Wednesday, 4 October 2017

The Darley Oak

The Darley Oak near Linkinhorne, suggested to be at least 1,000 years old may recall some of this ‘supernatural’ reverence. Local folk tradition gives magical healing properties to the tree. It is said that any wish made by it will come true, and the trees acorns are said to be used as lucky charms, particularly giving luck to pregnant women. In particular anyone who passes through the hollow of the tree and then encircles the trunk will be granted any wish or desire. The tree was first documented as a tree of great antiquity in the 18th century, and has been seen as a natural curiosity for generations. The present farmhouse was built in 1733; but the tree was revered well before this time. In William Harvey’s 1727 book on the parish of Linkinhorne, it is stated that the hollow in the trunk was capable of housing small pleasure parties. The custom of holding tea parties in the Oak’s hollow trunk was continued well into the 1980s by the Hoare family, who purchased the farm in 1919.

...snippet taken from my forthcoming book: 'From Granite to Sea ~ The Folklore of Bodmin Moor and East Cornwall' to be published by Troy Books, winter/spring 2018. Art © Paul Atlas-Saunders, words © Alex Langstone.

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.