Church Cove Beach at Gunwalloe, is a sheltered, south west-facing cove on the beautiful Lizard Peninsula in south west Cornwall.
The area is designated as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, and is part of a Site of Special Scientific Interest.
The beach gets its name from one of the more curiously-sited of Cornwall’s old churches, the church of St Winwaloe (St Wynwallow,) at Gunwalloe. Located at the northern end of the beach, the church is separated from the sea only by the rocky hump of Castle Mound, whilst its detached bell tower is actually dug into the cliff side.
The church is known as the Church of the Storms due to its unique and precarious position; which has frequently, over the centuries, had to be reinforced by the tipping of vast quantities of granite into the gap between the church and Dollar Cove to break the force of the waves. There was a major settlement here between the ninth and eleventh centuries, hence the siting of the church in such a seemingly isolated place.
Today there is just church, farm and sandy beach – an idyllic spot, except in a storm. To the north is Halzephron Cliff, scene of many shipwrecks; the name comes from the Cornish als and yfarn, meaning ‘Hell’s cliff’.Nearby there is good food to be had at the Halzephron Inn.
On the Cliff tops by the Loe Bar National Trust car park – between Loe Bar and Gunwalloe, is a memorial plaque commemorating the men lost at sea during the sinking of HMS Anson. HMS Anson was shipwrecked in 1807- the frigate was beached during a storm – locals were prevented from saving many of the crew due to the ferocity of the storm. The incident led to the invention of the rocket powered rescue system for ships in distress, by Helston man Henry Trengrouse. He originally named the device as the ‘Bosun’s Chair’ – which later change its more common name the ‘ breeches buoy’.
The Estate is the former seat of the Dukes of Leeds and the Earls of Godolphin. It contains a Grade 1 listed Tudor/Stuart mansion, complete with early formal gardens (dating from circa 1500) and Elizabethan stables (circa 1600). The present house is remnant of a larger mansion. At one time it was a secondary seat of the Dukes of Leeds, but the Duke sold it in 1929. The Godolphin Estate came into the ownership of the National Trust in 2007. The Estate measures 550 acres (220 ha) and includes Godolphin Hill which provides views over west Cornwall. More than four hundred recorded archaeological features range fromBronze Age enclosures to 19th-century mine buildings. The Trust has been improving public access to the Estate.
Godolphin House is located at grid reference . The house and gardens were acquired by the National Trust in August 2007. Various events are held throughout the year. The house is approached from the north and consists of three wings around a square courtyard and the front wall of a further building on the south side. The main buildings originally stood to the south of this with two projecting wings. One room of the 16th-century remains in the east range; this has linenfold panelling. Opposite the hall range is the Jacobean range; the north side is castellated and has a loggia of seven bays on the ground floor. Stylistc features here appear to be of the mid 17th-century and suggest that the accepted date for the house of after 1712 is very unlikely. The house is available as a holiday let for approximately three weeks each month when it is not open to the public.
Legend and customs
A custom first recorded in the 18th-century, but may relate to the 14th-century, was enacted yearly on Candlemas day (2 February) until 1921. Godolphin and St Aubyn wagered their respective seats on a race between two snails; Godolphin, losing, pricked his snail which curled up and lost the race. St Aubyn instead of claiming Godolphin’s estate imposed an annual custom. The reeve of Lambourne knocked on the door of the great hall of Godolphin Court and demanded to be let in. He would jump on the table and demand ‘rents duties and customs’. These were paid in a large quart of strong beer, a loaf of wheaten bread and cheese of similar value and 2s 8d.
Pendennis Castle is an artillery fort constructed by Henry VIII near Falmouth, Cornwall, between 1540 and 1542. It formed part of the King’s Device programme to protect against invasion from France and the Holy Roman Empire, and defended the Carrick Roads waterway at the mouth of the River Fal. The original, circularkeep and gun platform was expanded at the end of the century to cope with the increasing Spanish threat, with a ring of extensive stone ramparts and bastions built around the older castle. Pendennis saw service during theEnglish Civil War, when it was held by the Royalists, and was only taken by Parliament after a long siege in 1646. It survived the interregnum and Charles II renovated the fortress after his restoration to the throne in 1660.
