Archives For April 2013

Gustav Dore 1868 Illustration from 'Idylls of the King'

Gustav Dore 1868 Illustration from ‘Idylls of the King’

The idea of a lost city under the sea is an enduring and captivating myth! Atlantis has caught our collective imagination for a long time. Despite its status as a ‘myth’ there are always those who seek a reality to underpin it – and most would usually (deep down) want it to be true as well. So the lost land of Cornwall … are there really submerged towns and villages between Cornwall and the Scillies? We would love to think so….

During the reign of Alfred the Great (9th century) The Anglo-Saxon Chronicles were started (we know they were still being updated in the 12th century) and they detailed the history of the Anglo-Saxons (no surprises there). It is here that we get the first glimpse of a lost land. It was recored that on the 11th November 1099 the lands that bordered Cornwall were sunk beneath the waves during a terrible storm. Only one person survived (a Trevelyan) and he escaped by riding a white horse that rose from the waves. However, historical truth is a fickle and fragile thing and people have used the legend, forgotten it, resurrected it, changed it and generally made of it what they wish. Was the mainland connected to the Scillies? Did the sea levels change significantly over the centuries (or on one night as legend has it)? The Seven Stones Reef lies in the artea of Lyonesse and some refer to it as ‘The Town’ in memory of the many towns that were lost. In Mounts Bay there is said to be the remains of a sunken forest that can be seen at low tide. Fishermen occasionaly get parts of old building in their nets when trawling the area. And, of course, many have heard the muffled sounds of church bells ringing (there were said to have been 140 villages and churches) beneath the waves. Continue Reading…

By Benjaminevans82 at en.wikipedia [Public domain], from Wikimedia Commons

By Benjaminevans82 at en.wikipedia [Public domain], from Wikimedia Commons

A stunning bit of coastline between Newquay and Padstow – a great beach if you don’t mind the steps down to it (rebuilt by the National Trust)! But it isn’t those steps the name refers to. The ‘steps’ are large outcrops of rock that litter the beach and the sea at high tide (the beach disappears at high tide – you have been warned). Placed there, so legend has it, by the giant ‘Bedruthan’, presumably so he (or she) could skip along the stones without getting wet feet. Ummm. Or possibly (so a more cynical but possibly more realistic legend has it) the whole giant thing was a Victorian invention so more people would visit! Whatever the explanation, the views are dramatic and brilliant and the beach a total delight, but don’t get cut off at high tide….

So, what of ‘Knockers’? Knockers are a type of faery, not the pretty ones that flit about the woodland, but a grisly looking dwarf with a hook nose. They like to mine, usually far from the humans that used to populate the tin mines and proably in deeper places. Bedruthan was the site of a tin and iron mine and the Knockers were there too. Generally keeping out of the way of humans, but not to be trifled with or annoyed (you just might find yourself lost in a deep part of the mine). Being mischievious they might move your tools around, but generally they were benevolent (although in some tales they most definitely are not!). Some say they are still there, and walking on the beach you can sometimes hear the the tap tap’ of their picks deep in the mine now long gone from our world. Others say that the tapping noise is caused by the ghosts of the tin miners giving a warning when a disaster was about to happen. Knockers or ghosts (or dripping water)? Listen out for yourself and wonder what it is that causes the creepy noises…