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JAN TREGAGLE
The blackest character in the history of Cornwall must be John (Jan) Tregagle of Trevorder, near Wadebridge, who sold his soul to the devil. His wicked misdeeds were legend and the tales of his return from the dead and the many attempts to lay his unquiet ghost stretch across the whole of the county. Tregagle was born in the early 17th century, possibly a lawyer who became a Justice of the Peace. In 1642 he married Jane Grenville, daughter of a local knight, and his rise to wealth and power began. In October 1655 Tregagle died and was buried in St. Breock Churchyard, and from that moment on the legends began. According to just some of the many legends about him, the ghost of Tregagle can be heard howling in the wind when Atlantic storms blow in; that he has been reincarnated variously as a giant bird and a huge black dog haunting Bodmin Moor; and there are tales of his ghostly presence abound from Launceston to Land's End. Exorcists bound him to empty the bottomless Dozmary Pool with a leaking limpet shell. He unexpectedly finished the task, almost drowning the folk of nearby St. Neot village, and when he escaped to seek refuge in the hermitage at the top of Roche Rock he was then bound to weave ropes of sand at St. Minver. The locals complained of his howling and had him moved to Helston, where he was forced to carry sacks of sand across from Bareppa to Porthleven. The Devil tripped him up, and Helston became land bound. The standing stone of Porthpean, near St.Austell, is Tregagle's stick; the sea cave under Carne, at Veryan, is Tregagle's Hole; and he cries in the storm winds from Goss Moor and Bodmin Moor and right down the coast between Padstow and Helston.

KING ARTHUR
One of the greatest legends of Cornwall is that of King Arthur. It is steeped in mystery and the legend is probably part fact, part fiction. It is such a compelling story that it is hard not to believe. Arthur was the son of Uther Pendragon and his wife Ygraine and was born in Tintagel. It is thought that Arthur was born at Tintagel Castle and this was also one of his homes as King. Tintagel Castle is a beautiful site. Although there are only ruins left, the setting is unique. On the beach beneath the castle is Merlin's Cave, which is where the wizard was said to have lived. Arthur became the King of the Britons when, under the guidance of Merlin, he drew the mighty sword of Excalibur from the stone. Upon becoming King, Arthur sought out brave knights from around the land to join him. This band of men became the Knights of the Round Table whose most famous adventure was the Quest for the Holy Grail. According to the legend, Camelot was Arthur's principle city. There are several sites that claim to be Camelot and it is also thought that Camelot may have been Camelford in North Cornwall, due to the similarity in names. Guinevere became Arthur's queen, but she fell in love with Sir Lancelot which led to his downfall as king. Arthur's evil son Mordred used this affair to begin a civil war that ensured Arthur lost power and the Knights of the Round Table were no more. Slaughter Bridge, which crosses the River Camel is the site of Arthur's demise. He fought his last battle here against his son Mordred who had betrayed him. Arthur killed Mordred with his sword, but Mordred with one final gasp also struck Arthur. The sword of Excalibur is said to have been given to The Lady of the Lake by Sir Bedivere (on the wishes of the dying King), whose hand rose from the lake to accept it. There are many sites vying for the title of 'The Lake', with Helston's Loe Pool being amongst the leading candidates. A slightly more popular candidate, however, is Dozmary Pool on Bodmin Moor.

KING ARTHUR
One of the greatest legends of Cornwall is that of King Arthur. It is steeped in mystery and the legend is probably part fact, part fiction. It is such a compelling story that it is hard not to believe. Arthur was the son of Uther Pendragon and his wife Ygraine and was born in Tintagel. It is thought that Arthur was born at Tintagel Castle and this was also one of his homes as King. Tintagel Castle is a beautiful site. Although there are only ruins left, the setting is unique. On the beach beneath the castle is Merlin's Cave, which is where the wizard was said to have lived. Arthur became the King of the Britons when, under the guidance of Merlin, he drew the mighty sword of Excalibur from the stone. Upon becoming King, Arthur sought out brave knights from around the land to join him. This band of men became the Knights of the Round Table whose most famous adventure was the Quest for the Holy Grail. According to the legend, Camelot was Arthur's principle city. There are several sites that claim to be Camelot and it is also thought that Camelot may have been Camelford in North Cornwall, due to the similarity in names. Guinevere became Arthur's queen, but she fell in love with Sir Lancelot which led to his downfall as king. Arthur's evil son Mordred used this affair to begin a civil war that ensured Arthur lost power and the Knights of the Round Table were no more. Slaughter Bridge, which crosses the River Camel is the site of Arthur's demise. He fought his last battle here against his son Mordred who had betrayed him. Arthur killed Mordred with his sword, but Mordred with one final gasp also struck Arthur. The sword of Excalibur is said to have been given to The Lady of the Lake by Sir Bedivere (on the wishes of the dying King), whose hand rose from the lake to accept it. There are many sites vying for the title of 'The Lake', with Helston's Loe Pool being amongst the leading candidates. A slightly more popular candidate, however, is Dozmary Pool on Bodmin Moor.

