OLD Falmouth – page 2

Found this online – left it fairly in tack – just cleaned it up a bit and put in order 🙂


Arwenack and Pendennis Castle.


AMONG the earliest recollections of my childhood were visits to a place I thought very delightful, because it combined the special charms of sea and country. In those days I lived in a Midland city, in a large house at the end of a terrace, where the rooms were spacious and the garden small, and which looked out upon a public road and the gravelled walk leading to a pump-room. Hence when my parents, led by old associations and familiar ties, took ” the children ” to Falmouth, we enjoyed the rare freedom of frocks bedabbled with sea-water, and little hands, embrowned by the sun, which escaped being gloved. Well do I remember the yellow shells — real treasures — picked up on the beaches at the Bar, which no longer exist, and the delightful pools left by the receding tide ! And then the strolls up the ” ropewalk,” a tree-shadowed lane where wild flowers grew in the hedges, and which emerged by a curve into a winding road above, where more wild flowers were to be found, and not the ghost of a house was to be seen except Gylling Dune. And then, too, the old walled garden in which we played.

With the little pointed shells in the gravel paths, the great box-borders enclosing beds of Nile lilies in full bloom, the myrtles, and the mingled scent of flowers, and rope, and tar which came in whiffs from the old sheds near the entrance-pillars to the rope-walk, with their two great stone balls. That was the Killigrew entrance-gate through which members of the family long ago once walked or drove. What a sweet little world it was, and how full of charm, and many things dear to childish hearts!

In an old building at the top of the garden there was the dusty model of a full-rigged ship, cabins, ropes, blocks, guns, and all, a grand spectacle, but too heavy to move to the shore, and far too big to sail in a tub. I pleaded for the beautiful ship, but its size again stood in its way and it was sold with house and garden and disappeared. Finally the garden itself vanished and was built over, nothing remaining but a forlorn and neglected remnant which I can no longer recognise. And the little villa, once in the country, and looking out on elms and fields, and hedgerows, became more than ever surrounded with bricks and mortar, and had a forlorn dilapidated look like one that has known better days and regretfully remembers them.

Then there was the old Woodlane, which ended about halfway of its present length, in grassy banks and wild flowers, no house on the upper side having been built beyond. It had the air of a country walk, leading towards Swanpool. Some of the older residents still dwelt in Arwenack Street, a place of note in the earlier annals of Falmouth, and looked out upon the beautiful water of the harbour, undisturbed as yet by docks or rail. A small coasting steamer, the Sir Francis Drake, took from Plymouth to Falmouth, passengers, who had the choice of this or of proceeding through Cornwall by coach. The steamer was quicker, but she was an ill craft in an easterly breeze, and I believe we only took passage once, and never again.

Among my early memories are visits to Boslowick, nestling among orchards, with my mother and greataunt (Miss Falck), where I remember Mrs. James Bull, nee Tippet, the widow of the lawyer, the old lady sitting in the pretty wainscotted parlour, with white cap and a black velvet ribbon across her forehead, and to the Cottage, where the climbing roses attracted my attention, then tenanted by Mr. William Carne and the Bouldersons. The rope-walk and its tarry sheds, and the men with the yarn around their waists spinning marvellous and endless cords, the obelisk, and the ponds at Grove Hill, all impressed themselves on my mind as special marvels which Falmouth alone produced. It was all so sweet, homelike, and picturesque !

The winding street, following the twists and turnings of the original lane which led from Arwenack Manor to the Market Strand, was a kind of meeting-place, where folks exchanged news and sailors stood in groups at the “little opes” running down to the water’s edge, with their eyes blinking on the ships in the harbour. There were many stoppages as I held on to my great-uncle’s hand on the way to the ” News Room,” and progress used to be leisurely then for a good many of the inhabitants. At last one summer we came down when the first train ran into the new Falmouth station, and I remember the engine decorated with evergreens, and conveying a group of enraptured gentlemen, waving their hats, to a banquet in the goods shed.

An excited Cornishwoman, followed by two or three others too late for the crowd at the station, fled along the rope-walk as the whistle sounded, exclaiming ” Oh ! my dear ! Come along quick ! the steamer’s a-coming yes, sure, there she be ! ” and the little gathered cheered lustily at the spectacle of the smoking locomotive. But alas ! steam proved as unruly as the prophet Balaam, only inverted. It cursed rather than blessed. Falmouth had to deal with ships rather than railways, and instead of a fleet of vessels sailing with their white wings into the beautiful harbour, came steamers, more or less occasional in their appearance. Sometimes they did not call at all and went up channel. The docks made no fortunes. And worse still, the great oceanliners of later years naturally cut off a corner and saved time by dropping anchor in Plymouth Sound. No acceleration of the Cornish trains over the picturesque valleys spanned by high viaducts, and round the wooded Cornish hills, could safely compete at last with the direct route of the great mail steamers and their triple expansion engines which tore through the waves and landed their mails for the special express to the metropolis. Nature had hedged in the old town with natural beauties, but given her no passport to becoming a commercial centre. She was far west, — set in the heart of the hills which divided her from the mother-land, and born in a region where the mild laving of the Gulf-stream gave promise of a health-resort, but hardly the prophecy of a great port.

Coming suddenly upon Falmouth, in ignorance of its geographical position, one would have wondered that a harbour so large and so secure could at this date remain so silent, and at times so empty of ships. But not only has steam been its enemy, but the colossal size of the new departures in vessels. When the rare event takes place of a visit from an ocean liner, the big ship remains far out in the outer roads, and cannot even be seen from the town. Though the graving dock will admit a vessel of the size of the Egyptian Monarch, the harbour-dues are not to be paid for naught.* These things have left Falmouth almost as beautiful as of yore. The hills enclosing the harbour still wave with corn-fields and are green with meadows, and the wood at Trefusis grows emerald in the spring, and flushes ruddy with autumn tints as it did centuries ago, delighting as before the lover of nature and the artist, and offering a sweet ramble to the visitors in the yachts which moor at its feet. The one or two new houses perched along the shore are well-devised and do not crowd each other, and view the water and its many small craft pleasantly in the summer season.

The failure of commercial interests and the rare temperate nature of the climate, with its freedom from fog, have been the cause of another ambition, that the old town may yet rear its head among health resorts. Into this question I will not enter since it is hedged round with weighty considerations. If it mean the destruction of the unique old cliff-walk, sheltered, charming, and beloved of every genuine resident in the place, and the obliteration of greenery by mere garden less bricks and mortar and beach erections such as are popular at Ramsgate or Boulogne, we can only say *’ Alas!” If it mean the increase of pretty houses and sweet gardens such as only southern Cornwall can produce, a clean and inviting embankment below the town, the planting of trees along roads that have ceased to be winsome lanes, and are hot and dusty without shade we say ‘* Ay ! ” with all our hearts. To win the traveller from the Swiss valley, or Mentone, Falmouth must preserve its special charm and wear that country air which never fails to wile the dweller in cities from his haunts. To his eyes, flowers, grass-grown hedges, and the cottage style of residence, sweet sights and sweet scents, are thy happiest of contrasts to his city surroundings ; and to his ears, accustomed to the best bands that Europe can produce, the songs of the birds in the spring are sweeter music still. The success of no place hitherward depends upon much building, or is a matter of mere cash. It must have something of its own to offer, which will captivate as well as provide for life’s necessaries. If a born gardener like Mr. Howard Fox had the laying out of all that remains of the as yet untouched land, he would do more to make Falmouth popular than all the voices of the doctors or the advertisements of the press. He would turn it all into a great garden, in which houses would nestle temptingly, sheltered by piiiiis insiguis, and ornamented by the draccena, the aloe, and masses of escallonia.

* For repairing ships the docks are admirably adapted, and their situation in a port which is a sort of “first and last house” should give them every advantage. They are very large — one being 537 feet by 71 the largest but one in the Channel.

It would become ” fashionable ” through its engaging rusticities, and the contrast it would offer to the plannings of some of those other towns by the sea. In thus pleading the cause of my native town I am a voice for many of its visitors who are dumb, but far from being in accord with any schemes that would sacrifice its simple country air to rows of uninviting edifices that house, and pay the owners, and do no more.

But we have wandered for a moment from our subject into the deep waters of discussion, while our business is with the past. The first event recorded relating to the place is the naming Gyllyng Vase in 1 1 20, after Prince William (son of Henry I.), who with his sister and several Norman nobles were wrecked off Barfleur,— the prince being buried at Gyllyng Vase, or William’s grave. Gyllyngdune meant ” William’s Hill,” so runs the story, but 1 do not know whether it is corroborated by any authentic document. All around must have been wild woods and downs, unbroken by any dwelling. And thus it remained until Arwenack House was built. Three hundred years ago Falmouth consisted of a little handful of primitive houses, not far from the old Manor House of Arwenack.* They had grown around the old home of the Killigrews, a family which owned land not only adjacent to it, but far afield, in Budock, in fact, originally as far as the Helford river, and even on the other side of the harbour, since they owned the Manor of Mylor.

