Hundreds of additional titles available for
online reading when you join Gateway to the Classics
 CORNWALL is not like the rest of England; the natives
have habits of their own, and some remains of a
language of their own. The land itself is not like that
of other counties, and the people have unusual ways of
earning their living.
Cornwall is at the very end of England, the southwest
end; it is a sort of horn, stretching out into a stormy
sea, which washes it all round except on the Devon
side, and on this side the river Tamar nearly makes an
island of it.
The Saxons called this out of the way corner
"Cornwall," which means the horn of the strangers or
foreigners, because here the Britons held their own for
from four to five hundred years against the invaders
who had conquered the rest of the country.
The descendants of the Britons still occupy Cornwall,
and though they no longer speak the ancient Cornish
tongue, they have words and ways yet which show their
This county is in itself a history of England, the most
ancient of all histories, to be read, not in printed
books, but in rocks and ruins and in strange folk-lore;
a history which carries us back to days before those
when King David ruled in Israel.
Its rocks are made of granite, an exceedingly fine,
hard stone, which takes a high polish, and is beautiful
to adorn our churches, and firm and durable enough to
 support our bridges. This granite formation goes
through the whole length of Cornwall, from Devon to
Land's End, rising in huge bosses here and there, and
giving a peculiar character to the country.
For granite is no friend to the farmer; there is seldom
any depth of soil upon it. Though, here and there, even
upon the moors, there are coltiTated patches and trees,
much of central Cornwall is waste moorland.
Entering the county from Devon by the Cornwall Bailway,
we cross Mr. Brunei's wonderful Suspension Bridge at
Saltash. This bridge carries the railway from the hills
of Devon to those of Cornwall at a height of 100 feet
above the water of the Tamar estuary, which is here
wider than the Thames at Westminster. The bridge is
about half a mile long, and is a marvel of engineering
Saltash itself, inhabited by fishermen, stands on the
steep bank of the Tamar, the old houses rising in rows
one above another.
Going on by rail to Liskeard, we pass through country
full of hills and hollows and deep gorges, but not by
any means bare. This part of Cornwall is richly wooded
with all kinds of forest trees and many apple orchards.
Between the four towns of Liskeard, Bodmin, Camel-ford,
and Launceston, lies the Bodmin Moor, the dreariest and
wildest tract in Cornwall, though it is not without an
interest of its own.
The town of Liskeard stands upon rather high
well-cultivated land; it is a good point from which to
cross the moors.
 FOR many miles the waste stretches away without any
break except the rounded moor hills. These are
commonly capped with cairns, formed of huge blocks of
granite heaped together in fantastic shapes. These
cairns tell a tale of their own, and are a bit of very
early history. The Britons loved to bury their famous
warriors upon their hill-tops; and, to make the graves
the more conspicuous, they piled cairns upon them, that
men who came after should say, "Some warrior lies
here." The coffin was often placed upon the top of the
cairn, and was a great stone chest, or Kistvaen.
Sometimes the kistvaen was placed in a mound of earth,
or barrow, which, also, it was the custom to place upon
a hill-top. There are many such barrows on the hills in
the north of Cornwall. The slopes of the moor hills are
usually strewn with great blocks of granite.
Rowtor bristles all over with cairns, perhaps more than
any hill on the moor. These cairns are formed of the
largest blocks of granite in Cornwall, lodged on one
another in a curious way, and giving Rowtor a
magnificent appearance, more grand and rugged than any
mountain in Cornwall, though it is not quite the
highest. Under the north side of this hill are many of
the circles of unhewn stone which are supposed to be
the foundations of the round huts, with pointed roofs,
which were the homes of the ancient people.
Not far from Rowtor is Brown Willy, the highest of the
Cornish hills (1368 feet). It is perhaps more
 beautiful than its neighbour, if not so grand. Granite
cairns surmount the crest of Brown Willy, but its sides
are less rugged than those of Rowtor.
Near this mountain is one of the many valleys, or
bottoms, as they are called, which furrow the Cornish
moors; most of them, like this, are occupied by
stream-works, some disused and some in full force. The
tin which has made Cornwall famous for more tjian 2000
years is generally to be found in granite; and when, in
the course of ages, the granite becomes worn down, much
of the tin is dislodged, and sinks in grains to the
bottoms. It is supposed that the tin for which the
Romans came to Cornwall, before they had conquered
Britain, was obtained by streaming, that is, by sending
a stream of water through the bottom with force enough
to carry away the earthy matter, and so leave the
heavier tin exposed. The most important stream-works of
Cornwall are on or near the south coast.
The stranger who ventures across Bodmin Moor may easily
find himself in one of the deep bogs which fill up the
lowland, as the moor is apt to be wrapped in thick
sea-fogs which rise without warning; or the traveller
may be nearly blinded by such storms of wind, full of
sea-spray or pelting rain, as only Cornwall knows.
