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PAROCHIAL HISTORY OF THE COUNTY OF CORNWALL

VOLUME 1, 1867

 

Page 132 – 140

S. BREOCK IN KIRRIER, OR BREAGE

 

HALS.-  Is situate in the hundred aforesaid (Kirrier), and hath upon the north, Crowan; west, Germow; east, Sithney; south, the British Channel.  Of the name and titular guardian of this Church I have spoken before.  By the Bishops of Lincoln and Winchester, to the Pope’s annats, 1294, ecclesia Sancti Breuc in decanatu de Kerryer, was rated £16.  Vicar ejusdem 36s.  It is now the mother church of Cury, Germow, and Gunwallo, and goes in presentation and consolidation with them, though at the time of the inquisition aforesaid they were taxed separate.  In Wolsey’s Inquisition 1521, and Valor Beneficiorum, they are valued together in first fruits £33.  The patronage in the crown, the incumbent Trewinard.  This parish was rated to the 4s. per pound Land-Tax, 1696, £230 4s. temp. William III.

 

At the time of the Norman Conquest, if this parish was not taxed under the jurisdiction of Lanmigall, i.e. Michael’s Temple or Church, (now S. Michael’s Mount), the priors whereof, or the king or duke, endowed it, together with those other before named, it was rated under the district of Treskeaw, that is to say the skeawe, or elder-tree town, a place, as I am informed, well known and still extant there.

 

In the pleas of the crown in the Exchequer, 12th Edward I., I found it thus written of Pengelly in this parish.

“Johannes de Treveally tenet in Pengelly, in comitatu Cornubiae, dimidium acram terrae Cornubiensem, per sergiantiam recipiendi unam capam de grisando as pontem de Poulston, cum Rex fuerit inveniendus versus Cornubiam; et intrando Domino de Cabilla, qui eam in adventu domini Regis ibidem deferre debet, et eam tradere eidem Johanni, qui quidem Johannes eandem capam ferre debet cum domino Rege pro totam Cornubiam;” that the half acre Cornish is held by the duty of its owner receiving a great coat from some one in Devonshire at Poulston Bridge, and to carry it about for the King’s use, so long as he remains in Cornwall.

 

In this parish stands the barton and manor of Good-ol-gan, also God-al-gan, synonymous words, only varied by the dialect, meaning a place that was altogether a wood down, a name anciently given and taken from the natural circumstances thereof.  Otherwise, if the name consist of English-Cornish, God-ol-gan signifies a place that was altogether God’s downs.  As for the modern name of Good-ol-phin, God-ol-fyn, it, in like manner as the former, admits of no other etymology or construction than that it was a place that was altogether a wood, fountain, well or spring of water, or altogether God’s fountain or spring of water.  But because the words god, gud, good, in Cornish, Belgic, and British are always taken and adopted in the first sense, to signify only a wood, and the words Du, Due, and Dyu, are the proper appelations of God and no other in Cornish, I cannot apprehend how that sacred name is concerned in the initial part of this word, Godolphin, which refers, as I said before to the circumstances of the place, viz., that to table, fountain, well, or spring of water here, that passeth beneath the house, through the gardens, and the woods and groves of timber that still surround the same.

 

Contrary to the etymology, Mr Carew says that Godolphin signifies a white eagle, than which nothing can be more untrue; for in all those compound words, there is not one particle or syllable relating thereto, or any other than the British language whatsoever: for wen erew, wen eryr, wen eriew, and by contraction wen-er is a white eagle in the Welch, Little-Britannic, and Cornish tongues.  In like manner Verstegan tells is that in the Saxon tongue, blond erna is a white eagle; as also in the German and Dutch tongues; and the French dictionaries inform us that blanch aegle, or eagle, is a white eagle, aetos in Greek; aquila in Latin; nesher in the Hebrew; from whence our British erew, eerier, eryr, eriew, is derived.

