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Notes on the parish of Mylor, Cornwall online

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T is usual to write something as a
preface, and this generally appears
to be to make some excuse for
having written at all. In a pre-
face to Tom Toole and his Friends
— a very interesting book published a few years
ago, by Mrs. Henry Sandford, in which the
poets Coleridge and Wordsworth, together with
the Wedgwoods and many other eminent men
of that day figure, — the author says, on one
occasion, when surrounded by old letters, note
books, etc., an old and faithful servant remon-
strated with her thus : " And what for ? " she
demanded very emphatically. " There's many a
hundred dozen books already as nobody ever
reads." Her hook certainly justified her efforts,
and needed no excuse. But what shall I say of
this } What for do 1 launch this little book,
which only refers to the parish ot Mylor ^

vi Preface.

The great majority of us are convinced that
the county of our birth is the best part of Eng-
land, and if we are folk country-born, that our
parish is the most favoured spot in it. With
something of this idea prompting me, I have en-
deavoured to look up all available information
and documents, and elaborate such by personal
recollections and by reference to authorities. My
object has been to convey the results in the
simplest way possible with the least scientific dis-
play. There is much to be found in old parish
books, and much more might have been found if
better care had been taken of them. Meagre as
they are, they may be said to be the foundation
of this volume. Remote as this county is from
the rest of England, and this parish in particular,
many primitive customs still exist, whilst others
have died out within the memory of some still
living, but deserve to be recorded.

There have been numerous works and histories
published relating to Cornwall. The earliest were
Leland (1533), Norden (1584), Carew (1602),
Hals and Tonkin contemporaneous (i 655-1 678),
and, later, Polwhele and Davies Gilbert, who
wrote respectively in 1806 and 1838. It is not
every one who has access to these works, and I

Preface. vii

have quoted largely from them, more particularly
the two latter, where the subject required it. I
am also much indebted to Mr. Thurstan C. Peter
for his excellent and exhaustive work on Glasney
College, and also for his pamphlet, The Churches
of Mylor and Mabe ; and to Capt. Tremayne for
the loan of his family records and for other in-
formation ; and last, but not least, to Sir J.
Langdon Bonython for his careful revision of my
notes relating to the early history of Carclew and
the connection of his family with that estate, and
several important additions to the same which
have not hitherto been published.

H. P. O.
My lor y 1907-


Section I ...... i

Introductory and Topographical Description.

Section II ...... 8

Climate, Place-Names.

Section III . . . . . .16

Description of Mylor from old authorities.

Section IV . . . . . .28

The Martyrdom of St. Miloris, Cornish Saints, Church-
yard Cross, Parish Feasts, the " Mayor of Mylor."

Section V ••••.. 37

Industries and Old Customs — In the Dairy, Agricul-
tural Processes, Harvest Operations. Baking, Mining,

Section VI ...... 57

The Church — Old and Restored.

Section VII ...... 87

The Vicarage of Mylor and Mabe. Account of Glasney
College. List of Vicars.

Section VIII . . . . . .100

The Vicarage House— Old and New ; Old Terrier ;
Tithes; Old Church Town.

Section IX . . . . . • ^^9

Monuments in Mylor Church and Churchyard.


Section X


The Relief of the Poor and other Parish Charges
Overseers' Accounts, Perambulations, Carnon Stream

Section XI .... .

The Workhouse.

Section XII .....

Extracts from Churchwardens' Minute Books, etc.

Section XIII . . .

Parish Apprentices.

Section XIV .....

Carclew and its Owners.

Section XV .....

Trefusis and Flushing.

Appendices .....

Index ......

List of Subscribers ....






Mylor Church — South Porch and Cross of

St. Miloris .... frontispiece

Map of Mylor ....

Mylor Old Church — South Porch
Ground Plan of Church before Restoration
Ground Plan of Present Church
Mylor Church — Interior .

„ „ North Door

„ Old Vicarage House

Old Chart of Falmouth Harbour and ad-
joining Creeks

Plan of Mylor Churchyard

Carclew House ....

