Obrazy na stronie

A Castle was erected here shortly after the Conquest, of which some considerable vestiges still remain; they are situated on an immense artificial mound, and show it to have been a place of great strength when in a perfect state; some remains of the wall, by which the town was defended, may also be traced. The Church is a very fine edifice, erected about 1430; it has a handsome western tower, adorned with pinnacles, and the interior was remarkable for elegance and symmetry until injured by some tasteless reparations about 50 years ago: it has still a beautiful stone Screen; but the altar-piece, of Corinthian architecture, is entirely out of place in the fabric of which it now forms a part. Here is also a good Town Hall, and a School House.

Totness is a place of considerable and increasing trade; the number of its inhabitants, in 1821, was 3128, many of whom are employed in the woollen manufacture. The Market day is Saturday.

Dr. Kennicott, the learned 'Hebrew scholar, and Edward Lye, author of many works on Saxon literature, were patives of Totness.

At a short distance from Totness is the village of Dartington, which has an ancient Church, formerly adorned with numerous painted windows, and still containing some handsome monuments. Near this building is Dartington Manor-house, a fragment of the magnificent mansion of John, Duke of Exeter, half-brother of Richard II. The Great Hall still remains in a perfect state, and is a noble apartment, 70 feet long, and 40 wide, with a curiously-framed oaken roof. Other portions of the ancient mansion still remain, intermingled with modern erections.

YEALMPTON, a village on the Yealm, about seven miles from Plymouth, was anciently a town of some consequence, and the residence of the Saxon King, Ethelwold. It has an ancient Church, in the burialground of which is a stone, between eight and pine feet long, with an almost illegible inscription, which is traditionally said to mark the spot in which a Roman governor was interred.




This County, which forms the south-western extremity of the Island, is bounded on the East by Devonshire and the river Tamar; on the South and West by the English Channel; and on the North by the Bristol Channel. Its extreme length, from its north-eastern angle to the Land's End, is about 90 miles; and from that promontory to the Ram Head, at the entrance of Plymouth Sound, about 70; while its width varies from 43 miles, to little more than four: its superficial area is 758,484 acres, or 1407 square miles. It is divided into nine Hundreds, and 206 Parishes; baş 30 Market Towns, 20 Boroughs, and is represented in Parliament by 42 Members. The population, according to the last census, was 257,447 persons. In this statement the Scilly Islands, which lie about 30 miles distant from the Land's End, and are supposed at one period to have formed a portion of the main land, are not included, but will be separately treated of.

The form of this County, gradually lessening from .east to west, bears some resemblance to a horn or cornucopia, from whence its Roman pame of Cornubia is derived, and its present appellation arises from the blending of a part of this name by the Saxons with Walas, by which they distinguished the Britons, thus forming Corn-Walas, or Cornubian Wales. Much controversy has arisen as to the name by which it was known to the natives; Cernyn, a term signifying a promontory, appears to be the best supported.

The general appearance of Cornwall is dreary and uninviting, a ridge of barren and rugged hills stretching from east to west through its whole extent; but amid these hills are many valleys of great fertility, watered by numerous streams. The most interesting scenery of this county, however, is on the sea-coast, where the huge granitic masses, bidding defiance to the violence of the waves on the one side, and on the other forming a vast barrier to the fertile plains beneath, exhibit a rare combination of the sublime and beautiful.

The soil is exceediogly various, but clay and slate predominate: the Mineral treasures of the county are greater than those of any other in the island, and comprise tin, copper, lead, and mangavese, in large quantities; silver, gold, bismuth, arsenic, cobalt, antimony, and several other substances, in a smaller degree. Iron also exists in many places, but the expense of fuel has hitherto prevented its being extensively worked. The Fossil productions are also numerous' and important: of these the granite ranks first, being found here in greater quantity than in any other part of England; slate quarries have been opened in various places; and excellent freestone is also met with. Crystals abound, and some of these are so beautiful as to be termed Cornish diamonds; the elegant fossil called serpentine, and the curious production termed soap-stone, occur in various places; the latter, which is principally found near Helstove, is used in the porcelain manufactory at Worcester. Asbestos, in its solid and fibrous state, is frequently met with; and china-stone, which forms a principal ingredient in the Staffordshire pottery, is an article of considerable export. White topazes are found near St. Michael's Mount; and a curious production, called the swimming-stone, from its property of floating on water, occurs in a copper mine near Redruth. The vast importance of the Cornish mines may be estimated from the fact that upwards of 60,000 persons find employment in them, either directly or indirectly.

