Friday 28 May 2021

Following Your Nose in St. Austell to the Cemetery Park and Other Places

If you simply follow your nose through St. Austell you never know what you might find. Perhaps you'll come across one of the Buccawidden white clay piskies by Zenna Tagney* or perhaps Random Acts of Art**, as below - with a story to tell as well. Here's one of the stories ...

Mr Eddy was a regular visitor to Grace's house in Trevisoe, especially if her mother had made her fruit scones which you could smell all the way as far as Thethosa.

He had a glass eye, did Mr. Eddy which often fell out when he became animated. One day it rolled across the linoleum making a disturbing noise, which cut through the polite Sunday afternoon, after chapel conversation. It was Grace's job to retrieve it. A job she didn't relish. She saw it rolling in forgotten dust under a cupboard. As she was just about to grab it, it winked at her.

Walking through the town, towards the station and up the hill, there's the Quakers Meeting House built in 1829.

Quakers believe that there is something of God in everybody and that each human being is of unique worth. This is why Quakers value all people equally and oppose anything that may harm or threaten them. I can equate with that sentiment.

Across the road is the entrance to the Cemetery Park.

Once in the park there's lots of space with places to sit.

The name of the park becomes apparent once inside. Around the boundaries are 485 old grave stones or memorials.

This was once known as the High Cross Cemetery, opened way back in 1793 and finally closed in 1878.

The memorials are all very old and some are now difficult to read.

The park has many mature trees and while on my visit I only saw two other people - mind you, it wasn't one of the best days weather-wise.

The sundial arrived in 2008.

I must admit though, that it was the old memorials that interested me. I'm not sure why, but I have been fascinated by cemeteries ever since a child, though not in a morbid way.

There was one memorial in particular I was looking for: that of Charles Rashleigh.

I eventually found what I was seeking. You might just be able to make out the name, Charles Rashleigh, in the third row below.

For those who may not know Charles Rashleigh is the 'Charles' as in Charlestown, Cornwall.

In 1790, what is now known as Charlestown, was a small fishing village of Porthmear. It is often stated that just nine fishermen and their families were resident. Charles Rashleigh though, saw other possibilities

Copper (and later china clay) needed to be exported from the local area so Rashleigh decided to build a harbour, with the help of a few friends including John Smeaton who was well known for constructing lighthouses and harbours.

he harbour and port were constructed between 1791 and 1801. 

Eventually, under Rashleigh's guidance, a village was also developed around the harbour. The name was changed from Porthmear to Charlestown in honour of Rashleigh. There is also now a pub and hotel called the Rashleigh Arms, owned by St. Austell Brewery.

Above Charlestown in 1880
Rashleigh left the following request, regarding his death, in his will dated 1809:

"This is the last Will and Testament of me Charles Rashleigh of Duporth in the Parish of Saint Austell in the County of Cornwall made the eleventh day of February in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and nine. I desire that my Funeral may be private and that no mourning be given of any sort but that the usual fees be increased equal to the cost of the Hatbands and so forth and that my remains may be placed in a plain Wooden Coffin. If I shall die at or within ten miles of Saint Austell parish I desire to be buried in the New Burying Ground belonging to that parish and to be carried to the Grave by twelve of my own Labourers."

Charles Rashleigh's Memorial

Having found what I had been looking for I left the Cemetery Park and followed my nose once more. This led me to spot the green man's face, which had been placed on the pedestrian crossing.

I also spotted a quizzical cat ...

... while the seagull was learning his lines. 

And to finish the post the window of a local Chinese restaurant with clouds reflected in the window.

** More info on Random Acts of Art on the Kneehigh web site and you'll find details of * Zena Tagney here.

Friday 21 May 2021

A Flavour of St. Austell, Cornwall - 26 Photos

The subject is St. Austell for today's post. I remember when I moved  near to the town, back in 1975, it was a busy bustling place. I thought it was great. It had lots of 'proper' shops: greengrocers, butchers, a supermarket, departmental store, clothing outlets, pubs, restaurants and so on. A thriving town.

Somehow things changed and the town went downhill. I even heard people calling it St. Nasty.

But, hopefully, things are improving. St. Austell has some interesting bits and pieces, despite some of the shops being empty because of the coronavirus. But lets be optimistic. 

Lets see the good. There is some  interesting stuff in town, like the new Clay Planet sphere created by Marion Brandis - as shown in the photos above and below. This is made from local china clay (kaolin). 

China clay was known as white gold, as it made many wealthy and provided work for local people. The demise of the china clay industry had a detrimental effect on the town.

Let's look at some of the things to see in St. Austell. There are examples of ceramic art, often almost hidden away. One very big example is the honey bee mural below made up of over 11,000 handmade tiles.

And next we have 'As Below So Above' created by artist Matt Davis. The white signifies the local china clay. It looks a bit wobbly because it includes a mirror. There is more ceramic artwork later in the post.

St. Austell church, but more on this later.

As for shops in town, several have closed because of the coronavirus. But, as for the one below, would you go for a body piercing in a place called ouch! ?

At least there is up to 50% off at the next shop. Snag is it has closed down! Was previously a combined Burtons and Dorothy Perkins.