 

In opposition to all those etymologies of the word Godolphin, Mr Sammes in his Britannia, and the author of the additions to Camden’s Britannia, tells us that godolac in the Phenician tongue signifies a land of tin, from whence they apprehend the name Godolphin is derived, especially because tin is found in the precincts thereof, but surely not comparable in quantity to what is made in forty other places in Cornwall, that yet come not under that denomination of Godolphin, as being tin land.

 

From the name I proceed to the matter or thing itself, viz., the manor and barton of Godolphin; which lands in the times of Edward III, were the lands of Sir John Lamburne, Knight of Lamburne, in Perransand, whose daughter and heir was afterwards married to Sir Renphry, or John Arundell of Lanherne, Knight, one of whose posterity, viz., Edmond Arundell, Knight, temp. Henry VI. Sold the same to one Stephens, upon condition of a kind of domineering, lording, or insulting tenure, and reservation of rent to his manor of Lamburne in Perransand, viz., “that once a year for ever the Reeve of the said manor should come to Godolphin, and there boldly enter the hall, jump upon the table or table-board, and there stamp or bounce with his feet or club, to alarm and give notice to the people of his approach, and then and there make proclamation aloud three times, ‘Oyes! Oyes! Oyes! I am the reeve of the manor of Lamburne in Perransand, come here to demand the old rent, duties, and customs, due to the Lords of the said manor from the lands of Godolphin.’”  Upon which notice there is forthwith to be brought him 2s.8d. rent, a large quart of strong beer, a loaf of wheaten bread worth sixpence, and a cheese of the like value; which the reeve having received, he shall drink of the beer, taste the bread and cheese in the place, and then depart, carrying with him the said rent and remainder of those viands, to the lords of the manor aforesaid, to whom they are still duly paid, which at present are Sir John Seyntaubyn, Bart., and others, who claim it in right of the two daughters and heirs of the said Edmund Arundell, which were married to Danvers and Whitington, as Whitington’s heirs were married to St Aubyn and others.

 

After Stephens purchased those lands of Godolphin from Arundell, and came possessed thereof, his only daughter and heir was married to Ralph Knava or Nava, of ---; which name or word is of quite another signification in the British tongue than what it signifies in the English; for knava, nava, nawe, naue, signifies the same as servus, servulus, famulus, minister, asminister, ministrator, in Latin; hence it is that in Trevisa’s and Tyndale’s translation of the Bible into English, the word is used in this sense by them; Titus I, 1, “Paul a knava,” &c., and the like 2nd Timothy I, 1, “Paul a nava,”&c., which words in the translation of the Bible in James the I’s time, the translators have rightly rendered into new English, by the names of “Paul a servant,” &c., and “Paul an Apostle,” &c., that is, a messenger, an ambassador, or servant sent, as apostolus; in the original Greek, deulos, servus kai et apostolus; and in all other places in the old and new Testament, where they met with the Greek words doulos and apostolus, they are by them so rendered.

 

But more certain I am that John Knava, of Godolphin, Esq., was struck Sheriff of Cornwall by Henry VII, 1504, who declared his great liking of that gentleman in all circumstances for the said office, but discovered as much dislike of his name after the English, not understanding the import thereof in Cornish, and so further said, that as he was pater patriae, he would trans-nominate him to Godolphin, whereof he was lord; and accordingly caused or ordered that in his letters patent under the broad seal of England, for being Sheriff of Cornwall, he should be styled or named John Godolphin, of Godolphin, Esq., and by that name he accounted at the years end with that king for his office in the exchequer, and had his acquittance from thence, as appears from the record in the Pipe office there.

