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THE CORNISH RIVIERA

Described by SIDNEY HEATH

Pictured by E. W. HASLEHUST

[Illustration]

BLACKIE AND SON LIMITED

LONDON GLASGOW AND BOMBAY

* * * * *

[Illustration: ENTRANCE TO FOWEY HARBOUR]

* * * * *

BEAUTIFUL ENGLAND

_VOLUMES READY_


BATH AND WELLS
BOURNEMOUTH AND CHRISTCHURCH
CAMBRIDGE
CANTERBURY
CHESTER AND THE DEE
THE CORNISH RIVIERA
DARTMOOR
DICKENS-LAND
THE DUKERIES
THE ENGLISH LAKES
EXETER
FOLKESTONE AND DOVER
HAMPTON COURT
HASTINGS AND NEIGHBOURHOOD
HEREFORD AND THE WYE
THE ISLE OF WIGHT
THE NEW FOREST
NORWICH AND THE BROADS
OXFORD
THE PEAK DISTRICT
RIPON AND HARROGATE
SCARBOROUGH
SHAKESPEARE-LAND
SWANAGE AND NEIGHBOURHOOD
THE THAMES
WARWICK AND LEAMINGTON
THE HEART OF WESSEX
WINCHESTER
WINDSOR CASTLE
YORK


BEAUTIFUL IRELAND

LEINSTER
ULSTER
MUNSTER
CONNAUGHT


BEAUTIFUL SWITZERLAND

LUCERNE
VILLARS AND CHAMPERY
CHAMONIX
LAUSANNE AND ITS ENVIRONS

* * * * *




LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS

Page
Entrance to Fowey Harbour _Frontispiece_

Truro Cathedral from the River 8

Polruan 14

The Harbour, Fowey 20

View of Falmouth Harbour 26

St. Michael's Mount 32

On the Lerryn River 38

Penzance from Newlyn Harbour 42

In the Harbour, Newlyn 46

Land's End 50

In St. Ives Harbour 54

The Cliffs, Newquay 58




[Illustration]


THE CORNISH RIVIERA




PLYMOUTH TO LAND'S END

"By Tre, Pol, and Pen,
You may know the Cornishmen."


The majority of our English counties possess some special feature, some
particular attraction which acts as a lodestone for tourists, in the
form of a stately cathedral, striking physical beauty, or a wealth of
historical or literary associations. There are large districts of rural
England that would have remained practically unknown to the multitude
had it not been for their possession of some superb architectural
creation, or for the fame bestowed upon the district by the makers of
literature and art. The Bard of Avon was perhaps the unconscious pioneer
in the way of providing his native town and county with a valuable asset
of this kind. The novels of Scott drew thousands of his readers to the
North Country, and those of R. D. Blackmore did the same for the scenes
so graphically depicted in _Lorna Doone_; while Thomas Hardy is probably
responsible for half the number of tourists who visit Dorset.

Cornwall, on the contrary, is unique, in that, despite its wealth of
Celtic saints, crosses, and holy wells, it does not possess any
overwhelming attractions in the way of physical beauty (the coast line
excepted), literary associations, beautiful and fashionable spas, or
mediæval cathedrals.

History, legends, folklore, and traditions it has in abundance, while
probably no portion of south-west England is so rich in memorials of the
Celtic era. At the same time one can quite understand how it was that,
until comparatively recent years, the Duchy land was visited by few
tourists, as we count them to-day; and why the natives should think and
speak of England as a distant, and indeed a foreign, country. Certain is
it that less than a quarter of a century ago those who crossed the Tamar
and journeyed westward into the sparsely populated Cornish towns and
villages, were hailed as "visitors from England".

Bounded on the north and south by the sea, cut off on the east by the
Tamar, the delectable Duchy was a singularly isolated strip of land
until the magic connecting link was forged by Brunel. Indeed it is not
too much to say that Cornwall owes its present favourable position as a
health resort almost entirely to the genius of Brunel and the enterprise
of the Great Western Railway.