Back to ceramics, below are two photos of the 'Seed Bank' by Cleo Mussi.

Moving on to St. Austell's old Market House. It was being renovated at the time I snapped the photo, so only part of the building on display.

This is how it looked in the late 1800's.

Another photo of St. Austell church.

If we look down from the church pathway we can see the White Hart Hotel. This was originally the town house of Charles Rashleigh - born 1747. This is the 'Charles' as in Charlestown.

Also looking down from the church grounds we can see the Red Bank, completed in 1898, and constructed of red brick with terra-cotta detail.

Okay, while still in the church area something interesting, well two things. Firstly The Ancient Mengu Stone (or Men du). For details of the stone see my blog post here.

Secondly the hidden stone (below) from 1734 which states: Here lyeth the body of Mary Harris who died the 7th of June 1734 aged one and twenty. Full story on my blog post: The Mystery of the Hidden Stone Tablet at St.Austell Church 

Let's now go back to porcelain art. Here are a few more examples to be found in the town centre

Moving on to the new(ish) town square there are shops and a Costa for coffee.

Some of the poppies are porcelain.

If we meander back to the Fore Street we see a different side of the Clay Planet sphere I mentioned at the beginning of the post.

Looks like the train from London has arrived.

Mustn't forget this mural by Janet Shearer with Daphne Du Maurier on the balcony. The people in the China Cafe are all residents who lived in or near St. Austell

So all in all St. Austell isn't too bad after all and look at all of the places we can visit nearby.

Gardens like 

Villages and Towns like

and various beaches of course and a coastal path and so on and so on.


That's it for today, thanks for visiting my blog.

Friday 14 May 2021

Truro Cathedral and White Feather Stories Which Comfort the Bereaved

This is Cornwall's cathedral in Truro. The foundation stones were laid by Edward, Prince of Wales, Duke of Cornwall in 1880. The Cathedral of the Blessed Virgin Mary was finally completed in 1910.

On a recent visit to the cathedral I snapped a few photos.

While in the cathedral I noticed the poem, as below, titled The White Feather Sniper.
This made me smile as I have collected many stories about  white feathers over the years.

The stories I have collected all have the same theme: where people have seen white feathers following the death of a loved one.

I realise many will think of this as being in some sort of fairyland, but I have experienced this myself.

In a very short period of time, a few years back, three people very close to me died within a fifteen month period.

This was obviously a difficult time but my wife and I started seeing white feathers, completely out of the blue. They were mostly large fluffy feathers which often appeared when we were thinking of our loved ones. For some reason the white feathers brought us comfort.

Here are just three of the many white feather stories I have collected:

(1) My dear husband, Gene, passed away and ever since then I have found white feathers.

My grandson and I were sitting in the same place my Gene and I would sit in Church and a white fluffy feather landed between us. In the Spring my son took me to a major league ball game and down came a white feather. And it goes on and on. I'm making a collection of them.

 Just when I need a feather from Gene, down it comes. In my heart I know its the Lord and my Gene saying every things alright!

(2) When my mother died, it was the worst moment of my life. I was in tatters and, as silly as it sounds, I couldn't believe that she had really died.

At the funeral I was in bits as we stood around mother's grave. As I looked down at the coffin a large white feather fluttered down and settled on some flowers, on top of the coffin. A good friend said, "Look your mother is thinking about you." I wasn't sure what she meant but somehow it was as if I had pulled myself together. I stopped crying and felt at peace.

Over the next few days I saw other white feathers and I believe they were from mother telling me she was alright and I should get on with my life.

(3) My sister passed away very suddenly aged 17, a few years ago.

I had never seen a white feather in our house ever before, but they began appearing every single day for the first couple of weeks after she passed away. I wasn't very religious beforehand, but I definitely took it as a sign.

When it was time for me to leave my home a few weeks later, to go back to college, I found a gigantic white feather on my bag, and one stuck to the car door.

I'll leave it there with just the three stories, though I have dozens and dozens more.

It's a difficult, emotional time when a loved one dies and I guess we like to think that they live on.

When my mother died I found a poem in her purse - I feel she knew I would find it there. It was handwritten and I had no idea at the time who it was by. I have since learned that it was written by Canon Henry Scott-Holland, 1847-1918, Canon of St Paul's Cathedral, London. Here's the poem:

Death Is Nothing At All
Death is nothing at all,
I have only slipped away into the next room,
I am I and you are you.
Whatever we were to each other,
that we are still.
Call me, by my old familiar name.
Speak to me,
in the the easy way you always used.
Put no difference into your tone.
Wear no forced air of solemnity or sorrow.
What is death, but a negligible accident?
Why should I be out of mind
because I am out of sight?
I am waiting for you,
for an interval,
somewhere very near,
just around the corner.
All is well.
Nothing is past; nothing is lost.
One brief moment and all will be as it was before.
How we shall laugh
at the trouble of parting when we meet again!

Thanks for reading today's blog, despite it being a little different to my normal posts. I'll finish with another photo of Truro Cathedral. 



  We had to make a short visit to Fowey so I snapped a few quick photos as we walked. The first two are views on the way from the Fowey car ...