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Heartlands opens and Duchy Opera sings

Duchy Opera is honoured to have been invited to sing at the launch of the prestigious new Heartlands attraction and World Heritage site. We shall be there on Sunday April 22nd at 11.30–12 & 1-1.30. Everyone is invited to this free event which lasts all weekend. Watch out for the specially commissioned 4m² heart-shaped blimp which will rise into the sky over the 19 acre site.

“Special guest, Newton Faulkner joins line-up for three-day opening celebrations at the UK’s first free cultural playground”

BRIT nominated, acoustic guitar virtuoso Newton Faulkner was today announced as the special guest of honour at the launch of Heartlands, the new free visitor attraction and World Heritage site in Cornwall, which will open to the public on Friday 20 April 2012.

The musician, who will be playing two concerts in nearby Falmouth on Sunday 22 and Monday 23 April, will perform a small live acoustic set on the Saturday afternoon as part of the three-day party to celebrate the opening of this inspirational new 19 acre site, which has been created to help regenerate one of the poorest areas of Cornwall.

As well as performing, Newton will also leave his mark on the Totem Circle within Heartlands, a new events space dedicated to buskers and new talent. Twelve totems surround the circle; each with two sides left blank for performers to graffiti their initials. On carving his initials, Newton will kick-start this ritual and begin the Totem Circle’s story.

Newton joins a large and eclectic line-up for the Heartlands Magic Myth and Mayhem Launch Party, which includes music performances from (amongst others) Dalla, John Dowling, The Viewers, Hedluv and Passman, and Duchy Opera; theatre from Rogue, Bish Bash Bosh and Squash Box; dance from The Big Dance Company, CScape and TR14ERs. The event will also include special lantern, flag making and dance workshops, storytelling, face painting, aerial performances, acrobatics, skateboarding, BMX, fire show and fireworks.

The weekend will begin with a Hearty Party Parade on Friday 20 April as over 800 schoolchildren, local community groups, businesses and colleges formally open the site. Once open, a specially commissioned 4m² heart-shaped blimp will rise into the sky and fly over this, the former mining heart of Cornwall for the remainder of the weekend.

Vicky Martin, Chief Executive of Heartlands said:

“We are honoured that Newton was able to take time out of his busy tour schedule to pop in to see us at Heartlands and we can’t wait to see him perform. Our three-day extravaganza brings together an eclectic and exciting mix of music, dance, theatre and spectacle and we are looking forward to opening Heartlands in style.”

Heartlands is based on former derelict mine land at Robinson’s Shaft in the village of Pool. It is hoped the £35 million Cornwall Council-led development, funded by the Big Lottery Fund, Cornwall Council, the Homes and Communities Agency and the European Union will support the regeneration of Pool, Redruth and Camborne – an area containing over 10% of the Cornish population which has struggled to recover from the closure of the tin and copper mines (and related industries).

  • Heartlands became a reality in 2007 when it was awarded a £22.3 million grant by the Big Lottery Fund, the biggest grant BIG has ever given to a single project in England. It was one of only three projects in the UK to receive the grant under BIG’s Living Landmarks scheme.
  • The free attraction will be run as a social enterprise by the charity, the Heartlands Trust and includes:
  • World Heritage Site state-of-the art exhibitions
  • Restored Engine House with 80” Beam Engine (the last Cornish engine to work on a Cornish mine)
  • Biggest Adventure Playground in Cornwall (themed on Cornish myth and history)
  • Diaspora Botanical Gardens (each relating to a country that the Cornish have emigrated to)
  • Red River Café and Bar
  • Art and Craft studios
  • Chi an Bobel (large community, conference and function hall)
  • Totem Circle (small amphitheatre for music, dance and theatre performances)
  • Market Square
  • Events Arena (for large scale outdoor festivals)
  • Interactive art installations including graffiti-me totem poles and Red River paddling stream
  • 19 one and two-bedroomed sustainable homes
  • Biomass boiler, photo voltaics, rain-harvesting system and wind turbine
  • Year-round programme of events
  • Newton Faulkner first entered our world back in 2007, when his debut album Hand Built By Robots rocketed up the charts all the way to the number one spot. Since then, Newton has toured relentlessly around the world and 2009 saw the release of his second full-length album, Rebuilt By Humans. Currently Newton is working hard on material for the eagerly anticipated third album, due for release next year. For more information, visit www.newtonfaulkner.com

