Friday, 23 June 2017

Lundy Hole and the Devil

Nicholas Roscarrock recorded the following folklore from the remote and rugged peninsula between Wadebridge and Port Isaac. It concerns St Menefrida, patron of St Minver church and was first recorded during the early 17th century. 

One fine day, whilst Menefrida was combing her hair by her ancient chapel and holy well at Tredrizzick, she was rudely confronted by the Devil, who appeared from the deep shadows of the local woods. She was so distressed by his astonishing apparition, that she threw her comb at him, striking the fiend with such force that he flew through the air and plunged into the ground at Topalundy, on the nearby coast. This created the great hole, now known as Lundy Hole, sited high on the clifftop above Lundy Cove, Polzeath. 

It is interesting to note that Roscarrock lived nearby at St Endellion, so one must assume this was an established folktale in his day.

Above left: Lundy Hole. Above: Lundy Cove.

Thursday, 22 June 2017

John Harris gets piskey-led by Bucca on Bolenowe Carn

"Another incident I cannot forget. I could not have been then more than four or five years ' old. I left my mother’s door, and by some contrivance got over the stile at the end of the house leading into the meadow. Here I played among the daisies and clover for some time, pulling off the great heads of the ox—eye, and collecting moss-cups and ivy-leaves from the hedges. So intent was I on my botanical selection, that I noticed not the sinking sun, or the rising moon, until the falling twilight warned me it was time to return to the house. But this was not so easy as leaving it. Round and round I walked, still getting more bewildered and farther into the gloom. Then I sat down on a rock by the side of the path in the Water Field, shut my eyes and sobbed. Over me were the broad heavens, studded with stars, and around me the stillness and the solemness of night. My parents, alarmed at my absence, sought for me with many fears; and when they found me, I was sitting upon this mossy boulder, sobbing forth at intervals, “There is nobody here but I and the buckaw. ” The buckaw was a supposed pixey that haunted the neighbourhood."

extracted from My Autobiography by John Harris. With thanks to Andy Norfolk.