A map of the date of 1580, showing Arwenack House, with the lawn in front bounded by a battlemented wall at the water’s edge, the ” windmill ” field, the cross at the end of the present Woodlane, and Glasney College, gives the names of various small houses scattered about Budock, among them Rescarrock, Prislow, Penans, Trescobeas, etc., amid fields. The map extends no farther to the west than ” Corgillick ” (Kergillick). Trescobayes was the dwelling of William Gross, “who married Erisey, widow of Charles Vyvyan of Merthen, mother of Sir Richard Vyvyan, Bart.,” etc. Gross died in 1693. A place beyond this was Trewoon, the seat of the Carnsews of Carnsew in Mabe. Rosmeryn was formerly a seat of the Killigrews, and was finally purchased by Captain Bown, in 1773, and became the property of Peter Bown Harris. The ownership of the Killigrew family did not apply to the estate of Penwarne, owned originally by a very ancient family, whose name in fact was given to the surrounding district, (called long ago Penwarren). Nicholas de Penwarne lived in the earlier part of the reign of Henry IV. The estate was taxed in Domesday Book in 1087. So also was Budock.

* When Sir Walter Raleigh visited Arwenack only one little house I existed.

… Swanpool was a swannery of the Killigrew family. And the Killigrews were originally the patrons of the
Hamlet of Budock.

Another landowner in Budock was Lord Godolphin, stated in 1761 to have been the owner of several estates in the parish, and also to have held the Royalty of Falmouth harbour, and some leagues along the bay.*

In an old Cornish MS. of the Creation of the World (a play produced in Oxford in 1450) which is still preserved in the Bodleian Library, the following lines occur relating to the rewards assigned to the builders of the universe :

” Blessing of the father on you You shall have your reward, Your wages are prepared, Together with all the Fields of Bohellan, And the wood of Penrin entirely The Island t and Arwinick Tregember and Kegillack Of them make you a deed or charter.”

“John of Arwennack” is mentioned in an old deed of the date of 1264, and Ralphe Killigrew, Lord of Killigrew and Arwennack, lived in the time of Henry III The old deed is so brief that it may be given in full, as it is less tedious than such documents usually are, and it has the recommendation of being translated from the Latin by Mr. Thurstan C. Peter, who extracted it from Bishop Bronescombe’s Register, Bronescombe, it may be added, was Bishop of Exeter from 1257 to 1280.

” The same day and year the Lord Bishop, with the consent of the Dean and Chapter of Exeter, delivered all his land of Arwennack in farm to Richard, Rector of the Church of St. Columb Major, in form following:
” Know ye all that we have, with the full consent of the Dean and Chapter of the Church of Exeter, granted and delivered to Richard de Laherne (hodie Lanherne), Rector of the Church of St. Columb Major, all our land of Arwennack, with all its appurtenants, for the term of his life with the Common pasture on the West, lying between the house of John of Arwennack and the sea, he yielding to us and our successors 30 shillings sterling every year in equal portions on the ist of May and the ist of November, in satisfaction of all service, actions, claims, demands and suit of Court : except that the said Richard must twice a year, to wit, at the Michaelmas and Easter sittings, attend our Court at Penryn either personally or by attorney.

” And if the said Richard, or his attorney, shall incur any penalty, the amount thereof shall be fixed by his peers according to the offence. After the resignation* of the said Richard the whole of the said Land of Arwennack, with all its appurtenants, shall without denial revert to ourselves or our successors, saving only his crop and other moveables on the said land. More- over it is lawful for the said Richard whenever he shall be so pleased at his freewill to remove, bequeath, give away, and without challenge assign to whomever he shall desire all his moveable goods on the said land, so nevertheless that the said rent be regularly paid each year by himself or some other, to ourselves or our successors. Moreover the said Richard is to improve the said land, so that on its reverting to us or our successor, it shall be in better condition than when he received it. For the security whereof we have caused our seal as also the common seal of the Dean and Chapter to be affixed to this letter in the manner or deed of confirmation {ul moiliini), of which one part remains with us sealed by the said Richard and marked bv indents. Dated at Exeter on the vigils of St. Ambrose, A.D. 1264, being the 7th year of our consecration.

It may be stated by the way, that the word indenture is derived from the practice of making zigzag cuts across a word or sentence, on a space between the deed and its copy. The object of this was to prevent forgeries, when deeds, owing to lack of scholarship, were seldom signed, but only sealed. This same Bishop Bronescombe it was who founded in 1264 Glasney College, in a wood near Penryn, being prompted thereto by a vision of St. Thomas. It contained thirteen canons of a secular order. This and the old palace of former bishops of Exeter have long since disappeared, although remnants of wall may be seen built into old walls and gardens in the lower part of Penryn. Needless to say, the doom of the old college was sealed in the time of Henry VIII.

The Killigrews held lands in old days in various parts of Cornwall, and an old residence of theirs once stood on the site of what is now a farm in the parish of St Erme, which still bears their name. John de Killigrew of Killigrew held land in 1297, and the Manor of Killigrew continued in their possession until the reign of lames I, after which it was sold and dismembered! But the acquirement of the Falmouth lands was made at a later date, when one of the family, Simon by name, married Jane, the daughter and heiress of Robert, Lord of Arwenack, and removed, it is conjectured, somewhere about 1385, from the old home at St. Erme to Arwenack Manor. There they dwelt for some three centuries and a half, when the name died out like many an old Cornish one before. The meaning of the word “Killigrew” is “a grove of eagles,” and this double-headed Roman eagle (similar to the Godolphin arms), with suitable additions, now forms the arms of the town of Falmouth. Both were probably conferred by Richard, Duke of Cornwall, in the case of the Killigrews, on their early ancestor, Ralph de Killigrew.

From Simon Killigrew and his wife was descended John, the first Captain of Pendennis Castle, the fort of which, with John Treffry of Fowey, he built, in the time of Henry VIII. He was heir to the estate, worth 6,ooo a year.*

*A very complete and interesting lecture was delivered on Glasney and its Associations by Mr. T. C. Peter, during the Exhibition at the Polytechnic Society in 1898, which has been published in the Report. I might here state that Kergillick, Budock, was once a seat of the Bishops of Exeter. Another account has been published by the Iaev. C. R. Sowell. (The Collegiate Church of St. Thomas of Glasney).

The barton of Killigrew passed into the possession of the Jago family, who sold it with Ennis (not Enys), a seat of the Opies in Queen Elizabeth’s time, to Robert Corker, of Falmouth. Finally, Tonkin states that the Manor of Killigrew was sold in 1737 to Mr. John Stephens of St. Ives. Another date has also been assigned, as regards this Manor – 1636.

It was a grand old place at that time. Mr. Martin Lister Killigrew wrote in 1737 that Arwenack Manor House was in the sixteenth century the finest and most costly house in the county, containing numerous and highly decorated rooms. It was originally built in castellated form, surrounded by a wall of similar construction and looking out upon a green lawn which sloped uninterruptedly to the water’s edge.

It had been rebuilt and added to by the Captain John Killigrew already mentioned, who died in 1567.

* Before his time, one “John de Killigrew had 20 a year or more in land in 1292, which would amount to a very considerable sum in tlie present currency. Henry de Killigrew held a military feu in the hundred of Stratton in 1402, while Ralph Killigrew held one in the hundred of Powder.” (Wade, in Extinct Cornish Families.)

His son John succeeded him, and was knighted by Queen Elizabeth in 1574. He married Mary, the widow of Henry Knvvet, and daughter of Philp Wolverstan, of Wolverstan Hall, Suffolk, and sent his two sons, Thomas and Simon, to Court, where they made their fortunes, while the eldest son John was heir to the Cornish estate.

Carew says, “After the declining hill hath delivered you downe from the Castle, Arwenacke entertaineth you with a pleasing view. . . . The cliff on which the house abutteth is steep enough to shoulder off the waves, and the ground about it plain and large enough for use and recreation. It is owned by Master John Killigrew, who married the daughter of Monck.” (Dorothy, daughter of Thomas Moncke, of Potheridge, or Poderige, in Devon). Monck was the ancestor of General Monck, Duke of Albemarle.

Of an old portrait of this Sir John it is said that ” his dress shows he was a person valuing himself upon his clothes.” He had nine sons and five daughters, lived extravagantly and gambled, and left the estate on his death in 1594 (some have stated 1605) . to his son (John) in a shattered condition. This son was knighted by James 1. in 1617, but though a ” sober and good man,” he was unfortunate in every way. His marriage with Jane, daughter of Sir George Fermor, turned out most unhappily ; his divorce suit entailed many journeys to London, lasted many years, and cost him a great deal of money. Sir Walter Raleigh, who had been entertained by him on his return from Guiana, his men being sheltered in the one little house which existed at that time, advocated the project Sir John had for building near so desirable a haven, and laid the case before James I. This, too, involved Sir John in great expenses, and again in many journeys to London. And his closing years were shadowed by the events leading to the Civil War. He died in 1632, shortly after his divorce was granted, and left no descendants. The estate, greatly impoverished, fell to his brother Peter, the first of the name.

