April/May Issue OUT NOW

The April/May issue of myCornwall is OUT NOW! 

Ahh, April and May are two of our favourite months of the year. The weather starts to get warmer, the festival season gets going and Cornwall blossoms with the new season (rain or shine…).

You may notice this issue we’ve got a particularly beautiful painting for our front cover. This is to celebrate our Art for All feature – a piece looking at how you can buy art without having to pay the big bucks. With Open Studio’s taking off at the end of May its the perfect read to get you thinking.

And speaking of art, we investigate the pioneering fashion industry that was Crysede, from its bright and bold patterns to its equally colourful history, we tell the story of Alec Walker’s empire. We also take a look back at another side of Cornwall’s history with the arrival of refugees during the Second World War and their stories which have lasted a lifetime.

From our list of top recommended outdoor eateries, things to do and a trip down to the ‘Willy Wonka’-esque world of Roskilly’s our April/May issue is one to have on hand as we get into the sunny season (hopefully, fingers crossed).

Pick up your copy in-store now, subscribe or download our digital version online!

 

 

MyCornwall Recommends – Duchy Ballet’s The Sleeping Beauty

The Sleeping Beauty

Fri 17 & Sat 18 March, 2017

2pm & 7.30pm

Duchy Ballet is performing The Sleeping Beauty, one of ballet’s best-loved and most romantic stories at the Hall for Cornwall this March. Based on the traditional fairytale, with an evocative score by Tchaikovsky, the audience will be taken on a journey to a kingdom of mystery and enchantment, where good triumphs over evil in a magical world. When Princess Aurora is cursed by the wicked Carabosse, the beautiful Lilac fairy softens the spell But will true love’s kiss be enough to save the day?

Nearly a hundred of Cornwall’s most talent dancers will appear alongside international award winning principal dancers, Laura Bosenberg and Thomas Thorne who are flying over from South Africa for the production.

Tickets are available from the Hall for Cornwall

www.hallforcornwall.co.uk

The Top Five Places to see Bluebells this spring

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Words & Pictures by Elizabeth Dale

At this time of year the turning of the seasons heralds the arrival of one of our most enigmatic native flowers – the bluebell.

My obsession with photographing this flower began a few years ago when I discovered Enys Gardens, near Penryn. Here in spring time the meadows simply explode into colour.  It really is a stunning sight on a sunny day.

It can be easy to take this little plant for grated when it is such a common sight in our gardens, hedgerows and parks, but after a long and dark winter what better way to celebrate the arrival of the sunny (hopefully) summer months than a day out to take in these little indigo beauties!

This is my guide to some of the best places in Cornwall to take in their calming splendour.

Enys Gardens, Penryn

Enys is considered the oldest formal garden in Cornwall, established in 1709.  In April/May the park land around the house, known as Parc Lye, comes alive with bluebells. The story is that this ancient parc hasn’t been ploughed for centuries so the little bluebells blubs have had plenty of time to thrive.  And what a sight they are!

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You may have to go back a couple of times to catch them at their best but believe me it is well worth the effort!  The Enys Bluebell Festival starts 29th April. http://www.enysgardens.org.uk/

 

 Godolphin House, Helston

This 700 year old estate is tucked away in rolling countryside just a few miles from the little town of Helston.  Owned by the National Trust this year their bluebell festival starts on April 17th and there are acres of peaceful woodland to explore and enjoy the carpet of flowers beneath the shady ancient trees.

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Pencarrow House, Bodmin

The gardens here combination formal landscaping with natural woodland and in the spring there is a dazzling display of more than 600 varieties of camellias and rhododendrons in bloom.  But one of the gardens best known attractions are the bluebells and wild garlic that simply carpet the woodland throughout spring.  There is free parking here and dogs are welcome too.

 

Antony Woodland, Torpoint

Antony House at Torpoint was the setting for Tim Burton’s fantastical film Alice in Wonderland and beside this National Trust house is the privately owned Antony Woodland Garden.  Here in spring a shaded area of trees known as the Cathedral becomes the stuff of daydreams where enchanting swathes of bluebells and wild garlic cover the ground, a really wonderful sensation for your senses.

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 Tehidy, Camborne

With around 250 acres of woodlands and miles of footpaths to explore Tehidy is one of the largest area of woodland in Cornwall.  Underneath the canopy of established native trees a whole variety of woodland plants and animals thrive and when the bluebells appear the scene becomes even more magical.  This is a great natural playground for the young and the not so young to discover!

Find more of my writing about hidden Cornwall on my blog https://cornishbirdblog.wordpress.com/

Sea Treasure – Handmade Cornish Gems.

We all know that Cornwall is a hot bed for creativity and beautiful design, and upon discovery of this unique Etsy store, we knew we had to share it to our online community.