The School House and Clock Tower

Plan of the Cregoes




I 32



Introductory and Topographical

HE County of Cornwall is one of
the most interesting and remark-
able of the English counties.
When we consider its geographical
position and insular character, sur-
rounded by the Atlantic Ocean
and the English Channel, except where it is nearly-
divided from Devonshire by the river Tamar ; its
shores deeply traversed by creeks and sandy coves ;
its rocky headlands and fertile valleys, producing
scenery of the grandest character ; its mineral
treasures and its fisheries ; there is little wonder
that it has attracted the notice and commercial in-
tercourse of foreign nations, of which some exist
at the present day only in the pages of ancient
history. There are consequently remnants in its
ancient language and customs, and antiquities de-
rived from such sources. From its remote position
it was almost a kingdom of itself. It was called
by the Romans " Damnonium," which included


2 Notes on My lor.

part of Devonshire, and this continued to be the
boundary until after the incursion of the Danes,
who, with the Cornish, were defeated at Exeter by
Athelstan in 937, when the Cornish boundary be-
came limited to the line of the Tamar, which is
said to have divided England from Cornwall. A
branch of the Cornish passed over into Brittany,
which was called Armorica (or in Cornish, Ar-
moric, from Armor^ a wave of the sea ; Armoric^
a country situated on the sea). The Cornish,
Welsh, and Armoric languages were very nearly
allied, the names of persons and places being very
similar in each. They were called Celtic as dis-
tinct from the Anglo-Britons. Cornwall retained
for many centuries this original language in spite
of the innovation of Phcenicians, Greeks and
Romans, who were superseded by the Danes,
Saxons and Normans. It was only natural that
by frequent intercourse with these nations, they
should have adopted certain of their customs and
traces of their languages. The chief commodities
of trade were fish, tin and copper. Although
these few remarks refer to the county as a whole,
they may to a very great extent be applicable to
this parish of Mylor. The area of the county
is about 1,356 square miles, or 868,220 acres,
exclusive of the Scilly Isles. The population
according to the last census was 322,571. It is
divided into nine hundreds, namely. East, West,
Powder and Kerryer in the southern, and Stratton,
Lesnewith, Trigg, Pyder, and Penwith on the
northern side.

Rep/vduced fh>m the Ordnance map by permission oftJie Controller of H. Ms StaUonery OfTic

, , s'^f'-E MAP OF THE l»fi




■'1 i *Ji



Parliiimqnlury Boundary _____^
Flushing CcolesMaticnl District

Introductory. 3

Thi: Parish of Mvlor.

This is situated in the deanery and hundred of
Kirryer, which includes the most southern part of
the county, and of which it is one of the most
picturesque portions. It forms a peninsula, being
bounded by water on all sides except where it
joins the parishes of St. Gluvias and Perran-ar-

On the east and south Mylor is separated
from the town of Falmouth and the parish of
Budock by the Falmouth harbour, on the south
and towards the west by a creek which is navi-
gable up to the borough of Penryn, Restronguet
Creek washes its banks on the north and joins
Mylor Pool as it flows east, and separates it
from Feock. Mylor abounds in most delight-
ful views, which are presented to the eye in
every direction. The prospects are charmingly
diversified with hill and dale, woodland scenery
and land-locked peeps of water, with good cottages
and villas, towers of churches, and many objects
which render the landscape interesting. On the
south side from the grounds of Trefusis it com-
mands a view of the magnificent harbour of Fal-
mouth, enlivened by the shipping of all nations,
and round the point towards Mylor Church is seen
the Carrick Road, or King's Road, and beyond it
St. Just-in-Roseland (or, as it should be, liosland)^
and here the river F^al (or Vale), after its winding
course from Truro and various creeks, flows into
the sea between the castles of Pendennis and St.


4 Notes on My lor.

Mawes, and from here also are seen the house and
grounds of Trelissick and Porthgwidden, and the
venerable tower of St. Michael Penkivel Church,
elevated above the surrounding woods which adorn
Tregothnan. At the extreme north are the woods
of Carclew, and on part of the western border
those of Enys. The chief part of the population,
which at the last census amounted to 2,147, ^■^^
contained in the town of Flushing (formerly called
Nankersey), which faces Falmouth and the pic-
turesque village of Mylor Bridge, situated at the
head of the Mylor Creek. These places are about
a mile-and-half distant from each other, and form
an almost equi-angular triangle with the church,
which is situated on the eastern side of the parish,
close to the sea, on the entrance to Mylor Creek,
and is about four miles distant from the north-
western boundary. Lofty elm trees surround the
churchyard, which also contains two magnificent
specimens of yew, these are very ancient, and
cast their shadows far and wide over the tombs
of bygone parishioners whose remains rest be-
neath their branches ; one of them measures
180 feet in circumference. New portions of
burial ground have been added to the churchyard
in recent years, namely, in 1866 and 1871, the
gift of the Admiralty to the parishioners of Mylor,
and contiguous to this piece of ground is a plot
for the burial of persons who die on the sea, and
which was also their gift in 1846. Deeds relating
to these are preserved with other parish documents.
The church was carefully restored in 1870.