Fine as the domain was its glory was of short duration.

In 1646 the house was set on fire by the troops at Pendennis Castle, the last to hold out against the Cromwellian forces (in Cornwall), in order that it should not be occupied by the latter. By some it was said to be an act of self-defence, by others of malice on the part of the envious Governor, but proof of this is hardly clear. At that time Lady Jane Bluett, the divorced wife of the late Sir John (who gave to the Mayor of Penryn in 1633, a yes-i” after the death of the knight, the silver chalice* inscribed . ” From maior to maior to the towne of Permarin when they received mee that was in great miserie. J. K. 1633.”) was living there, and her troubles in the half-destroyed house were added to by the fact that the enemy well nigh finished the dismantling work by making trenches and batteries in and around the house and the adjacent park. Dame Jane and her husband, although she had come in to her jointure in the estate, were therefore greatly impoverished by these events. She died in 1648. Penryn being hostile to Sir John and his projects for forming a town, sympathised with her and aided her with money, which she acknowledged by the gift of the cup. Captain Francis Bluett, possibly the cause of this domestic trouble (although another name was mentioned), belonged to the Cornish branch of the Bluetts or Blewetts of Holcombe Rogus, an old Devon and Somerset family, seven of whom were knighted, and who had for several centuries dwelt at Holcombe. Of the value of .. Court. John Bluett was Sheriff of Cornwall in 1442. A later John Bluett lived at Trevethan, an estate which was purchased by the first Sir Peter Killigrew. Leases to mills were granted to the Bluetts in the sixteenth century, and the name is still remembered in Falmouth.

To return to the disaster in question, it may be briefly said that the old house never rose from its ashes in the same distinguished form. The central tower and the banqueting hall were destroyed, and the house, with a few later additions on a smaller scale, shrank to its present proportions. The remains of the stately hall window are still to be seen. There is a story that a secret passage existed between Pendennis Castle and Arwenack House, but examination in recent times has failed to disclose anything.

Long after this and the Killigrew time it is stated comparatively modern additions of a date not earlier than 1786 were made, and that the ruined tower and battlemented wall were destroyed to erect these additions, which may be distinguished by the absence of the old stone mullions.

Froude relates that in the middle of the sixteenth century, vessels manned by mixed crews of French and English were sent out to capture any ship of Papist nations they might meet with, and which, although not formally commissioned by Queen Elizabeth were yet supplied by order at all English ports. In 1562 such a capture was made of a Portuguese vessel by a Frenchman who drove a Spanish ship ashore near Falmouth. The captain of the latter appealed in vain to the governor of Pendennis Castle, and the French commander seized on him and his vessel. Further “good luck” awaited the latter. Some Portuguese being driven in a few days later, the Frenchman chased them before they could get out to sea, and brought back two of the vessels as prizes. All this was a direct encouragement to any enterprising landowners in the neighbourhood, and it is not to be wondered at that one or two of the Killigrew family sharing the general religious zeal and desire for plunder, attacked Spanish vessels in the harbour. Lady Jane Killigrew, nee Fermor, has frequently had the credit for an act of piracy which was committed by Dame Mary (wife of Sir John Killigrew, who died in 1584), on a Spanish ship in Falmouth harbour in 1582, two generations before, and the story of which is fully related in the Calendar of State Papers. Falmouth suffered from privateers, and a Portuguese privateer entered the harbour one night with the object of destroying the Manor-house and shipping, a deed which was happily frustrated.

It is worthy of mention here that Sir John Killigrew obtained a patent from James I. and erected a lighthouse at the Lizard Point in 1619. This he preserved chiefly at his own expense for five years, notwithstanding the hostility of the Trinity Board, and I regret to say the Cornish inhabitants of the neighbourhood, who complained that he was taking away ” God’s grace ” from them ! If the stories about the ” Cornish wreckers ” are untrue, or exaggerated, it is certain from this record that they regarded a wreck as a windfall, and were not desirous of preventing its occurrence. Sir John pleaded his cause and answered all objections with much good sense and ingenuity, but the matter gave him a good deal of vexation and trouble. In 1631, Sir William Killigrew, his kinsman, wrote to the authorities from ” Pendennis Castle,” asking for a fresh patent and to renew the light, urging that ” every year many shippes are wreckt for want of it,” . but many years passed and several others pleaded in vain before this useful and benevolent project was crowned with success. A full account of the correspondence, etc., extracted from tlie Record Office, has been published by Mr. Howard Fox in an interesting article in Vol. XXI 1. of the Journal of the Royal Institution of Cornivall.

The first Sir Peter Killigrew, Knight, and M.P. for Camelford in 1660, second son of John Killigrew, and brother of the last Sir John, was styled ” Sir Peter the Post,” from his conveying messages with great rapidity to and from Charles I. in the Civil War. He was brought up ” with the earl of Bristol in Spain,” attended at Court, and in his youth loved a little gambling. As the Arwenack estate had dwindled to 8o a year, his friends the Earl of Pembroke and his brother, befriended him by bestowing land on him near Cardiff to the amount of 3oo per annum in order to enable him to marry.

He was loyal to the King, but took no active part in the actual war, which cost him dear, and, in addition, Lady Jane’s jointure withheld his lands from him for some sixteen years. He was, however, able to bring 12,000 into the estate on his succession, and was knighted by Charles II.

Sir Peter died in 1677, near Exeter, and his son, born in 1634, came into the estates and about 7,ooo in money, with which he purchased the bartons of Tregenver and Trescobeas, and part of Tregeneggy – sold about a hundred years afterwards. The second Sir Peter (whose portrait by Sir Godfrey Kneller, I am able to reproduce through the kindness of the owner, Mrs. Boddam Castle, a descendant of the family), married in 1662, Frances, daughter of Sir Roger Twysden, of Kent, a very beautiful woman. This marriage was, at all events, a very happy one, though dark shadows still pursued the heir of Arwenack. From his uncle, Sir William Killigrew, Bart, who died, he inherited the Baronecy. In 1670 the Killigrews resided for a time at the Manor-house, during which period Sir Peter turned his attention to the improvement of the town, but was also a good deal at Court, having been appointed Receiver-General for the Duchy of Cornwall. Four children were born of this marriage, Peter, who died in infancy, George, the son and heir, and two daughters, Frances and Anne, who became “remarkably good and dutiful children.” Of these, George married in 1684, Ann, daughter of Sir John St. Aubyn, who brought a portion of 5,ooo to the estate, but the marriage turned out unhappily, and three years afterwards the father’s hopes were shattered by the tragic fate of his son, who was killed in a duel at Penryn in 1687. The event almost broke Sir Peter’s heart. One child of this marriage was born, a daughter, Amye, who married Major Dunbar, and of their marriage a son who died in infancy, closed the descent. The marriage of his daughter, Frances, with Mr. Richard Erisey, in 1685, also turned out unfortunately, as they separated a short time afterwards. Sir Peter removed to London in 1690, but was present at his daughter Anne’s marriage with Captain Martin Lister, of Staffordshire (born in 1666), who had been stationed at Pendennis Castle during the Governorship of John Grenville, Earl of Bath. Captain Lister took the name of Killigrew, in view of the succession to part of the estate. In him ” Sir Peter and his Lady ” found a dutiful son, a ” good and kind brother-in-law to the unhappy Frances, and as good a husband to the said Anne to the day of their deaths,” After leaving London, Sir Peter retired to Ludlow where he died in 1704, his remains being buried in Falmouth Church.* Lady Killigrew, the widow, then resided in London, and died in 1711, at the age of seventy, lier remains being buried beside those of her husband. Frances (Mrs. Erisey), and her daughter Mary lived with her sister Anne and Martin Lister Killigrew. In 1711, Mary Erisey married Colonel John West, of Bury St. Edmunds, Suffolk, but unfortunately died four years afterwards at York from the small-pox, leaving two daughters, Mary and Frances. Anne, the wife of Mr. Martin Killigrew, died after a long illness in Charles Street House, in 1727, her remains also being consigned to the family vault at F’almouth. She left no descendants. Her sister Frances lived until 1736, and her two grand-daughters came into the estate, one of whom married John Merrill in 1737, and the other the Honourable Charles Berkeley, of Burton Abbey, whence the Earl of Kimberley derives.

* Nearly one hundred years after the burial of Sir Peter, the vault was opened during some repairs to the church, and the inscription was found to be legible.

