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  • Writer's pictureGethin Thomas

Mylor, Cornwall

There are a lot of Mylors in Mylor. Mylor Bridge, Mylor Creek and Mylor Churchtown. We were staying between Mylor Bridge and Mylor Churchtown on Mylor Creek.

These are some photos of the area and the church as there are some beautiful sights and some fascinating local history and someone controversially gets shot and dies.

This is Mylor Harbour below, the clue is the boat. Having said that there are boats everywhere so maybe not such a big clue as they are all along the creek. The creek is tidal and forms with Falmouth inlet an oblong of land jutting out where there is a village called Flushing. I love the word Oblong, and the place name Flushing.

Oblong - a rectangular object or flat figure with unequal adjacent sides. Late Middle English: from Latin oblongus ‘longish’.

I only wish that decades ago I could have told my Math teacher that Oblong just meant Longish. The other shapes we were taught could have been circlish and trianglish and squarish. That would have been so much more interesting. In fact if a longish square is an oblong shouldn't a square just be a shortish. What about parallelogramish, or dodecahedronish?

So picture an oblong with the bottom edge being the Falmouth inlet and the top edge being Mylor Creek. The left hand joins to the mainland and the right hand edge is The Carrick Roads an even bigger inlet off the English Channel.

All of this water is essentially one big Ria. A sunken river valley with small tributaries which is flooded by the sea. That's if you are interested in Geography, which I am. If not, it is just a popular boating area and holiday destination in the South west of England in Cornwall where the weather is much milder and it rarely freezes. (See my post on the nearby Trebah Garden)

The tidal flow in the Carrick Roads is 3.5 miles per hour in the upper reaches. So be warned, you might have to run.

This is Mylor Creek at High Tide. At Low Tide it is mud, albeit a thriving wildlife zone of mud.

Here is the mud. No boating at Low Tide.

At Mylor Churchtown you'll find the main harbour hereabouts, where there are lots of boating facilities, like cranes, and workshops, storage and pontoons and Cannoli. Yes, boating people attract great eating places with trendy foods with lovely scenic views and it seems, Cannoli, little pastries with sweetened cream cheese in them which are a nice follow on from a bacon roll.

The Cannoli is Sicilian in origin and Cannoli means little tubes. As with several Italian food words used in English we have adopted the plural as a singular. So we speak of a Cannoli or a Ravioli when strictly speaking an Itallian would use a Cannolo or a Raviollo. Of course as we never eat only one strand of Spaghetti, we get that one right, as one strand of Spaghetti would be a Spaghetto which is confusing for those Brits who actually eat Spahetti O's or as we call them Spaghetti Hoops. This means we are actually eating Spaghetti O's made up of single Spaghetto O's. Or up North where they drop their H's Spaghetti Oops. Spaghetti Hoops (I'm not from the North) come already cooked, in tins, in a rich sticky sweet Uranium orange sauce.

That same colour Uranium orange glaze on some 1930's Art Deco pottery is in fact radioactive and it is advised to handle it with gloves or not at all.

But I digress.

Here they carry out the expensive practice of maintaining boats. Someone once said to me there are two great experiences involved with owning a boat. The day you buy it and the day you sell it.

This is a small creek off Mylor Creek, below, so it is a creek off a creek off a ria. Here was built a boat, and there is a small sign to commemorate it.

This tiny creek actually has a name, Trelew. Back in the day as the expression goes, in 1878 to be exact, a team of craftsmen under Thomas Gray, using only handtools, built "The Hobah" a 77 ton ketch, right here. The local farmer provided the land on which to build it in return for shares in the boat. It was launched in 1879. A robust boat, she spent most of her life transporting bulk materials including local granite. One of her claims to fame was in delivering the local dressed granite from Cornwall to Ireland which was used to build the Fast Net Rock Lighthouse. By 1947 she was de-registered and was eventually abandoned on the River Torridge where her remains can still be seen.