Introductory. ^

The whole parish comprises by actual measure-
ment, 3,596 acres, three of which is water, thirty-
four tidal water, and 259 of foreshore.

The tithable lands measure 3,030^. 2r. 3/>.,
woods, 479<r2. ;^r. 37/>., waste and roads, 50^. 2^.
2p.y and the church and old churchyard, t,^- 3^P-
To this was added in 1866, 2r. 14/'., and a further
addition in 1871, 2r. 3/)., making a total of church
and churchyard, 2a. or. 15/). The annual gross
value is {.^poj i6s. (^d. ; rateable value of build-
ings, etc., ;/^4,930 4J. 10^. ; of agricultural land,
;^2,648 lyj. 6d. ; the assessable value, ;^6,254
1 35. -jd. \ the rate at one shilling in the pound,
;^293 55. The population in 1901 was 2,147,
namely, in Mylor, 1,297, in Flushing, 858 ; males,
1,008, females, 1139 ; inhabited houses, 739.

The following are the numbers since 1801 :
1801 — 1,665. 1^41 — 2,568. 1881 —
1811 — 1,897. 1851 — 2,205. 1891 — 2,238.
1821 — 2,193. 1861 — 2,201. 1901 — 2,147.
1831—2,647. 1871—2,389.

The living, to which is attached a residence and
glebe of fourteen acres, is an undischarged vicarage
in the patronage of the Bishop of Truro.

The tithes are commuted at £620, namely, to
the vicar, £21 ^y and to the lay impropriator. Lord
Clinton, ;^405. The church is dedicated to St.
Melor, or Mcloris, hence the name of the parish.

This St. Melor, or Mcloris, is reputed to have
been the son of Melianus, Duke of Cornwall,
and is said to have been slain for embracing
Christianity, August 28, a.d. 411, by his pagan

6 Notes on Mylar.

brother-in-law, Rinaldus, or Remigius, who first
cut off Milor's right hand, then his left leg, and
finally his head.

The festival day, therefore, was anciently kept
on the day of his death, according to the calendar
of the ancient British church. A massive granite
cross has been erected to his memory, measuring
17ft. 6ins. in length. This was discovered buried
head downwards on the spot where tradition says
St. Meliorus was slain and buried, a.d. 411. It
has been re-erected in the supposed original posi-
tion on the eastern side of the south porch. It
is inserted seven feet in the ground. The shaft
is square, being sixteen inches at the bottom, and
fifteen inches at the top.

The parish consists chiefly of freehold land, held
by the lords of the manors much as it has been
for ages past, namely, those of Carclew and
Restronguet, of Trefusis and Tregew, and a small
manor of Mylor. The old semi-feudal system
therefore continues, every tenement is part and
parcel of the lord's demesne or service, either on
lease for lives or on lease for a term of years. The
old system of lives however, is giving way to
leases, but unfortunately for short periods, con-
sequently there is little encouragement to erect
substantial buildings and make improvements.
There are a few lands outside these manors
mentioned. Trevissom, on the Penryn Creek,
formerly the property of the bishops of Exeter,
and purchased from them by T. W, Reed, Esq.
The mansion is now owned by the Bishop of

Introductory. y

Ripon, and the farm until recently owned by the
representatives of Mr. Reed. Great Wood, on
the north-east side of Mylor Creek, is the resi-
dence of J. Gregory Bond, Esq. Francis G.
Enys, Esq., also owns a considerable portion of
land on the western side, adjoining Enys, having
acquired it, in exchange, of the manor of Mylor a
few years ago.


climate, Place-Names.

YLOR is noted as being one of the
most sheltered and healthy spots
in the County of Cornwall. The
air is pleasant and genial. The
summers are usually cool, and
the strong winds which frequently
blow from the Atlantic have a purifying and
health-giving influence. The winters are mild,
and snow seldom lies more than two or three
days. A very dry summer is a very rare thing,
and when other parts of England are suffering
from drought, this part of Cornwall has no reason
to complain. The saltness of the air, caused by
the sea surroundings, is unfavourable to some
trees and shrubs, particularly near the shore and
having a western aspect ; on the other hand, others
like it, such as euonymus, escallonia macrantha, etc.,
and flourish well. Sub-tropical plants do well, and
dracaenas, eucalyptus, geraniums, calceolarias, sol-
anums, etc., survive the winters and grow to a
great height. The town of Flushing in particular
is highly favoured in this respect, and has gained

Climate and '^lace-Names. 9

the title of the English Riviera.^ Polwhele notes
the longevity of the inhabitants, and adds : " John
Allen died in 1799, ^g^d 98, and Henry Short in
1803, aged 96," Many other instances of longev-
ity are found in the parish registers.

