth while to go up to Wadebridge, if only for the sake of the grand old bridge, originally built of seventeen arches, in the year 1485, by Thomas Lovibond, Vicar of Egloshayle. The bridge has been widened since its erection, but is not otherwise much changed. There was a ferry here in the past, but it was perilous, and Lovibond could not rest till, with the assistance of his bishop, he had collected money for this beneficent work. There was a great difficulty in sinking foundations for the bridge, owing to the shifting sands, but, guided by a dream, Lovibond is said to have resorted to packs of wool—the same method reported by tradition of Bideford Bridge. The bridge is 320 feet long, and remains the best specimen of its class in England, as it retains its protecting angles for the use of pedestrians, which at Bideford have been removed. Lovibond was not only a bridge-builder; he also erected the fine tower of his church at Egloshayle (the mother-parish of Wadebridge). Egloshayle probably means the "church by the river" (eglos-hel); its church is particularly interesting for its western doorway, its Norman font, and its Kestell monument, while there is some good carving in the roof of the south aisle. The church of St. Breock is distant nearly a mile from Wadebridge, on the western side of the river, and is perhaps still more delightful in its position; it is noteworthy for its monuments, which, however, have been much displaced. It is here that the remains of Tregeagle lie entombed; his spirit, if we may credit tradition, is otherwise engaged. St. Breock is supposed to have arrived in Cornwall, from Wales, earlier than Petrock. He was an old man, and, as Mr. Baring-Gould tells us, one day his companions "left him to sing psalms in his cart whilst they were engaged at a distance over some pressing business. When they returned they found a pack of wolves round the old man, but whether his sanctity, or toughness, kept them from eating him is left undecided." Surely it must have been his sanctity. His name attaches to the Breock Downs, a high-lying moorland rising to about 700 feet, thickly strewn with prehistoric remains. Wadebridge has suffered by the opening of the railway to Padstow, but it can boast that its rail to Bodmin was the second line to be opened in England. Many jests were current in reference to the speed of this early railway. Professor Shuttleworth, who was born at Egloshayle Vicarage, says: "I have often seen the train stop while people got out and gathered blackberries. But it is lovely country down around Egloshayle and Wadebridge, just as pretty and quiet as can be." Mr. Arthur Norway also has a very tender regard for the district, for a similar reason, and he has given some weird stories of local superstition. But it cannot be claimed that Wadebridge is on the coast, and we must retreat seaward.



Readers of Baring-Gould's stirring novel, The Roar of the Sea, are sure to look eagerly for St. Enodoc's Church. It lies among the sand-dunes on the eastern bank of the estuary, and is now protected from the sands that once practically buried it by the growth of rush-grass and tamarisk hedges; even now it lies low within a deep trench, and we can easily picture its condition in days when the parson used to enter through the roof to perform service, so as to keep his tithes. Built in 1430, it was the successor of an earlier cell of the saint's. Its slightly crooked spire of slate is the sole landmark to guide a visitor. In the graveyard is a curious collection of stoups and water-bowls. It is about forty years now since the church was excavated from the sands that rose to its roof and restored to usefulness. Those familiar with Mr. Baring-Gould's book will remember that he places the home of Cruel Coppinger in this district, with his house at Pentire Glaze; but we shall find the true home of Coppinger further northward, near Morwenstow. Just within Hayle Bay is the little village of Polzeath, which in time may become a popular watering-place; it has a wonderful charm of position, and enough sand to satisfy anybody. The fine headland of Pentire reaches beyond, with its off-lying islet of Newland. Mr. Norway thinks that the stretch of coast visible from Pentire is the finest in all Cornwall, and he speaks with authority. On the west the view extends to Trevose, and embraces the whole of the beautiful Padstow harbour, together with an unlimited ocean of marvellous ever-changing colours. "On the east the prospect seems almost boundless. Port Isaac Bay lies just below, sweeping far back into the land, half hidden by the Eastern Horn of Pentire. Across the bay Tintagel lies directly opposite, eight miles away over the sea, every crevice and gully of its riven island clearly marked in the translucent air; and beyond it the eye follows leagues and leagues of iron cliffs towering far higher than any others in the west, and point after point of noble jagged promontories, past Boscastle, set back a little out of sight, past Bude and Cambeak, and rugged Morwenstow, till it rests at last on the dim line of Hartland Point, full 40 miles away as a bird would fly. It is idle to compare any other view in the West Country with this either in extent or grandeur, or in the immediate beauty of its surroundings. It is little known, and rarely visited by any but by shepherds. Yet it is more easy of access from Wadebridge than the Land's End or the Logan from Penzance; and there will be some to whom its very loneliness is an additional attraction. However this may be, those who leave Cornwall without visiting Pentire have missed its noblest scenery."



