Frederick Wilton Litchfield Stockdale.

Excursions in the county of Cornwall : comprising a concise historical and topographical delineation of the principal towns and villages, together with descriptions of the residences of the nobility and gentry, remains of antiquity, and every other interesting object of curiosity : forming a complet online

. (page 3 of 13)
Online LibraryFrederick Wilton Litchfield StockdaleExcursions in the county of Cornwall : comprising a concise historical and topographical delineation of the principal towns and villages, together with descriptions of the residences of the nobility and gentry, remains of antiquity, and every other interesting object of curiosity : forming a complet → online text (page 3 of 13)
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Cornwall is enveloped in obscurity, there is little reason
to doubt that (particularly from the writings of Leland)
a battle was fought between the renowned King Arthur
and his nephew Mordred, in the neighbourhood of
Camelford, in which the former was slain; and that on
the spot where the battle is said to have taken place,
several warlike antiquities have been found.

That during the incursions of the Saxoas, several en-
gagements took place between them and the Cornish
Britons, particularly in the time of Athelstan, who in
the year 926, is said to have completely defeated this
county and subdued the Scilly Isles, when considerable
havoc and depredations were committed. At subse-
quent periods, the Danish pirates frequently landed,
and committed great mischief in many parts of the
county, particularly in plundering the monasteries.

During the captivity of Richard I., several commo-
tions took place in Cornwall, and St. Michael's Mount
was seized upon, but afterward^ given up, and Henry
de lu Pomeroy died through fear of the King's anger.

In the year 1322, many of the Cornish people were
smitten with an enthusiasm of conquering the Holy
Land, and left the county; but some were executed,
and others returned and repented of their folly.

When Queen Margaret landed at Weymouth in the
year 1471, the people of Cornwall and Devonshire,
under the persuasions of Sir Hugh Courtenay, of Bocon-
noe, and Sir John Arundell, of Langhorne, marched to
Exeter and accompanied her to Tewkesbury, when her
troops were completely defeated, and the Queen, after
being ransomed, died a few years after in France. At the
latter end of the same year, John Vere, Earl of Oxford,
took possession of St. Michael's Mount, and retained
possession of it till the February following, when (on
his life being spared by the King) it was surrendered to
Sir John Fortescue.


In 1497, the people in Cornwall rose in rebellion,
and marched to Blackheath, in Kent, where they were
defeated by Lord Dauberry, and their ringleaders exe-
cuted. Lord Bacon, says, " on this occasion, they were
armed with a strong and mighty bow, and had arrows the
length of a tailor's yard." Shortly after another rebel-
lion broke out in Cornwall, and no less than 3000 men
joined the notorious Perkin Warbeck, and marched to
Exeter; but his wife, Lady Catherine Gordon, was
taken a prisoner from St. Michael's Mount. A subse-
quent rebellion broke out in the year 1548, under
Humphry Arundell, who was defeated and executed,
together with many of his supporters.

During the civil wars in the 17th century, the inhabi-
tants of Cornwall greatly distinguished themselves by
their bravery and loyalty; but during the severe con-
tests which took place, many valuable lives were lost
on both sides; especially as the insurgents had taken
possession of some of the antient fortifications in the
county. Cornwall now furnishes a regiment of militia,
a corps of miners, and several troops of yeomanry.
During the late war with France, many volunteer corps
were raised, but fortunately their services were not


From Plymouth to the Land's End; through Looe, Fowey,
Lostwithiel, St. Austett, Mezagizzy, Tregony, Gram-
pound, Truro, Penryn } Falmouth, Helston, Marazion,
and Penzance.

1 HE great importance attached of late years to the
towns of Plymouth, Stonehouse, and Dock, in a com-
mercial and nautical respect, has not only tended to
render those places of great consequence in the West of
England, but as travellers proceeding into Cornwall,
generally take this direction in preference to the one
which enters the county near Launceston, the following
Excursion has been considered the most likely to interest,
and display the beauties of the southern part of the
county. The scenery of Plymouth and its vicinity are
highly pleasing and picturesque, particularly the views
of Mount Edgecumbe and those on the banks of the
Tamar, which contrasted with the majestic appearance
of the numerous fine ships of war riding at anchor, form
a picture truly sublime. Previous to quitting this
neighbourhood, however, the admirers of the fine arts
will derive much pleasure from visiting Saltram, the
magnificent seat of the Earl of Morley, which abounds
with a great variety of valuable paintings, the most emi-
nent of which are the following :

St. Faith, by Guido In her right hand she holds
her emblem of a white flag, which forms the back ground
of the head.

