Heritage Rankings and Cornwall

Cornwall Mining Landscape © David Gill

The RSA Heritage Index (2020) allows the ranking of local authorities through the analysis of data around key themes: Historic Built Environment, Museums, Archives and Artefacts, Industrial Heritage, Parks and Open Spaces, Landscape and Natural Heritage, Culture and Memories, and a general category.

Cornwall is ranked at 46 for local authorities in England. It is particularly strong in the general category (9), Culture and Memories (31) and Landscape and Natural Heritage (81). Surprisingly it did not have a strong showing for Industrial Heritage (229) even though the UNESCO World Heritage status has a focus on the mining heritage (‘Cornwall and West Devon Mining Landscape‘); the image of the Crowns on the north Cornish coast is a reminder of the dramatic setting for some of this industrial heritage. There is marked fall in the rankings for Museums, Archives and Artefacts (from 185 to 280), but a modest increase for the Historic Built Environment (from 169 to 137).

© David Gill

The Hurlers, Bodmin Moor

The Hurlers, Bodmin Moor, Cornwall

The Hurlers are located on Bodmin Moor in Cornwall. Parts of three circles can be identified.

The site is in the care of English Heritage and is managed by the Cornwall Heritage Trust.

St Mawes: John Leland’s texts

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St Mawes © David Gill

The Tudor Royal Arms were placed above the main entrance to the keep at St Mawes, with the Latin text, Dieu et Mon Droit, below. Above the crest is the statement:

Semper Honos / Henrice Tuus / Laudesque Manebunt.

(Henry, your honour and praises will remain forever.)

This is one of four texts composed by the poet, antiquary and royal chaplain, John Leland (c. 1503–1552) at the request of Thomas Treffry of Fowey (a detail mentioned in Leland’s Itinerary).

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St Mawes © David Gill

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St Mawes © David Gill

On the opposite side, above the door leading from the keep to the forward bastion is another Royal Coast of Arms. Either side are two Tritons:

Semper Vivet A(n)i(m)a Re/gis Henrici Octavi / Qui An(no) 34 Sui Reg/ni Hoc Fecit Fieri.

(May the soul of King Henry Eighth, who had this built in the 34th year of his reign, live forever.)

Henry came to the throne in 1509, and this places the completion of the castle in 1543. (It was started in 1540.)

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St Mawes © David Gill

Another text is placed above the crest on the west bastion, celebrating Henry’s son, Edward (who is proclaimed on the eastern bastion as Duke of Cornwall, a title given at his baptism in 1537).

Edwardus Fama Referat Factisque Parentem.

(May Edward resemble his father in fame and deeds.)

Further texts are placed on the south (Henry, king of England, France and Ireland) and east (Edward) bastions.

VE Day 75: Pendennis

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Half Moon Battery, Pendennis © David Gill

The Half Moon Battery at the south end of Pendennis was placed to defend Carrick Roads and the port of Falmouth was first built in 1793, and then remodelled in 1894–95. The concrete bunkers were constructed in 1941 to defend against aerial attack. They battery housed 6-inch Mark VII guns, and from 1943 Mark XXIV guns.

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Half Moon Battery, Pendennis © David Gill

Lanyon Quoit

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Lanyon Quoit © David Gill

Lanyon Quoit is located near to Madron in Penwith. The remains formed part of a neolithic chambered tomb.

The stones were re-erected in 1824.

Ding Dong Mine sits on the skyline. This forms part of the UNESCO Cornwall & West Devon Mining Landscape World Heritage Site.

Chysauster: managing a site

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Chysauster (l: 2002; r: 2019) © David Gill

The management of sites raises issues about how to conserve, preserve and present built monuments. These two images taken from the upper side of House 6 shows how the walls have been made visible. House 7 beyond (and to the left) is now more clearly defined. Note the broad swathes of neatly clipped grass that allow the visitor to move from house to house.

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Chysauster (2019), composite © David Gill

The raised visiting platform behind House 6 allows the visitor to gain a good impression of the site as well as the house plans.

Pendennis and St Mawes: guidebooks

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Pendennis Castle © David Gill

The castles at Pendennis and St Mawes were built to protect the Carrick Roads and Falmouth in Cornwall. Both appear to have been completed by 1543. They formed part of a wider network of coastal castles, including Deal and Walmer, and the Solent. For further details of the programme of defence see here.

Both castles were placed in State Guardianship in 1920 (from the War Office), and they were requisitioned for military purposes in the Second World War. They were re-opened to the public in 1946.

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1963 (5th impress. 1972)

A souvenir guide was produced in 1963, was continued into the 1970s under the Department of the Environment. This provides a guide to both castles as well as a historical introduction.

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1999 (repr. 2002)

English Heritage produced a colour guide to both castles in 1999 by Richard Linzey. It includes tours of both castles, as well as a page on the National Trust property of St Anthony Head Battery.

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2012 (2nd ed. 2018)

The latest guide by Paul Pattison has extended tours of both castles. There are special topics that include smuggling and piracy, the submarine minefield, as well as St Anthony Head. Foldout plans are printed inside the cover.

The Tin Coast and Poldark

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The Crowns Engine Houses at Botallack © David Gill

The BBC Drama Series ‘Poldark‘ is set in Cornwall in what is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The ‘Tin Coast‘ includes the Crowns Engine Houses at Botallack in the care of the National Trust.

Heritage locations used in the filming of the series have been listed by Visit Cornwall.

Signs of Chysauster

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Chysauster © David Gill

A single Ministry signpost continues to point the way to Chysauster Ancient Village through the network of small roads in Penwith. It even provides the distance: 2 1/4 miles.

Traces of the original green paint can still be seen against the post.