A portrait of one of the Killigrew family, said by some to be a Miss Killigrew, by others, the well-known Lady Jane, hangs in the Council Chamber in the Municipal Buildings of Falmouth. No other particulars seem to be known about this old family relic. I may state here that many of the old Killigrew portraits, the property of Sir Peter, seem to have formed part of a collection owned by Mr. Edward Ravenall (a nephew of Mr. Killigrew), all of which were offered for sale in London in 1776. Among them were portraits of ” Mrs. Aurizie,” (Erisey) “daughter of Sir Peter Killigrew, by Dahl,” of Sir John Killigrew (which, not stated),* ” Sir Peter and his Lady, by Sir Peter Lely,” etc.

Something of interest may be said concerning the Eriseys (de Erisey), an old family now extinct in the male line who derived their name from the manor of Erisey, in Ruan Major and Minor. The Richard Erisey in question, of Bickleigh, in Devon, was one of the sheriffs of Cornwall. Brasses, etc., relating to the family exist at Grade, near Mullion, the earliest inscription bearing the date of i486. The family is traced back to the time of Edward I ; and several of them were sheriffs of the county. Erisey House was built by Richard Erisey in 1620. An interesting tale is told about one of them, a stout-hearted Cornishman in days gone by. ” In the beginning of the reign of King Henry VIII., A.D. 1513, war being declared against France, a fleet of French men-of-war, of about 30 sail, came into Penzance Bay, and sent ashore a company of armed men to forage the country, who set fire to the town of Market-Jew, and burnt the same to the ground. But James Erizy, Esq., then Sheriff of Cornwall, appearing the same day in those parts with the posse, and the country people flocking about him to admiration, so that he made up a considerable army, the enemy, seeing his resolution to come to a battle, on his approach took to their boats and forthwith departed.”

The Killigrews, if not one of those powerful families which moulded national destiny, nevertheless held their own place as “poets, painters, playwrights, and soldiers.” Dryden wrote a fine ode on Mistress Anne Killigrew, who was accomplished in painting and poetry. Henry Killigrew it was, who when Essex was appointed General, and various persons offered to aid him in the matter of troops, arose in the House of Commons, and exclaimed like a resolute Cornishman, ” I shall provide a good horse, a good buff coat, a good brace of pistols, and I doubt not I shall find a good cause.” His courage in the field was equal to his spirit in promising.

Carew says, ” Sir Henry Killigrew, after Ambassades and messages and many other employments of peace and warre, in his Prince’s service, to the good of the Countrey, hath made choyce of a retyred estate, and reverently regarded by all sorts, placeth his principall contentment in himself, which to a life so well acted, can no way bee wanting.”

As a family however, they were courtiers and Rovalists and adherents to the Stuarts to a degree which, added to the extravagance of the son and heir of the tirst Sir John, ended in the reduction of a rent-roll of six thousand to some eighty pounds a year. It is not surprising that the first Sir Peter, who inherited the remainder of the estates, became somewhat dubious as to a policy which meant ruin, and that he accepted the two thousand pounds voted to him bv Parliament for his services, and was appointed Governor of Pendennis Castle in 16O0 by General Monk.

After the Restoration of the Monarchy, the Charter of Falmouth was granted to him for his services to Charles II. and his father, which naturally aided him in improving an impoverished estate. No doubt he rejoiced over the Restoration of the Monarchy, and gladly named the Church after ” King Charles the Marter,” but for a time, at least, he must have fallen in with the cause of the Parliament. Those were days of such stress and trial as few can conceive of now, in which royalty to conviction had to be paid for at a heavy price. Banishment, the sequestration of land, heavy outlays in supporting a cause destined to be unpopular, awaited many of the staunch adherents of either party. Heads were not safe among the most prominent, and country’ mansions became centres of strife and scenes of siege and conflagrations. To the charge of Cromwell has been laid much in the way of devastation which all regret in these davs, but it is more than doubtful if he was responsible for the havoc made in various edifices, historical and sacred, and certainly not, as we have seen, for the mischief wrought at Arwenack. His troops were filled with the barbarous zeal which fired men who were hotly opposed to the old order of things, and their ensigns, but on the other hand their great general showed no sign of antipathy to the old classical statues adorning the gardens of Hampton Court during his residence there, and we know that he loved music and cherished the arts. Engrossed as he was in one vital cause, it was hardly possible that he could have held an iron hand in every detail over those who were too roughly engaged in carra’ing it forward. Be this as it may . Arwenack Manor is one of those old places which felt the unfortunate blight of the Civil War, and it is probably owing in great part to the disaster which marred its extent and original grandeur that the descendants of its old owners withdrew from Falmouth, allowed the fine old avenue to become a rope-walk, and sold or leased their land to others for the building of various houses in what had once been the park of a celebrated mansion.

The personal influence of the Killigrew family thus receded from Falmouth, and with it its old military prestige.

As an old fort Pendennis was heard of a thousand years ago, but the development of the fort into a Castle dates no earlier than the time of Henry VlII, who was bent on defending his sea-coast, and built the round tower. There is a tradition that this active monarch traveled all the way to Cornwall to see for himself the sites for the castles of Pendennis and St. Mawes,* but the sole evidence for the statement lies in the fact that the ferry in the Truro river is still called ” King Harry’s Passage.” In an old print of 1734, the round tower comes out with great vigour, and is represeated as being surrounded by a hiiali wall and this again by a moat filled with water. Beyond this is another wall and a drawbridge, and a second moat. One is constrained to inquire where all this water came from, and inclined to think that the draughtsman’s pencil must have been inspired by a little artistic licence. Below may be seen an array of guns well calculated to alarm any enemy that was disposed to sail within shot of these two fortifications. No longer could the vessels of two nations enter upon a pitched battle inside the harbour, as is stated to have once occurred between French and Spaniards, to the astonishment of the inhabitants and the disturbance of the public peace.

* Of the governors or keepers of St. Mawes Castle (the fort opposite Pendennis, built in 1542, and guarding the entrance to the harbour), the first was Captain Michael Vyvyan (1544), and the last Major-General Sir Alexander Cameron (1828). The office was abolished in 1842. Among those appointed were several members of the Vyvyan family, the Earl of Arundel and Surrey (1635), Lieut CoL Kekewich, and the Rt Honable. Hugh Boscawen 1697, (he was a member of the Privy Council), afterwards Lord Falmouth.

The outworks were added in the time of Queen Elizabeth, who mounted 100 pieces of cannon, and sent 100 men to Pendennis to guard the coast from Spanish invasions.

Of course the history of the Castle which, being comparatively recent, is neither exciting nor romantic is mixed up with the Killigrews, who were called ” lords of both fort and town.” It was built on their land, and they received a yearly rent of 12, 6s. 8d. for it. Leland, antiquary to Henry VIII, alludes to the “hille whereon the King hath builded a castle called Pendinant, and longgith to Mr. Keligrewe.” The rent greatly increased in the latter part of the 17th century, and in 1795 the lands were purchased altogether by the Crown.

Naturally, a Killigrew was the first Captain or Governor in 1567. The old inscription in Budock Church * to his memory preserves the record as evidently a matter of local importance : ” Here lyeth John Killigrew Esqier, of Arwenack, and Lord of ye Manor of Killigrew in Cornwall ; and Elizabeth Trewinnard, his wife. He was the first captaine of Pendennis Castle, made by King Henry the eight, so continued until the nynth of Queen Elizabeth, at which time God took him to his mercye, being the year of our Lord 1567. Sir John Killigrew, knight, his gone, succeeded him in ye same place by the gift of Queene Elizabeth.”* He was “captain” from 1567 to 1584.

* The brass in Gluvias Church is of an older date (see Appendix).

To the memory of this second captain there is also another inscription : ” Here lyeth the bodies of Sir John Killigrew, of Arwenack, in the Countye of Cornwall, knight, who departed this life the 5 day of March, Anno xxvi, Rne. of Eliz., and Dame Mary his wife.” It goes on to state : ” He was the second captain that commanded Pendennis Forte since the first erection thereof.” A little family history follows, and then the tablet concludes with the statement that “John Killigrew, grand-sonne unto Sir John Killigrewe, hath of a pious mind erected this monument. An. D’m’i, 1617.” Above are kneeling figures of the knight and his wife.

Once again a Killigrew became Governor in 1584, John, the eldest son of the knight aforesaid, and he it was who petitioned for an increase of the defensive power of the Castle and offered to find men among his tenants, the outlay of which would amount to some fifteen hundred pounds. ” I have been twelve months suitor about it,” he wrote, ” and have made a liberal offer, considering my beggarly estate, for its fortifying.” A brave effort, considering he was in debt, and his pay as Governor amounted to ;^ii8 12s. 6d. per annum.