CORMORAN THE GIANT
Cormoran was said to have created St. Michael's Mount at Penzance. He terrorised the locals living in Marazion, often wading across the sea from the island to steal sheep from the fields. A reward was offered in return for the killing of the giant and a young local boy called Jack came forward. One night, when Cormoran was sleeping, Jack crept over to the mount and dug a great well halfway up one side. He covered the well with straw to hide it from the giant. In the morning, Jack blew on his horn to attract the giant's attention. The giant came running down the side of the mount and, not noticing the hole, fell into it. Jack then filled the hole in. Jack became a local hero, and from then on was known as Jack the Giant Killer. As you walk up St. Michael's Mount, you can see where the well was and, it is said, that if you put your head against the nearby rock you can still hear the giant's heart beating.

THE MERMAID OF ZENNOR
Lying midway between St. Ives and Pendeen lies the small village of Zennor. A short way north of the village lies the spectacular Pendour Cove. A local legend tells of the story of one Mathew Trewella and his love for a mermaid. Every evening Mathew would sing the closing hymn at Zennor church, alone. A mermaid, half-woman half fish, was entranced by his singing. She dressed herself in a long dress, taking care to conceal her long tail and walked up to the church. Her gaze met with Mathew's and the pair fell madly in love, but the call of the sea was too strong and the mermaid knew that she must return to her home or face certain death. Carrying her, Mathew ran down to the cove and followed her beneath the waves. Neither was seen again. It is said that if you sit above Pendour Cove at twilight on a fine summer's evening you might hear Mathew singing faintly on the breeze.

THE LOST LAND OF LYONESSE
There are many legends of towns and countries submerged beneath the waves, but the legend of the Lost Land of Lyonesse is possibly the most famous. Lyonesse was once a country beyond Land's End that boasted fine cities and 140 churches. In November 1099 a great storm blew up and the sea swept over it, drowning the inhabitants and submerging the kingdom beneath the waves, until all that remained to view were the mountain peaks to the west, now known as the Isles of Scilly. Only one man survived. His name was Trevilian and he rode a white horse up to high ground at Perranuthnoe before the waves could overwhelm him.
A 16th century writer tells us that Land's End once stretched far to the west with a watchtower at the farthest point to guide sailors. The rocks known as the Seven Stones were believed to be the remains of a great city. As late as the 1930s a journalist from the News Chronicle, Stanley Baron, was awoken in the night by the muffled ringing of bells and was told by his hosts that he had heard the bells of Lyonesse.

BOLSTER THE GIANT
Once upon a time the Penwith area was plagued with giants. Of the two most famous, Cormoran was eventually dispatched by Jack the Giant Killer, but Giant Bolster is said to have succumbed to the wiles of a saintly woman. Bolster could plant one foot on Carn Brea, the hill outside Camborne, and the other on the cliffs outside St. Agnes, some six miles away as the crow flies. Bolster was bad tempered and violent, terrorised the countryside and struck fear into the hearts of ordinary folk, but he met his match in St. Agnes. He fell in love with her and pursued her relentlessly, but St. Agnes wanted none of it. Sick of his constant attentions, she told him to prove his love for her by filling up a hole in the cliff at Chapel Porth with his own blood. St. Agnes knew that the hole was bottomless and led into the sea below. Bolster stretched out his arm, plunged a knife into it and lay down to wait for the hole to fill up. Eventually Bolster lost so much blood that he died. St. Agnes was rid of his unwanted attentions - but he left his mark behind. To this day, the cliffs at Chapel Porth bear a red stain, said to be from where his blood ran down into the sea. Today, the village of St Agnes holds an annual festival to celebrate the demise of Bolster.

RALPH’S CUPBOARD
One of the fiercest and most wicked giants was Wrath of Portreath. He lived in a huge cavern,known as his cupboard where he would lie in wait for passing ships, wade out into the sea and attack them, killing the sailors with a single blow from his huge fingers.Then he would carefully select the better specimens for supper and tow his booty back to his cave. Even those who warily sailed by at what they thought was a safe distance were in danger. Wrath would fling huge rocks onto them from high up on the cliff and these are still visible today when the tide is low,forming a deadly reef that stretches from Godrevy Head. St.Ives sailors avoided the ‘cupboard’, swearing that nothing that went into it ever came out again. Some years ago it lost its roof and became an open gorge with the sea flowing into it at high tide - but Ralph's Cupboard is still one of the more spectacular, if no longer terrifying sights along the cliffs at Portreath.

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