We aimed to show Julia and Allan some parts they hadn’t seen before, and started with a trip to Falmouth on the train (a bargain £6.20 return) to then catch the ferry to St Mawes. The station is at one end of Falmouth and the Prince of Wales pier at the other so an enjoyable walk is taken along the busy High Street…
Along the way you pass one of a very few churches dedicated to King Charles 1, Sir Peter Killigrew of the nearby Arwenack Manor providing the land, and the money mainly coming from King Charles II (quite right too).
The pier is always busy, and it is always exciting to watch your ferry coming in….
The estuary was particularly busy today and in the far distance we could see a group of enormous ships on the horizon. On asking the ferryman it seemed that these were freighters awaiting orders. This was of interest because we had just been talking about the phrase ‘Falmouth For Orders’…’Whilst ships were returning to England, often on a voyage of several months, merchants would explore the markets to find the best port to land the goods. They had no means of communicating with the ships whilst at sea, so ships were often told to sail for “Falmouth for Orders”. Falmouth, being the first large port on The Channel, provided a “holding pen” for ships with incoming cargoes whilst their final destination was being decided and communicated. The ships were often badly in need of repair and supplies from their journey across the Atlantic so during the wait they could be restocked and patched up. It is thought the practice and possibly also the phrase originated in the late 17th century, soon after the Royal Mail Packet Station was established at Falmouth which involved relatively fast communications with London’.
As always it was interesting to pass close to St Mawes Castle with its twin across the bay Pendennis Castle still in site. these are two of the best preserved of King Henry VIII’s coastal fortifications.
It is a pleasant experience to walk along the front at St Mawes looking at the marvellous houses, all in fine fettle because of their wealthy owners…
and the little streets above are also full of interest…
and it was very pleasant indeed to sit for a few moments in The Grammar School garden which not many people seem to know about and watch the maritime goings-on
we also made a nostalgic visit to the garage where we called with our Mini in the 1970’s…the pumps are a little bit older!
and we were here to have a nice lunch on the balcony of the Hotel Inspector’s own hotel The Tresanton now expanded onto the cliffs below with a BBQ area and jazzy sun area…
the meal was enjoyed despite the threat of dark clouds…in the event they held off.
Pity we couldn’t have the mediterranean colours we have so often enjoyed in this area, but ‘rain-free’ at the moment is a bonus!
Nearer to home, we explored the church at Duloe with its slightly leaning tower.The tower is mainly 13th century, the Coleshull chantry chapel and the overarching perpendicular-style character of the church is late 15th century, while the remainder of the fabric, with the exception of reinstated architectural details and fittings, is the result of a regrettably, if perhaps necessarily, thorough Victorian rebuilding!
We also examined the petite stone circle in a field opposite the church….Nestled unobtrusively in the corner of a field beside a Cornish hedge stands Duloe stone circle, the smallest stone circle in Cornwall (is it the smallest stone circle anywhere?!). The flat ridge top on which it lies is flanked half a mile to either side by deep valleys containing the Looe and West Looe rivers. The circle is in many respects unique, consisting of eight large and irregular white quartz blocks set in a pattern of alternating large and small stones. Seven of the stones are upright with one fallen. The ‘circle’ appears to have been set out by eye in an ovoid design, elongated in a north-south direction. There is a lead lode which outcrops two miles to the north of Duloe which may be the source of the stones.
Restoration carried out in the mid 1800s included the removal of a hedge that ran through the middle of the circle and incorporated two of the original stones. It is also thought that there was some attempt to re-erect the fallen stone but unfortunately part of it broke off and the fragment has now vanished from the site. During this early attempt at restoration, a Bronze Age ribbon handled urn was discovered which contained cremated human bone. There is some discrepancy over accounts of this discovery – whether the urn was found beneath the fallen stone or recovered from the hedge that bisected the site. WC Borlase inferred from the discovery that there may have been a raised mound or stony cairn within the circle and it does seem reasonable to interpret the monument as the impressive kerb or peristalith of an imposing Bronze Age burial monument. In support of this it has been noted that there are no accompanying megalithic monuments in the vicinity and no alignments to other sites or horizon features, although the stones do roughly align to the points of the compass suggesting a possible ceremonial observance of astronomical events.
Shortly after WC Borlase’s publication on Cornish antiquities (Nænia Cornubiæ, 1872), the site became know as “The Druids Circle” and appears as such on the Ordnance Survey map of 1880. The connection between stone circles and the Druid religion was popular in the 17th and 18th centuries, made so in part by the antiquarians John Aubrey and William Stukeley, but this idea has now been largely discredited.
The nearby settlement of Stonetown, first recorded in 1329 is probably referring to the stone circle at Duloe. The circle can be accessed via a signposted track between two houses in Higher Stonetown to the south-west’.
Saturday evening we caught the bus into Looe and walked to Hannafore where the Looe carnival procession was gathering…
A walk on the upper lanes then gave us a bird’s eye view
before we descended to watch the procession proper which was highly old-fashioned and highly entertaining…
we just made the last bus back to St Keyne.
What seemed like an excellent idea and started off well on the Sunday – a drive along the coast to Mount Edgcumbe became a little less enjoyable when we joined heavy traffic. A classic car show was being attended by thousands.
Nevertheless we still enjoyed our tour of the house (if very disappointed by the lack of guides and information)
Making an executive decision we cancelled our lunch at The Orangery and drove the short distance to Kingsand and Cawsand where we found a nice quiet spot in the Halfway House Inn for a late lunch. The stroll through both villages is always delightful..with plenty of opportunity for photos….
Sometimes you feel that days out in this area of South East Cornwall where we live are like stepping back a few decades..nice!