Composed of Darren and Jools Fletcher, a husband and wife creative team from just outside St. Austell, Sea Treasure sources beautiful works of art from beach finds and cleans. With Darren creating solid resin pendants inspired by the undersea world, and Jools making mixed media artwork, and delicate tea light holders from sea glass, sea pottery, shells and driftwood, Sea Treasures would be a startling addition to every household.

Sea Treasures can be found on their Etsy Page here.

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MyCornwall’s Ultimate Pasty Maker 2017 – The Winners!

To coincide with the upcoming World Pasty Championships, myCornwall launched a poll celebrating who is the BEST Cornish Pasty Maker.

Amazingly, over 5,000 of you voted and now we can reveal the WINNER.

With over half of the overall votes, the winner is…. FERRELL’S BAKERY. 

We will be contacting Ferrell’s Bakery to let them know the good news.

We’d also like to give a massive shout out to 2nd place winner Sarah’s Pasties in Looe and 3rd place winner Mary’s Pasties on Grampound Road. 

 

Thank you so much to everyone who voted! Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for more Cornish/Pasty wonders and keep an eye out for our next poll!

The Singular Mr Daniel Gumb & his house of rocks

Walking out in to the silence of Bodmin moor when the sky is bright blue and the air is still there is a kind of rare peacefulness for me.  The whisper of the breeze though the dried grasses and the buzz of various flying beasties seems so loud in that vast open space.  Tricked by the recent wonderful weather I can almost imagine myself living out there in the still isolation.  I have forgotten the wild winter winds that you can barely stand up in and the horizontal hail stinging your cheeks.

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Daniel Gumb must have loved it too because in the 18th century he made this moor his home, in fact in a way he became more a part of it, and it of him, than most can boast.  He was a stone-cutter by trade and built his very own house out of the giant slabs of stone that litter this ancient landscape. While he was alive no one paid much mind to the strange stonemason living out on the moor but after his death his house became famous, a bit of a tourist attraction for the Victorian day-tripper as the picture below illustrates:

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It may surprise you to know that Daniel Gumb was not out there alone, he and his wife Florence had 6 children in their strange little stone house.  There is a description of it in Cornish Characters and Strange Events by S Baring-Gould published in 1908.  It says that while Gumb was hewing blocks of granite on the moors near to the famous Cheesewring he discovered an immense slab – “this it struck him might be made the roof of a habitation”.  He apparently excavated under the slab and built up walls to support it, the house had a chimney, lime-cement walls and was “sufficiently commodious” for Gumb, his wife and their 6 children. According to a description from 1802 it was like an artificial cavern of roughly 12 feet (4m ish) square.

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I have to admit looking at it today it is hard to imagine it as it is described by Baring-Gould.  But for me the location is hard to beat!  The wonderfully odd rock formation known as the Cheesewrings rises up just behind and empty moorland stretches out beyond the front door for as far as you can see.

He even carved diagrams with his chisel into the rocks lying about his home.  Maths is not my strongest suit but my reading tells me that they are something to do with the problems of the Greek mathematician Euclid . . . Gumb also carved his name and the date, 1735, beside what was his front door.

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Daniel Gumb died in 1776 at the age of 73 and his name has since disappeared into the moorland mist.  Hundreds of people come and visit this piece of the moor every year but they come to see the Cheesewrings.  Many pairs of walking boots stomp right passed this fascinating man’s front door without realising it.  I wonder what he would have made of it all.

Visiting Daniel Gumb’s house is easiest if you park at the car park in the village of Minions and walk from there, it’s an interesting walk which passes the Hurlers stone circles.  I have been told that the location of the house has changed and that it was moved from its original location when the neighbouring quarry expanded.  I am not sure how true that is but feel it needs a mention.

For more stories like this one follow the link to www.cornishbirdblog.wordpress.com/

 

The Darker Side of Cornwall’s Smuggling Past

Smuggling, the sneaky underbelly of Cornwall’s piratical history that has been with us for centuries. Evidence of this notorious trade in Cornwall is everywhere; a simple walk on the beach will reveal the caves and manholes beaten into the cliffs that these daredevil men used to transport stolen goods from sea to land. In most coastal towns and villages, there are rumours of  hidden passageways and a corrupt officials.

Now, along with smuggling expert Jeremy Rowett Johns, myCornwall takes a look at Cornwall’s darker side and its most notable figures.

 

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For the people of Cornwall, the idea of depriving the government of revenue extorted by high taxes was a legitimate activity, not to mention the increasing traffic flow of cheap alcohol made it a drunken one too.  To many, smuggling was a principal source of employment.

THE BANK OF SMUGGLING

 

No account of smuggling in Cornwall would be complete without reference to the isolated haven of Polperro and Zephaniah Job, the notorious ‘smugglers’ banker’.  In the 1770s the smuggling trade changed from a cottage industry into a highly lucrative business on a scale unrivalled elsewhere.

