|Cornish legends centre on Giants and Piskies. It is thought
that the tales have evolved from the meeting of the tall Celts (the Giants)
with the small Bronze Age peoples (the Piskies). St Michael's Mount is said
to have been constructed by a Giant.
Another fabulous Giant was Bolster, pictured here on the left, whose stride spanned six miles and who fell in love with the beautiful St Agnes, only to be betrayed and fooled into killing himself. He was a bad tempered man, who terrorised the countryside. She asked him to prove his love for her by filling up a hole in the cliff at Chapel Porth with his own blood. She knew the hole was bottomless, he did not. He died of the loss of blood, and even today the sea at Chapel Porth is stained red with his blood
Then there was Jack the Giant Killer, a farmer's son from near Lands End at the time of King Arthur. Cormoran, the Giant of St Michael's Mount was terrorising the surrounding area and was stealing cattle.Jack decided to earn the reward being offered for killing Cormoran. He dug a pit near Morvah, disguised the pit with sticks, and lured the giant to the pit by blowing his horn. The giant fell into the hole, jack dispatched him with a blow from his pickaxe, then filled in the hole. Even today there is a large stone near Morvah church marking the Giants Cave, and sometimes voices are heard coming from it.
Perhaps the most wicked of the giants was The Wrath of Portreath. he lived in a huge cavern known to sailors as his cupboard. he would wade out to sea , grab whole ships and take them back to his cupboard tied to his belt. And the stones that he hurled at ships trying to avoid him can still be seen at low tide forming a dangerous reef off Godrevy Head. Once back there he would devour the sailors for his supper.The cupboard lost its roof in recent times, but can still be seen near St Ives
|Mermaids form another cornerstone of folklore, as you might suspect for a seafaring people. The Mermaid of Padstow is said to be responsible for the Doom Bar outside the port, upon which hundreds of ships have foundered. Another famous mermaid is from Zennor. Matthew Trewella, the son of the local squire at Zennor, was a chorister in the church||
. One day a beautiful woman in a long dress came and sat at the back of the church. She came regularly and one evening she lured him t the stream tat runs through the village, and from there down to Pendower Cove. he was never seen again. But some years later a mermaid approached a ship at anchor in the cove, and asked the captain to remove his anchor which was resting on her front door. She said she wanted to return to their husband Mathey and their children
|Perhaps the most famous character is this man, Jan Tregeagle, whose ghost is hunted across Bodmin Moor by the devil and his hounds.. Jan was an unjust and dishonest land steward of the Lord of Lanhydrock, who both robbed his master, and extorted unfair rents from the tenants. The story appears to be an amalgam of the lives of five generations of Tregeagles|
|Tregeagle was sentenced to a number of tasks, which culminated with having to bale out Dozmary Pool with a limpet shell with hole in it. One of his many other tasks is illustrated here, and it was to carry sacks of sand from Porthleven to Marazion, and drop them in the mouth of the Cober River, so creating the Loe Bar.||
|Fairies, Piskies, Knockers, Spriggans and other Small People||ThePiskies were all identical little old men, no higher
than an inch tall. The wore red caps, white waistcoats, green stockings,
and brown coats and trousers. On their fet they worebrightly polished, buckled
shoes. The Piskies were good people who helped the old, but they were mischievous
and played pranks on people.
Then there were the Spriggans. they were ugly and were feared. They had large heads on small bodies. They stole babies, raised whilwinds to damage the crops, and terrified the lone traveller.
The Knockers were elfin creatures that lived in the mines. The miners treated the knockers with respect. they left food out for them. it was believed that anyone who was disrespectful to Knockers would suffer bad luck When a mine closed, the Knockers lived on in the abandoned mine.
|Cornwall is also known for its saints. This stained glass window shows
St Neot. Another was St Piran, who is responsible for the Cornish flag (the
white cross on a black background below) when his rectangular hearth cracked
in the heat of a strong fire, and revealed shining Cornish tin .
Perhaps the greatest of the Cornish saints was St Petroc, who both converted the populace to Christianity, and also slew the last dragon in Cornwall. He created monasteries in Padstow and in Bodmin.
|The Lost Land of Lyonesse buried by the sea to the west of Lands End||It is said that there was a vast area to the west of Lands End, and that
a huge storm on 11th November 1099 flooded it all. This land was Lyonesse,
said to contain 140 churches and some fine cities.Only the mountain peaks
of Lyonesse are now visible - these are the Isles of Scilly. Only one man
survived the flood, he was called Trevilian, and he managed to ride a white
horse to the high ground at Perranuthnoe. It is said that the unearthing
of human bones in the sand at Crantock is also from this lost land.
There are many tales of the church bells from the lost cities being heard.The Seven Stones Rocks to the west of Lands End are believed to be the remains of a great city. Fishermen called it the Town, and have dragged up doors and windows in their nets in this area. Sailors tell of hearing the church bells below the sea also in this area.
In the 1930's a journalist from the News Chronicle was staying on the coast, and was woken by muffled bells in the night, which his hosts told him were the bells of Lyonesse. Yet with the coming of aqualung diving, no one yet has found Lyonesse.
|Other tales from the past||
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