Friday, 10 February 2017

A walk from St Cleer

A clear, bright but cold day for a walk starting and ending in St Cleer, a large village about 10 miles from home. Guess what? It was dry. Who says it rains incessantly in Cornwall?
Just under 5 miles and a mixture of tracks, footpaths, fields and quiet country lanes. Nothing too challenging but a great day to be out and about.
St Cleer parish church is dedicated to Saint Clarus. Founded circa 800, the present building is largely Norman with the tower being added as part of early fifteenth century alterations. And that was it until the Victorians did a bit of 'restoration' in the late nineteenth century. A charming little church and one where some of Mrs P's forebears attended. 
St Clarus was an Englishman who went to Cornwall (note that Cornwall and England were different places back then) to preach to the inhabitants in the 8th century. He founded the church and lived nearby doing saintly things. However this earthly life caught up with him when he rejected the advances of a local chieftainess who had fallen in love with him. When she continued to pester him, he fled to France where he lived in an isolated hermitage. The enraged woman had him pursued and then murdered (he was beheaded). Hell hath no fury like a women scorned.
Obviously a WW1 casualty but not a standard CWGC headstone. This lead me to think that J (ohn) Wilton had died in the UK and not in a battle zone. A little research reveals he was wounded in France but died of his wounds in Woolwich Military Hospital. For the record he was 41 when he died and was the son of Emma Jane and Sampson Wilton.
The St Cleer War Memorial. Look closely and you'll see the name of P.Jenkins. This is Percy Jenkins, who is also commemorated on the memorials in Stoke Climsland, Golberdon and Stoke Climsland church. He had connections with all of these places, albeit the one for Golberdon seems to be the fact that he went to chapel there. His mother was born in St Cleer and he was born in Stoke Climsland.
Those were the days when every reasonably sized settlement had its own dedicated policeman/policemen and police station (and they were all men back then). Nowadays most police stations have been closed and to see a police officer locally is a rarity. This one in St Cleer, dating from the mid-1800s, has been closed for a while and is now a private dwelling. Of course, when thinking about the early days of this building, we should bear in mind that it was built when the local mining boom was at its highest. The population was much, much bigger than now and full of all sorts of itinerants. It really was the Wild West every now and again, especially on pay day!
I just liked the contrasting colours of nature on this tree stump. Moss, fungi and lichens all blending together.
Clear skies and far reaching views aplenty on this walk. Here we are looking west towards St Austell. But the sun belies the sub-freezing temperatures when the wind got up.
My first lambs of the Spring. A good sign that Winter is coming to an end - possibly.
An interesting stretch of the walk when we laboured uphill along the bed of a stream cum footpath.
But it was worth it when we came to drier parts and were able to walk under a canopy of branches. It's an old track leading from one mine to another.
 Just down the road from the church is the mediaeval St Cleer Holy Well. The well is said to have been used as a boussening or ducking pool to allow for complete immersion, obviously before the large metal grid was put in place. The waters of the well are reputed to be good for the curing of insanity, rickets and epilepsy. Apparently there is an annual well dressing ceremony and locals and visitors join with children from the village school to bedeck the well with flowers and ring hand bells. Local mythology tells us that attempts have been made to remove and cart away stones from the chapel, but mysterious power has always returned them at night! Spooky, eh?
The cover of the well with its statue of St Clarus (looking rather haunted as if hiding from his admirer) and the corner pinnacles echoing the design of the church tower.
Another sign of Spring, Crocuses in the graveyard back at the start.

No comments: