In the last years of the Catholic church’s primacy in England there was a boom in church building and restoration. Cornwall too had its share of church re-building beginning in the 1400s. Bodmin, the largest church, was rebuilt between 1469 and 1491. St Mary Magdalene at Launceston is another major example, rebuilt between 1511 and … Continue reading St Neot church windows
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?
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
Nance Let's continue the Arthurian theme from the last blog, which included a map of the early distribution of the surname Arthur. The warrior-king Arthur, who left his imprint in the landscape from Brittany to Scotland, was given a restored role by the Cornish revivalists of the early 1900s. It seems an appropriate time of … Continue reading Where’s Arthur when we need him?
Pixies or piskies are little people, about knee-high. They live in the otherworld and are usually invisible to humans. But if you look very carefully you might just spot them cavorting around in circles on a remote moor at the dead of night. Sometimes they will help farmers and others with their chores; sometimes they … Continue reading Pisky-led? Piskies and Cornish difference
This week sees the anniversary of the death of Silas Hocking in 1935. Largely forgotten now, Silas was the first writer in the world to sell over a million copies of a novel. This was his second book, Her Benny, published in 1879. It was a sentimental tale of child poverty and rags to riches … Continue reading Silas Hocking: a Cornish record-breaker
The Cornish poet Charles Causley was born in Launceston on August 24th, 1917. The Seasons in North Cornwall O Spring has set off her green fusesDown by the Tamar today,And careless, like tide-marks, the hedgesAre bursting with almond and may. Here lie I waiting for old summer,A red face and straw-coloured hair has he:I shall … Continue reading Charles Causley
And now for something completely different. In the current circumstances a small dose of poetry might lift our spirits a bit and remind us of another reality. But not just any old poetry; let’s sample something written in the Cornish language. Tim Saunders is the most accomplished poet writing in Cornish. Tim’s most recent publication … Continue reading A poem in the Cornish language
Anyone who walks around Cornish towns with half an eye open cannot fail to spot the buildings adorned with the name ‘Passmore Edwards’. But who was Passmore Edwards? John Passmore Edwards was born on 24th March 1823 in a nondescript cottage in Blackwater, a mining village a mile or two east of Redruth on the … Continue reading John Passmore Edwards: the Cornish philanthropist
The cottage in which Clemo grew up. On this day in 1916 one of Cornwall’s foremost writers was born at Goonamarris, in Cornwall’s clay country. This was Jack Clemo, writer of dialect tales, autobiographies, novels and theological works, but best remembered for his poetry. Clemo’s works – stark, harsh, unforgiving – and his opinions – … Continue reading The mystery of mid-Cornwall’s literati