Roche, Cornwall

Roche Cornwall, rock hermitage

Roche, pronounced Roach , the village gets its name from a granite outcrop east of the village. Today a dangerous winding track over broken rocks leads up to the remains of the tiny chapel at Roche Rock. The village is 6 miles from St Austell and about 8 miles from Bodmin.

Roche parish is located on high ground north of St Austell, surrounded by moorland wastes. It is 1,032 ft above sea level.The clay-mining villages of Stenalees and Bugle (also once known as Carn Rosemary) are to the south-east. Tin was also once mined on the Goss Moor. Both the rivers Par and Fal rise in this parish. The River Fal rises in Colvreath, the Par River rises in Penstrase and a small stream that rises at Holy Well, flows into the River Camel. The chief villages were Churchtown, Belovely, Tregoss and Tresease.

Castle-an-Dinas is a high hill with an ancient hillfort on top, and a disused wolfram mine on the side.

The Goss Moor was streamed for tin in early years and later dredged.

The main industry is now clay, but in the past there was a brickworks at nearby Carbis, a Glass Mine at Polpuff, tin on the Goss Moor, Wolfram at Castle-an-Dinas and a stone quarry at Trezaise (Glebe Quarry).

About one mile from Roche on the road to Demelza is a lane to Holy Well. This is a lovely little well which is said to be 14th century and had special healing properties in its water. It was restored in 1937 by St Austell Old Cornwall Society.

Roche has three inns, the Victoria on the A30, the Poachers and the Rock Inn, both in Fore Street. Rock Inn is dated 1587.

On the rock is a hermitage chapel of St Michael, built in 1409. The ruins of the chapel were last occupied by the family of local landowners when they contracted leprosy, and stayed here so that they would not infect the village.

Roche, Cornwall genealogical information at Genuki

Roche Rock features in Tristan and Isolde legends in King Arthur legend. Variations on stories centred on the doomed love of Tristan and Isolde, one of the most famous subjects of the medieval romancers who created the epics of King Arthur literature. Tristan was King Mark's nephew who accidentally shared a love potion with King Mark's intended queen Isolde, resulting in Tristan and Isolde falling hopelessly in love. Thereafter, their lives involved in a series of furtive trysts, while they sought to escape the traps laid for them by the suspicious Mark. Roche Rock is one of a number of sites around Cornwall that are linked with the lovers.

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