 

Since which time his posterity have, ever since, made Godolphin the heriditary name of their family.  His son, William Godolphin, Esq., was sheriff of Cornwall, 21st Henry VIII; William Godolphin, Knight was sheriff of Cornwall, 29th Henry VIII; William Godolphin, Knight, was sheriff of Cornwall, 3rd Edward VI; William Godolphin, Knight, was sheriff of Cornwall, 12th Elizabeth; Francis Godolphin, Esq., afterwards Sir Francis, was sheriff of Cornwall, 21st Elizabeth; Francis Godolphin, Knight, was sheriff of Cornwall, 2nd James I; Francis Godolphin, Esq., afterwards Knight, was sheriff of Cornwall, 13th Charles I; whose son Sir William Godolphin, was by Charles II created the 552 Baronet of England, 29th April, 1661.  His younger brother Sidney Godolphin, Esq., M.P. for Helston, one of the Commissioners of the Treasury, who had been sent several embassies to foreign princes, was by King Charles II, by letters patent bearing date 8th Sept., 1684, created Lord Godolphin, and Baron of Rialton.

 

Certes, from the time that this family was seised of Godolphin, such a race of famous, flourishing, learned, valiant, prudent men have served their prince and country in the several capacities of members of parliament, justices of the peace, deputy lieutenants, sheriffs, colonels, captains, majors, and other officers, both military and civil, as scarce as any other family this country hath afforded, which I do not mention (for that my great-grandmother on the one side, the wife of Sir John Arundell, of Tolverne, Knight, was daughter of the aforesaid Sir Francis Godolphin, Knight, sheriff of Cornwall, 21st Elizabeth,) but as their just character and merit; and I challenge the envious justly to detract from the same.

 

This right Honourable Sidney Lord Godolphin, aforesaid, was a commissioner for the Treasury about twenty years, which trust and office he discharged with unquestionable justice, fame, and reputation, during the reigns of King Charles II, James II, and till the latter end of the reign of King William III, when he voluntarily resigned his office.  After that king’s death, he was by Queen Anne made sole Lord High Treasurer of England, 1701, in which station he continued with unblamable conduct till the year 1710, the time of his death, (having been before, by that Queen, created Earl Godolphin.) a place of much import, trust, grandeur, and honour, as no Cornishman before him ever arrived to, except the Lord Denham, (or rather their name of old Cardinham,) temp. Henry VII.  Two such persons perhaps for their skill in accounts, rents, revenues of the crown, and other matters pertaining to the exchequer, equal to, if not superior to any Lord Treasurer of England before them. The paternal coat-armour of this noble family are, gules, an imperial eagle with two necks between three fleurs-de-lis argent.

 

Pen-gar-wick in this parish also Pen-gars-wick, i.e. the head word, or command, fenced or fortified place; so called from the command or authority of the lord thereof heretofore in these parts, and the strength of the house and the tower thereof, otherwise Pen-gweras-ike, i.e. the creek, cove, or bosom of waters, head help, as situate upon the sea, or waters of the British channel.

 

This barton and manor, in the latter end of the reign of Henry VIII, was purchased by one Mr Milliton, a gentleman of the county of (Devon), where having wilfully or accidently committed murder, or slain a man, in order to shun or avoid justice, he privately made the purchase aforesaid in the name of his son, and so immured himself in a private chamber of the tower of Pengarwick, that he was not seen of any person but his trusty friends, so that he finished the natural course of his life without detection of his person, or punishment for the crime aforesaid; but alas! Notwithstanding his concealment, and design of perpetuating his name and tribe in this place, his son Job Milliton, Esq., 1st Edward VI, made governor of S. Michael’s Mount, (in the room of Renphry Arundell, Esq., executed for rebellion,) who married Godolphin, and had issue William Milliton, Esq., sheriff of Cornwall, 7th Elizabeth, 1565, that died without issue, and six daughters that became his heirs, married 1, to Erisy, afterwards to Sir Nicholas Parker; 2, to Lanyon; 3, to Trefusis, and Tregothick; 4, to Trenwith, Arundell, and Herle; 5, to Bonython; 6, to Abbot, from some of which heiresses, Sir Nicholas Hals, Knight, at his first coming from Efford, in Devon, into Cornwall, purchased their parts of this lordship, with leases from the rest of the coparceners, and for some time made it and Trewinard the places of his dwelling till he removed to Fentongollan.  This place afterwards, by his unthrifty son and heir, John Hals, had all its timber cut down that was growing upon it, and sold, which tradition saith was great store; the lands also were sold to Godolphin and some others.

