Bude, Cornwall

Bude, sands South  Widemouth bay Widemouth Bay, Bude

Bude was a busy port, and Bude was the starting point for an ill fated, but ambitious scheme to link the Bristol Channel via Launceston and the River Tamar, with the English Channel. It was this Bude Canal that brought development to the town. The canal is now used for pleasure-boating and fishing.

Bude sea lock was constructed to allow coastal merchant ships to have access to the canal and the upper and lower wharf. The lock opened in 1823 and is still in operation today, although the canal itself closed in 1891. A breakwater was built to protect the entrance to the lock which faced the sea, and otherwise would have been vulnerable during storms.

Bude has been a seaside resort since Victorian times. There are wide sandy beaches, Summerleaze and Crooklets in particular. Plus the excellent surfing beach at Widemouth Bay. Crooklets and Summerleaze have large areas of flat sand when the tide is out. There is a seawater swimming pool under Summerleaze Downs.

There is a small castle, built in 1830 by Sir Goldsworthy Gurney, at the entrance to the canal, on a grassy knoll overlooking Summerleaze Beach. Sir Goldsworthy Gurney's claim to fame was as the first man to make a long journey in a mechanical vehicle - a steam carriage - from London to Bath and back. This Castle is now the Town Council's offices, and the grounds used for band concerts and fetes during the summer.

Stratton, a mile inland of Bude, is believed to dates back to Roman times. It is a small market town, and the birthplace of the "Cornish Giant", Antony Payne. He was over 7 feet tall, and fought in the battle of Stamford Hill nearby in 1643, alongside his master, Sir Bevil Grenville. Sir Bevil commanded the Royalist army and was the victor in the Battle of Stamford Hill. Payne lived in the Grenville's Manor house at Stratton - now the Tree Inn. Many of the churches of Cornwall still carry the Royal Crest decreed by the King as a token of his appreciation of Cornwall's loyal support during the Civil War.

Bude Canal. In 1823 the Bude Canal was started to carry beach sand and seaweed 20 miles inland to Launceston and then for returning cargos of grain and slate from that area..The Canal did actually run for 35 miles before work was abandoned. The first two miles of the canal from the sea lock to Helebridge remain and are used for fishing, walking and boating. Much of the remainder of the canal is neglected and overgrown.

Bude, Cornwall Genealogical information from Genuki Genealogical

Bude and District: The Second Selection (Archive Photographs: Images of England) Adrian Abbott

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