Then followed Sir Nicholas Parker, of Devon, born in Sussex, to whom Queen Elizabeth wrote about the new fortifications, stirring everybody up to such purpose that Halsef chronicled that Pendennis is “look’d upon as one of the most invincible Castles in this Kingdom, having above 100 Pieces of Cannon, and some Thousands of Foot Arms.”

* The brass bears also the arms of Carminow.

To him also is an inscription in Latin in Budock Church, where his remains were consigned in 1603. Sir John Parker succeeded him in 1607,* .. then we go back again to the Killigrews. Sir Robert Killigrew was appointed in 1614, and found tilings had sadly gone down and that the poor old Castle was in a sad plight. ” For 9 years there has not been a piece of ordnance mounted, and at this time there are not above 4 barrels of powder.” Worse still, the garrison had no pay, and would have starved, so the eloquent and indignant knight declared, “had they not lived on limpets ! ” We wonder whether they would have fought well on limpet diet. Sir William, his son, was a kind of co-partner in the governorship, and on the death of Sir Robert in 1633 was sole captain, but in a couple of years he resigned the office, possibly in dis- gust over the four barrels of powder and the limpets, and then came Sir Nicholas Slanning, of Cavalier renown. Of bravery the young captain had plenty, but the Civil War ravaged the land, and although the Cornish fought valiantly against the Parliamentary troops at Stratton, they paid the penalty a little later. Slanning,f of Royalist fame, was slain in 1643, and the new governor, a man advanced in years, was a more zealous Royalist than ever. Colonel John Arundel, of Trerise. He was a grandson of Sir John Arundel, of Trerise, the celebrated “John for the King,” and was Member of Parliament for Cornwall ; and at the crisis when Queen Henrietta Maria was “frighted by Essex” she found warm shelter within the stout walls of the Castle until she could escape to France. A letter from. He died without descendants.

… the Sheriff of Cornwall (Edmund Prideaux), written on July 3rd, 1644, describes her condition as ” the woefullest spectacle my eyes yet ever look’d on ; the most worne and weak pitifull creature in ye world, the poore Queen shifting for one hour’s liffe longer.” An unpropitious wind for the fleet which gave hot chase to the Httle Dutch vessel in which she fled, and fired many shot at her, enabled her to land in safety at Brest. In a pamphlet printed in 1644 it is stated that the Queen ” having a galley of sixteen oares, it is thought that all the ships in the world could not overtake her.”

Many stone shot have been dredged up in Falmouth harbour, the majority of granite, witnesses of the warfare of bygone days. One weighing 121 pounds was found in 1844.

Among other celebrities at the Castle in those days were the Duke of Hamilton (imprisoned for supposed disloyalty), Sir Edward Hyde (the Chancellor), and the Prince of Wales (afterwards Charles II). Into a chamber, still called ” the king’s room,” the unfortunate Prince retreated in 1645, concealing himself betimes in a closet which once existed above.* But the Parliamentary troops, under Sir Thomas Fairfax, pressed on, the Prince had to fly . retiring at first to Scilly, . and the Castle in 1646, filled with the alarmed townspeople, underwent such a siege by sea and land that the limpets in question on a previous occasion would have proved a welcome addition to the scanty fare. Supplies were intercepted, the garrison was disorderly, the affrighted inhabitants starving and in want of every necessary of life. Colonel Arundel, not far from eighty years of age, made a spirited but hopeless defence, holding out for some five months against overwhelming odds, and finally surrendered.

* This closet was demolished in i8o8 during some repairs.

There was talk of blowing up the Castle by a party within it, but after much parley and several disputes this foolhardy proposal was abandoned, and articles of agreement as to the surrender were determined upon and signed at last. On the part of the Governor were Sir Abraham Shipman, Colonels Arundel, Arnold, Slaughter, Jennings, Tremayne, and others ; and with Sir Thomas Fairfax were Colonel John St. Aubyn (Sheriff), Sir John Ayscue, and Colonels Herle, Bennet, Townsend, Jennings, etc. Captain William Batten was Vice-Admiral and Commander-in-Chief of the Fleet.

At two o’clock on August 17, 1646, therefore, it was arranged that the Castle was to be delivered up to the custody of the two Commanders-in-Chief by sea and land. The articles of agreement were very liberal to the Royalists, and the stout-hearted John Arundel succeeded in stipulating for an honourable retreat. He and his family and retinue, the officers and soldiers, “and all Gentlemen, Clergymen, and their families and Servants shall march out of the Castle of Pendennis, with their Horses, compleat Arms and other Equipages …. with flying colours, Trumpets sounding, Drums beating, Matches lighted at both ends. Bullets in their Mouths, and every Soldier Twelve charges of Powder with Bullets and match proportionable . . . and shall lay down their arms (saving the Swords) * on Arwinch Downs.’ Nor were any of these to be compelled * to take up arms against the King.’ ” *

No doubt they marched out in as much state as their impoverished and straitened condition admitted, but as regards horses there were none. The last horse was left in a barrel, salted . all the meat they had . while there was neither bread nor drink other than a little water. Many died from eating too heartily after this terrible famine. The condition of the Castle may be imagined when it is recorded that a thousand officers and soldiers marched through the Castle gate, leaving two hundred sick persons behind, and two hundred women and children. Among the officers was Colonel Lewis Tremayne. Eight years later John Arundel died. On the Restoration, Colonel Richard Arundel, who had aided his father in this valiant defence, was created a peer.

Two days later Raglan Castle, the last fortress to hold out, surrendered also, and the great cause of constitutional government was won in England.

The firing of the Manor House by the Royalists has already been related, and was one of those desperate deeds which are witnessed in a lost cause.

Colonel Richard Fortescue, commander of the Parliamentary troops, was appointed Governor a few months afterwards, retaining his post for a year. Sir Hardres Waller succeeded him, the Parliament evidently attaching great importance to the captains of the Castle, and desiring a zealous adherent to hold the chief command. While he was there another notable, William Prynne, a rather uncompromising Puritan, who offended both governments, a barrister, and M.P. for Newport, was imprisoned (in 1652), and spent his time in writing against all forts, as useless and unprofitable concerns. No doubt he had every reason to take this view. He was a man with more talent than judgment. Captain John Fox, 1658 (who received an order from Oliver Cromwell for the encouragement of the Falmouth market in 1655), and Colonel Anthony Rouse, 1659, were the other governors successively appointed during the Commonwealth. The latter was said by Hals to have ” lived in a barn and lodged on straw,” but when he was “posted Commander of this Castle, he behaved himself so very proud, grand.

… to the folks of the Cavalier party that Mr. Trefusis sharpened his wit upon him in some rather rude verses.

Sir Peter Killigrew (Knight), the last of the Killigrews who held office, seemed to please both parties, although he sought to rescue the king, providing horses and a ship on the coast of Sussex for the purpose. Mr. V. C. Wade states in his article on the Killigrews that the attempted escape only hastened Charles’s end, and that Sir Peter used to relate the story of his unsuccessful plans with tears in his eyes. The appointment was given to him by General Monk, and two months later saw the monarchy restored. He was also rewarded for his services by the Parliament, with which he had great interest . (he was M.P. for Camelford in 1660), . and remained on comfortably at his post when Charles II. returned. On his death, in 1662, Colonel Richard Arundel, the son of the stout-hearted John, succeeded him, and was elevated to the peerage in 1665. John, Lord Arundel, the Earl of Bath, Richard Trevannion, with deputy or lieutenant-governors, followed one after the other. While Trevannion held the post the Castle was struck by lightning in a severe thunderstorm in 1717, and was said to have been considerably damaged. The names of Colonel Owen, 1735, Colonel Beauclerk, 1774, General Robinson, 1775, and General Buckly, 1793, are all less remembered than those of Captain Phillip Melvill, who was lieutenant-governor from 1797 to 1811, and Colonel Penwick, also lieutenant-governor from 1814 to 1832. About 1835 the office was abolished, and neither governors nor lieutenant governors were known any more at Pendennis.

“Governor Melvill,” as he was called, is the best known. It was he who inspired the soldiers with the building of cottages, and the laying out of the gardens on the castle slopes, and used his influence in the cause of charity in Falmouth, He was a man who had suffered much in early life while in India, and had become imbued with earnest religious sentiments and much benevolence. With everyone he seems to have been a favourite, and died all too soon at the age of forty-nine years. Colonel Fenwick underwent an amputation of the thigh which disabled him for life, and rendered the appointment in those days a very suitable one for him ; for the old fortress was hardly in a condition then to take an active part in time of war, and was a kind of military retreat.*

A volume of ” Memoirs” of Captain Melvill (born in 1762 at Dunbar), which was published in 1812, gives a vivid account of his earnestness of character, and relates that on entering Falmouth Harbour in 1786, he was so struck with Pendennis Castle that he longed to settle there. This singular wish was fulfilled some ten years later, when he was first appointed to the command of a company stationed at the Castle, and subsequently to the post of lieutenant-governor, which he held for life. While in the 73rd regiment he was engaged in India in 1780 in the war against Hyder All’s forces, and was badly wounded, lying for nearly three days on the field naked, exposed to a burning sun, and suffering intense torture from thirst. From this condition he was rescued, only to be imprisoned by the enemy for four years in the fort of Bangalore. During this time he experienced untold miseries from the lack of medical attendance, proper food and clothing, and the filthy condition of the prison.