Peasants playing at cards, by John Lingleback ; with
a view of the neighbourhood of the Forum at Rome, in
the back ground.


Galatea surrounded by Nymphs Domenichino ; copied
from the exquisite Fresco, by Raphael, in the Famesine
Palace at Rome.

Virgin and Child, by Sassoferrato This picture re-
calls the idea of the celebrated Madonna Delia sedia of
Raphael, of whom the painter was a close imitator.

Landscape and Figures Karel du Sardin.

Storm at Sea, by Vandervelde.

View near Tivoli Gasper Poussin.

Group of Soldiers, or Banditti Salvator Rosa.

Interior of a Cottage, with group of Peasants D.

A Conversation Piece A. Palamedes.

Landscape, with ruins and anticnt sculpture Fran-
cesco Milo.

Landscape and Figures Disk Dalens.

Ditto Both.

Daphne pursued by Apollo Francesco Albano.

Landscape with Travellers, halting at a blacksmith's
shop P. Wouverman.

The incredulity of St. Thomas Gerard Hoel.

St. Anthony and Christ Antonio Caracci.

View of the Doge's Palace at Venice Canaletti.

A Negro's Head Rubens.

St. John and Christ Antonio Raffaelle Mengs.

A Holy Family Frederic Baroccio.

Two Views in Venice Canaletti.

Three Female Figures, as Huntresses, by Rubens j
supposed to be his three wives,

Bolingbroke Family Vandyck.

SeigeofMaestricht Anthony Francis Vander-Meulen.

A group of six Figures, size of life P. Veronesse.

Adoration of the Shepherds Carlo Dolce.

Figures with Goats and Sheep Berghem.

Group of Sheep Albert Cuyp.

Ulysses discovering Achilles Angelica Kauffman,

Hector taking leave of Andromache ditto.


Assumption of the Virgin, with glory of Angels Lo-
renzo Sabbatini.

Portrait of Oliver Cromwell David Beck.

Mercury Weenix. There are also near 20 fine pro-
ductions by Sir Joshua Reynolds.

A catalogue of the pictures has been printed at the
expense of their noble owner, for the use of strangers,
\vho are at all times allowed to have access to them.
The situation of the house is one of the most enchanting
spots in England, and commands a number of diversi-
fied prospects.

Mount Edgecumbe, the seat of the Right Hon. the Earl
of Mount Edgecumbe, is another beautiful spot embel-
lished with fine promenades, gardens^ and shubberies,
perhaps equal to any in England. The house is a very
low building, erected about the year 1550, with battle-
ments and an octagonal tower at each angle. It contains
a few fine family portraits by Sir Joshua Reynolds.
The beauty of this spot has often awakened the ideas of
the poet; and who can quit it without enjoying the
same feelings which inspired the following lines?

"Farewell Mount Edgecumbe, all thy calm retreats,
Thy lovely prospects, and thy mossy seats ;
Farewell the coolness of thy dark deep woods,
Farewell the grandeur of thy circling floods.

Where'er futurity may lead the way,

Where in this vale of life, I chance to stray

Imagination to thy scenes shall turn,

Dwell on thy charms, and for thy beauties burn."

After crossing the harbour to Tor Point, on the right,
is Thankes, a seat of the noble family of Graves, which
commands a pleasing view of the Harmoaze and sur-
rounding country.

Antoney House, the seat of the Right Hon. Reginald
Pole Carew, is an elegant mansion beautifully situated
QU a branch of the Lynher Creek. It contains a great


variety of family portraits, and a few other fine pain*
tings, by Holbein, Vandyke, Sir Joshua Reynolds,
and other artists.

The village of ANTO^EY is about three miles from
Plymouth, and has a very picturesque appearance from
the road. The Church is a small fabric situated on an
eminence, and contains several handsome memorials of
the Carew family; one of which to the memory of
Richard Carew, the author of the Survey of Cornwall,
has a long Latin inscription and the following curious
verses :

Full thirteen fives of yeares I toiling have o'erpast,

And in the fourteenth, weary, enterM am at last.

While rocks, sands, storms, and leakes to take my bark away,

By grief, troubles, sorrows, sikness did essay ;

And yet arrivM I am not at the port of death,

The port to everlasting life that openeth.

My time uncertain, Lord, long certain cannot be,

What *s best to me 's unknown and only known to thee,

O by repentance and amendment grant that I

May still live in thy fear and in thy favor dye.

