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.


  1. A fascinating walk with lots of history, especially the story about Charles Rashleigh. We have a dissused cemetery in Louth, Lincolnshire where all the headstones have been stacked around the perimeter and the area landscaped I find it really interesting, some of them are very old.

    1. Thanks David. Following your comment I found details and photos of St. Marys Old Cemetery in Louth. Perhaps this is the one you mentioned. I'm always interested in old headstones.
      Enjoy Monday Bank Holiday, should be good weather. We won't go far, if anywhere, too many people buzzing about.

  2. I’ve revisited this post twice to take it all in! A delightful and interesting walk with so much to see and learn. I could easily spend a day reading the gravestones alone! I see from David’s comment that he is also familiar with a no longer used cemetery. I have never heard of moving the markers off of the area and creating a park. I feel certain there would be strong objections from descendants to do something like that here, but I could be wrong of course! Lovely post!

    1. Hello Ann, interesting what you say about descendants perhaps objecting to the headstones being moved. I guess it's comforting to be able to 'visit' great-great grandfather or some other relative. I like to visit descendants myself. I suppose though that after, say 100 years, the person is no longer there (in a physical sense) nothing remains.

      As I think you know my wife was born in Northern Germany. Where she lived the church graves only remain for 25 years. After this period they are reused.

      On a more cheerful note we are having a spell of lovely weather and lockdowns are disappearing (hopefully). Hope all is well, all good wishes.

  3. Hello Mike, I always greatly enjoy your tours. Fascinating about the Charles of Charlestown. He sounded to be a no-nonsense kind of chap. The Quaker House is very handsome and who doesn't enjoy a glass eye story! Lulu x

    1. Thank you Lulu. I sometimes think we go about with our eyes half closed, there are so many interesting things to see, Hope you are enjoying the Bank Holiday weekend.

  4. Lovely post Mike. I can imagine Grace not relishing the job of retrieving a glass eye!
    My friend at university was a quaker and many of the nicest people I have met are too.

    1. Many thanks. It seems many old businesses have Quaker origins: Quaker Oats, Bryant & May, Cadbury, Rowntrees, Barclays and Lloyds Banks and so on. I believe they looked after their employees.
      Hope you are having a good week in the sunshine,



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