Agriculture is an object of secondary importance here: most of its operations are still performed in a very rude manner; but, where properly cultivated, the soil has been found to yield ample returns. The climate is proverbially mild, although damp, and the atmosphere generally salubrious and conducive to longevity; snow seldom lies on the ground, and myrtles and other tender shrubs flourish in the open air. The Fishery on this coast employs a great pumber of hands; many species are found here, which are not met with on other parts of the coast; but the most important is the Pilchard, of which a quantity producing more than £50,000, has been frequently caught in one season. Oysters abound, and seals are frequently taken. Many beautiful submarine plants are met with on the coast; sponge is found in considerable quantities, and coral also occurs.

The Rivers of Cornwall are, the Tamar, a noble stream, which rises near Moorwinstow, in the north, and after a beautifully diversified and romantic course, in which it forms for a considerable distance the boundary between Devonshire and this county, falls into the Hamoaze, and thence, being augmented by the Plym, flows on until it is lost in the capacious Bay called Plymouth Sound: the Fawy rises between Bodmin and Launceston, and after a course, mostly in a southern direction, forms the harbour of Fowey: the Camel, or Alan, has its source in the north-east of the county,

and passing Camelford and Bodmin, falls into the Bristol Chanpel at Padstow: the Fal rises at a short distance from the Roach Rocks, near the centre of the county; near Grampound becomes a considerable river, and, while one of its branches extends to Truro, the main stream pursues a southerly direction, forming the capacious reservoir called Carreg Rode, and

entering the Channel at Falmouth: the Loe, and the Hel, have their source among the hills near Helstone; the former falls into Mount's Bay, and the latter into Falmouth Harbour: thé Hayl, after a short course, forms a noble estuary, and joins the Bristol Channel in St. Ives' Bay: the Lynħer passes near Callington, and falls into the Tamar: and the Looe is composed of two branches, which unite in one stream, and enter the British Channel, between the towns of East and West Looe.

The ancient language of Cornwall, though no longer spoken, or even understood in the county, is still in some measure preserved in the names of many of its towns, mountains, rivers, and other natural objects; and the technical terms used in mining, husbandry, fishing, and the other occupations of the inhabitants, are chiefly derived from the same source: it was a dialect of the language once common to the whole island, from which the Welsh and the Armoric are also derived. Down to the period of the Reformation it was in common use throughout the county; but the Protestant clergy teaching the people to read (the Lord's Prayer, Creed, &c. in English, it fell gradually into disuse; and although, about a century afterwards, it was still necessary to preach to the elder people in the Cornish language, another century had so completely obliterated it, that about 1768, but one old woman was found, who spoke it, although it must be evident that she was understood by others.

This county forms part of the diocese of Exeter, and is included in the Western Circuit; the Assizes are held alternately at Launceston and at Bodmio. It contributes 640 men to the national militia; and is under the immediate jurisdiction of the King's eldest son, who immediately after his birth becomes Duke of Cornwall, and is invested with the power of appointing the Lord Lieutenant, Sheriffs, Chancellor, Attorney and Solicitor-General, and other officers; with a Lord Warden and Vice Warden of the Stannaries, who, by their assistants, hold Stannary Courts for the decision of all matters connected with the mines, from the duty on stamping the product of which, arises the greater part of the revenue attached to the Dukedom.

[ocr errors]


THE earliest inhabitants of this district, of whom we have any account, are three tribes, called by the classical historians, Cimbri, Cornabii, and Danmonii, of whom the first two were subdued by the latter previously to the invasion by Cæsar. Before this period, however, an extensive traffic, principally in tiu, was carried on with the natives by the Carthagi. nians, who were so sensible of the great advantages of this trade, that they used the utmost precautions to conceal it from other nations: the inhabitants are described by Strabo as “a sober and civilized people, who wore long black garments, reaching to their ancles, girt round the middle, and bearing long

* The Honourable Daines Barrington published an account of his interview with this woman, whose name was Dolly Pentreath, and who sold fish at Mevagizzey;

his object in the inquiry was to ascertain the identity of the Cornish and Welsh languages.

« PoprzedniaDalej »