Hobah was a place in the Bible, in theory North of Damascus. It's where the four kings who pillaged Sodom and Gomorrah were pursued by Abraham to rescue his kidnapped nephew Lot. It is a sorry tale in which Lot offers his virgin daughters to a raging mob and his wife turns into a pillar of salt because she looked behind her. Personally, I'm not sure I would have saved Lot, as he doesn't seem to be very nice, I would have been tempted to let the four kings keep him as he would have brought them a Lot of bad luck.

It reminds me of the plot for the movie "Ruthless People" where Bette Midler plays the part of Danny De Vito's dreadful wife who gets kidnapped. Danny DeVito's character is so glad to be rid of her he refuses to pay the ransom.

Fastnet Lighthouse is a 54m high lighthouse situated on the remote Fastnet Rock in the Atlantic Ocean. It is the most southerly point of Ireland and lies 6.5 kilometres (4.0 mi) southwest of Cape Clear Island and 13 kilometres (8.1 mi) from County Cork on the Irish mainland.The current lighthouse is the second to be built on the rock and is the tallest in Ireland.

The new lighthouse was designed by William Douglass and built under the supervision of James Kavanagh. Construction started in 1897 with the levelling of the site, and the first of 2,047 Cornish granite dovetailed blocks was laid in June 1899. As well as these blocks, weighing 4,300 tons in total and with a volume of 58,093 cubic feet (1,645.0 cubic metres), a further 4,100 cubic feet (120 cubic metres) of granite was used to fill the inside of the tower up to the level of the entrance floor 58 feet (18 m) above high-water mark. Kavanagh personally set every stone, which weighed between 1¾ and 3 tons. The new lighthouse entered service on 27 June 1904 having cost nearly £90,000.

The Hobah , a painting by Jan Robson

Mylor Bridge is the largest village of the Parish. This being Cornwall the other settlements of the Parish are Angarrick, Carclew, Flushing and Restronguet Passage.

As you know by now, my habit is to list other weird and wonderful Cornish names nearby when I make a post about Cornwall. So on this occasion we have Feock, Perranaworthal (No swimming here as the fish bite), Ponsanooth, Goon Piper, Bohortha, Bareppa, Nancenoy, Lezerea, Releath, Crelly and Bodilly.

My favourite is Goon Piper, wouldn't you just love that on your address. You would have to name your house Poon Giper though.

The Parish name originally derives from Saint Melor. Why the Y replaced the E is lost in the distant past of illiteracy, where most people couldn't write and those that could, couldn't spell.

I was going to write the church history next but having read it, I don't understand any of it and I think I am literate. So I will copy and paste it verbatim and see if you can make any sense of it. It seems to all revolve around mud thefts.

Mylor was in medieval times in the episcopal manor and peculiar deanery of Penryn and was also the mother church of Mabe. In 1277 there was a dispute between the Bishop of Exeter and the Earl of Cornwall over sand and soil which was being carried away from the glebe land of Mylor by agents of the Earl. In 1278 this was settled by the Bishop lifting the threat of excommunication he had made and redistributing the large sum of money he had collected as custom duty for the sand and soil. Bishop Peter Quinel gave the church and church land to the provostship of Glasney College in exchange for the deanery of Probus in 1288.

So that is clear then, money.

In any case this is the tiny doll's house church with it's triple bell doll's house church tower. It nestles in a dip on the hillside overlooking the harbour.

The church is dedicated to St. Melorous. It has Norman origins and was added to in the 15th century.

A rather beautiful and interesting Lychgate, which is late 19th century features a central coffin rest, filled in cattle grids either side and two recessed benches. Carrying a coffin was heavy work and the steps up to the gate from the church are many and quite steep. Here the pallbearers could lower the coffin on to the coffin rest to catch their breath. The cattle grids were to prevent stray animals entering the churchyard. This is a multi purpose tiny building with all the extras. A tiny four legged friend of mine called Jack just sneaked into this shot.

Lychgate is notable in having five consecutive consonants in the word. However the winner of this contest is Latchstring which has six. Neither are any use for Wordle though.

A pall is a heavy cloth that is draped over a coffin. Thus the term pallbearer is used to signify someone who "bears" the coffin which the pall covers. In Roman times, a soldier wore a cape or cloak called the pallium. In medieval times the term pallium was shortened to pall. Christians would use a pall to cover their loved ones when burying them.