Ongoing concerns about a possible French invasion resulted in Pendennis’s defences being modernised and upgraded in the 1730s and again during the 1790s; during the Napoleonic Wars, the castle held up to 48 guns. In the 1880s and 1890s an electrically operated minefield was laid across the River Fal, operated from Pendennis and St Mawes, and new, quick-firing guns were installed to support these defences. The castle saw service during both the First and Second World Wars, but in 1956, by now obsolete, it was decommissioned. It passed into the control of the Ministry of Works, who cleared away many of the more modern military buildings and opened the site to visitors. In the 21st century, the castle is managed by English Heritage as a tourist attraction, receiving 74,230 visitors in 2011–12. The heritage agency Historic England considers Pendennis to be „one of the finest examples of a post-medieval defensive promontory fort in the country”.
Porthleven Lifeboat Day was another unprecedented success, with thousands of visitors enjoying the work of the RNLI and helping support future rescues.A day of family activities took place around the harbour, organised by the port’s branch of the RNLI.Gill Moore, secretary and chairman of Porthleven RNLI, said: “It was an absolutely fantastic day. There were lots and lots of people there, and everybody seemed to have a thoroughly enjoyable day.“We were so very lucky with the weather; it was warm, hot sunshine and it was absolutely beautiful.”-text : The Packet
Last weekend in Mawgan took place the annual charity church fete. In opening speech Lady Victoria Vyvyan expressed the importance of comunity and thanked to organisers. All the money raised was given to charity.
The Vyvyans are a prominent Cornish family who were members of Parliament, baronets, and landowners inPenwith and Kerrier since the 15th century. The Vyvyan family have had a large estate called Trelowarren in the parish ofMawgan-in-Meneage in west Cornwall for nearly 600 years. They moved to Trelowarren in 1427 from Trevegean, St. Buryanwhen they acquired Trelowarren through marriage to the daughter of Honora Ferrers, heiress to the estate of the previous owner, Richard Ferrers. Trelowarren’s first garden (at least under the Vyvyans) is recorded in 1428. In the English Civil War(1642-1651) the Vyvyans were royalist supporters. Sir Richard Vyvyan (1613-1724), 1st Baronet, was given a large Vandykepainting of King Charles I (1600-1649), depicted on horseback, by King Charles II (1630-1685) in recognition of his support. That painting continues to hang in the family house in Trelowarren today.”
Housed in Helston’s former Market House and Drill Hall, the museum building itself offers a valuable insight into the history and architecture of the town. Although the museum was founded in 1949, the building was originally designed as the town’s Market House in 1837, with two separate buildings – one for butter and eggs, the other the meat market, and retains the original sloping granite floor.
The Museum expanded into the meat market in the early 1980s, then into the adjoining Drill Hall in 1999. A suspended gallery, the Loft, was also added at this time that in turn allowed the creation of the mezzanine art gallery.
A notable feature in front of the building is a cannon salvaged from the wreck of the frigate HMS Anson which foundered off Loe Bar in 1807. Around 100 sailors’ lives were lost in the disaster which led to the pioneering work of Henry Trengrouse, featured in the Museum’s Drill Hall.
The Museum’s collection reflects both the social and industrial history of The Lizard Peninsula, from mining, fishing and farming through to home life in the 18th – 20th centuries.
The displays are complemented by the mezzanine gallery, used for regular art exhibitions and workshops, and the museum shop that provides a fine range of silver and local jewellery, cards, local books and minerals.
Previously run by Cornwall Council, management of the museum was taken over by the South Kerrier Heritage Trust in August 2013. The Trust is a local registered charity working with the community, and day to day work at the museum is largely undertaken by volunteers.
Text :Helston Museum