Job arrived in Polperro with ambitions of being a schoolmaster but he ended up acting as bookkeeper, general correspondent and advisor for the illiterate smuggler fishermen.  Zephaniah conducted business for nearly 30 years, between 1788 and 1804, give some indication of the scale of the trade. The sums he collected amounted to nearly £100,000: on average, the Polperro smugglers paid Job a total of nearly £6,000 a year over a 20 year period.

Job died at the age of 73 in January 1822 with an estate valued at £7,766 and no will. Most of his ledgers and account books were destroyed by a fire shortly after his death, possibly to destroy any incrimination evidence.

 

KING OF THE COVE

 

Perhaps one of the most notorious Cornish smugglers, who have since inspired countless playwrights, books and folklore, were the Carters of Prussia Cove, who catapulted smuggling into the fantastical legend it is beheld in today.

Residing in their haven of Prussia Cove in Mounts Bay, the celebrated gang consisting of brothers John and Harry Carter, ruled this side of the coast from 1770 to 1807. It was John Carter who took on the role as the self-styled ‘King of Prussia’.

 

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The Carter family had all the necessary credentials for exploiting the smuggling trade. Their home, Prussia Cove (originally Port Leah), was difficult to reach from the landward side, at least without being seen, but it offered convenient slipways for landing cargoes of goods. The Carter brothers were fine seamen and owners of two large vessels: a 19-gun cutter of 160 tons, and a 20-gun lugger, each with a crew of around 30 men and equipped with at least one smaller boat for close inshore work.

An uneasy truce appears to have existed between the Carters and the customs authorities at some times. Poorly paid and disliked by many, minor officials were unwilling to put their lives at risk apprehending smugglers, while others were more than happy to turn a blind eye in return for a bribe.

In 1803, the Carters’ property in Prussia Cove was offered for sale by auction, although some said this had been arranged to convince the authorities that the family were now ‘going straight’.  And in 1825, the building of a Coastguard Station at Prussia Cove put an end, once and for all, to the King of Prussia’s smuggling realm.

 

CRUEL BY NAME AND NATURE

 

The legends and folklore surrounding Cruel Coppinger make it difficult to distinguish truth from fantasy. According to legend, Coppinger was an evil and bloodthirsty fellow originating from Denmark, consumed with a need for money and power. Shipwrecked on the Cornish shores, he was the sole survivor of his crew, who waded through the stormy waters to land and leapt up on the horse of a young woman, riding off with her to her house and installing himself there, uninvited. Eventually, Coppinger won over the favour of the young woman, Dinah Hamlyn, and married her.

Coppinger and his band of smugglers, wreckers and pirates, known as the Cruel gang, ravaged and ruled the secluded footpaths of Cornwall, beheading Revenue Officers to ward off officials and terrorizing the English Channel aboard their ship, the Black Prince, luring Revenue cutters into shallow waters and wrecking them.

Cruel’s fearsome reign came to an end when pressure from the Revenue Officers finally became too much. It is said that Coppinger disappeared on a ship into the night, carried away with the wind and never seen again.

 

 

TODAYS SMUGGLING UNDERBELLY

In today’s twentieth century, the romantic allure of smuggling has long vanished with the past but the grit of it still remains in the underbelly of the UK’s drug gangs, who use many parts of the Cornish coast to try and smuggle in illegal drugs to dealers and distributors. This year a bust on a trawler in Falmouth containing what was believed to be £80million of cocaine shows that smuggling is still very much alive and ever as dangerous on these shores

 

SEA, SKY & SAILS – Beautiful Artwork by Donald MacLeod

The stunning images for this article were supplied by the maritime artist Donald MacLeod.  The St Ives artist specialises in historical paintings of famous ships and nautical battles, you can see more of his wonderful work in his gallery or alternatively contact him at:

01736 794665 or http://www.stivesgallery.co.uk/

 

Best of Cornish Feast Days

Around our lovely little county, we have so many traditions that truly showcase the quirkiness of our different communities. Following our piece about the colourful world of the Cornish saints in the latest issue of myCornwall – available to buy now – we thought we’d give our readers the insight into the best and brightest festivals and feast days. So grab your calendar and get marking down these days.

Top 4 Best Festivals

1: Golowan – (16th-25th June)

Probably one of the most well known festivals in Cornwall. Stretching over a week of festivities, and centering around Mazey Day, Penzance and surrounding areas comes alive in a riot of colour, music and dance. With street parties, live music and family-fun activities throughout the festive period, this is not one to miss.Parade-Crowds.c1

2: St Pirans Day (5th March)

Without a shadow’s doubt, St. Piran’s Day is the biggest party going. Celebrating the venerated miner’s saint, Cornwall gets decked out to celebrate this fantastic figure. No matter what town/village you’ll be in, there will be celebrations galore. Watch out for local schools performing traditional dances and local dress.