 

The arms of Milliton were, out of a supposed allusion to their name, a chevron between three millet fishes hauriant or erected; whereas Milli-ton is a mill town.

 

TONKIN.-  There is nothing in Tonkin of importance, differing from Hals.  He gives the Cornish distich, which has often been repeated:-

“Germoe mather

Breaga lavethes.”

“Germoe a king

Breage a midwife.”

In the Churchyard of Germoe, is a small alcove, called King Germoe’s throne: it may perhaps have been a plain, simple shrine.

 

____________________

 

The parish of S. Breock in Kirrier, S. Breaca, S. Briack, and now commonly called Breage, is situated in the deanery and hundred of Kirrier, and is bounded on the north by Crowan, on the east by Sithney, on the west by S. Hilary and Germoe, and on the south by the sea.  The gross measurement of the parish amounts to 7,056A. 3R. 8P. of which 6,500 acres are titheable, namely, arable, 1,800; pasture 3,200; common, 1,500.  Roads, rivers, and waste exempt from tithes, amount to 500 acres.  The living is a vicarage in the patronage of the Crown and the present Vicar, the Rev. E. M. Pridmore, was admitted in 1852, on the demise of the Rev. Richard Gerveys Grylls, vicar of Luxulian, who also held his benefice with Germoe, Cury, and Gunwalloe.  The tithes are commuted at £1,138 10 0, namely:-

                 

To the Vicar                                                                           

£510  0  0

To the Richards’ family

£456  0  0

To Edward Coode, Esq., S. Austell                                        

£ 75  0  0

To Sir John Yarde-Buller, now Lord Churston                        

£ 50  0  0

To J. Harry

£ 15  0  0

To Thomas Mitchell                                                                

£ 6  10  0

To the Rogers’ family                                                              

£ 25  0  0

To John Rogers                                                                      

£  1  0  0

The vicarage house was built by the present incumbent in 1855, to which there is attached a glebe of 5 ½ acres, good grazing land.

 

The church comprises a chancel, nave, north and south aisles, and north and south transepts.  The arcades of each of seven semi-circular arches and pillars of granite.  The font is modern; it has a circular bowl supported on a shaft and four small pillars, all of granite.  The north transept has a flat massive roof of oak, with well-carved bosses.  This was the burial place of Margaret, the wife of Sidney, the first Earl of Godolphin, and daughter of Col. Thomas Blague.  She died in London, September 16, and was buried September 27, 1678.  The transepts are battlemented.  There is a south porch, battlemented and supported with buttresses; a north door and a priest’s door; near the latter is another door blocked, probably intended for a private entrance to the Godolphin pew.

 

In the south aisle are three helmets, two of them bearing the Godolphin crest. The tower arch is very fine, of lofty proportions, moulded and panelled, and is perhaps the best perpendicular arch to be found in any one of the Lizard churches.  The tower is of three stages, battlemented and buttressed to the top of the third stage.  The pinnacles consists of square panelled shafts, battlemented, crocketed above, and finished with crosses.  The roof is drained by eight grotesque gargoyles.  The material is granite ashlar, and it is a handsome and substantial structure.  It contains three bells, and a clock dated 1771. In the church is a copy of the letter of Charles I., and marble and other tablets bearing the following inscriptions:-

 

Here lyes the body of John Coode, of Sethnoe, gent., deceased, who was here buried the 2d day of February, 1671, in his 77th year of his age.  And Jane, his wife, the daughter of William Prade, of Trevetha, gent., who was buried the 6 day of September, 1626, in the 30 year of her age.  And William, their son, who was here buried the 4th day of February, 1689, in the 71 year of his age.  And John, the son of the said John and Jane, who was here buried the  day  in  ye  year of his age.

