Dunheved Cross, Launceston, Cornwall

Launceston, Dunheved Cross
c. 1910
Publisher: Francis Frith

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Wayside crosses are one of several types of Christian cross erected during the medieval period, mostly from the 9th to 15th centuries AD. In addition to serving the function of reiterating and reinforcing the Christian faith amongst those who passed the cross and of reassuring the traveller, wayside crosses often fulfilled a role as waymarkers, especially in difficult and otherwise unmarked terrain. The crosses might be on regularly used routes linking ordinary settlements or on routes having a more specifically religious function, including those providing access to religious sites for parishioners and funeral processions, or marking long-distance routes frequented on pilgrimages. Over 350 wayside crosses are known nationally, concentrated in south west England throughout Cornwall and on Dartmoor where they form the commonest type of stone cross

The monument includes a wayside cross known as the Dunheved Cross and a protective margin around it, situated beside a minor road next to the main east-west route, the modern A30 road, on the southern outskirts of Launceston in east Cornwall. The Dunheved Cross is visible as an upright granite shaft and head set in a two stepped base. The cross is a composite structure of three medieval cross parts found in the vicinity, together with a modern lower shaft and lower base step. The upper basal step is a medieval cross base originally located at the Badash, or Dunheved, crossroads, 20m north of the monument’s present location. The upper shaft of the monument was discovered 400m to the south west at Badash Farm and is considered to have derived from the cross base when complete. The cross head was discovered in a field on Tresmarrow Farm, 1.3km to the WSW. The separate pieces were assembled, with the modern lower shaft and lower base, at the Badash cross-roads in 1902. The resulting cross was re-erected 20m further south to its present site when the Launceston by-pass, the A30 trunk road, was built in 1981.

Historic England

St Nectan’s Kieve, Tintagel, England

St. Knighton’s Kieve, near Tintagel
“Photographed and published by F.A. Maycock, The Little Art Shop, Polzeath, Cornwall”

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Saints, Poets, and Rubber Ducks: Crafting the Sacred at St Nectan’s Glen

St Nectan’s kieve is revered as a sacred place, where numerous ribbons, crystals, photographs, inscriptions, prayers and other devotions now adorn the foliage and rock walls near the waterfall. You will even find a number of small stacks of flat stones, known as Faerie Stacks, constructed from stones collected from the waters by visitors, marking a special thought or moment in time during their visit, or to commemorate memories and loved ones. . . . It is believed that a building (known as the Hermitage) located at the top of the waterfall belonged to the sixth-century Saint Nectan. The date of the building is uncertain but according to legend, Saint Nectan rang a silver bell in times of stormy weather to warn passing ships of the perils of the rocks at the mouth of Rocky Valley. It is also understood that the ruins of a Christian chapel provide the lower part of the walls of a cottage erected in the 1860s, and extended around 1900.
St Nectan’s Glen

Far up the deep and rocky vale of Trevillet, in the parish of Tintagel, stands on a pile of rocks the little chapel of the good St Nectan. No holy man ever selected a more secluded, or a more lovely spot in which to pass a religious life. From the chapel rock you look over the deep valley full of trees. You see here and there the lovely trout-stream running rapidly towards the sea; and, opening in the distance, there rolls – the mighty ocean itself. Although this oratory is shut in amongst the woods, so as to be invisible to any one approaching it by land, until they are close upon it, it is plainly seen by the fishermen or by the sailor far off at sea; and in olden time the prayers of St Nectan were sought by all whose business was in the “deep waters.”
“Popular Romances of the West of England: St Nectan’s Kieve and the Lonely Sisters” (1930) Sacred Texts

Saint Nectan’s Kieve in Saint Nectan’s Glen, near Tintagel in Cornwall, Great Britain, is a plunge pool or basin fed by a 60-foot-high (18 m) waterfall on the Trevillet River. The river is carved into Late Devonian slate and several earlier kieves can be seen further up the rock walls of the waterfall. The current basin is estimated to be around 12 feet (3.7 m) deep, and the water emerges through a natural rock arch to drop a further 10 feet (3.0 m) to a wide shallow pool.