It is a large claim that Mr. Norway makes, but surely it is justified. The parts of Cornwall that are best known are naturally those that come within range of the more popular resorts—Newquay, Bude, Penzance, St. Ives, Falmouth—while eastern Cornwall is accessible from Plymouth. But this stretch of coast is near no popular centre, and, with the exception of Tintagel and Boscastle, it remains neglected. If Padstow or Polzeath, Portquin or Port Isaac, ever become more popular, visitors will flock to these grand cliffs and marvel that they never came here before. There is a remarkable triple entrenchment on the eastern Horn of Pentire, above its stark, rugged caverns; but those who came here and fortified this noble headland, in far-back days of which we can only dream, came not in search of the picturesque as we do, nor probably for the spiritual repose that we crave in this age of hurry. Even sterner necessities governed their existence. Cliff-camps of this nature cannot have been designed against any foe from the sea—even to-day it would be a perilous thing indeed to attempt a forcible landing at such places—they were more likely a last refuge from invading tribes that came overland from the south-east. The struggles witnessed here must almost certainly have been far earlier than the coming of Roman or Teuton; it was probably successive waves, or antagonist tribes, of Stone Age men that here contended and opposed each other. But the ditches and embankments have little to tell us; tradition is silent, the lonely barrows are dumb. Yet the blood of the peoples still flows within Cornish veins; and those characteristics that we vaguely speak of as Celtic often derive from a far earlier source.

The little island to the east of Pentire is the Mouls, and to the right is Portquin Bay. Port Isaac Bay, beyond Kelland Head and Varley Point, takes its name from the delightful little fishing village of Port Isaac, of which Port Gaverne may almost be considered as a suburb. Both are in the parish of St. Endellion, but Port Isaac has its own church, erected in Early English style in 1882. Its small pier is said to date from the time of Henry VIII., and before the railway a good deal of Delabole slate was shipped here. The fishing for pilchards is here done by trawlers, not by seines, as round Land's End. The name may probably be interpreted as porth izic, the "corn port," though certainly this is not a grain country. Very appropriately, it is said that fish are exhibited among the fruits and flowers at the Port Isaac annual harvest service. Some other West Country fishing-towns have introduced nets and oars at such services, but to bring in the actual fish seems peculiar to this place. The fish has always been a sacred symbol in Christian art, and it represents to fisher-folk what the fruits of the earth do to the field labourer. Both these little twin ports—Isaac and Gaverne—are entirely charming, and much to be commended to all who would know unspoiled Cornwall. Nestling within their tiny coves, they have a varied background of interesting country, pleasant little beaches, beautiful cliffs, and a glorious sea. There is one other resort to be visited before reaching Tintagel, and that is Trebarwith Strand, which similarly reaches the sea by a tiny cove, with the Gull Rock lying off shore as a target for storms. Trebarwith is likely to become fashionable. It has a fine stretch of sands, and provides some of the best bathing to be had in North Cornwall. Those who wish to be near Tintagel and yet close to the sea had better come to Trebarwith rather than to the Tintagel village itself.



