6 Cornish Ghost Stories
October 26th, 2020
Cornwall is one of the most atmospheric counties in the UK. With vast moors, mysterious rock formations and a rugged coastline renowned for shipwrecks, it is the perfect setting for tales of mystery and paranormal occurrences!
As we head into the colder months, what better way to spend an evening than cosying up in our Truro holiday cottages with a hot drink and some nail-biting tales to keep you entertained!
We reveal our top selection of ghost stories, from phantom ships to evils spirits! Which ones will you be sharing this autumn?
Lost Land of Lyonesse
Once the home of Tristan in the Arthurian legend of Tristan and Iseult, Lyonesse is now more famously recognised as a mythical lost land off the coast of Cornwall.
The legend of Lyonesse is of a land which once existed between the western coast of Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly. It was submerged by water, with the only evidence of its previous existence the sound of its ringing church bells heard out at sea.
Only one man was thought to have survived a tragedy who, by a stroke of luck, was hunting. Upon hearing the noise of the massive surge of water, he rode away on his white horse in an easterly direction towards Land’s End.
As he ferociously escaped, his horse lost one shoe. The survivor’s family used the symbol of three horseshoes and a white horse as the family crest and was used by those who believed they were his descendants.
This ghostly tale has been enhanced over the years by fishermen, who claim to hear the eery ringing of church bells and discovery of old rubble in the water.
Perhaps the eeriest part of the story is that some believe that it really once existed and was hit by a tsunami.
The Ghost of Jan Tregeagle
One of Cornwall’s most feared ghosts is the spirit of Jan Tregeagle.
Once a Cornish magistrate and lawyer in the 17th Century, Jan Tregeagle was infamous for his evil and inhumane acts, including the murder of his wife.
Allegedly in alliance with the devil, he was believed to appear and testify at his court case after his death… spooky!
In the horror that he may not be able to be sent back to hell, he was ordered to do a series of laborious and mind-numbing tasks until judgement day. His first task was to withdraw all the water from Dozmary Pool using a limpet shell.
Eventually, after escaping his punishments, St Petroc was summoned to fasten him in chains where he was then taken to Helston.
The Whooper of Sennen Cove
On a beautiful, clear day, a mist descended on Sennen Cove. Accompanying the fog came a mysterious whooping sound that carried over the sea. It was believed to warn those who heard it of oncoming storms.
One day, two fishermen chose to ignore the warning. Once they sailed into the sea, they were never seen again!
Ghostly Church Bells
At Land’s End lies a mysterious graveyard where the sound of bells has been heard chiming at midnight there. It is believed the bells come from the ghost of a sea captain, who is in denial that his ship has sunk.
The sailors who hear them are feared to meet an unfortunate end at sea —one sailor was lost at sea after reportedly hearing the bad omen.
The Logan Stone
Are you familiar with the term logan stone? A logan stone is a large stone that is naturally balanced and rocks with the smallest force, such as the wind.
At Nancledra, a tale tells of a logan stone which only ever rocked at midnight.
It was rumoured to be the meeting place of witches, and those who wanted to convert would secretly visit the stone. They had to touch the rock nine times at midnight! Its powers were believed to cure children of rickets, but only if their parents were married!
The Ghost Ship of Porthcurno
An old sailing ship was seen off the coast in Penzance. As it sailed across the sea, witnesses feared it would hit the rocks as it headed straight in their direction. However, the mysterious ship defied all odds and continued to sail over the land and eventually faded from eye’s view as it continued through Porthcurno.
We would love to share mystical Cornish ghosts stories all day, as there are so many intriguing tales home to the county! What are the ghostliest locations you have visited in Cornwall? Why not share your tales with us on our social media channels; we would love to hear about them!
5 Fascinating Facts About the Lizard Peninsula
October 19th, 2020
The Lizard Peninsula is the most southern part of the UK, standing out for its unique geology and rock formations. Its rugged, rocky coastline is believed to contain rock which dates to over 500 million years old!