.In 1797, owing to the fears about French invasion, steps were taken by the inhabitants of Falmouth which led to the establishment of a regiment of Artillery Volunteers, now represented by the Royal Cornwall Miners’ Artillery Militia. Previously, and early in the same century . 1736 and afterwards . a company of invalids were at Pendennis, out-pensioners of “Chelsea College.” In 1788 “Captain Tydd, of Pendennis Castle, has exchanged with Captain Roger Gilbert for his company of invalids at Chester. Captain Tydd is removing to Chester, Mr. G. succeeds him at Pendennis.” {Note from old document).

No wonder that after such experiences he gazed upon English shores with emotion, and looked upon Pendennis Castle as a haven of rest ! These early hardships no doubt contributed to his death at a comparatively early age, notwithstanding that he had made a happy marriage, and was the father of several greatly beloved children, some of whom became distinguished in later years, in the church and in military service.* One of his sons, however, who was in the Artillery, and only nineteen years of age, was drowned at Madeira, in 1808, owing to the capsizing of a boat. This was a terrible blow. But Captain Melvill may be said to have lived for another world, and devoted all his spare time and energies to aiding as best he might those among whom he lived. To him, the founder of the Misericordia Society, the poor of Falmouth owed a debt of gratitude, and on the day of his funeral all united to do his memory honour. An old letter of one of the officers of the Pendennis Volunteer Artillery, a corps formed chiefly by his endeavours, and later commanded by Colonel Burgess, describes how ” the body was borne on a car drawn by four horses, the street being lined with soldiers, from the ibar to the entrance of the church, with reversed arms.” The writer adds, ” He was most highly esteemed by all who knew him. I almost fancy I can see him now ; he wore one arm in a sling, from a w^ound he received in India in action, having been left for dead in the field. It was a life short, active, beloved aud influential for good.

And here may be said to close the antiquities of Falmouth, neither numerous nor numbering many centuries, but nevertheless of greater and more romantic interest than those of many other towns in the west.

Major-General Sir Peter Melvill, K.C.B. (born in 1803) Secretary to the Hon. East India Company.

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OLD Falmouth – Page 1

Found this online – left it fairly in tack – just cleaned it up a bit and put in order 🙂




I have had much pleasure in acceding to the request of the author of Old Falmouth that I would write a few introductory Hnes for her interesting volume, since I feel assured that the book will afford valuable assistance to all who are interested in the past history as well as the future prospects of this well-known southern seaside resort.

The carefully collated and admirably recorded information contained in this work will not only invite readers among the visitors in Cornwall, but will, it is hoped, induce many, who otherwise would remain in ignorance of the great advantages possessed by Falmouth, to seek here benefits, which in some respects exceed those which are still regarded as the exclusive property of the shores of the Mediterranean, and obviate the necessitv of seeking abroad that which can be found at home.

Those who enjoy historical research, alike with others who seek a genial winter climate, are much indebted to Miss Gay for her charming book, and it will be well that her suggestions regarding the expediency of preserving the picturesque appearance of the locality may not in its future development be overlooked.


A FEW words as to the origin of the following pages. An accumulation of *’odds and ends” of information not generally known relating to Falmouth in former days, led me to place them together in the form of a small connected history, which might be useful to all who are fond of the preservation of old records. While writing this I found a mass of scattered information among old documents, parochial histories, guide-books, and the parish registers, which seemed to me well worth sorting out and collecting together. A list of these sources of reference would be somewhat tedious, and it suffices to say that the late Earl of Kimberley gave me courteous permission to examine any old records at the Manor-office, and that I received kind assistance from members of the Fox family, Mr. John D. Enys, Mr. Thurstan C. Peter, the Rev. William Jago, and Mr. Armitage, the present Town Clerk of Falmouth. Also that I have examined works such as Boase and Courtney’s Collectanea Bibliotheca, Gilbert’s History of Cornwall, Parochial Histories, Oliver’s Pendennis, etc.

In addition I received letters and details from members of families connected with the old Packet Service, which gave me a few hitherto unpublished items. The entries in the diaries written by Mrs. Niels F’alck, covering a period dating from 1778 to 1836 were unfortunately far too brief and disconnected to give me what I desired, — a complete and connected picture of life in the palmy days of the ” Racquets,” and I have only extracted what seemed of general interest in a few fragments. No one seems to have left such a record.

The old Assembly-room still exists, the only testimony remaining as to the former routs and gaieties, for otherwise Flushing nestles under the hill as of yore, but has long become silent and dumb and reveals nothing of its old bustle and stir.

Yet papers and letters must once have been written which would possess a priceless charm if they had only been preserved. Possibly removals were responsible for the destruction of old family papers, as they were conducted at a time when many boxes were indeed itnpcdimcnta, and therefore restricted to as few in number as possible.

For Falmouth, though not an ancient town, and destitute of antiquities, has been one of the most interesting places on our western shores. Here resided generations of a Royalist family — long extinct — whose fortunes and misfortunes were singularly intertwined with the town they founded. Here was fought out, with extraordinary resolution and courage, almost the last great struggle between the troops of Charles I. and those of Cromwell and the Parliament. Here grew and flourished the largest Packet establishment in any port in the kingdom. Here part of a fleet anchored, and men of renown came and went. Brave Lord Exmouth sailed in and out of our harbour, Nelson, Boscawen, Cornwallis, and many another Admiral of fame and name ; and most of the news of the great victories of the Nile and elsewhere were brought first of all to Falmouth.

Into our harbour came the transports conveying our soldiers to the terrible scenes of the Peninsular War, and when the work of that dread time was over, here too sailed in the man-of-war bearing Napoleon to his island prison at St. Helena.

Of Royal visits there have been several, some conected with misfortune, as in the case of the son of Charles I., the Prince of Wales, others, the later ones, full of brightness and loyal welcome. While the Packets bore all sorts of well-known personages, among them Byron and Disraeli, to and from places abroad.

The story of all interesting towns should I think be preserved. Some hand, not too busy, should record it, so that the history of its events and not only these, but something of those who lived and died in it, and were the actors in scenes of the past far different from our present time, should be kept from entire oblivion. I greatly fear the chapter on “Old Falmouthians” is incomplete ; — it gave me considerable anxiety, — but if so it has been through a lack of information which I should have wished to obtain.

For the Chronology and the lengthy Appendix I make no apology. They contain mainly merely historic details, etc., such as could not be embodied in the preceding chapters, and a Chronology is always useful for reference. In the latter portion of it valuable help has been given to me by Mr. Wilson L. Fox.

I am indebted to many for illustrations, some of which are now to Falmouth readers, and have referred to those who have so kindly aided me in this matter in the text. But I greatly regret being unable, after many efforts, to produce a portrait of Colonel John Arundel. None seems to exist.

I should add that this little work is simply a Collectanea, and has no greater pretension.

S. E. G.
Near Falmouth,
December, 1903.

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Focus on Truro

Truro (pronounced /ˈtruːrəʊ/; Cornish: Truru) is a city in Cornwall, England, United Kingdom. It is the administrative centre and only city in the county, and the most southerly city in Great Britain.

Truro’s name is derived from the Cornish tri-veru meaning “three rivers”. The city grew to be an important centre of trade thanks firstly to its port, but later because of its role as a stannary town for the mining industry. Today, Truro is the centre for administration, leisure and retail in Cornwall and has a population of 20,920.[1] Its residents are known as Truronians.

The city is well-known for its cathedral (completed in 1910), as well as its cobbled streets, open spaces and many examples of Georgian architecture. It is also the location of the Royal Cornwall Museum, the Hall for Cornwall, Cornwall’s Courts of Justice and Cornwall County Council’s Old County Hall, a Grade II listed building.

  The earliest records and archaeological findings of a permanent settlement in the Truro area originate from Norman times. A castle was built in the 12th century by Richard de Luci, Chief Justice of England in the reign of Henry II, who was granted land in Cornwall for his services to the court, including the area surrounding the confluence of the two rivers. He planted the town in the shadow of the castle and awarded it borough status to further economic activity. (The castle has long since disappeared).By the start of the 14th century Truro was an important port, thanks to its inland location away from invaders and its prosperity from the fishing industry, but also as its new role as one of Cornwall’s stannary towns for the official assaying and stamping of locally-produced tin and copper in Cornish mines. However, the Black Death soon arrived and with it a trade recession which resulted in a mass exodus of the population and, as such the town was left in a very neglected state.

