Thomasine Bonaventure: the true story

Richard Carew was the first to record the story of Thomasine Bonaventure, a poor young shepherdess of Week St Mary in north Cornwall, who was carried off to London by a rich merchant who happened to be passing. He wrote that he ‘saw her, heeded her, liked her, begged her of her poor parents, and … Continue reading Thomasine Bonaventure: the true story

Who was the real John Tregeagle?

On a particularly stormy night, when the wind howls down the chimney and the rain crashes against the windows, you might hear the spirit of John Tregeagle, wailing and raging as he roams the moors and cliffs or tries to complete various hopeless tasks. Folk tales about Tregeagle agree that he was summoned from the … Continue reading Who was the real John Tregeagle?

Some Devon placenames that became Cornish surnames

Several surnames derived from placenames not found in Cornwall have either become numerous here or largely confined to Cornwall over the centuries. These have to all intents and purposes become Cornish surnames. some, such as Chesterfield or Kendal, may have origins many hundreds of miles away, but the largest number, as we might expect, originated … Continue reading Some Devon placenames that became Cornish surnames

Seine fishing: picturesque and profit-seeking

Cornish fishing is suddenly all over the news. Disappointment over the result of the Brexit deal promises difficult times to come. Meanwhile, almost every evening we’re fed a diet of documentaries about fishermen in Cornwall. Pondering on this I realised that there haven't been many blogs about fishing on this site (for an exception see … Continue reading Seine fishing: picturesque and profit-seeking

Cornwall’s first true railway?

Which was Cornwall’s first railway? The first steam-powered railway was the Bodmin and Wadebridge Railway of 1834. But it’s been argued that the accolade must go instead to the Redruth and Chacewater Railway. This opened on January 30th, 1826 and the wagons running on it had flanged wheels, like railway carriages nowadays. This contrasted with … Continue reading Cornwall’s first true railway?

Carbis Bay in 1891: de-industrialised and older, but still local

In 1861 the small community of Carbis Bay had been thriving, its young residents working in the nearby tin mines. A generation later in 1891 the mines had closed and the community been decimated. The 103 inhabitants of 1861 had fallen to a mere 45, living in 13 households. There was only one man left … Continue reading Carbis Bay in 1891: de-industrialised and older, but still local

Peter Lanyon’s insider modernism

The St Ives school of modern art was dominated numerically by temporary residents. However, one of its central and most talented figures was locally born Peter Lanyon (1918-64). According to Andrew Causey’s biography of Lanyon, his method was ‘one of sublimation, where the figure disappears into landscape’. For Lanyon, the landscape was not the object … Continue reading Peter Lanyon’s insider modernism