The prospects from the church-yard are extremely
pleasing, and justly merit the eulogium of one of our
modern poets:

" The raptur'd eye now wanders round
The circling stretch of distant ground,
Where fading mountains crown the scene,
With many a fertile vale between
Where sporting with the solar beams,
Famed Tamar winds her wanton streams,
And deck'd with villas, forts, and towns,
With woods and pastures, hills and downs,
With docks and navies England's pride
And lighter barks that swiftly glide."

About four miles from Antoney, to the right of the
road after passing Craft Hole, is Sheiiock Church, an
antient building containing some curious tombs of the
Dawnay's, and a superb monument to the memory of


Sir Edward Courtenay and his Lady. The following
beautiful lines are also engraved on a memorial for one
of the Duckworth Family, who died at an early age :

Dear lost Penelope, and must this tomb,
Quench the sweet promise of thy opening bloom,
Crush the sweet harvest of a mind so fair,
Its early piety, its filial care.

No there are seeds that angry tempests brave,
These cannot perish in a timeless grave,
Sprung- from the Tree of Life, to them 'tis given,
Though sown on earth, to germinate in heaven.

Passing from hence through the hamlet of Hessingford,
at a short distance is Bake, the seat of Sir J. S. Copley,
Bart. r His Majesty's Solicitor General, which is a hand-
some modern edifice, built on the site of an antient man-
sion noted in former times as the residence of the Moyle's,
and which was destroyed by fire a few years ago.

On approaching the towns of EAST AND WEST
LOOE, the scenery becomes highly romantic. These
towns derive their appellation from the river, on the
banks of which they are built, and over which is a low
narrow stone bridge of 12 arches. Both places re-
turn members to Parliament, but in themselves contain
little to interest the traveller. Several delightful
modern residences have been built on the banks of the
Looe river; among the most prominent, is Col. Lemon's,
near Polvellan. The population of both towns amounts
to about 1300, and the inhabitants are mostly engaged
in maritime employments.

About three miles west of Looe, is Trelawny House,
the seat of the Rev. Sir Harry Trelawny, Bart., a
venerable mansion, but built at different periods. It
contains a few good family portraits, particularly one
by Sir Godfrey Kneller, of Sir Jonathan Trelawny,
Bishop of Winchester.

lu Pelynt Church, which is not far distant from the


house, there is a very curious monument to the memory
of Francis Buller, Esq., who died in l6l5.

About five miles from hence, is FOWEY,* an antient
Borough and market town, situated in one of the most de-
lightful and romantic parts of the county, on the western
bank of the river, from which its name is derived. It is
distant 24 miles from Plymouth, and 244 from London.
The houses are very irregularly built, with foundations
composed of a hard bluish slate, (termed by Mineralo-
gists, Fat-quatz, from its greasiness to the touch,) and the
principal street extends nearly a mile in length.

Fowey has returned members to Parliament since
the 13th year of the reign of Elizabeth, and the right of
election is now chiefly vested in the inhabitants paying
scot and lot. The Corporation consists of a Mayor,
eight Aldermen, a Recorder, and Town Clerk. The
number of inhabitants, by the late census, amounts
to 1455.

The Church, a handsome fabric, is composed of three
aisles, with a lofty pinnacled tower at the west end. In
the north aisle is a noble altar-tomb of marble, with a
full-length figure of the deceased, in alabaster, richly

* " The g-lorie of Fowey," says Leland, " rose by the warres in
King Edwarde the Firste and Thirde, and Harrey the 5 day, partely
by the feates of warre, partly by pyracie, and so waxing rich fell
all to Merchandize; so that the Towne was haunted with shippes of
divers Nations, and their shippes went to all Nations, it also appear*
by the roll of the huge fleet of Edward the Thirde before Calice,
inserted in Hakaby's Voyages that Fowey contributed 47 ships
and 770 mariners, being a greater number than came from any
other port in England, except Yarmouth." Carew in his time,
speaking of the prosperous state of Fowey, says, " I may not pass
in silence the commendable deserts of Master Rashleigh the elder,
descended from a younger brother of an ancient house in Devon,
for his industrious judgment and adventuring the Trade of Mar-
chaudize first opened a light and way to the townsmen uow thriving-,
and left his sonne large Wealth and possessions, who together with
daily bettering his estate, converieth the same to hospitality and
other actions befitting a Gentleman well affected to his God, Prince
and Country."



carved, and inscribed to the memory of John Rash-
leigh, Esq., who died Aug. 11, 1582, with the following
curious inscription:









There are also several other memorials of the Rash-
leigh and the Trespy families in this church.

