Thursday, 21 March 2019

More about Boscastle

I've got to go back - I only saw a fraction of what Boscastle has to offer.
When I got back to work, I found a guidebook to the area. It's by Jim Castling, and it's very comprehensive.
The map at the beginning of the book shows me that the pretty little river that flows through the village (the one that occasionally floods catastrophically) is the River Valency, and it's joined around the Wellington Hotel by the River Jordan.

The Wellington Hotel ran a daily coach and four service to Camelford Station until the beginning of the First World War, and famous visitors include Edward VII, Sir Henry Irving the actor, and Guy Gibson of the Dambusters.
Thomas Hardy stayed there when he was working as an architect (before he became a famous novelist) when he was working on refurbishing nearby St Juliot's church. and beside it was the Old Mill, which still has a (now only decorative) mill wheel.

I'd been looking around to see where the castle that gives its name to Boscastle was - and it's actually further up the Jordan valley, with a whole other part of the village that we never saw.
Even further up, on Forrabury Common, you can still see the medieval field system with the strips that were shared among the community. Each strip is about an acre in size, and the area covers 80 acres.
Forrabury Church is dedicated to the wonderfully named St Symphorian. Originally Norman, it was rebuilt in 1867, so there probably isn't much left to interest church-crawlers like myself.
There's also the Minster Church nearby, once the site of a medieval monastery.

The Cobweb pub, where we had lunch, was a warehouse up until 1947, for corn, coal, building materials and household items. The building itself dates back to the 17th century.
Boscastle Pottery, next door, used to be a bakery.
The Old Manor House pub we passed on the way to the Witchcraft Museum really was the old manor house, and amazingly there were once 18 pubs in the village!
The little National Trust bookshop, which we didn't have time to go in, further along, used to be a blacksmith's forge. The National Trust bought the entire harbour, right up to Forrabury Common, in 1955.

There's an old lime kiln by the Harbour restaurant. This was once the village hall, and the local cinema. The lime kiln wasn't the only industry in the village - another building, now called Seagulls, was a manganese mill, and then there were the "fish palaces" where fish were processed. There was even ship building along that stretch of river, and a service that carried passengers from Boscastle to Quebec and New York up until the 1850s!
In its heyday as a port, Boscastle handled up to 300 ships in a year, carrying anything from coal to wines and spirits into the port, and taking out cargos of slate and limestone from nearby quarries. This went on until the railway reached Camelford in 1893. The last cargo ship to come to Boscastle was the Francis Beddoe in 1916.

No comments:

Post a Comment