What is the Lizard Peninsula?
Almost an island of its own, the Lizard Peninsula is an impressive rocky headland surrounded by ocean on three of its sides with the Helford River to the North.
Situated on the South West Coast Path, it is a popular spot for walkers who come to marvel at its beauty as they enjoy a spot of adventure during their Cornwall short breaks.
It’s beautiful landscape not only attracts the attention of visitors, but the unique area is a hot spot for scientists as well! We explore its incredible history and offerings with our top selection of fascinating facts!
The Origins of Its Name is Not What You Assume
Despite its mysterious title, the name ‘Lizard’ unfortunately doesn’t derive from mystical origins.
Neither does the name come from the Serpentine rock which the area is renowned for. The surface of Serpentine transforms into a snake and scaly like surface once polished.
The roots of its name are relatively ambivalent, but one proposal is that it comes from the Cornish term ‘Lys Ardh’ which means ‘high court’.
Another suggestion is that the name has connections to the Cornish word ‘lezou’ which is translated to ‘headland’.
Image Credit: Visit Cornwall
Home to the UK’s Most Southerly Lighthouse
As the most southerly point in the UK, it comes as little surprise that it also boasts the UK’s most southerly lighthouse.
Previous to the lighthouse’s construction in 1752, the coast of the Lizard was a dangerous area for ships and was titled the ‘Graveyard of Ships’. The spot is now home to the Lizard Lifeboat Station.
Mainland Britain’s Largest Outcrop of Serpentine
As mentioned, the Lizard Peninsula has been a point of interest for scientists and geologists.
It isn’t uncommon to see many university students visit the area as the rocks here are not found in nearby locations.
One distinct rock is Serpentine. The Lizard Peninsula is mainland Britain’s most significant outcrop of the rock. It’s striking appearance was reportedly favoured by Queen Victoria which heightened the industry in the 19th-century.
Best Preserved Exposed Ophiolite in the UK
Another area of geological interest at the Lizard Peninsula is the ophiolite.
The Lizard Peninsula is heralded as UK’s top spot to see the best-preserved source of exposed ophiolite.
An ophiolite is a unique form of rock formation which is produced from the Earth’s oceanic crust pushed onto the continental crust. It is often green in colour.
The parts of ophiolite include:
• The serpentinites
• The ‘oceanic complex’
• The metamorphic basement
An ophiolite can be found in the mountain belts of locations such as the Himalayas and the Alps, and amazingly you can also see it in Cornwall!
Image Credit: Visit Cornwall
It’s an Area of Outstanding Beauty
The Lizard Peninsula has received many awards for its stunning landscape and is a heavily protected area. It is largely recognised as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), as well as providing eight Sites of Special Scientific Interest. These awards and sites are specifically bestowed to protect the geology and wildlife of the area.
The Lizard Peninsula is cared for and under the ownership of a variety of organisations including the National Trust, Cornwall Wildlife Trust and Natural England.
Off land, the surrounding ocean at the Manacles has been awarded as a Marine Conservation Zone which is rich in marine biodiversity.
The Lizard Peninsula is a stunning, natural and protected area, providing the ultimate location for wildlife to blossom. What are your favourite facts about the Lizard Peninsula? Which has not been covered in our blog? Why not share your thoughts on our social media channels; we would love to know!
8 Facts About Cornish Mining
September 10th, 2018
Mining in Cornwall has a rich history that can still be seen across the landscapes, with historic engine houses still standing along the cliffs and moorlands. Mining was such an integral part of Cornwall that part of the county is now known as the ‘Tin Coast’, and includes some of the most impressive mines, such as Levant Mine and Botallack Mine. Here are eight facts you may not know about mining!
Tin mining in Cornwall has a long history
With evidence of Cornish tin being traded across Britain for approximately 4,000 years, it is clear that mining has long been a part of Cornish heritage. By the mid-1700s, Cornwall was producing around 12,000 tons of copper ore a year! During the 19th Century, mining in Cornwall reached its peak, with around 2,000 mines in action across the county.