The lateness of the railway development of Cornwall is somewhat
remarkable when we remember that the county contained, in the
picturesque Bodmin and Wadebridge Railway, the third line opened for
passenger traffic in the kingdom. A quarter of a century later Plymouth
was connected with the outer world, but for long after the historic
ports and towns of the southern seaboard had been gradually linked up,
the splendid isolation of the northern coast remained until
comparatively recent years. It is but a short time ago that the only way
of reaching Newquay was by means of a single mineral line that ran from
Par Junction. Contrast this with the present day, when there is a choice
of no less than five trains by which passengers can travel from
Paddington to Newquay, to say nothing of the morning coach which meets
the South Western train from Waterloo at Wadebridge. The famous Cornish
Riviera expresses, that do the journey from Paddington to Penzance in a
few hours, have become a familiar feature to those who live in the
western counties, and few seaside resorts, situated three hundred miles
from London, are so favoured by railway enterprise as the beauty spots
of Cornwall.

This is essentially a county that is best toured by railway. The places
and towns most worth visiting lie far apart, and are divided by a good
deal of pleasant but not very interesting country, and one can obtain a
more than sufficient amount of walking along the vast stretch of
seaboard.

The line from Plymouth to Truro crosses the fine estuary of the Tamar
upon the Albert Bridge, one of Brunel's triumphs, and runs along the
northern bank of the river Lynher. Almost at the head of the river is
St. Germans, where, for those who can spare the time, a stay of a few
hours may be profitably made. According to tradition it derives its name
from St. Germanus, Bishop of Auxerre, who visited Britain in 429, and
again in 447. From 850 to 1049 the town was the seat of the bishopric of
Cornwall, which was afterwards incorporated in the see of Devon. The
church is a good one with an ancient porch highly enriched with carvings
and traceries. The greater part of the present building dates from 1261,
and it occupies the site of the ancient Cornish cathedral.

[Illustration: TRURO CATHEDRAL FROM THE RIVER]

The fine ancestral home of Port Eliot, the residence of Lord St.
Germans, was formerly called Porth Prior, from an Anglo-Saxon religious
house granted to Richard Eliot in 1565, but of this original building no
trace whatever remains above the ground. Within the house are some good
portraits of the Eliots, including a large number by Sir Joshua
Reynolds.

From St. Germans our journey lies through pleasant vales and wooded
hills to Liskeard, a quiet little market town situated partly on the
slope of a steep hill, and partly in a valley traversed by the Looe and
Liskeard Canal. The district abounds in mysterious piles of rock such as
the Trethevy Stone, and the Hurlers; while the student of folklore will
not fail to be attracted by the sacred wells of St. Keyne and St. Cleer.
The latter was used formerly as a Bowssening Pool, and held in great
repute for its efficacy in restoring the insane to "mens sana in corpore
sano". Not far away is the interesting church of St. Neots', with a
quantity of very fine mediæval glass.

The site of the old castle of Liskeard is preserved to some extent in a
tree-planted public walk, while in the ancient Grammar School, "Peter
Pindar" (Dr. Wolcot) and the learned Dean Prideaux received their
education. St. Martin's Church has a set of curious gargoyles, while
portions of a nunnery, dedicated to St. Clare, are said to have been
built into the walls of one of the houses. In 1644, during the Civil
War, Charles I was here, and again in the following year.

From Liskeard, Looe may be reached either by rail, road, or canal. The
road passes St. Keyne, where the waters of the well are said to possess
a remarkable property, according to Thomas Fuller, who says, "whether
husband or wife came first to drink thereof, they get the mastery
thereby". The well has been immortalized in Southey's well-known ballad,
_The Well of St. Keyne_.


"A well there is in the west countrie,
And a clearer one never was seen,
There is not a wife in the west countrie
But has heard of the well of St. Keyne."


The ballad goes on to relate that a traveller, sitting beside the well,
met a countryman, with whom he had a long chat about its tradition:


"'You drank of the water, I warrant, betimes,'
He to the countryman said;
But the countryman smiled as the stranger spoke,
And sheepishly shook his head.

"'I hastened as soon as the wedding was o'er,
And left my good wife in the porch;
But faith! she had been quicker than I,
For she took a bottle to church!'"


St. Keyne or St. Keyna, the tutelary saint of this well, is said to have
been a pious virgin, the daughter of Braganus, Prince of Brecknockshire,
who lived about the year 490. She is also said to have made a pilgrimage
to St. Michael's Mount, and to have founded a religious establishment
there.