On an eminence near the church, is Place or Trespy
House, a very antient building, and which is said to
have been partly rebuilt in the reign of Henry VI., by
one of the Trespy family. It is an interesting building
and displays some rich Gothic work on the southern
front ; yet has been greatly altered by modern improve-
ments. The owner, J. T. Austen, Esq., is a gentleman
of considerable ability, and has furnished Mr. Lysons
with much information respecting this county.

The Harbour of Fowey is spacious and well secured
from the destructive effects of storms, by the hills en-
circling it; and on rising ground near the sea, are
the remains of two Towers, said to have been erected
in the reign of Edward IV. There are also two other
embattled square Towers on each side the harbour,
now fast mouldering to decay, and which in former
times supported a chain across its entrance.

Fowey, like many other sea-port towns in early times,
has suffered much during the wars : at present its chief
dependance is on the pilchard fisheries. Other kinds of
fish are also to be purchased in season, at very reason-
able rates, and the river abounds with fine salmon.

Ou the opposite side of the river, is POLRUAN, said
by Lelaiid, to have been in former times, a place of


considerable note; but now it consists only of a few
picturesque cottages. The ruins of an antient Chapel
and an old well, surmounted by a stone cross.

Menabilly, about three miles west of Fowey, the seat
of William Rashleigh, Esq. late M. P. and Sheriff for the
county, in the year 1820, is a neat edifice of moor stone.
The southern or principal front, commands a view of the
sea, but it is chiefly remarkable as containing a very va-
luable cabinet of minerals,* and said to be the finest in
England. There are also many other curiosities in the
house, and a few fine drawings and portraits.

About a mile from this place, in a very sequestered
spot, called Polredmouth, stands an octagonal Grotto of
curious workmanship, close to the sea, composed of
an immense number of minerals, fossils, c. In the
centre of it stands a very handsome table of 32 species
of polished granite.

As the parish church of Tyarwardeth is more than
two miles distant from Menabilly, a neat Chapel has
been built at the expense of Mr. Rashleigh, adjoining
his grounds.

The road from hence to Lostwithiel, is extremely
dreary; the Church Tower of Lanlivery, a small village
to the left, forms a pleasing object.

LOSTWITHIEI. is a very ancient Borough and market
town, situated on the high road to Falmouth from Ply-
mouth, and 28 miles west of Tor Point. The Corpora-
tion, consisting of a Mayor, six Aldermen, and 17
Burgesses, have the right of electing the members to
serve in Parliament.

* Among 1 the most remarkable specimens in this collection, are
green carbonate of lead with quartz, blende in twenty sided
crystals and green fleur in crystals ; crystalized antimony, with red
blende on quartz, yellow copper ore with opal, and arseniate of cop.
per, in cubes of a bright green colour. A very valuable work was
published a few years ago, entitled, " Specimens of firitish Mine-
rals," from this collection, embellished with a number of fine plates,
from drawings by Underwood and Bone.


The Church is rather a handsome edifice, with one very
lofty aisle and two small ones ; the tower at the western
end is surmounted by a singularly beautiful Gothic
spire. The chief attraction of the interior is a very
curious and antient octagonal Font. It is supported by
five clustered columns, and charged with a representa-
tion of a huntsman riding an ass, accoutred in a short
jacket with a sword by his side, a horn in his mouth, a
hawk on his finger; a dog seizing a rabbit; an ape's
head entwined with a snake; a representation of the
crucifixion, with a female figure on each side; and the
arms of the Earl of Cornwall : but the whole has been
much obliterated and disfigured by a thick coat of
whitewash. The accompanying engraving, it is pre-
sumed, will be found an accurate representation of this
interesting relic of antiquity.

Lostwithiel is at present a town of little trade,
although barges are navigable to the quay, every
tide, from Fowey. The houses are chiefly built of
stone with slated roofs, and amount to about 150 in
number, and the parish contains, according to the late
census, 933 inhabitants.

At a short distance south of the church, are some
considerable remains of an antient Exchequer or Shire
Hall. It was no doubt formerly a magnificent building ;
the walls are of great thickness, supported by massy
buttresses, and the interior contains a number of gloomy
apartments, ill calculated for the purpose for which it is
now converted into a Stannary Prison. On the exterior
are the arms of the Duchy of Cornwall with supporters,
surmounted with the Prince's plume well carved. There
is also here a neat Town Hall, erected in 1740, at the
expense of Richard Edgecumbe, Esq., in which the
Summer Quarter Sessions for the county are held.

The weekly market is well supplied with all kinds
of provision, and there are three fairs annually in
this place.