Trade returned to Truro with help from the government and the town was very prosperous during the Tudor period. Self-governance was awarded in 1589 by the granting of a new charter by Elizabeth I, which gave Truro an elected mayor and control over the port of Falmouth.

During the Civil War in the 17th century, Truro raised a sizable force to fight for the King and a royalist mint was set up in the town. However, defeat to the Parliamentary troops came in 1646 and it was moved to Exeter. Further disheartenment came later in the century when Falmouth was awarded its own charter giving it rights to its harbour, starting a long rivalry between the two towns. The dispute was eventually settled in 1709 with control of the River Fal being divided between Truro and Falmouth.


Truro prospered greatly during the 18th and 19th centuries. Industry flourished thanks to improved mining methods and higher prices for tin, and the town soon became the place to be for wealthy mine owners. Elegant Georgian and Victorian townhouses were built—such as those seen today on Lemon Street, named after the mining magnate and local MP Sir William Lemon—and Truro became the centre for high society in the county, being mentioned as “the London of Cornwall”.[2]

Throughout these prosporous times Truro remained a social centre and many notable people hailed from it. One of the most noteworthy residents was Richard Lander, an explorer who discovered the source of the River Niger in Africa and was awarded the first gold medal of the Royal Geographical Society. Others include Humphry Davy, educated in Truro and inventor of the miner’s safety lamp, and Samuel Foote, an actor and playwright from Boscawen Street.

Truro’s importance increased later in the 19th century and it had its own iron smelting works, potteries and tanneries. The Great Western Railway arrived in Truro in the 1860s with a direct line from London Paddington, and the Bishopric of Truro bill was passed in 1876 which gave the town a bishop, then a cathedral. The next year Queen Victoria granted Truro city status.

The start of the 20th century saw the decline of the mining industry, however the city remained prosperous as its previous role as a market town shifted to being the administrative and commercial centre of Cornwall, and saw substantial development. Today, Truro continues its role as the retail centre of Cornwall but, like many other cities, faces concerns over the disappearance of many of its renowned specialty shops for national chain stores, the eroding of its identity, and also over how to accommodate future expected growth in the 21st century.

Check out Truro drive through!

Courtesy of youtube

Courtesy of youtube

Focus on Penryn

Penryn is one of Cornwall’s most ancient towns, founded circa 1216.

The port was significant to the Cornish tin and cooper trade in the 16th century and again for granite works in the early 19th century.

Penryn received a royal charter, as a borough in 1621.

Engraving of Penryn Quays c 1600

  1086 Pre-Saxon Cornwall was both Christian and Celtic and Doomsday records in 1068 show that an extensive area above the Penryn River which included most of the land in four of today’s parishes – St Gluvias, Mabe, Mylor and Budock – was the Manor of Teliever owned by the Bishop of Exeter. The following entry dated 1086 appears in the Doomsday Book :-“The Bishop has 1 manor which is called Treliwel (Treliver) which Bishop Leuric (Bishop of Exeter)held T.R.E.(in the time of King Edward 1042-1066) and it rendered geld for 1 ½ hides (A hide is about 120acres). Twenty teams can plough this. Thereof the Bishop has in demesne half a hide and the villeins have 1 hide and 12 ploughs. There the Bishop has 30 villeins and 4 bordars and 4 serfs and 5 unbroken mares and 2 cows and 30 sheep and 60 acres of Woodland and of pasture 2 leagues in length and 2 in breath. This manor is worth 4li.(Pounds)”1236 The Borough of Penryn was enfranchised by the Bishop of Exeter1318 The parish church was dedicated July 25, 1318 to St. Gluvias, the martyr. Gluvias was a Welshman on a mission to his fellow Celts in the sixth century. His feast day is May 3rd. The first recorded Vicar was John Collier in 1696 but parish records start in 15981598 Parish registers of Baptisms, births and deaths started.

1259 Henry III granted to the Bishop of Exeter a weekly market at Penryn, with the usual ‘Court of Pye Powder’ (No records exist)

1259 On January 8th, Penryn was granted a Charter Fair, to be held yearly on the Feast of St.Thomas the Martyr (referred to as the ‘Blood Fair’.

1265 The great Collegiate Church of Glasney was founded, where the Antron River enters the Penryn Creek. This building stood within six acres of land and its imposing buildings comprised three fortified towers of granite and Caen stone, a church, rectory, chapter house and several corn mills. Within two years it had achieved great fame and students came from Europe to study here.


1283 It is known that fishing existed at this time as records show that “the drying of nets in the open field at Penryn was interfered with by Roger, son of innocent, of Trewin, who allowed his pigs to rootle amongst them, with the result that his neck was broken!

1312 A further annual fair was granted by Edward II “on the morrow of Saint Vitalis the Martyr and two days following.”

1327 Such was the intercourse of foreign trade through the harbour, it is recorded that half the population of Penryn consisted of foreigners and 22 substantial merchants paid the subsidy, as compared with 33 at Helston and 42 at Truro.

1470 It would appear from the Doomsday Book entry in 1068 that the majority of the land to the north of Penryn was owned by the Bishop of Exeter, however by 1470 some land in this area was owned by other individuals the following copy of a will shows the value of the land at that time “Ricardus Menke and Mabilla his wife grant to John Menke their son and heir all their lands in Meke, Trevurvo and Reskolles, to hold at a rent of 20s for his life and paying to Ricardus for Menke 20s yearly, for Trevurvo 10s and Reskolles 4s. Remr after the death of the s’ Ricardus to the s’ John in tail, rem.to John son and heir of the s’ John Menke senr in tail, rem to John “fillo nostro fund and hered sue’ de corpe” Rem to the right heirs of the s’ Ricardus. Menke 26 Jan Ao.9 EdIV

1536 In the valuation of the Manor [of Penryn] taken at the instance of Henry VIII appears the following, “Hayleford [Helford]. Johannes Thomas tenet passium cum batilia domini ibidem quod reddere solut per annum XXIIs et mode reddit inde per annum nisi.” – from which we learn that one John Thomas held the Passage with the Lords’ Boat there and paid annually the sum of 22s. 0d,

The inhabitants of Meneage (meaning Monkish Land, which probably came to the Bishops of Cornwall from the old Celtic Monasteries, who in their turn received grants of the land from the West Saxon Kings) who had much business in Penryn, would benefit from using the ferry .

1536 The ferry was leased to John Killigrew, Captain of the recently [1545] erected Pendennis Castle at the entrance to Falmouth Harbour. The Killigrews were notoriously active in smuggling operations on the Helford River, the King was doubtless rewarding Killigrew for services rendered at the expense of the Bishop, for the Bishop makes it clear in his Register and in the Lease, that it was “required of him by the King, and the rent seems very low.”

1547 Saw the suppression of the great Glasney Collegiate Church After the dissolution of the monasteries the church had not yet been relieved of all its superfluous wealth, chantries, religious gilds and collegiate churches remained. Glasney being much the largest of the Cornish collegiate foundations the needy government sent out its commissioners to value the potential plunder. With a provost, twelve prebendaries, ten priests, four choristers, a bell-ringer and an income of £220 a year. It was not difficult to find witnesses who were ready to swear that the buildings had been neglected, and the provost and his priests were more given to drinking and the chase than to religion. In spite of the attempt of the local gentry to retain the place as a fortress, the church was stripped of its lead, bells and plate, the buildings were sold, and soon there was little trace of where the three-centuries-old college had stood.

The college was a haven for the Cornish language although services were ascribed to Latin much of the other business was in Cornish. The dissolution and consequent Pray Book changes (Which the Cornish rebelled against) struck a death knoll for the language.

1548 Commissioners sent by Edward VI to report on the affairs of the Glasney College, gave the following description; “the fayer resorte to the said Colledge to see havyn nammed ffalmouth to which sometimes resort one hunred great shippes, which being there have allwayes used to the Mynystracon, and the walls of the said Colledge on the Southe-syde well fortified with Towers and Ordinance in the same for the Defence of the said towne and ryver comynge to the same whych Ordinance perteyn to the men of the said Towne.”

1553 Penryn commenced regularly to return two members to Parliament

1599 The Mayor of Penryn was selected to hire a frigate – a fast sailing vessel – to sail off the coast of Spain in order to see “that the coast be clear.”

1617 The Mayor of Penryn in a letter (Henderson MSS) described contemptuously the infant Falmouth as “those cottages of Penny – come – quick.”

1619 The Charter of Incorporation (of Penryn) seemed to have as its chief aim, the setting up of a stronger system of enforcement of justice and loyalty to the Crown – even the Town Clerk was to be dismissed at the pleasure of the King and was to be ex-officio a Justice of the Peace. (As, in many seaport towns, life was full of disturbances.)