Dozmare Pool is one of the marvels of the moor.
Launceston has a remarkable ruined castle, surrounded
by three walls. It was very loyal to Charles I. during
the Civil War.
Bodmin, near the borders of the Moor, was once the
largest town in Cornwall; it is still the county town
and the assizes are held here, but it is not otherwise
of much importance.
KING ARTHUR AND TINTAGEL
 LEAVING the moor at Camelford, and turning a little to
the north, we come to Slaughter Bridge, where the hero
of British romance, the fair King Arthur, received his
mortal wound in battle with his ungrateful nephew
Beyond the bridge, upon the coast, is Tintagel Castle,
the birthplace of the king.
Nothing remains of the old castle but its ruined walls,
dark and solemn, rising out of the rock on which they
are built as if they were part of it.
Tintagel Castle is a fitting spot to have been the home
of the hero-king. It is built upon a high headland,
one of the most wild and beautiful spots in Cornwall.
The walls, of rude stone, with china clay for mortar,
still cover a great space, and show the square
apertures through which King Arthur's knights may have
aimed their arrows, and the low-arched entrances under
which they must have come and gone.
About three miles to the north of Tintagel is
Boscastle; the town stands on a steep hill which rises
out of furze-covered valleys; and the harbour of
Boscastle is one of the sights of Cornwall. It is one
of the little lovely inlets, or porths, as they are
called, which- break every part of the Cornish
coast,—sheltered coves bordered by high cliffs. The
cliffs between Boscastle and Tintagel are of slate, so
curiously broken and storm-worn as to look like huge
Still in the slate district, about seven miles south of
Boscastle, are the Delabole quarries, three enormous
pits, with dark-blue hills of rubbish all about, where
a thousand men are employed in quarrying the slate.
 CORNWALL is a great mining county; barren and poor as
the moors look, they have a wealth of their own, for
the tin for which Cornwall has been famous for these
2000 years is held in their granite crust.
Right through Cornwall, from Devon to the Land's End,
tin is found, either in bottoms, from which it is got
by streaming, or the tin ore runs in veins or lodes
below the surface. These veins vary in width from an
inch to some yards, and usually run in a direction from
east to west. A shaft is sunk and a mine opened where a
good lode has been found. Some of the largest mines are
on or near the south coast, as St. Austell, St. Blazey,
Carclaze. The last is a very interesting mine, as it is
open to daylight, and crowds of men and horses may be
seen at work; it is a huge, white, silvery pit, in the
side of a black moor hill, and looks like an opening
into a mountain of silver. Now, and indeed since the
time of Queen Elizabeth, most of the tin used in Europe
is brought from Cornwall.
Truro, which stands on an inlet of the sea called
Truro River, is in the centre of a mining country, and
exports tin; it is really the busiest and most
important town in Cornwall; a clear rivulet runs
through the town, and is led through every street. It
has paper-mills, foundries, smelting-houses, and, in
the museum, a collection of Cornish birds.
Henry Martyn, the eastern missionary, was the son of a
miner of Truro.
Copper ore is as abundant as tin in the granite, and
the veins run in the same general direction; the
 copper-mining country lies to the south of Truro; and
Eedruth is the centre of a famous district, which
includes Gwennap, St. Agnes, and Illogan. Heaps of
rubbish upon which no green thing will grow disfigure
the country; and there is little of interest to be
seen, as the works are underground.
When a good lode has been found, a well-like shaft is
sunk to a great depth; then, running out from this, at
a distance of 60 or 100 feet below one another, long
galleries or tunnels are driven, so as to enable the
miner to get at the metal. These underground leveh in
the Gwennap mines measure altogether 60 miles.
There is always much water in the mines, which must be
got rid of by pumping, and an engine capable of raising
water from a depth of 2000 feet is employed.
The miners go to work dressed in flannel, the best kind
of clothing to absorb perspiration, though in the lower
levels of the deep mines they work naked to the waist;
for it is a curious fact that the lower we go in a mine
the warmer it becomes. There is little to be seen in
such a mine; though there may be hundreds of men at
work in the miles of underground galleries, they work
quietly, each by himself breaking down the ore by the
light of a candle fixed to his hat with a lump of clay.
A visit to Botallack, near St. Just, might be a little
exciting, as that mine and a few others run under the
sea, and the miners may hear the roar of the waters
The underground miners, or tributers, as they are
called, like their work, as they have a share in the
profits,—so much for every pound of ore they get. They
are as a rule clever, good-looking men, and are very
generally teetotallers and Wesleyans.
 The Cornish miners owe a great debt to Wesley; about a
hundred and fifty years ago they were so wild and
drunken a set that strangers were afraid to venture
into Cornwall, which was then known as Barbary, and its
people as barbarians.
