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St Cleer
Like nearby Minions, this parish on the southern slopes of Bodmin Moor was overwhelmed, and transformed, by a copper-mining boom in the mid 19th century. A K Hamilton Jenkin wrote: ‘On Saturday nights after pay day, the populous villages of Caradon Town, Pensilva, Minions and Crows Nest were crowded with men, and resembled in character the mining camps of Colorado and the Far West.’ There are older historical stories to be told here too; the parish contains the impressive Neolithic chamber tomb of Trethevy Quoit and the decorated and inscribed King Doniert’s Stone, which was probably erected by Dumgarth, the last Cornish king to be recorded in what used to be called the ‘Dark Ages’, who drowned in AD875. In the village itself is St Cleer holy well, in a beautiful 15th century building; there used to be a total immersion (or ‘bowssening’) pool here which was used for the attempted cure of the insane.

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St Columb Major (Hotels in St Columb Click Here)
This is an attractive town with some interesting old buildings, none more so than the largely 14th century parish church. This unusually big, grand building, which includes the tombs of the Arundells of Lanherne in the south chancel aisle, was, Charles Henderson believed, ‘among the finest churches in Cornwall’. Between St Columb and the sea is the beautiful, wooded Vale of Lanherne, where the old Arundell house, in the enchanting village of St Mawgan, is now a Carmelite convent. St Columb is famous for its boisterous Shrove Tuesday celebration of ‘hurling’ (an ancient game once common in Cornwall), where the teams of Town and Country attempt to hurl a silver-coated applewood ball into each other’s ‘goals’, which are a mile apart at either end of the town.

Bell Rock Hotel - St. Columb - 01720 422575
M Curnow - St. Columb - 01637 881140

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St Germans
The village of St Germans is on the River Tiddy, part of the beautiful estuary of the Lynher which joins the Tamar just downriver from Saltash. The glory of the village is its magnificent Norman church, set in a hollow with two towers and a superb doorway as its west front. This might seem an incongruous setting for such a huge and ancient church, but the parish is still the largest in Cornwall and this church’s predecessor was Cornwall’s cathedral from AD926. Down on the river, St Germans Quay was busy in the last century with cargoes of minerals, coal, timber and limestone, and a vigorous trade in roadstone continued until the last war.

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St Ives (Hotels in St Ives Click Here)
No wonder people come flocking to St Ives in the summer. It has everything that a seaside resort could wish for: good beaches, views across the bay, a picturesque harbour town huddling in a glorious position, a branch line railway journey from St Erth and still something of a fishing industry, to save it from becoming the victim of its charms. Above all, it has art. Turner, Whistler and Sickert were amongst the earliest artists to arrive here, then in 1928 the local primitive artist Alfred Wallis was discovered by Ben Nicholson and Christopher Wood. Nicholson, Barbara Hepworth and Naum Gabo settled in St Ives in 1939, and after the war there emerged a younger generation including Peter Lanyon, Roger Hilton and Patrick Heron. This strong and vital artistic tradition, particularly in the field of the abstract avant-garde, led to the siting of the new Tate Gallery here in 1993. The award-winning building is a triumph and the gallery has become one of Cornwall’s major attractions, introducing modern art to an entirely new audience. The Barbara Hepworth Museum is fascinating and includes a garden featuring many of her sculptures, whilst the Penwith gallery exhibits the work of many local artists at work today.

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St Just in Penwith
This solid, handsome granite town, exposed on the treeless heights just inland from Cape Cornwall, is the most westerly in Cornwall. It has the feel of a place on the edge and of the mining town that it was, with its rows of cottages and surprising number of pubs. The deep mining of tin and copper on the coast here in the 19th century was responsible for the growth of St Just from a small churchtown, but tin-streaming in the valleys of Penwith had been going on since the very earliest times. Across the square is the Plain an Gwarry, a grassy arena where mediaeval Cornish miracle plays were performed, some of them lasting for up to three days.

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Click here for Cornish Towns, here for Myths and Legends and here for Cornish History.

Coming soon, the Cornish Accommodation Directory......

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