 

Here lyeth ye body of Grace, the daughter of Thomas Robins, of Glasney Colledge, gent., and wife of John Coode, who was buried the 29th day of September, 1694, in the 74 year of her age.

 

To the memory of their beloved parents, the Rev. Edward Marshall, M.A., vicar of this parish 34 years, who died May 3rd, 1803; and Loveday, his wife, who died Jan. 28th, 1804, this monument was erected by their three surviving daughters.

 

In memory of Francis Spernon, of Pengelley, in this parish, Esq., who departed this life Decr. The 6th, 1759, aged 35 years.

 

Sacred to the memory of Peter James Esq., who was born in this parish, and died at East Stonehouse, in the county of Devon, on the 10th of October, 1850, aged 74 years.  His remains are interred in the family vault at Plymstock, in the abovenamed county. This monument is erected as a mark of respect by Peter James, his beloved and only surviving son.

 

Against the chancel wall, outside:-

 

Here lieth the body of John Coode, of Methleigh, gent., who departed this life the five and twentieth day of September, in the year of our Lord Christ, 1675, and of his age the 62 year.

 

There is a handsome chancel window thus inscribed:-

 

In memory of Caroline-Isabella Wilson, born the 10th day of August, 1846, died the 21st day of Decr., 1854.  “Is it well with the child? It is well.”

 

An ornamented window at the east end of the south aisle has this inscription:-

 

In memory of Elizabeth Wilson, born the 18th day of Decr., 1780, died the 27th day of Jany., 1866. “Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord.”

 

A good stained glass west window to the same aisle is dedicated,

 

To the glory of God and in commemoration of the marriage of Albert Edward, Prince of Wales, Duke of Cornwall, and Alexandra, Princess of Denmark, on the 10th day of March, 1863.  This window was erected by the Parishioners of St. Breage.

 

In the parish Register is the following curious and interesting entry:-

 

“Thomas Epsly Senior, of Chilchampton, p’ish of Bath and Wills, in Somersitsheere, he was the man that brought that rare invention of shooting the rocks, which came here in June, 1689; and he died at the ball, and was buried at breag the 16th day of December, in the yeare of our Lord Christ, 1689.”

 

A few years ago the head of the cross, somewhat ornamented, was discovered buried in the churchyard, it is evidently much older than the present church, near the south entrance of which it now stands.

 

Tregonning hill, 596 feet, and Godolphin hill, 495 feet above the sea level, are in this parish.  On the top of the former are the remains of a large fort, or hill castle.  It appears to have been of great strength, and was one of the largest of the kind in the county.

 

The entrenchment was neither circular nor rectangular, but of an irregular form, following the shape of the hill, and consisted of two vallums and two ditches.  The first vallum 12 feet high, is of earth; the second, 15 feet high, of earth and stone, faced externally with rude rubble masonry.  The outer ditch is rather shallow, and formed as usual, by throwing up the soil of the first vallum.  The ditch separating the vallums is six yards in breadth.  The inner space from east to west measures about 106 yards; from north to south 92 yards.

 

On the western declivity of the hill, about forty or fifty yards from the camp, is a well, which appears to have been regularly walled around; and steps descending to the water may still be seen.

 

At the southern base of the hill about half an acre of ground is studded with tumuli, simply rude heaps of stone, indicating a lengthy occupation of the spot, or that it had been the scene of warfare.

 

The hill was formerly called Pencairn, and Leland calls the castle Cair Cenin, alias Gonyn and Conin.  Breáca, a lady of rank, and Germoe, a king, belonged to that company of Irish missionaries, which, according to tradition, landed in the fifth century, at Riviere, at the mouth of the Hayle.  To this hill of Pencairn Breaca first came after her landing, and Leland says “oedifificavit eccl: in Trenewith et Talmeneth.”  The ancient name of this parish was Pembro, and the place called Trenewith is some distance from the present church.