CHAPTER XVI

TINTAGEL AND BOSCASTLE

When we come to the region that is specially sacred to traditions of King Arthur we find ourselves in the presence of wonderful natural charm and of considerable historic perplexity. Those who are content with the ordinary guide-books, and who have no conception of Arthur beyond what they may have gained from snatches of Tennyson, will not be troubled by this perplexity; they will take the crumbling walls on Tintagel heights to be the actual castle in which the Celtic prince was born, and any round table will suffice them as being that around which the king and his chieftains sat. But something a little better than this is desirable. We want Arthur to be something more than a mere ghost, something even more than the blameless hero of a beautiful Victorian poem. Yet if we go to the learned authorities the ghost becomes more ghostlike, the phantom becomes more dim; it is mainly destructive criticism that we meet with, and assertions that are largely negative. In spite of this, there must be something tangible behind so persistent a rumour as this tradition of Arthur. Wherever the Brythonic tribes extended, there we find traces of him. The Gaels know nothing of him. Finn, Oisin, Cuthullin, Cormac—such as these were the great Goidhelic heroes. But the British tradition reached from Armorica to the Forth, and carried Arthur with it. The Welsh claim him, the Bretons, the Cornish, the Lowland Scotch. Cornwall, with Tintagel as an asset of faith, claims his birth; Somerset, with Cadbury on the river Camel, claims Camelot; and Glastonbury boasts of his grave. Of these claims, that of Cornwall is the most powerfully supported; there is not only Tintagel, but Kelly Rounds, Damelioc, and Cardinham. One of the Welsh Triads speaks of the three chief palaces of Arthur as being Caerleon-on-the-Usk, Celliwig in Cornwall, and Penrhyn Rhionedd in the north. Celliwig may safely be identified with the partially effaced earthwork near St. Kew Station, known as Kelly Rounds (probably from the Cornish killi, meaning woods or groves), standing in what may be described as a Kelly district, for we have here in a cluster such names as Kelly Green, Kelly Farm, Bokelly, Kelly Brae, Calliwith. The Rounds have been cut across by a road, but there are distinct traces of two ramparted circles, with some remains of a sheltering earthwork to the west. Damelioc, a large and strong entrenchment with three concentric ramparts, lies about seven miles south-west of Tintagel; and it was here that Gorlois, Duke of Cornwall, took up his position after placing his wife Igerne for safety within Tintagel itself. The common story says that Uther, mad with love, overcame and slew Gorlois at Damelioc, and gained admission to Tintagel in his guise, thus becoming the father of Arthur. Of course, there is the other tradition that represents Arthur as of supernatural birth, washed to the shore by the waves, rescued by Merlin, and given to the world as a son of Uther. Cardinham, the other almost certain Arthurian locality in Cornwall, is about five miles east of Bodmin, and is identified with the Caradigan where Arthur sometimes held court. It is a large, lonely earthwork, in a field near a farmhouse. It must not be forgotten that the guide-books usually put forward Camelford as another most important Arthurian place, mentioning Slaughter Bridge as the scene of the king's last battle. There certainly was a battle here between Britons and Saxons, but this took place at least two centuries after Arthur's time; and though a spot named Arthur's Grave is shown to visitors, all definite connection between the king and Camelford must be surrendered. The last great battle, according to all authentic tradition, was fought against Picts, and what would Picts have been doing in Cornwall? The grave at Glastonbury, it must be owned with regret, is now generally understood to be a monkish fable. It is not pleasant for a West of England man to surrender either Camelford or Glastonbury, but truth must be faced, and the fact is almost certain that Arthur's last battle, and therefore his grave, must be sought in Scotland.



We may assume that Arthur was a Romanised Briton, born in the late fifth century at Tintagel; his name being possibly a Celtic form of the Latin Artorius. He became the champion of his race against encroaching Saxons, North-Country Picts, and wandering pagan hordes who fought for lust of bloodshed and pillage. Against these it is likely that Arthur sought to maintain a semi-Romanised, partially Christianised civilisation. He is credited with twelve great battles, in all of which he proved victorious; some of these were certainly in Somerset, and the last of his triumphs, that of Badon Hill, somewhere in Wessex. His rule thus established on a firm foundation, for many years Britain knew comparative peace and good government. The Round Table of which we hear so much is probably a symbolic addition of the bards, unless it means that in Arthur's time persons of good class began to sit decently together at tables. The thirteenth battle, in which he lost his life fighting against his nephew Mordred, has usually been given to the West of England—Malory and Tennyson both do so. But the traditions that became most popular sprang up in an age when the Cymry were forgetting the former wide extent of their tribal sway, and were limiting their racial pride to a part of the country that was still free from the Teuton. The fact that Arthur's last fight was with the Picts, and against Mordred, is almost conclusive as to its location. His sister, the mother of Mordred, had married Llew or Lot, of the Lothians, and there is reason to believe that the king was already familiar with this part of Scotland. The battle is always given as fought at Camlan, and this name has diverted later writers to the Camels of Cornwall and of Somerset. But the Celtic cam in place-names is quite common; it signifies crooked, and we find it in a number of river-names. Mordred had become a chieftain of the Picts, and he possibly resented any claims of suzerainty on the part of Arthur. The fight, whose date is stated as 542, was almost certainly waged at Camelon on the river Carron, near Falkirk. Arthur was defeated—it is likely that his forces were greatly outnumbered; and he died, either on the field or as an immediate result of a wound then received. Not many miles distant is an earthwork still known as Mordred's Castle; and at Carron, nearer still, there was formerly a mound or cairn known as Arthur's Oon (oven). All the picturesque detail in Tennyson's wonderful "Passing of Arthur" must be attributed to Cymric bards, to the genius of Malory, and to the poet's imagination; we must be content with the conclusion that Arthur was born but did not die in Cornwall.