They thought of everything here, even providing a flight of stone steps on the left for parishioners to more easily mount their horses.

It boasts two towers, a very small one attached to the church itself by aisle-width buttresses and another detached C 17 weather-boarded bell tower. (A Cornish Journey)

"The porch on the south side, is richly decorated with a lovely ogee moulded headstone. Alongside is some graffiti from the C18 which one must deplore in principle but enjoy for the typography and effort that went into it: this was not scratched in a moment."

An unusual sight in an English churchyard where the Yew is a more common sight.

Araucaria araucana (commonly called the monkey puzzle tree or Chilean pine) is an evergreen tree growing to 1–1.5 m (3–5 ft) in diameter and 30–40 m (100–130 ft) in height. It is native to central and southern Chile and western Argentina. Araucaria araucana is the hardiest species in the conifer genus Araucaria. Because of the prevalence of similar species in ancient prehistory, it is sometimes called a living fossil. It is also the national tree of Chile. (Wikipedia)

Even on this interior pillar there is later graffiti.

Much of the floor inside the church is made up of memorials.

Below a memorial to Captain John Haswell of HMS Echo.

HMS Echo, launched in 1797 at Dover, was a sloop-of-war in the Royal Navy. She served on the Jamaica station between 1799 and 1806, and there captured a small number of privateers. The Navy sold her in 1809 and she became a whaler. She made four complete whale-hunting voyages but was wrecked in the Coral Sea in April 1820 during her fifth whaling voyage.

The Jamaica Station was a formation or command of the United Kingdom's Royal Navy stationed at Port Royal in Jamaica from 1655 to 1830. The station was formed, following the capture of Jamaica, by assembling about a dozen frigates in 1655. The first "Admiral and General-at-Sea" was Sir William Penn. Its main objectives in the early years were to defend Jamaica and to harass Spanish ports and shipping.

Sir William Penn's son also William Penn went on to found the US state of Pennsylvania.

In 1681, King Charles II handed over a large piece of his North American land holdings along the North Atlantic Ocean coast to Penn to pay the debts the king had owed to Penn's father, the admiral and politician Sir William Penn. This land included the present-day states of Pennsylvania and Delaware.

A monument to Francis Trefusis, one of the MPs for Penryn in 1679, dated 1680. Parts of the inscription appear to be in Greek, Latin and English.

The rear of the church showing the many memorials and monuments.

The interior of the miniature bell tower.

One of the most interesting graves and tombstones here is this one of Thomas James who died a controversial death.

"That day in 1814 three men, Richard Kempe and his son, also called Richard, and Thomas James were in a small boat near Trefusis Point, the headland which marks the entrance to the Carrick Roads. According to Richard Kempe they had nothing on board but a few pilchards and were heading for home when they spotted the revenue boat approaching. He later told the court that they had only heard the customs men hail them once before they began shooting at them without provocation or further warning. After searching their boat and coming up empty handed the officials apparently berating the fishermen, saying that they were customs officers and could fire on whomever they liked, whenever they liked. They then rowed away, despite Kempe apparently calling after them that Thomas James had been wounded. (

There is a certain edge to the words of the inscription which imply that a family member or loved one may have written them. It suggests criticism of the official version of events.

"Officious zeal in luckless hour laid wait

And wilful sent the murderous ball of fate

James to his home, which late in health he left

Wounded returned – of life is soon bereft.”

"However, in court in July 1815 the customs officers, now known to be Edward Cornish, Henry Odger and Richard Painter, related a rather different chain of events. They claimed that they repeatedly hailed the small boat as they rowed towards it but were ignored and heard the men on board swearing. It was Painter who fired on them, though he claimed he only did so to intimidate the fishermen into stopping. When the officers searched the boat they found nothing suspicious and weren’t aware that anyone had been hurt. Although Richard Painter was charged with murder the day after the incident at the trial his colleagues and superiors all came to give evidence in his defence. The Falmouth jury returned a verdict of manslaughter."

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