War in Cornwall never really ceased until recent times, despite the west being out on a limb .. the Phoenicians and the Spanish … all used the English Channel approach – with Cornwall as a first line of attack …
|Perranporth Airfield - where Bob Scotney trained in the|
1950s ... and my step-grandfather helped change it into a
small airfield with a gliding club attached - where in
the 1960s I learnt to glide
Wessex was an Anglo-Saxon kingdom in the south of Britain, from 519 AD until the emergence of a unified English state during the early 10th century. We know that the Cornish were an obstreperous peoples … which the Saxon chiefs tried to drive out of Cornwall ... failing, as did the Romans before them, and William the Conqueror afterwards (1066 and all that) … let sleeping dogs lie and let them (to a point) administer themselves.
|Thomas Hardy's Wessex|
Spanish invaders ransacked the villages and coastline as they tried to conquer further inland during Tudor times (1485 – 1603) … inevitably the Cornish were along the seafaring route.
Henrv VII started building bigger ships – the navy came into existence; Henry VIII built his Device forts of which there are a few in Cornwall: on the Fal estuary: Pendennis Castle and St Mawes Castle; at Fowey - St Catherines Castle.
While in 1595, in Elizabeth I’s reign, the Battle of Cornwall took place – a Spanish naval fleet attacked Penzance, Mousehole, Paul and Newlyn … causing extensive damage.
Cornwall was a Royalist enclave in the generally Parliamentarian south-west during the Civil War (1642 – 1651). A number of battles took place … with the royalists losing out … these were on land and at sea.
At the end of the 1700s existing coastal fortifications were re-armed due to the threat of a French invasion before the outbreak of the Napoleonic Wars (1803 – 1815).
|Showing the west of Cornwall .. Falmouth Harbour,|
Lizard Point, Penzance (Mount's Bay), Perranporth is
north-east up the coast form St Ives
During the First World War German U-boats patrolled the English Channel sinking many merchant vessels and Royal Naval warships. A major airship station, RNAS Mullion, was constructed on the Bonython Estate on the Lizard peninsula.
|c/o Bonython Manor's site|
Garden Lovers, Poldark Lovers … this link takes you to Bonython Manor’s website … showing the gardens, and the sites of Poldark- locations …
Soldiers were quartered at Porthwrinkle – a small fishing village south east of Saltash (opposite Plymouth) – for training to fight in the trenches.
Penzance Harbour resumed the role it had played in the Napoleonic period as a naval base. Falmouth (deep water) Harbour became a drifter base and towards the end of the War a centre for ship repairs.
|Newlyn Harbour, looking across to Penzance in|
Cornwall played a major role in World War Two as it was at risk from air and sea … thousands of bombs fell, and there were even airborne landings of enemy troops. Ports were heavily defended, beaches protected by minefields, barbed wire, pillboxes and gun emplacements.
Military airfields were constructed … aircraft defended against enemy raiders, protected convoys of merchant shipping and engaged German U-boats.
|"For the Fallen" Memorial|
poem by Laurence Binyon ... it is
believed he wrote these words while
staying in Polzeath
D-Day and the Normandy Landings in 1944 … Cornwall played a major role in providing accommodation for the mass of American troops taking part in the landings. Troops were housed in bell tents forming temporary camps.
Further research is being made into the history of those stationed in Cornwall … memorials being erected, stories being told, friends and relatives being traced … the Cornish guard their history closely … all through time castles, forts and batteries have defended Cornwall from the land, the sea and the air.
To change the subject dramatically … Holy Wells, also known as Cloutie wells, are places of pilgrimage in Celtic areas.
They are wells or springs, almost always with a tree growing beside them, where strips of cloth or rags have been left, usually tied to the branches of the tree as part of a healing ritual.
|Madron Well - my mother lived in|
this village for a while; the spring
was Penzance's only supply of water
til the 1700s
Prayers of supplication are said to the spirit of the well ... in modern times usually a saint, but in pre-Christian times a goddess or local nature spirit … by or on behalf of those seeking healing or to honour the spirit of the well.
Sacred trees found at wells are usually Whitethorn (May), though Ash trees are also common … the rags all tapestried about …
I’m sure I have more information here … but as yesterday was V day and I’m still writing W (which I forgot about completely – my alphabet has 25 letters!!), X, Y and Z … all decided upon – I just need to W for write and am not going to research more on Holy Wells.
War in Cornwall gave me most of my thoughts on War … and I thankthem …
That is W for watery Wells, Wars in Cornwall – Where hasn’t there been a War ... from Aspects of British Cornish …
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