The same author, speaking of the climate of
Cornwall generally, comments on some of the lines
of the following from Armstrong's Art of PreserVing
Healthy which, being applicable here, is given more

"In quest of sites avoid the mournful plain
Where osiers thrive and trees that love the lake ;
Where many lazy, muddy rivers flow ;
Nor for the wealth of all the Indies roll,
Fix near the marshy margin of the main
For from the humid soil and wat'ry reign
Eternal vapours rise.

Skies such as these let every mortal shun
Who dreads the dropsy, palsy or the gout.
Tertian, corrosive scurvy, or moist catarrh."

He proceeds : " But the Cornish need not fear
the miasmata of ' mournful plains or marshes.'
Whatever may be said of ' the dropsy or the gout,'
our situation exempts us in a great measure from
the ague."

Notwithstanding this panegyric of Mr. Pol-
whele, although ague may now be a thing ot the

I. In a reprint of articles now beinR ^iven weekly in the Royal
Cornuall Gazelle, entitled " A Hundred Years Ago," is the follow-
ing : ■* The attraction of the niild winter enjoyed on the southern
shores of f'ornwall is rapidly fxt(;ndin,i,'. The eflett is a consider-
able increase of visitors It is no unctjmmon thing to meet with
noblemen even at the assemblies of the little village of I'lushinj,',
which it must be confessed are always attended by elegant company."

I o V^tes on My lor.

past, it does not appear to have been entirely
absent from Mylor, and may probably have lin-
gered about the vicinity of the river at Mylor
Bridge, for we find in an old overseer's book of
workhouse charges for the year 1798 : "To cash
to buy Brimstone and Treacle to do for the Ague
idy The grand specific for malarial diseases,
namely, the cinchona bark, and from it, quinine,
was not then known.

The same didactic poet (Armstrong) further
says (B. I, p. 119):

" " Ye who amid this feverish wodd would wear
A body free from pain from cares of mind ;
Fly the rank city, shun its turbid air \
Breath not the chaos of eternal smoke
And volatile corruption from the dead,
The dying, sickening and the living world
Exhal'd to fully heaven's transparent dome
With dim mortality. It is not air
That from a thousand lungs reeks back to thine,
Sated with exhalations rank and fell.
The spoil of dunghills, and the putrid thaw
Of nature when from shape and texture she
Relapses into sighing elements ; —
It is not air^ that floats a nauseous mass
Of all obscene, corrupt offensive things.
Fly if you can those violent extremes
Of fl/V, the wholesome is nor moist nor dry,"

Place- Names.

The names of places are chiefly Cornish, and
amongst them we have some evidence of Saxon
occupation. " Carsausen," meaning the Saxon

Climate and P lace-Names. 1 1

castle, just as a part of the shore of Helford har-
bour is called " Porth-Saussen," which indicates
the harbour of the Saxons, besides which there are
various others in this part of the county, as
'*Tresaussen," the dwelling of the Saxons, in
Lanreath ; " Tresaussin," in Probus ; " Bosau-
sack," the house of the Saxons at the creek in
Constantine, etc. It is always somewhat dangerous
to guess at the meaning of names, but there are
very many the meaning of which is clear and well
established in the opinion of Cornish scholars.
The interpretations which are given are from the
best authorities which it is possible to consult. In
the meanings which are given of these names we
shall find there is great significance, and many places
give also names to families, which has been the
custom in Cornwall for ages past. These mostly
consist of two substantive nouns, one of which has
the force of an adjective and qualifies the other.
The names often denote a site either on high or
low ground, their relative situations, their vicinity
to rivers or sea, from the form of the place and
its qualities, from woods or particular trees, and
from various other circumstances, most of which
appear to have a meaning, and in imposing these
names the Cornish people showed a great degree
of observation and precision.

The parish of Mylor and surrounding district
has many such names, and which illustrate the old
rhyme :

" By Tre, Pol and iVii
You may know the names ol Coinishmcn."

12 ^N^tes on My lor.

The " Tres " were the agricultural spots on
plains ; the " Pens " the more remarkable hill pas-

And also another, rather more extended :

" By Tre, Ros, Pol, Lan, Caer (or Car) and Pen
You may know most Cornish men."

Tre means a town, a place, a gentleman's seat.

Ros or Res = a valley.

Pol = a pool, sometimes a top.