 

About a quarter of a mile from the shore stands Pengerswick Castle, built in the early part of the sixteenth century, and was the residence of the Militons.  The greater part of the building has long ago fallen into decay, but a three-storied and battlemented tower remains in tolerable preservation.  An upper room adjoining the tower had panelled walls, each panel containing a rude painting with a legend in verse beneath.  The following afford good examples of these verses:-

Perseverance.

What thing is harder than the rock?

What softer is than water cleere?

Yet wyll the same, with often droppe,

The hard rock perce, as doth a spere;

Even so, nothing so hard to attayne,

But may be hadd with labour and payne.

 

The one nedith the other ys helpe.

The lame wyche lacketh for to goe

Is borne upon the blinde ys back;

So mutually betwien them twoo,

The one supplieth the other’s lack:

The blinde to laime doth lend his might,

The layme to blynde doth yold his sight.

 

The Militons became possessed of this castle by purchase, temp. Henry VIII. J. Pengersick represented the borough of Helston in Parliament in 1397, temp. Richard II. And in 1399 and 1406, temp. Henry IV.  The first possessor of the castle is said to have slain a man either through accident or design, and to have immured himself in some part of the building to avoid justice.  His son Job Militon, was made governor of S. Michael’s Mount, in the year 1547, in the room of Humphry Arundell, of Helland, who was executed for rebellion.  His only son William Militon, Esq., dying in 1565, without issue, the inheritance of this estate passed to his six sisters, and has ever since continued in severalties.  Sir Nicholas Hals, at his first coming into the county, purchased some of the shares, and resided occasionally at Pengerswick; his son John sold them to the Godolphin family.  The Duke of Leeds, as representative of the Godolphins, has three-sixths; Mr Buller, two-sixths; Mr Carter, one-twelfth; and Mr Pascoe, one twelfth.  The presentation of S. Hilary is with the owners of Pengerswick castle.

 

The family of Godolgan or Godolphin, appear to have settled at Godolgan-Hall for some descents, when it became extinct in the male line by the death of David Godolgan, whose only daughter, Elizabeth, married John Rinsey, Esq., and being a great heiress it was covenanted that her name should descend with her posterity.  This John Rinsey therefore took the name of Godolgan, and was great-great-grandfather of John Godolgan or Godolphin, supposed to have been the first of the family who adopted the present spelling of the name.  Sir William Godolphin, grandson of John Godolphin, was several times chosen knight of the shire, and five times served the office of sheriff; he also distinguished himself by his military prowess, particularly at the siege of Boulogne.  Carew says “he demeaned himselfe very valiantly in a charge which hee bare beyond the seas, as appeared by skarres hee brought home, no lesse to the beautifying of his fame, than the disfiguring of his face.”

 

Dying without male issue, Godolphin passed to Francis Godolphin, son of his brother Thomas, who had served with him, and had been wounded at the siege of Boulogne.  Sir Francis was the contemporary of Carew the historian, and contributed his assistance towards the Survey of Cornwall.  Mr Carew speaks in high terms of his bravery, when the Spaniards paid a hostile visit to the parish of Paul in 1595.  Sir William Godolphin distinguished himself against the Irish rebels, in the latter part of the reign of Elizabeth.  Sir William’s sons were all royalists during the civil war.  Sir Francis, the eldest, was governor of Scilly, which he delivered up to the parliament when the king’s cause became hopeless.  Sidney lost his life in Battle, at Chagford, in Devonshire; Sir Francis was created one of the Knights of the Bath at the Restoration; his son William was created a baronet, in 1661, and died in 1710, without issue.  Sidney, a younger brother, of Sir William Godolphin, Bart., became a political character of considerable note.  Being introduced to the Treasury as one of the two commissioners on the dismissal of the Earl of Danby, 1679, and afterwards becoming first commissioner, he was created by Charles II, 1684, Barron Godolphin of Rialton.  On the arrival of the Prince of Orange, James delegated to him the administration of his affairs, and also deputed him with a conciliating message to William.  He voted in the convention for regency, yet was reinstated in his place at the council board; and on the accession of Anne, was constituted Lord High Treasurer.  During the first ten years of her reign, he was known as the political colleague of the Duke of Marlborough, and in 1706 was created Viscount Rialton and Earl of Godolphin; but in 1710 he received a note of dismissal from office from the queen, in terms little calculated to blend with a conscious feeling of integrity; her majesty desiring, with the offer of a pension indeed, “that instead of bringing the staff of office to her, he would break it, as easier to them both.”  It is said that he was the silentest and most modest man that perhaps was ever bred in a court; but silence begot a jealousy which hung loose upon him, that his notions were for the court, yet his incorrupt way of managing the concerns of the Treasury, created in every one  a very high respect for him.  He loved gaming to excess, and gave as one reason for it, that it saved him from the obligations of talking much.  All things put together, he was one of the worthiest and wisest men that had been employed in his time.  He died September 15, 1712, and was interred in Westminster Abbey, where a monument with a fine bust commemorates him.