The idea that the sixth-century Saint Nectan had his hermitage above the waterfall is myth. According to legend, Nectan rang a silver bell in times of stormy weather to warn shipping of the perils of the rocks at the mouth of the Rocky Valley. Though other legends are also told of Nectan (such as his burial under the riverbed), no evidence exists to substantiate Nectan’s presence here. His home was further north, in what is now Hartland, Devon. The name is first recorded in 1799 as Nathan’s Cave in reference to a local character, either Nathan Williams or Nathan Cock, and the Cornish word Cuva (pronounced keeva) meaning tub.

The legend connecting St Nectan to the falls is the romantic whimsy of the nineteenth century clergyman, Reverend Robert Stephen Hawker who first attributed the falls to the saint in his poem, The Sisters of the Glen in 1846. The “hermitage” written about by Hawker and others was a simple summerhouse and had no connection to any saint. Many of the site’s legends are the result of Hawker’s poetry and the vivid imagination of nineteenth century Trethevy farmer, William Goard who led tour parties to the falls.


It is from Nectan’s mossy steep,
The foamy waters flash and leap :
It is where shrinking wild-flowers grow,
They lave the nymph that dwells below.

But wherefore in this far-off dell,
The reliques of a human cell ?
Where the sad stream and lonely wind
Bring man no tidings of his kind.

“Long years agone,”the old man said,
‘Twas told him by his grandsire dead :
“One day two ancient sisters came :
None there could tell their race or name ;

“Their speech was not in Cornish phrase,
Their garb had signs of loftier days ;
Slight food they took from hands of men,
They withered slowly in that glen.

“One died the other’s sunken eye
Gushed till the fount of tears was dry ;
A wild and withering thought had she,
‘I shall have none to weep for me.’

“They found her silent at the last,
Bent in the shape wherein she passed ;
Where her lone seat long used to stand,
Her head upon her shrivelled hand.”

Did fancy give this legend birth?
The grandame’s tale for winter hearth :
Or some dead bard, by Nectan’s stream,
People these banks with such a dream ?

We know not : but it suits the scene,
To think such wild things here have been :
What spot more meet could grief or sin
Choose, at the last, to wither in?

“The poetical works of Robert Stephen Hawker”, 1899, pp.28-9

Caves, Tintagel Cove, England

Caves, Tintagel Cove
Publisher: Francis Frith & Co, Reigate

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Merlin’s Cave is a 330-foot long cave that sits under the cliffs of Tintagel Castle. The cave passes completely through Tintagel Island from Tintagel Haven on the east to the west finally reaching West Cove. As a cave that lies by the sea, it fills up with water at high tide and can hardly be seen. Then, in low tide, the cave is revealed with a small beach near it.
Third Eye Traveller

Merlin’s Cave is a cave located beneath Tintagel Castle, 5 kilometres (3.1 mi) south-west of Boscastle, Cornwall, England. It is 100 metres (330 ft) long, passing completely through Tintagel Island from Tintagel Haven on the east to West Cove on the west. It is a sea cave formed by marine erosion along a thrust plane between slate and volcanic rocks. The cave fills with water at high tide, but has a sandy floor and is explorable at low tide. Tennyson made Merlin’s Cave famous in his Idylls of the King, describing waves bringing the infant Arthur to the shore and Merlin carrying him to safety.

Merlin’s Cave, Tintagel
Publisher: R. Youlton, Tintagel

Bridge, Bude, England

Bude, Old Bridge
Publisher: Francis Frith & Co, Reigate

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Alongside the sea and by the canal runs the river Neet (or Strat). The two halves of the town are connected by a small grade two listed building, a bridge called Nanny Moore’s, named after a 19th century ‘dipper’ who lived nearby. Beyond this lay the quay, rebuilt in 1577 with funds from the Blanchminster charity. The river divided the land owned by two Cornish families. South of the river was owned by Sir John Arundell, while land to the north was owned by Sir Richard Grenville of Stowe Barton, Kilkhampton. During the 1700-1800s, Bude was a thriving port used by smaller vessels. Over time, the land changed hands – the Grenville land passed to the Carterets/Thynnes while the Arundell land passed to the Aclands. Bude and neighbouring Stratton are relevant in the English Civil War, with Nanny Moore’s Bridge featuring as a passe over the river for the Royalists.