Early 17th Century saw the trade grow and Penryn ships carried “tin to Constantinople, Turkey, Italy, Spain and France, and hundreds of barrels of oysters [at 2d per hundred] were sent to London.” The oyster beds in Penryn River were let out by lease until the early part of the present century. There was a fish market established on the site of the (Penryn) Fire Station and today the cross-roads there are referred to as the “Fish Cross.” There was so much trade in shell fish.

In the first year of Elizabeth’s reign an Act was passed directing when and where merchandise should be landed and Customs paid. This was followed in 1663 by a similar Act entitled “an Act for preventing frauds and regulating abuses in the Customs.” Under this Act, a Commission was set up to perambulate the ports of Penryn, Truro and Falmouth, and they prescribed the sole landing places in each of those ports.

1676 Those landing places were enrolled in the Exchequer. – hence the building of quays, and the expression heard in Penryn in which the Town Quay is called “Exchequer Quay”

Check out this drive though of Penryn!

Courtesy of youtube

Courtesy of youtube

Focus on Falmouth

Falmouth has the third deepest natural harbour in the world, the deepest in Western Europe and is the traditional gateway to the Atlantic – one of the world’s greatest sailing harbours.

Some of my fondest memories of Falmouth are from this Church.

I use to attend All Saints School from 1975 – 1979 and remember every Friday afternoon, we’d go to the Church to sing. The Church has such an amazing atmosphere about it and it especially liked Christmas time.

The history of All Saints Church is pretty fascinating too.

Henry VIII built Pendennis Castle (circa 1540) to defend Carrick Roads, and Sir John Killigrew created the town of Falmouth (circa 1613). During the civil war, Pendennis Castle was the second to last fort to surrender to the Parliamentarians. In the late 16th century, under threat from the Spanish Armada, the defences at Pendennis were strengthened by the building of angled ramparts.

The news of Britain’s victory (and Admiral Nelson’s death) at Trafalgar was landed here, from the schooner “Pickle” and taken to London by stagecoach.

packet.pngThe Falmouth Packet Service operated out of Falmouth, for over 160 years between 1689 and 1851. Its purpose was to carry mail to and from Britain’s growing empire.

Couresy of WikiPedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Falmouth,_Cornwall

A seeder side to the history of Falmouth, is the story of Lady Killigrew (wife of Sir John Killigrew) –
Mary Killigrew lived in Arwenack House, and was one of Cornwall’s most notorious robbers, and would take in sailors, get them drunk, then slit their throats and steal their money.
See about her demise here.

Check out what
jobs people were doing in Falmouth circa 1841

Falmouth Docks – Steam Ships Painting – notice Falmouth Hotel as well. 🙂

Falmouth Docks Painting of Steam Ships

Check out this old map of Falmouth and a Google interactive map.

Old Falmouth map

Check out the drive through Falmouth!

Courtesy of youtube

Courtesy of youtube

Kernewek – Lesson Six

Kernewek – Lesson Six

Rod: Dha semlant yw splann, ple feus ta?
Chris: You look great, where have you been?

Deb: Pow Frynk, rag ow dy’goelyow
Chris: France, for my holidays

Rod: Fatell wruss’ta mos?
Chris: How did you go?

Deb: My a nijas.
Chris: I flew.

Rod: My a garsa mos di
Chris: I would like to go there

Deb: Prag ny wre’ta?
Chris: Why don’t you?

Rod: Fowt a arghans!
Chris: Lack of money!

Deb: A ny wruss’ta kavoes dy’goel?
Chris: Haven’t you had a holiday?

Rod: Heb mar – unn jydh yn Porth Ia!
Chris: Of course, one day in St. Ives!

Gerva / Vocabulary

An gewer – The weather
Glaw – Rain
Puptydh – Everyday
Dell hevel – It seems
Ple’ma? – Where is?
Howl – Sun
Kellys – Lost
Gwell – Better
Gwell es – Better than
Yrgh – Snow
Gwir – True
An dhargan – The forecast
Gwynek – Windy
Y fydh – It will be

Kernewek – Lesson Five

Kernewek – Lesson Five

Rod: Hou Deborah, Fatell yw taklow?
Chris: Hi Deborah, How are things?

Deb: Da lowr – marnas an gewer!
Chris: All right – apart from the weather!

Rod: Yma glaw puptydh, dell hevel
Chris: There’s rain everyday, it seems.

Deb: Eus. Ple’ma an howl?
Chris: There is. Where’s the sun?

Rod: Kellys y’m brys vy!
Chris: Lost I reckon!

Deb: Wel, glaw yw gwell es yrgh.
Chris: Well, Rain is better than snow.

Rod: Henn yw gwir.
Chris: That’s true.

Deb: An dhargan a leveris y fydh gwynsek
Chris: The forecast said it will be windy.

Rod: Na lever henna!
Chris: Don’t say that!

Gerva / Vocabulary

An gewer – The weather
Glaw – Rain
Puptydh – Everyday
Dell hevel – It seems
Ple’ma? – Where is?
Howl – Sun
Kellys – Lost
Gwell – Better
Gwell es – Better than
Yrgh – Snow
Gwir – True
An dhargan – The forecast
Gwynek – Windy
Y fydh – It will be

Kernewek – Lesson Four

Kernewek – Lesson Four

Rod: Dohajydh da
Chris: Good afternoon

Deb: Dohajydh da; pandr’a garses ta?
Chris: Good afternoon; what would you like?

Rod: Torth a vara mar plek
Chris: A loaf of bread please.

Deb: Gwynn po leun?
Chris: White or wholemeal?

Rod: Leun, my a breder.
Chris: Wholemeal, I think.

Deb: Ottani. Eus neppyth aral?
Chris: Here we are. Anything else?

Rod: Mar plek; hwegh a’n selsik na.
Chris: Please; six of those sausages.

Deb: Yw henna oll?
Chris: Is that all?

Rod: Dell brederav
Chris: I think so.

Deb: Henn a vydh peuns ugens mar plek
Chris: That will be £1.20 please.

Rod: Otta jy, Peuns ugens.
Chris: Here you are, £1.20.

Deb: Meur rasta. Dydh da.
Chris: Thank you. Good day.

Rod: Dydh da.
Chris: Good day.

Gerva / Vocabulary

Torth – Loaf
Bara – Bread
Torth a vara – loaf of bread
Gwynn – White
Leun – Wholemeal, full
Neppyth – Something
Peuns – Pound (money or weight)
Ugens – Twenty Eus? – Is there? Are there?
Mar plek – Please
Meur rasta – Thankyou
Dydh da – Good day.

Kernewek – Lesson Three

Kernewek – Lesson Three

Rod: Gav dhymm! Yw hemma Stret an Eglos
Chris: Excuse me! Is this Church Street?

Deb: Nag yw, yth yw Stret Ledan.
Chris: No, it’s Broad Street.

Rod: Ple’ma Tesco ytho?
Chris: Where’s Tesco’s then?

Deb: Ryb an Gorsav
Chris: By the Station

Rod: Yw henna pell?
Chris: Is that far?

Deb: Nag yw, le es kans lath.
Chris: No, less than a hundred yards.

Rod: Ha ple’ma boesti?
Chris: And where is there a restaurant?

Deb: Yma onan yn Tesco.
Chris: There’s one in Tesco’s.

Rod: Meur rasta
Chris: Thanks.

Gerva / Vocabulary

Stret – Street
Eglos – Church
Ledan – Broad, wide
Gorsav – Station
Pell – Far
Kans – Hundred
Lath – Yard (measure)
Boesti – Restaurant
Yma – There is, there are
Gav dhymm! – excuse me!

Kernewek – Lesson Two

Kernewek – Lesson Two (realplayer required)

Rod: Myttin da Deborah!
Chris: Good morning Deborah!

Deb: Myttin da Rod!
Chris: Good morning Rod!

Rod: Ple’ma Margaret?
Chris: Where’s Margaret?

Deb: Y’n gegin, dell brederav
Chris: In the Kitchen, I think

Rod: Meur rasta
Chris: Thanks.

(Chris: Perhaps she is in another room)
Deb: Y’n Chambour
Chris: In the Bedroom

(Chris: Or even…….)
Deb: Y’n Stevel-dybri
Chris: In the Dining-room

(Chris: Of course, there are other places around the house)
Deb: Ple’ma an bara?
Chris: Where’s the bread?

Rod: Y’n Amari
Chris: In the cupboard

Deb: Ple’ma an amanynn?
Chris: Where’s the butter?

Rod: Y’n Yeyner
Chris: In the fridge.

Gerva / Vocabulary

Ple’ma? – Where is?
(An) Gegin – (The) Kitchen
Chambour – Bedroom
Stevel-dybri – Dining-room
Bara – Bread
Amari – Cupboard
Amanynn – Butter
Yeyner – Fridge
Daras – Door
Hel – Hall
Lowarth – Garden
Y’n – In the