Two miles in a southerly direction is Duloe, where some upright stones
have been conjectured to be portions of a druidical circle some
twenty-eight feet in diameter. A little to the west of the twin villages
of East and West Looe is Trelawne, an ancient seat of the Trelawny
family; but the house is not shown to visitors, although a request to
view the fine collection of pictures, which includes a portrait by
Kneller, is generally granted. Kneller's portrait is of the famous
bishop, Sir Jonathan Trelawny, whose counterfeit presentment recalls the
stirring times when every Cornish village echoed with the defiant
strain:


"And shall Trelawny die? and shall Trelawny die?
There's thirty thousand underground shall know the reason why.
And shall they scorn Tre, Pol, and Pen? and shall Trelawny die?
There's thirty thousand Cornish boys will know the reason why.
Trelawny he's in keep, and hold; Trelawny he may die,
But thirty thousand Cornish men will know the reason why?"


The villages of East and West Looe are among the most picturesque on the
southern seaboard. The estuary on the sides of which they are situated,
is confined between lofty hills whose slopes are covered with allotment
gardens and orchards. The bridge that crosses the creek a quarter of a
mile from the haven mouth, was erected in 1855, when it displaced a
remarkable old bridge of fifteen arches. In the days of the third Edward
the combined Looes furnished twenty ships and a contingent of 315 men
for the siege of Calais.

Some delightful boating excursions may be made from Looe, the one most
in favour being that to Watergate up the West Looe river, which unites
with the main stream half a mile above the town. The stream winds among
lofty hills, covered with rich and abundant verdure.

The ancient Guildhall of West Looe, said to have been built originally
as a monastic chapel, is a picturesque old building, the framework of
which is composed of ships' beams. The cage for scolds has disappeared,
but the stocks, of a very barbarous kind, have been placed across an
open gable. The building was re-consecrated in 1852, since when services
have been regularly held within it.

The eleven miles that separate Fowey from Looe should be traversed on
foot by way of Talland, Polperro, and Polruan. Talland Church is
delightfully placed, while its tower is connected with the main building
by means of a porch. The bench ends within are very interesting,
particularly a set with finials in the form of winged figures
administering the Eucharist. These pew ends are quite unlike any others
in the country, and they are somewhat of an ecclesiastical puzzle. From
Talland a rocky coast walk of less than two miles leads to Polperro,
with the narrowest of all the narrow little ravines that offer shelter
to the mariner on this exposed portion of the coast. The antiquary
Leland describes it as "a little fischar towne with a peere". It is an
extraordinary jumble of habitations which press upon each other so
closely that it is only by wriggling through the narrow streets and
turnings that one can make any progress at all.

There is no coast track west of Polperro and both the roads to Fowey are
very hilly. The pedestrian should proceed by way of Lansallos, where the
church in the Perpendicular style forms a conspicuous sea-mark. From
Polruan the descent to Fowey is very steep, but the view of the harbour
from the high land is one of great charm.

As we look at the little stranded and sunlit port to-day, it is
difficult to realize that Fowey once shared with Plymouth and Dartmouth
the maritime honours of the south-west coast. In those days Looe,
Penryn, and Truro were regarded as creeks under Fowey. The harbour,
which is navigable as far as Lostwithiel, a distance of eight miles, is
formed mainly by the estuary of the river Fowey, the town stretching
along the western bank of the harbour for a mile.

Seen for the first time Fowey is a revelation. Much known and rather too
much visited, it is yet one of Cornwall's most picturesque and
interesting towns. Nature and art have combined to make it so; the art
of the old village builder, not the so-called art of to-day. A modern
element exists, but it is of small proportions. May it always remain so.

Standing on the heights one looks down upon the river below. On either
side is a jumble of ancient houses with leaning and weather-stained
walls. It is doubtful if we ought to admire such ill-ventilated and
out-of-date dwelling houses, in this essentially scientific age. But the
general effect of line, of light and shade produced by a mass of broken
and highly unconventional contours - gables where there should be
chimneys, and chimneys where one is accustomed to look for doorposts - is
highly satisfactory and pleasing from the artist's point of view.

Steep hills and zigzag roads, at every alarming angle of declivity,
intercept the labyrinth of houses, which stand on each other's heads, or
peep over each other's shoulders, and settle down on the ledges of the
river bank.