The three span bridge is a Grade II listed building and originally had a cantilevered section so that boats could proceed along the River Neet. Today it is only used by pedestrian but was built when carts and packhorses would trundle across. Until the nineteenth century it was simply known as Bude Bridge. So why the change to Nanny Moore’s bridge? Not sure exactly why the name was altered but it seems it was named after a ‘dipper’ who lived nearby. A dipper would escort and help ladies, who wanted to swim in the nearby sea. She would be a strong person, sometimes in charge of a bathing machine. This was to protect the modesty of 19th century ladies – no bikinis and the like back then!
Mike’s Cornwall

Royal Albert Bridge, Saltash

Saltash Bridge
Publisher: J. Welch & Son, Portsmouth

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Designed by Isambard Kingdom Brunel. Completed 1859. This railway bridge carries the Cornish Main Line over the River Tamar from Plymouth in Devon to Saltash in Cornwall. With its combination of wrought iron tubular arches and suspension chains, David Blockley describes it Brunel’s “final masterpiece” . . . Putting up the great tubular arches of the superstructure, each with an estimated weight of over a thousand tons each, was a challenging operation which drew immense crowds — William Heath Robinson would make capital of later. As described in the Morning Chronicle of 2 September 1857, the first arch was successfully put in place in the presence of Brunel himself, in the company of other important personages. Another report, in the Daily News of the following day, tells of steamers, flags, kiosks and marquees, and a crowd of an estimated 100,000 spectators. Less than a year later, the Manchester Times of 17 July 1858 gives a detailed account of how the second was raised: again success was greeted with cheers from the many spectators who “studded the banks on both sides, and occupied all kinds of boats and shipping on the Tamar.” But this time Brunel himself had been “detained on the continent by illness.” He would die a few months later.
The Victorian Web

The “Bowstring Suspension Bridge” design comprised of a wrought iron tubular arch or bow, having a profile generally in the form of a parabola, in a combination with sets of suspension chains hanging on each side of the tube in a catenary curve. The tubes included as great a rise as the chains had dip at the centre of each span, where the overall depth of truss is 72 feet. From the centre of the tube to the top of the chains is 56 feet 3 inches. A plate girder roadway, that carries the railway track is slung below each tube by eleven pairs of vertical members. These pass through and are connected to the chains, while intermediate hangers located midway between these verticals, are attached solely to the chains. The two main spans are in fact based on the principle of a suspension bridge, making The Royal Albert Bridge unique to this day as the only one of that type that carries main line trains.
Royal Albert Bridge

Launceston Castle, Cornwall

Launceston Castle
Publisher: Francis Frith & Co, Reigate

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Built at the fording point between Cornwall and England, Launceston Castle was built soon after the Norman conquest and in the subsequent years served as an administrative centre for the Earls of Cornwall and a country prison long after its military function ceased to be relevant.
Castles Forts Battles

Launceston Castle is located in the town of Launceston, Cornwall, England. It was probably built by Robert the Count of Mortain after 1068, and initially comprised an earthwork and timber castle with a large motte in one corner. Launceston Castle formed the administrative centre of the new earldom of Cornwall, with a large community packed within the walls of its bailey. It was rebuilt in stone in the 12th century and then substantially redeveloped by Richard of Cornwall after 1227, including a high tower to enable visitors to view his surrounding lands. When Richard’s son, Edmund, inherited the castle, he moved the earldom’s administration to Lostwithiel, triggering the castle’s decline. By 1337, the castle was increasingly ruinous and used primarily as a gaol and to host judicial assizes.

Launceston Castle
Publisher: Francis Frith & Co, Reigate

The chief entrance was on the S., where still stands the large square gatehouse, with a broad Early English low-pointed gateway with portcullis grooves at the end of a walled passage, 120 feet in length ; access to this being by a drawbridge across the ditch. Some part of the archway remains, and also traces of the wall on the W. side. At the S. corner of the rampart was a large circular bastion, called the Witches’ Tower, which fell down at the time a new road was constructed there ; and there was also a semi-circular tower with a gatehouse and guardroom, near the E. corner, where rises abruptly the immense conical mound, crowned by the ancient keep or dungeon. This lofty hill, which occupies the N.E. angle, is partly natural and partly artificial, and was orginally about 320 feet in diameter, rising to a height of about 100 feet above the lower court. The ascent to the keep is from the gatehouse up a flight of stairs between loopholed side-walls, the width being 7 feet.
The castles of England, their story and structure, Vol II,”James Mackenzie, 1896

Truro Cathedral, Truro, Cornwall

Truro Cathedral, N.