About a mile and a half of Lostwithiel, on the sum-
mit of an artificial mound, stand the venerable remains
of Restormel Castle* which in former times was a place
of considerable importance. History, however, is silent
as to the origin of this highly interesting fortification;
and as it is not even mentioned in the Doomsday Sur-
vey, it is generally supposed to have been erected
by Robert, Earl of Mortaign, and was the principal
residence of himself, and the subsequent Earls of
Cornwall. Prior to the reign of Henry the VIII.,
this place is said to have been in a dilapidated state.
The present remains chiefly consist of a circular area
of 110 feet diameter; the walls of which are nine feet
thick, secured by a deep moat, now choaked up with
brambles and wild plants. The entrance, on the south
side, (which had formerly a draw-bridge,) has an outer
and inner arch supporting a square tower in ruins.
Round the area, the foundations of three regular suites
of apartments are easily traced, connected by two dark
narrow stone staircases leading to the top of the
ramparts. The ruins are richly overgrown with ivy,
and being almost embosomed in wood, are very pleas-
ing objects to the lovers of the picturesque. It is now
the abode of owls, bats, and jackdaws ; and unless
disturbed by the occasional visits of the curious tra-
veller, they have seldom reason to complain of

Such as wandering near their sacred bower,
Molest their ancient solitary reign.

* Leland describes Restormel Castle as "sore defaced" in his
time, "the fair large dungeon" says he, "yet stondith, a chapel
castoutof it, a newer work than it, and now unrofid." Carew says
"certes it may move compassion, that a palace so healthful for aire,
so delightful for prospect, so necessary for commodities, so fayre for
building, and so strong for defence, should in time of secure peace*
and under the protection of his natural princes, be wronged with
those spoylings, then which it could endure no greater at the hands
of any forayne and deadly enemy, &c. Norden also says, "The
whole Castle begiuDCth to mourne, aud to wringe out_haid stones fur



Restormel House, the residence of John Hext, Esq. is
a low embattled structure, said to have been erected on
the site of an antient chapel. The demesne attached
thereto, is now the property of the Earl of Mount Edge-
cumbe. The valley in which Restormel House is built,
with the castle on the eminence, form for the artist
a very pleasing picture, and have often been admired.

Boconnoc House, formerly the seat of the late Lord
Camelford, is now the property of the Right Hon. Lord
Grenville. It is a large plain building, situated about
three miles east of Lostwithiel, in a richly wooded park
well stocked with deer. The interior contains many
handsome suites of apartments, a good library, and
among other works of art, a fine bust of the late Earl of
Chatham, on which the following panegyric lines have
been written:

" Here trophies faded, and revers'd lier spear,
See England's genius bend o'er CHATHAM'S bier,
Her sails no more in every clime unfurl'd
Proclaim her dictates to th' admiring 1 world.
No more shall accents nervous, bold and strong
Flow in full periods from his patriot tongue.
Yet shall th' historic and poetic page,
Thy name, great Shade, devolve from Age to Age j
Thine and thy Country's fate, congenial tell,
By thee she triumph'd, and by thee she fell."

On a commanding eminence, a short distance from

teares ; that she that was iinbraced, visited, and delighted with great
princes, is now desolate, forsaken, and (orlorne : the Cannon needs
not batter, nor the pioneer to undermine, nor powder to blow up this
so famous a pyle; for time and tirrannie hath wrought her desola-
tion, her water pipes of lead gone, the planching- tten, the walls
fallen downe, the fayre and large chimnye pieces, ai JL all that would
yield raonie or serve for use, are converted to Men's private pur-
poses, and there remayueth a false show of honor, not contentinge
anie compassionate eye to behold her lingrynge decayes. Men greyve
to see the dying delayes of anie brute creature, so may we mourne to
see so stately a pyle so long a fallinge, if it be of no use, the carcase
would make some profit, therefore if it deserve, let her fall be no
longer delayde, else will it drop peece meele downe, and her now
profitable reliques will then serve to little or no use."


the house, stands an elegant-proportioned obelisk, 123
feet in height, with the following inscription carved on
the pedestal.

In gratitude and Affection

To the Memory of

Sir Richard Lyttleton,

And to perpetuate the Remembrance

which rendered him

The delight of his own age,

And worthy the Veneration of



The country between Lostwithiel and St. Austell is
pleasing, and most delightful views of the ocean occa-
sionally present themselves.

On approaching the village of ST. BLAZEY, about

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Online LibraryFrederick Wilton Litchfield StockdaleExcursions in the county of Cornwall : comprising a concise historical and topographical delineation of the principal towns and villages, together with descriptions of the residences of the nobility and gentry, remains of antiquity, and every other interesting object of curiosity : forming a complet → online text (page 3 of 13)