Helston, Cornwall

helston cornwall towns

Helston is recorded as a port at the head of the river Cober as early as the 13th century, when locally streamed tin was exported from here.

Helston was selected by Edward II as one of Cornwall's stannary towns, where tin could be assayed.

The Helston Guildhall has had a number of functions in its time, including a market house and Magistrates' Court, until today it is the Town Hall with the Council Chamber on the first floor. Behind the Guildhall there is a cannon taken from HMS Anson, wrecked at Lee Bar in 1807.

Bob Fitzsimmons, the former world boxing champion, was born here in 1863 in a cottage in Wendron Street. He was the first man to be world middleweight, light heavyweight and heavyweight boxing champion and retired in 1914. He died in Chicago in 1917.

Henry Trengrouse, the inventor of the rocket apparatus used to fire rescue lines to ships, has a memorial in the churchyard. It is believed that the wrecking of HMS Anson get him thinking of how ship to shore rescues could be achieved, and his Breeches Buoy was the answer.

The Helston parish church was in fact destroyed by lightening in 1727, and rebuilt in 1830. It is dedicated to St Michael, the patron saint of the town. It contains some fine Elizabethan brasses and a 24-branch chandelier - a gift from the Earl of Godolphin in 1763

Coinagehall Street, the main street, is on a steep hill, and this is where the famous 'Furry, or Flora, Dance' is performed on May 8th each year. This festival has it's roots in Pre-Christian times and is in invocation for a good harvest that year. At noon the main dance of the day is started which is a formal dance with the men wearing morning dress and the ladies magnificent ball gowns and hats. This dance is always led by a couple born in Helston. At the bottom of Coinagehall street are many stalls selling souvenirs, crafts and food. And there is a large fairground operated in Coronation Park. The celebrations last well into the evening.

The 16th century Angel Hotel, the Butter Market Folk Museum are among other buildings in the town. At the lower end of the Main Street stands the Blue Anchor Inn, a place of repose for monks in the 1400's.

If the flashing gizmos on this Helston Local History site do not put you off, then you can find much of the history there.

RNAS Culdrose near to Helston is Europe's largest military helicopter base. It is the base for Cornwall's air sea rescue helicopters. The principal role of RNAS Culdrose is to support the Anti-Submarine Warfare and Airborne Early Warning helicopter squadrons in meeting the operational requirements of the task group commander.

Outside Helston are the modern attractions of Flambards Theme Park, Cornwall Aero Park and the Poldark Mine.

The Loe, the freshwater lake left behind when the estuary silted up in the 13th century, is now a pretty inland lake about 2 miles south-west of the town.It is part of the National Trust's Penrose Estate and offers miles of footpaths including a circular route around the Pool and the estate. And if you want more stories about King Arthur, then Loe pool is an alternative site to Dozmary Pool for the appearance of the hand from the waters to receive Excalibur.

The Book of Helston: Ancient Borough and Market Town Derek Carter

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