 

The titles of Earl and Viscount became extinct by the death of Francis the second Earl, in 1766, when Godolphin passed to this cousin, Francis, son of Dr. Henry Godolphin,  who succeeded to the title of Baron Godolphin of Helston; a patent for which barony had been procured in 1735, by Francis Earl of Godolphin, with remainder to the heirsmale of Dr. Henry Godolphin.  This last named personage was provost of Eton College and Dean of S. Pauls.  His whole life was one career of piety and charity; besides large sums privately distributed, he gave £4000 at one time to Queen Anne’s bounty for the augmentation of small livings.  He died in 1734, aged 84; having married Mary, daughter of Sydney Godolphin, Esq., governor of Scilly, and had issue the afore-named Francis, who died without issue, in May, 1785, when the Godolphin family became extinct in the male line.  Godolphin then passed, by the marriage of Mary, second daughter and eventually sole heir of Francis, second Earl of Godolphin, to Thomas Osborne, fourth Duke of Leeds, in whose family it still remains.

 

Godolphin Hall, a quadrangular building, situated in a large and well-wooded park, is now occupied as a  farm house.  The portico was built of white granite from Tregoning hill, by Francis Earl of Godolphin.  The rooms over it were never fitted up.  William of Worcester, temp. Edward IV, speaks of the castle at this place, which he calls Godollen, as being in a ruinous condition.  Leland says, “Carne Godolcan, on the top of an hille, wher is a diche, and there was a pile and principal habitation of the Godolcans.  The diche yet apperith, and many stones of late time hath beene fetchid thens.”

 

Godolphin district was gazetted February 6, 1846, and the church, dedicated to S. John the Baptist, was built in 1851.  It comprises a chancel, nave, and north aisle and vestry.  A bell turret on the western gable, is pierced for two bells.  The building is buttressed on the square.  Plain circular font, and south porch.  Total cost, £1411 10s.  The living is a perpetual curacy, with a stipend of £150.  The presentation in the Crown and Bishop alternately.

 

There was formerly a chapel at Godolphin, dedicated to the Virgin Mary, of which there are now no remains.

 

Pengelly, or as it was sometimes called, the manor of Spernon and Pengelly, belonged to the family of Spernon, whose residence it was for many generations.  It became extinct on the death of a gentleman in the medical profession, at Lostwithiel, and the property was sold about seventy years ago to the Buller family.

 

The manor of Methleigh, the Matele of Domesday, was originally granted to the church of Exeter by Canute; the original grant is said to be still existing in the archives of the diocese.

 

It was exchanged for the manor and advowson of Constantine, with the Arundells of Truthall, in Sithney, temp. Henry VII.  John Coode, second son of Edward Coode, of Tresa, in Sithney, held the barton of Methleigh on lease, under the Arundells, in 1638, 13 Car. I; and about 1670, he purchased the fee-simple.  His son Samuel purchased the manor and royalties in 1714, and it is now the property of his descendant, Edward Coode, Esq., of S. Austell.

 

Treanno, or Tranno and Tregonnow, were held by John Coode in 1589, 33 Elizabeth; they are also the property of his representative abovenamed.