3: ‘Obby ‘Oss (1st May)

Centering around May Day, this Padstow-based festival has its origins in the 1600s. With the festivities starting at midnight, and maypole dancing throughout the day, this festival also has amusing hijinks throughout the day, with young maidens being ‘captured’ by the ‘Obby ‘Osses. If you want to see one of the more quirky Cornish festivals, this is the one to see.

4: Tom Bawcock’s Eve (23rd December)

One of the most famed West Penwith festivals, this night kicks off the Christmas period for many. The village of Mousehole really comes into its own over Christmas, thanks to its world-famous lights, and the Yuletide celebration culminates in this celebration and memorial of legendary fisherman, Tom Bawcock. With Stargazy pie being served up and Bawcock’s exploits being celebrated, this is a real community event that always guarantees a crowd and a sing-song.

 

Significant Feast Days

  • St Hilary Feast Day – Closest Sunday to the 13th January
  • Ludgvan Feast – Monday and Sunday closest to the 29th January
  • St Kew Feast Day – 8th May
  • St Ives Feast Day (Saint Ia) – 5th/6th February
  • Ludgvan Feast – Closest Sunday/Monday to the 25th January
  • St Breward Festival – 22nd February
  • Porthleven Feast Day – 22nd February
  • Davidstow Feast Day -1st March
  • St Pirans Day – 5th March
  • Zennor Festival – 6th May
  • St Michael’s Feast Day – 8th Day
  • St Buryan Festival – 13th May
  • St Petroc’s Feast Day – 4th June
  • Gulval Festival – 6th June
  • Mawgan Festival – 8th June
  • Porthleven Festival – 29th June
  • St Austell Feast – Early July
  • St Neot Feast – 31st July

 

If you’ve got any other significant dates that you think we should add, please don’t hesitate to contact us via our social media!

myCornwall’s Twitter

myCornwall’s Facebook

Call for Art: Lizard Art Spring Fair

Calling all artists!

Now in its fourth year, and going strength to strength, artists working in Cornwall are invited to submit their work for the Lizard Art Spring Fair, held at Stableyard Gallery at Trelowarren.

Each artist can submit up to 3 pieces of work to be considered, and application forms can be downloaded from:

www.lizardart.co.uk

Application must be completed by Wednesday 8th February, and any selected artwork must be handed in to the gallery on Saturday 25th February.

The exhibition will run from Sunday 5th March-26th March, and is working proudly with the Truro-based iSight Cornwall charity.

Janet Judge, chair of Lizard Art, said: “The show has gone from strength to strength. Last year we received some outstanding quality artwork, making it a difficult process whittling down the entries to a manageable amount that we could exhibit. We are hoping to go even further this year and hope to give the viewer a varied and exciting exhibition”

Any further queries should be emailed to:

lizardart-fair@hotmail.com

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Miracle Theatre Presents Cinderella – Theatre Review

Despite Christmas being over, the very English unique world of the pantomime infiltrates the subconsciousness of everyone who has seen one. Just before Christmas, we were invited to see the opening night of Miracle Theatre’s production of Cinderella in the beautiful location of Falmouth’s Princess Pavilions. Upon arrival, we were presented with a glass of the Polgoon Vineyard’s limited edition glass of their Strawberry Aval fizz, which certainly added a touch of sparkle to the evening’s festivities.

When it comes to pantomimes, there is a challenge on how to retell a very familiar story and make it different. However, Miracle managed to do with a interesting twist on giving the story, but also a glimpse into the humorous back stage antics through the use of some hilarious stunts and translucent material.  I found this particularly enjoyable as it added another dimension to the action, and give the audience another thing to watch when scenery was being altered between acts. cinderella
With well done drama, humour and suspense, it thrilled the whole audience. Also, with slightly risque jokes it appealed to the adults, yet never felt too grown-up or unsuitable for the younger viewers. Highlights were the hilariously executed stepsisters (with brilliant new names; Anesthesia and Euthanasia), the charming and very down-to-earth character of Ratty, and the hapless Prince Fairly Charming.

In all of their productions, Miracle Theatre always put their own lovable spins on the tales they tell. There’s always a slight undercurrent of anarchy, magic and quirkiness which makes them appeal to all audiences. Despite the festive period over, we know that Miracle will be back over the summer for bigger and wackier plays.

Check out their website and social media links to keep up to date.

Miracle’s Facebook

Miracle’s Twitter

 Miracle’s Website 

 

Image credit – Miracle Theatre, Photos by Kirstin Prisk.
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