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Church of England Online Faculty System and Church Heritage Record

Truro was not the only candidate for the siting of a new cathedral. Lostwithiel had been the home of the Dukes of Cornwall; Launceston had once been the administrative capital of Cornwall, as had Bodmin. St. Germans, the site of the original see of Cornwall, also put forward a claim but was deemed to be too far east. The vicar of St Columb even offered his large church! Eventually, Truro was chosen, and St Mary’s parish church became the new cathedral. However, St Mary’s was never going to be large enough and planning started for a new cathedral. The leading architect John Loughborough Pearson, who had experience of cathedrals elsewhere, was commissioned to design the new Cathedral of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Work began in 1880.

The project was ambitious. Truro would be the first Anglican cathedral to be built on a new site since Salisbury Cathedral in 1220. For over 650 years no one had attempted to emulate the great cathedral builders of the medieval era. As well as this, it was initially uncertain if there would be enough money to complete such a project. The construction of the cathedral actually took thirty years. Foundation stones were laid on 20th May 1880 by the Duke of Cornwall, later King Edward VII, and work started immediately. There was an eleven year pause for further fund-raising between 1887 and 1898, but when work re-commenced things went ahead well. The central tower was finished by 1905 and the building was completed with the opening of the two western towers in 1910.
Truro Cathedral

Pearson’s design combines the Early English style with certain French characteristics, chiefly spires and rose windows. Its resemblance to Lincoln Cathedral is not coincidental; Pearson had been appointed as Lincoln Cathedral’s architect and the first Bishop of Truro, Edward Benson, had previously been Canon Chancellor at Lincoln. The central tower and spire stands 250 feet (76 m) tall, while the western towers reach to 200 feet (61 m). Four kinds of stone were used: Mabe granite for the exterior, and St Stephen’s granite for the interior, with dressings and shafts of Bath and Polyphant stone. The spires and turret roofs are of stone, except for a copper spire over the bell tower at west end of St Mary’s Aisle. The other roofs are of slate. The cathedral is vaulted throughout. Nathaniel Hitch was responsible for the decorative sculpture, including the reredos.

The original south aisle of St Mary’s Church survives, incorporated into the south-east corner of the cathedral and known as St Mary’s Aisle. It still functions as the city centre’s parish church. Three brasses were described by Edwin Dunkin in 1882: those of Cuthbert Sydnam (1630), Thomas Hasell (1567) and George Fitzpen, rector of the parish. As the cathedral is dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary, it has no Lady Chapel. A Jesus Chapel and the Chapel of Unity and Peace are reserved for quiet and prayer throughout the day.

Truro Cathedral Pulpit, Lectern etc.
c. 1910
Publisher: Francis Frith & Co, Reigate

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Old Post Office, Tintagel, England

The Old Post Office, Tintagel (XIVth Century)
Publisher: R. Youlton, Tintagel

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Tintagel Old Post Office is a 14th-century stone house, built to the plan of a medieval manor house, situated in Tintagel, Cornwall, United Kingdom. The house, and its surrounding cottage garden, are in the ownership of the National Trust, and the building is Grade I listed. The name dates from the Victorian period when it briefly held a licence to be the letter receiving station for the district. The Trust has restored it to this condition. It was among the early acquisitions of the Trust (1903) and closes in the winter months.

The building was acquired by the Trust from its owner Catherine Eliza Johns (died 1925) who had employed the architect Detmar Blow to renovate it in 1896. (Blow was also responsible for some buildings at Treknow in the 1890s.) Catherine Johns had bought it in 1895 to prevent its demolition. She and a number of other artists then raised money to enable the National Trust to buy it from her.

The house was built in c.1380 as a medieval thatched house of three rooms with a through-passage. The building would originally have been a single storey dwelling, open to the roof, and would have housed livestock in the northern partition. A central hearth in the hall would have offered warmth and provided smoke that would seep through the thatch above, killing off woodworm and preserving the wooden frames.

Modified since the medieval period, the main phases of re-development took place during the 16th and 17th centuries: local brown slate was used in place of thatch for the roof, timber panelling was replaced with stone and a fireplace and central chimney stack were also added.
National Trust

Doorway of Old Post Office, Tintagel
No publisher or date details but it is similar to card below

Fireplace in Old Post Office, Tintagel
“Photographed and published by F.A. Maycock, The Little Art Shop, Polzeath, Cornwall”