Tin miners had specific rights
Mining was considered important enough that miners had the right to look for tin in any open land, as laid out in the Charter of Liberties to the Tinners of Devon and Cornwall that was formed in 1201. The same Charter also allowed miners to be exempt from military service, granted them lower taxes, and even meant that they could ignore certain laws!
There were high levels of arsenic
During the late 19th century, a few of Cornwall’s mines were producing more than half of the arsenic in the world. Created as a by-product during the processing of copper and tin, the arsenic was used as an insecticide, and in paint. As arsenic is an incredibly poisonous substance, mining was a dangerous profession, and workers needed to keep their mouth, nose and skin covered at all times! Clay was used as a protective layer to cover the skin while at work.
Women were miners
While mining is often thought of as a male-dominated job, women and girls played their part in the mining process too in Cornwall. While they didn’t go underground, they were an essential part of the mining industry. Known as ‘Bal Maidens’, these women would help to separate the tin from any other mined substances.
Children were miners too
Mining also wasn’t a profession for only the adults! By 1839, around 7000 children were working in the Cornish mines and would be put to work as soon as they were old enough. While the girls remained above ground with the Bal Maidens, boys were sent underground to help out with the mining. One particularly bad job was also left for the children, which involved sweeping the arsenic out of the flues!
The Cornish word for tin is ‘sten’
Originating from the Latin term ‘stannum’, which was adopted as the word for tin when Romans arrived in Cornwall to trade for tin.
Some mines were underwater
With so much coastline in Cornwall, it is no surprise that some of the mines stretched out beyond the land and under the waves. Levant Mine, for example, extends for over 2.5km under the sea. While the mine was 640m deep under the sea, workers could still hear the waves crashing above them. Steam engines were bought into these underwater mines to help pump out the seawater, making them more accessible for mining!
Cornish mines have World Heritage Status
Mines in Cornwall were awarded this impressive status back in 2006, marking the area as being a place of significance with outstanding value, and is recognised by UNESCO. While we know how impressive the mines in Cornwall are, to put this in context, this status puts Cornish mines on a par with Stonehenge, the pyramids in Egypt and Machu Picchu!
If you would like to see these beautiful areas, filled with the rich history of the Cornish mining community for yourself, then come and stay with us at The Valley, a 5 star luxury holiday park in Cornwall.
Image Credit: John McKindland
Historic castles in Cornwall to visit when staying at our 5 star cottages
March 10th, 2016
Cornwall has a rich history in Britain, going back 3000 years, and has been recognised by UNESCO for some of its heritage sites across the county. There is also a great traditional culture too, which is great to explore and discover when staying at our 5 star cottages in Cornwall.
Check out any of these stunning castles during your stay:
Tintagel Castle – A day out for all the family, take a trip to Tintagel Castle set on the rugged coast of North Cornwall. Said to be the birthplace of King Arthur, you can also visit Merlin’s cave nearby and enjoy the dramatic views of this clifftop castle.
St Mawes Castle – One of the best preserved castles of Henry VIII time, St Mawes was part of a chain of forts along the south coast built between 1539 and 1545. This castle is worth visiting to also see its elaborate decoration.
Launceston Castle – This is an unusual keep located close to Bodmin Moor, dates back to the 13th century. Set on a large natural mound, the round tower was built by Richard, Earl of Cornwall and the top can be reached via a dark internal staircase.
St Michael’s Mount – An iconic site in Cornwall, you can explore this amazing island and discover the history, myths and legends that surround this stunning place. You can stroll over the granite causeway where a legend says a giant once walked.
Pendennis Castle – For a great family day out, take a trip to Pendennis in Falmouth. Built by Henry VIII, it was also one of the last royalist strongholds to fall in the English Civil War. There is an exciting exhibition where you can experience the sights and sounds of a battle.
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Photo by: Tim Green