The Heritage Trust will be holding its Outreach Event in Cornwall this year. The event will begin with lunch (for those wanting one) at the Cheesewring Hotel in Minions, Liskeard on Friday, 21 June... continues...
College playing field surrenders its Iron Age treasures
From the Western Morning News, Tuesday June 7th:
The playing fields of Truro College have been excavated to reveal two Iron Age settlements. Finds include fragments of South Western decorated ware dating from 200 - 100 BCE and a "La Tene" Celtic brooch of similar age:
A group of young people on an archaeological holiday in Cornwall with the Young Archaeologists' Club (YAC)(1) have discovered two previously unrecorded oblong, grave-shaped stone mounds (2) on Minions Moor, part of Bodmin Moor... continues...
The new Cornwall Heritage Trust website is now up and running -
"Cornwall Heritage Trust was founded in 1985 to help preserve important sites in Cornwall and to protect and promote the Duchy’s rich heritage. We own or manage some of the most iconic and important historic places in Cornwall."
Archaeologists from Cornwall County Council's Historic Environment Service are uncovering the early history of Scarcewater, near St.Stephen-in-Brannel, where work on a much needed tip for the china clay industry is to begin shortly.
Cornwall has the reputation of being a magical, mystical and spiritual place. We went to see Arch Druid Ed Prynn to discuss the Merlin, angels and marrying for a year and day...
"Being the Arch Druid of Cornwall is a special, unusual job. I didn't get elected it fell out of the heavens for me."
The healing stone is a replica of the Men-an-tol holed stone.
Ed refuses to have his faith bound by other people's ideas: "I was born locked into both faiths - Christian and Druid.
"Being a Druid you are a free spirit. The door is open to explore all the magic - the angels, the little people, the ley lines. Druids can experiment with all the things which are forbidden by the Bible.
"I go to chapel but everything's from the one book. People ask me how can I be in both camps but spiritual camps are not like political or military camps. It's all about loving one another. It's all about trying to be one."
Prynn had his first mystic encounter at the age of 9 and became drawn by the power of standing stones.
He started to put the stones in his garden in 1982 and the last stone was put in 1999 to celebrate the total eclipse.
"The stones here have made new spiritual history. Thousands of people have touched the stones and left some of their magic aura. Being a Christian you are supposed to follow the teaching of the Bible.
"The stones are important because the energy gets drawn into them. You can feel this type of energy, you feel a bit wobbly on your feet."
"Cornwall is a special place - we're not like a big city, we have a different way of life completely. Cornwall has all these old stones, cultures and ways. The ways have never died out and the people around who know how to make the magic work."
The showpiece of Ed's stones is the Angel's runway: "The rocking stone provides a seal so that a spell would work. It's used for swearing in of priests and priestesses, healing, fertility - people even write their lottery tickets on it.
"The Rocking Stone has magic energy lines around it. The site can be magic or people can be magic. I believe both are here and that the Godly mystique has come to this place."
Ed is happy to accept visitors to his home in St Merryn to see the stones. You can't miss it...
"On the 16th April I joined a working party from TCV (The Conservation Volunteers) of Cornwall to clear some of the gorse off the banked enclosure known as King Arthur’s Hall on King Arthur’s Down, a part of Bodmin Moor. Always a fascinating place to visit, the day turned out to be far more exciting than I ever imagined!"
How the north side [of the chamber] was formed there is no evidence to shew. If a single slab stood there, it must have been removed when a pit was dug in front of it, some years ago, by a treasure-seeker. We have here again the old story, so often told in connexion with the destruction and plundering of ancient monumental structures. A miner in the neighbourhood had long set a covetous eye on the barrow as the storehouse of great riches; and one night he had so impressive a dream, bringing vividly before him a great crock of gold, that at dawn he proceeded to the mound, and dug the pit just referred to, exposing the kistvaen, into which he got full access; but what he found there, my informant, whom I accidentally met near the spot, and who knew the miner, could not tell; and as the explorer himself has since left Cornwall, there seems now to be but little chance of ascertaining what the cell contained, a state of things much to be regretted, as from its structure and peculiar position the barrow is of more than ordinary interest.
The fort is mentioned in a miracle play written down in 1504: 'Beunans Meriasek' - the Life of St Meriasek. It's been suggested that it's a subversively anti-English. It was written in Cornish, which few toffs would understand, and the villain is called Teudar, which sounds remarkably like Tudor. Teudar is an invader who is reigning by force. Meriasek says he needs baptising but Teudar isn't having it and wants Meriasek hanged. The saint is warned in a vision and hides easily from Teudar's soldiers under a rock, consecrating the spring there to cure the insane, and then runs off to Britanny.
The second part of the play introduces Teudar's nemesis, the Duke of Cornwall, who vows to get rid of Teudar for having driven away the saint.
Me yv duk in oll kernow
indella ytho ov thays
hag vhel arluth in pov
a tamer the pen an vlays
tregys off lemen heb wov
berth in castel an dynas
sur in peddre
ha war an tyreth vhel
thym yma castel arel
a veth gelwys tyndagyel
henna yv o[v]fen tregse
I am Duke in all Cornwall:
So was my father,
And a high lord in the country
From Tamar to the end of the kingdom.
I am dwelling now, without a lie,
Within the castle of Dynas
Surely in Pidar,
And in the high land
I have another castle,
Which is called Tyntagel:
That is my chief dwelling-seat.
Pydar is one of the hundreds of Cornwall. You can see the play here in Whitley Stokes' translation, published 1872. There is much interesting discussion of it here in J P D Cooper's 'Propaganda and the Tudor State' (2003).
Connected with Carn Brea Castle (the relic of which, now standing, bears but the shadow of the name), there has been, from a remote period of Cornish history, handed down from father to son, a legend [...] to the following effect:- "I, John of Gaunt,
Do give the graunt
Of all my land and fee;
From me and mine-
To thee and thine-
Thou Basset of Bumberlie."
This "John of Gaunt" was believed to be about the last of the giants (whether mystical or real) who once peopled Cornwall, and he resided in the Castle on the "Brea." He could stride - "From Carn Brea Castle to Tuckingmill Stile,"
a distance of several miles.
Is time running out for Trethevy Quoit and other such unprotected Scheduled Monuments? A new video by Roy Goutté on the disruption (and potential damage) caused by horses/ponies and vehicles to the ground immediately surrounding Trethevy Quoit in Cornwall. The video shows startling and dramatic new evidence of that recent damage.
"Without a care in the world it would seem, horses and ponies had been allowed to run free in the field without making any attempt whatsoever to protect the monument. Not even the simplest of electrified animal fencing had been installed which was simply inviting disaster. Due to our overly wet winter in Cornwall, and the horses galloping around like mad things, the ground had become so churned up that the grass in places had been replaced by mud and was no longer visible! Naturally the English Heritage Officer was as equally appalled as I was and immediately took notes and photographs to report back with.
"Today (the 16th February) I made a return visit and was even more horrified. The horses had either been removed or out being ridden for a few hours, but the field area around the quoit was much, much worse than it had been before with huge tractor tyre tracks around it and hoof prints encroaching up to and onto the low remaining banked cairn surrounding the base of the quoit. It was in danger of becoming unstable if this was to continue as the side orthostats/slabs of the tomb rely on the banked cairn being there to keep their base in place! The consequences of this banking becoming dislodged or destroyed didn’t bear thinking about!"
Yaaaay! somewhere else I haven't been before.
The list gets smaller still.
Probably one of the lesser known of Cornwall's quoits. The Lands end quoits are a bit holidayish, but even though its only four and nine miles from Padstow and Newquay respectively, Pawton quoit takes a bit of finding, there's not very good access either, and in the summer the ferns get high. All in all making it a bit lesser known than others.
I parked in the space before a little used gate at the north east corner of the chamber's field, left the kids in the car and walked back up the road to where a scramble place has been carved over the field wall, deftly jumping over it I entered the field of choice and jogged over. Time was short and the sun was going down upon a long day that still had a nearly three hundred mile drive to finish with.
Since I first put this site on my list more pictures have been added on here, but none of them show how big the mound is on which the quoit sits. Even without the stone chamber I would still have made a special visit just to see the barrow if it were closer to home, it's really quite large.
But then I didn't get many of it either, just a couple with the sun going down behind it, and then just time enough to walk all the way round it hand draped affectionately across the stones. A gander underneath the whopper capstone, then came the car beeps.
Time for a couple of minutes inspecting the quartz veins running through it, a theme for the day, and looking round the vista the capstone points to, then another beep.
Damn! it's time to go.