 

About thirty years ago a piece of gold resembling the broken link of a chain was turned up by the plough in one of the fields at Methleigh.  It is considered by competent judges to be a piece of the “ring money” described by Borlase and other writers, as used by the ancient Cornu-Britons.  More recently, two ancient gold rings were found in a heap of sand which had been brought up for manure from under Methleigh cliff; one has a blue stone in it, the other has the name “John Code” engraved on it.  Those valuables are in the possession of the proprietor of Methleigh.

 

Along the cliffs at Methleigh are many graves of bodies washed in by the sea.  Not far from this place, about forty years since, a transport was wrecked under the Halzaphron cliffs, and a great number of lives lost.  The bodies of thirty seaman and military were buried near the spot where they were washed ashore, and this is the last instance of burying corpses of shipwrecked persons in unconsecrated ground.  In consequence of the strong feeling excited on this occasion, the late Davies Gilbert, Esq., M.P. for Bodmin, introduces into parliament an Act sanctioning the burial of bodies thrown up by the sea in the parish church yard, the expenses attending such interment being defrayed out of the county rate.

 

Portleven, a fishing village, furnished with a good pier and a small but secure basin, was constructed to be a harbour of refuge for embayed vessels in stormy weather. It is partly in this parish and partly in Sithney.  Within the last few years, the harbour has been purchased by the Messrs. Harvey, of Hayle, and much improved.  Timber, limestone, coals, and mining materials generally, are imported.

 

At Trewavas Head is a pile of granite, among which stands a single columnar rock, which, seen from a certain point, bears a striking resemblance to the human figure.  The body, which is in a half-kneeling posture, leans against a table of stone, not unlike a reading desk, for which reason, and because the head is furnished with an appendage resembling a wig, it is known by the name of the “Bishop-rock.”

 

Besides the churchtown, the principal villages in this parish are Ashton, Trew, Rinsey, Kenegy, Hendra, Tregunno, Trescow, Trevervas, and Herland, where the Godolphin district church stands.

 

There are chapels belonging to the Wesleyan Methodists, Bible Christians, and the New Connexion Methodists.

 

The principal Landowners are the St. Aubyn family, the Duke of Leeds, Lord Churston, Edward Coode, and C. W. Popham, Esquires, and the representatives of the late H. M. Grylls, Esq.

 

The manor of Treworlis was vested in Charles Trelawney, Esq.

 

The wild romantic character of the coast adjoining this parish, is inferior to nothing of the kind in Cornwall; and Wheal Trewavas, which had its engines perched on the cliffs and its workings beneath the sea, has a most picturesque appearance.  Wheal Vor, also in this parish, has been in its time one of the richest mines in Cornwall.  The present working has been continued about eighteen years, and in that time about £1,240,000 worth of tin has been raised; it is still very rich.

 

This extensive parish includes nearly the whole of the granitic patch known by the names of Tregoning and Godolphin hills; and it also comprises the greater part of the country lying between those hills and those of the opposite range of granite in Wendron and Crowan, called the Forest.  Its mines, quarries, and sea cliffs, afford most interesting geological sections.

 

The granite of Godolphin hill is of the common kind, containing several places an intermixture of shorl, and it is traversed by numerous thick veins of quartz, which sometimes pass into compact shorl rock.

 

The granite of Tregoning hill is of two kinds; one fine grained like free-stone, which is extensively quarried on the western side of the hill, and used for ornamental building, under the name of Breage stone; the other, abounding in tale, and in a state of considerable decomposition affording, like the similar granites of S. Austell and S. Stephens, the china clay, which is here worked for economical purposes, but not to any great extent.

 

It may be noticed that both the granite and the slate gradually pass into each other; and that they appear to differ very little in their mineral composition.  These facts seem to explain the nature of granite veins.  For if both rocks have a similar composition, and have been produced at the same time, the form, position, contents, and other circumstances of these veins, are no longer perplexing.