Into this wild country John Wesley came, earnestly
desiring that the Cornishmen should live as pagans no
longer. They pelted him, mocked him, nearly killed him,
but he would not be driven from among them. He went
from end to end of the county, preaching, teaching,
pleading, until at last the hard hearts were broken,
and wherever Wesley preached, in pit or on moorside,
they came in crowds to hear. Often he would preach upon
the desolate moors far into the night, the sound of his
voice being broken only by the sobs of the listening
His work has not passed away.
To this day the Cornish men live sober, earnest lives,
and every Whitsun Monday, which day they keep as their
anniversary, between 20,000 and 30,000 people collect
in the great Gwennap Pit, where he so often preached to
the miners, to celebrate the memory of Wesley.
THE PILCHARD FISHERY
TWICE every year, in July and August, and again in
October and November, the Cornish folk all along the
south coast are busy with the pilchard fishery. The
pilchard is a fish found only about the Cornish and
Devon coasts; it is rather smaller than a herring, but
so like it that only people who are accustomed to
 pilchards can tell one from the other. The pilchards
spend the winter in the deep waters to the west of the
Scilly Isles; when spring comes they begin to collect
in small shoals, and about the beginning of July,
millions of them gather together under the "Pilchard
King" and make for the shore with such force that the
foremost ones are driven upon the beach. Now is the
time for the fishermen. Huers (callers) have been
watching upon the headlands for some time—solitary men
gazing out to sea, with glass fixed upon the most
distant spot at which the pilchards will begin to
darken the waters. Heva, heva, hevaf (found) they cry,
and at once all is bustle in the villages below, where
the people have been on the watch for this signal.
Boats are manned; the great Seine net, perhaps 300
yards long, is taken out, and millions of pilchards are
caught in a single taking. They are kept in the sea,
enclosed in the net, for perhaps a week, being taken to
shore a few thousands at a time, as fast as the girls
and women can salt them. The casks of pilchards are
mostly sent to Italy and Spain, Roman Catholic
countries, where fish must be eaten many days in the
year. St. Ives is one of the fishing towns; it is very
pretty and picturesque, but has a strong odour of
pilchards. About 10,000 persons are employed in this
LAND'S END AND THE LIZARD
THE Land's End, the most westerly point of England, is
a large rampart of granite cliffs, which seems to have
been set where it is to resist the fury of the
 Atlantic storms. Perhaps the fact is, that land which
lay beyond this point has been washed away. The point
which juts farthest into, the sea is about 60 feet
high, and is pierced by a Ťort of natural tunnel; on
either side are still higher cliffs. Below these cliffs
are huge rocks against which the sea is constantly
breaking, and in the cliffs are caverns, many of them
large enough to hold twenty men, with smooth, shining
walls of granite polished by the action of the waves.
People usually visit Land's End from Penzance, a pretty
little town ten miles distant, where nearly every
building is of granite. It stands on the beautiful and
sheltered Mounts Bay, where the climate is so mild that
Penzance is famous for its early vegetables. Southern
flowers which will only grow in greenhouses in other
parts of England flourish here in the open air.
About 30 miles from the Land's End are the Scilly
Islands, a large group of islands formed of granite,
six of which are inhabited. They seem to continue the
granite highlands of Cornwall, and there is a tradition
that they were once joined to the mainland by the "
sweet land of Lyonesse," where some of King Arthur's
battles were fought. But this land, with all its people
and more than one hundred churohes, was swept away by a
sudden rising of these stormy seas. So at least says
The whole of the projection forming the heel of
Cornwall, which ends in Lizard Head, is formed of a
beautiful rock called serpentine, perhaps because it
has streaks resembling the skin of a serpent. It is
generally of an olive-green colour. The Lizard
district approached from inland is rather a dreary
 but its soil favours one beautiful plant, the white
Cornish heath, the rarest and most beautiful of English
There are two large lighthouses upon Lizard Point, but
notwithstanding this precaution many ships are lost in
foggy weather off this dangerous headland; the cliffs
are so steep that it is impossible to send help from
shore to a sinking ship. The most beautiful sight at
the Lizard is Kinance Cove. A snow-white beach, washed
by a blue sea; a background of cliffs, green and purple
and red; pebbles of gorgeous colours strewed on the
white sand; the cliffs pierced by caverns with polished
walls of all beautiful colours, fresh and glowing from
a sea-bath—these are some of the beauties of Kinance
Cove. The three chief caverns are named the Parlour,
the Drawing-room, and tho Kitchen.
St. Michael's Mount, upon which was a chapel dedicated
to the archangel, looks down upon the cove. Near it is
the old town of Helstone.
Penryn, famous for its beautiful granite (of which
Waterloo Bridge is made), and Falmouth, are the last
places of interest we can notice.
Falmouth Harbour is one of the finest in England; the
town itself consists only of one long, narrow street,
which straggles along by the side of the water.
Cornwall is a Duchy, settled upon the eldest son of the
sovereign of England.