Lan = a church or an enclosure.

Caer or Car = a town or castle.

Pen = the head or top.

These are well known, and it will only be neces-
sary to give a few examples of each.

Trelew = the dwelling by the pool or lake.

Trefusis = the walled or entrenched town.

Trenoweth or Tregoweth = the new town or

Trevissom or Trevissan = the lower town.

Tresise = the place of corn.

Restronguet or Restrongas (res or ros, a val-
ley ; tron, a nose ; gas, deep) = The valley with
the deep promontory ; (or if gas or gus, wood —
with the woody promontory).

Polglase, Polglaz = the green top or green pool
(now "The Woodlands.")

Polscatha (scath, skath, skatha, a boat) = the
pool for boats. (This from an old map is the
name of the beach under the church field).

Lan-hay = the churchyard.

Climate and Place -Names. 13

Lan-yon (Lan-eithon) = The furzy enclosure,
the furzy croft.

Car-sausen = the castle of the Saxons,

Carvossa, Corvossa (voza and voran, pi. voz or
vore, a ditch) = the entrenched castle or fort.
(Vore is a word used in ploughing).

Pengilly (Kelli) = the head of the grove or hazel

Pentrelew or Pentrelooe = the house at the head
or above Trelew,

Penryn = the head of the river, channel, or

Pendennis = the head or chief man's castle.

Pen-werris, Penguares = the green or flourishing

Besides these examples there are many others
distinctly Cornish in this parish, which will explain
themselves as to situation, etc.

Crug or Cruc is a barrow or ancient burying
place, hence Carclew, anciently Crugglew and
Crucclew (clu, cluth, a ditch or fence), the en-
closures by the barrows.

Cregoes on Trefusis = the barrows, the burial
places. The position of old Mylor church town.

Crockagodna = the burial place of the chief.

Park (Pare, Pairc) is a field or an enclosure.
It continually occurs in the names of Cornish
fields. We have it in Carclew in combination
with gwarra or wartha (higher), and gwalla or
walla (lower).

Park-wartha = the higher field.

Park-woolla = the lower field.

14 V^tes on My lor.

Park-coose = the field in the wood.

Park-an-hipple (?) otherwise the grass field.

On Carclew is a field called Croft Danger,
probably from Danger or D'Angers, former

We have also :

Park-an-hale = the moorfield.

Park morra = the field by the sea.

Park cover = with the brook or spring of water.

Comford (com-fort, coom-ford, cwm-fordh,
cuum-vordh, cum-vor) = the great road or pass
between the hills.

Bellair (.'') = from beler, water-cresses.

Nantrelooe = the house in the valley by the
pool or lake.

Darloe (from dar, oak) = the oak pool.

Nankersey = the winding valley.

Carvynack or Carvinack = the castle dwelling
near the sea.

Penoweth = the head of the new town.

Tregoosreath = the wood town by the sand or

Trevithon = the town among the trees, the
meadow town.

Trevethen = the bird's town.

Cosawsen = the Saxon's town.

Crownick = the dwelling at the cross.

Vycoose (wood) = the wood by the river.

Hallancoose moor = the wood by the moor en-

Goonreath = the sandy downs.

Lawithick = the enclosure with trees by the creek.

Climate and Place-^hQimes. I 5

Tren^rouses ten' = the smith's tenement.

Halwyn = the white or fair town.

Byssam = (? Bis-soe) = the birches or the bottom.

Portloe = the port or harbour by the pool.

Tregatreath = the dwelling on the sand or sea-

Treselliclc = the house with an open view.

Tregenna or Tregenow (Tregunwith) = the
dwelline at the mouth or entrance.

Trelisick: = a dwelling on the broad creek or the
town on the enclosed water.

Landeria (? dar, an oak, pi. deru) = the enclosure
of oaks.

In an old rate made in 1754 (see Appendix A),
which appears to be made on the basis of one
penny in the pound, most of the names mentioned
are given. This was the usual way of making the
assessment, and as many rates were collected as
were necessary. This rate is also of interest as
showing the position of the old church town, and
gives the names of the occupiers at that period.


Description of Mylor from old

HE Domesday book, which contains
the particulars of a survey ordered
by William the Conqueror in the
year 1084, does not contain any
direct account of Mylor, but there
is a slight reference which may
apply to it under " Mabe."

Leland gives a very early description of this
district in his Itinerary which was made in the
year 1533 :

*' There lyith a little cape or foreland within the
haven a mile dim., almost again Mr. Kiligrewe's
house, called Penfusis. Betwixt this cape and

1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16

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