[Illustration: POLRUAN]

As the principal Cornish seaport, the town sent Edward III no less than
forty-seven ships and 770 mariners for the Calais expedition - a quota
exceeded only by the eastern port of Yarmouth. Leland tells us that the
place rose rapidly into importance "partely by feates of warre, partely
by pyracie; and so waxing riche felle all to marchaundize, so that the
towne was hauntid with shippes of diverse nations, and their shippes
went to all nations". When the Cinque Ports of Rye and Winchelsea
threatened to oust Fowey from its position as the premier Channel port,
the Cornishmen defeated the mariners of Kent in a desperate sea fight,
when they quartered the arms of the Cinque Ports on their own scutcheon,
and assumed the title of "Fowey Gallaunts". They then made war on their
own account against the French, and became little better than pirates
ready to attack the ships of their own and every country, in port or on
the high seas. They became such a thorn in the side of the king, Edward
IV, by reason of their continuing to capture French ships after peace
had been concluded, that the angry monarch caused them to be enticed to
Lostwithiel, where their ringleaders were taken and hanged. From this
period Fowey's maritime position began to decline. The inhabitants were
compelled to pay a heavy fine, and the whole of their shipping was
handed over to the port of Dartmouth.

Carew tells us that sixty ships belonged to Fowey at that period. The
twin forts of Fowey were erected in the reign of Edward IV to protect
the roadstead from the ravages of the French. Standing something like
those below Dartmouth, on each side of the water, a thick boom or chain
stretched across the mouth of the river would be sufficient protection
against vessels propelled by sails. The last gallant action performed
by these forts was in 1666, when they were assisted by the then almost
new fort of St. Catherine. A Dutch fleet of eighty sail of the line was
off the town in the hope of capturing an English fleet bound for
Virginia, which had put into Fowey for shelter. A Dutch frigate of 74
guns attempted to force the entrance, but after being under the
crossfire of the forts for two hours, was forced to tack about and
regain the open sea.

Sir A. T. Quiller-Couch writes thus of Fowey in _Troy Town_. "The
visitor," says he, "if he be of my mind, will find a charm in Fowey over
and above its natural beauty, and what I may call its holiday
conveniences, for the yachtsman, for the sea-fisherman, or for one
content to idle in peaceful waters. It has a history, and carries the
marks of it. It has also a flourishing trade and a life of its own."

The church of St. Fimbarrus, almost hidden from view except from the
harbour side, is mainly of fifteenth-century date, although portions may
well be a century earlier. The roof of the tall tower is richly
decorated, and the north aisle is undoubtedly the remnant of a much
earlier edifice. There are two good brasses and some interesting
monuments, also a memorial to Sir John Treffry, who captured the French
standard at the battle of Poictiers.

The most important piece of domestic architecture in the neighbourhood
is Place House, the seat of the Treffry family. This is a fine Tudor
mansion, that is said to occupy the site of a royal palace, reputed to
have been the residence of the Earls of Cornwall. Leland records that on
one occasion, when the French attempted to take the town, "the wife of
Thomas Treffry with her servants, repelled their enemies out of the
house, in her husband's absence; whereupon he builded a right faire and
strong embattled tower in his house, and embattled it to the walls of
his house". The ancient church also is worth a visit, and among its many
memorials is an elaborate monument to one of the Rashleigh family,
another of the old Cornish families, whose history seems to be as
ancient as the legends of the county. The inscription on the tomb
reads: -


"JOHN RAISHELEIGHE LYVED YEARES THREESCORE THREE
AND THEN DID YEILDE TO DYE,
HE DID BEQVEATHE HIS SOVLE TO GOD
HIS CORPS HEREIN TO LYE.

"THE DEVONSHEIRE HOWSE Y^t RAISHELEIGHE HEIGHT
WELL SHEWETH FROM WHENCE HE CAME;
HIS VIRTVOVS LIEF IN FOYE TOWNN
DESERVETH ENDLESS FAME.

"LANION HE DID TAKE TO WIFE, BY HER HAD CHILDREN STORE,
YET AT HIS DEATHE BOT DAVGHTERS SIXE, ONE SONNE HE HAD NOE MORE.
ALL THEM TO PORTRAHE VNDER HERE, BECAVSE FITTE SPACE WAS NONE,
THE SONNE, WHOSE ONLI ECHARGE THIS WAS, IS THEREFORE SETT ALONE."


For the yachting man Fowey is very attractive, although during the
season the small harbour is rather too crowded with craft. The entrance
presents difficulties to the unexperienced amateur, but once inside the
headlands there is usually no difficulty in securing a safe and
convenient berth.

The favourite anchorage is off Polruan, but there is deep water for a
considerable distance beyond that straggling village.