In any case nothing of the present ruins at Tintagel existed in the time of Arthur. Geoffrey of Monmouth, who wrote about the year 1150, says of the stronghold that "it is situated upon the sea, and on every side surrounded by it; and there is but one entrance into it, and that through a straight rock, which three men shall be able to defend against the whole power of the kingdom." Even Gorlois, we remember, only gained admittance by stratagem. Tintagel, Dundagel, or Dundiogl, the Dunecheniv of Domesday, seems certainly to have belonged to Gorlois when Uther was Pendragon or Head-king of Britain; it would have been a cliff-castle such as that on Pentire Head. As years passed the rock probably became more insular, and when the Norman stronghold was built it was connected with the mainland by a drawbridge. From earliest times the castle attached to the Earls of Cornwall, one of whom protected David, Prince of Wales, during his revolt against Edward I. Later it was used as a kind of prison, a Mayor of London being confined within it. Elizabeth had some thought of restoring it, for it had already become ruinous; Leland says: "The residue of the buildings of the Castle be sore wetherbeten, and yn ruine; but it hath beene a large thinge." Its outworks extended to the mainland, but the great keep was on the isolated mass of rock. Here also are the remains of St. Juliet's chapel, with its altar-slab and stone benches. It is not easy to say much about the Juliot or Julitta to whom this chapel was dedicated; but the chapel is certainly that mentioned in the thirteenth-century High History of the Holy Grail. "They came into a very different land, scarce inhabited of any folk, and found a little castle in a combe. They came thitherward and saw that the enclosure of the castle was fallen down into an abysm, so that none might approach it on that side, but it had a right fair gateway and a door tall and wide, whereby they entered. They beheld a chapel that was fair and rich, and below was a great ancient hall." But the spirit of modernism now comes very near to this sacred spot of antiquity; on an opposite headland stands a commodious hotel, and the Tintagel golf-links come very close to the castle. A tiny port lies below, from which a little slate is sometimes shipped. The village, whose correct name of Trevena is being displaced by that of Tintagel, lies about a mile inland; it is clean and comfortable, but not remarkably picturesque except for the old gabled building that was once its post-office. Those who want the perpetual presence of the sea will not be contented with it. Its church, dedicated to SS. Marcelliana and Materiana (of whom the latter may be the Welsh Madron), stands at a distance, above the cliffs west of the castle; it is a stern, bare building, magnificently placed, so fully exposed to the force of Atlantic gales that the very tombstones have been buttressed. A portion of the walls, in their rude simplicity, appears to be Saxon, but many orders are represented here, from the late Norman chancel-arch to the Decorated south transept and Perpendicular screen. There is a rugged circular font, and what is supposed to be a Roman milestone. The vestry was formerly a Lady-chapel, possibly Saxon, with a thirteenth-century door and a curious mutilated altar. The south-transept window is to the memory of J. Douglas Cook, founder of the Saturday Review, who returned to his native Cornwall to die. In the churchyard are the graves of drowned seamen, British and foreign. It is a striking and solemnising little church, quite in harmony with a district of myth and sublimity. It is possible that some who come to Tintagel for the first time may be disappointed. If so, they have expected too much, or have expected the wrong thing. There is no gloss of false romance about the place; the ruins have not the hollow pretentious grandeur of some Norman castles; what we see is the unadorned, unveiled reality of a majestic coast, the low, stark walls of ruin on an immemorial site, the naked wind-beaten church on the heights, the sea breaking into gaunt caverns below. Sheep feed within the enclosure to which we scramble by a ragged path. Sentiment may resent the hotel and the golfers, but any jarring note can easily be ignored. Yet even Tennyson seems to have been disappointed at first; afterwards, the spirit of the place sank into him and prevailed. Perhaps old Hawker has described it best, in few pregnant words:—

"Hark! stern Dundagel softens into song. They meet for solemn severance, knight and king, Where gate and bulwark darken o'er the sea."

He gives us the words of Arthur, when the listeners "hush their hearts to hear the king":—

"I would not be forgotten in this land: I yearn that men I know not, men unborn, Shall find, amid these fields, King Arthur's fame. Here let them say, by proud Dundagel's walls— 'They brought the Sangraal back at his command, They touched these rugged rocks with hues of God,' So shall my name have worship, and my land."

And after the king had spoken:—

"That night Dundagel shuddered into storm— The deep foundations shook beneath the sea."

And we have the grand final picture:—

"There stood Dundagel, throned; and the great sea Lay, a strong vassal at his master's gate, And, like a drunken giant, sobb'd in sleep."

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