The river excursions from Fowey are full of charm, but so much depends
on the state of the tide. The short trip by boat to Golant, a distance
of two miles, should not be missed. The village occupies a cleft on the
hillside, where the gardens and orchards reach down to the water's edge.
Luxulyan, with its deep sylvan valley and large perched blocks of stone,
is another favourite spot for excursions.

At the head of the river stands Lostwithiel, with a church whose tower
the late Mr. G. Street, R.A., was wont to designate "the pre-eminent
glory of Cornwall". Near the church are the ruins of Restormel Castle,
while the Fowey and the little river Lerryn are good fishing streams
where plenty of salmon and trout fishing may be enjoyed.

For the pedestrian there is a large choice of walks within a moderate
distance, to Par Harbour, St. Blazey, and St. Austell, the last with a
fine church, on the walls of which is a well sculptured representation
of the Veronica. The shore rambles are equally numerous and attractive.

Cornwall may be said to possess three capitals. Launceston the historic
capital, Bodmin the town of Assize, and Truro the ecclesiastical and
commercial centre. To reach the last named for the purposes of our
present journey, the visitor cannot do better than take train at Par
Junction. Truro itself cannot be said to possess much in the way of
civic beauty or historical interest, although it is an excellent centre
for touring purposes. Moreover it has, pending the completion of the
fine structure in the course of erection on the banks of the Mersey, the
honour of possessing the only Protestant Cathedral erected in this
country since the Reformation. The name "Truro" is thought to be derived
either from _Tru-ru_, the three streets, or _Tre-rhiw_, the village on
the slope (of the river). There is a general impression that Truro is on
the river Fal, but the truth is that the triangular piece of land on
which the city stands, is washed on the east by the river Allen, and on
the west by the Kenwyn. Between these two streams lies modern Truro,
with its stately cathedral rising high above the houses that surround
it. Truro's most eminent son, Samuel Foote, was born in 1720 at the town
house of his father's family, the Footes of Lambesso. The house, now the
Red Lion Hotel in Boscawen Street, has retained a good many of its
original features, including a very fine oak staircase. Foote is
generally considered to be the greatest of the dramatic authors of his
class, while in power of mimicry and broad humour he had few equals. In
late life he lost his leg through an accident in riding, a circumstance
that led to his producing a play, _The Lame Lover_, in which his loss of
a limb might be made a positive advantage. In all, his plays and
dramatic pieces number about twenty, and he boasted at the close of his
life that he had enriched the English stage with sixteen quite new
characters.

Truro was also the birthplace of the brothers Richard and John Lander,
the explorers; Bode, a painter of some merit; and Richard Polwhele, the
historian of Devon and Cornwall.

[Illustration: THE HARBOUR, FOWEY]

The cathedral is not entirely a modern building, for it has incorporated
with it the south aisle of the old parish church of St. Mary, with its
long associations with the municipality. The narrow lanes and streets
surrounding the stately pile of buildings differ essentially from the
gardens and canonical residences that are the pride of so many of our
mediæval cathedrals; but they make a fitting environment for the mother
church of a working ecclesiastical centre.

Of several interesting houses in the neighbourhood the most important is
Tregothnan, the residence of Lord Falmouth. The mansion is beautifully
placed upon high ground, the views from which include the numerous
wooded creeks of the lovely Fal, and the wide expanse of Falmouth
Harbour, studded with the shipping of many nations. The house was
designed by Wilkins, the architect of the National Gallery, and is in
the Early English and Tudor styles.

The gatehouse of Tregothnan is situated at Tresilian Bridge, the spot
where the struggle between Charles I and Cromwell was brought to a close
in Cornwall, by the surrender of the Royalists to General Fairfax.

The ecclesiologist will find many interesting old churches in this
neighbourhood, of which perhaps that at Probus is the most important, as
it is the least known. The tower is over one hundred feet in height,
being the highest in the county, and is exceptionally rich in delicate
carvings and clustered pinnacles. The present building is mainly
Perpendicular, but the foundation of a church here is attributed by
tradition to Athelstan, who is said to have established a college of
secular canons dedicated to St. Probus. The chancel screen is modern
with the exception of the lower portion, which has been made up of the
old fifteenth-century bench ends. A full and highly interesting account
of this church, by Canon Fox Harvey, appeared in the _Truro Diocesan
Magazine_ for 1905. Above the woods of Tregothnan, on the left bank of


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