The Big Lottery Fund (BIG)

  • The Big Lottery Fund (BIG), the largest distributor of National Lottery good cause funding, is responsible for giving out half the money raised for good causes by the National Lottery.
  • BIG is committed to bringing real improvements to communities and the lives of people most in need and has been rolling out grants to health, education, environment and charitable causes across the UK since June 2004. The Fund was formally established by Parliament on 1 December 2006.
  • Big Lottery Fund Public Enquiries Line: 08454 102030, Textphone: 08456 021 659. Full details of Big Lottery Fund projects and grant awards are available at: www.biglotteryfund.org.uk
  • Big Lottery Press Office: 020 7211 1888. Out of hours: 07867 500 572

The Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) is the single, national housing and regeneration delivery agency for England. Its vision is to create opportunity for people to live in homes they can afford in places they want to live, by enabling local authorities and communities to deliver the ambition they have for their own areas. This is achieved by:

  • Understanding the needs and aspirations of people and communities through close working with local authorities on local investment planning
  • Enabling local delivery through the channelling of expertise and investment
  • Working effectively with the market, housebuilders, investors and other stakeholders

Almost on our doorstep

FOOD tastes better outside – fact. And food this good tastes exceptional outside. Simon  Stallard and Jemma Glass of the Hidden Hut have only been here since Easter 2011, yet have been featured on TV, sold out of upcoming feast nights until the end of June and regularly serve more than 100 guests in one sitting.

And all out of a large caravan-sized, olive green wooden hut that squats discreetly above the dunes at Porthcurnick beach on the Roseland Peninsula. Reaching the hut is by foot only, either from Portscatho along the coastal path or down the road from the Rosevine and Driftwood hotels, four miles from St Mawes.

As yet, there are no signs, just word of mouth, passers by and locals, who are as much a part of the clientele as tourists.

This is a more permanent pop-up café with food prepared by an experienced head chef and a nutritionist.

“The sourcing of the products is what I enjoy,” explains Simon, “I love rare breeds.”

The split pea and slow roast ham soup featured an Old Spot from Calenick Farm and the beef bourguignon I missed yesterday was made from the farm’s shorthorn beef.

The soup whacked a meaty punch from the stock used to boil up the ham, served with generous chunks of bread and slabs of butter.

Alongside the soup we ordered wraps – smoked salmon and creamy cheese, blue cheese, prosciutto and rocket. The wraps were crammed full and the combination made for a light but filling lunch.

Followed up with a chaser of cake and tea and the meal became a feast. The brownies were particularly memorable (as a good brownie should be), made by Jemma’s mum Maggie, and no, you can’t get the recipe. The pair have grand plans for the little Hut – Simon speaks of giant metal stands for his paella feast nights, the next of which is happening on the beach in June, of plans to get a fire-pit built and more tables that are currently being crafted out of an entire tree.

Simple, big ideas and a conscious move away from the stress and anti-sociable hours of Simon’s previous life as head chef at the nearby Roseland Inn, Rosevine and Bustophers, Truro. Souped up and sated, the sun came out and our cup of tea became a brew with a view –  priceless.

The tables filled and emptied – walkers, elderly ladies, families, dogs, locals.

Book early if you want to get a place on the Hut’s summer feast nights to which you bring your own booze, cutlery and plates, making for a very reasonably priced evening out. Sourced with passion and knowledge, expect such Hut classics as lobster and chips, crab night, slow roasted pork belly (vegetarians catered for) and fish pie, all featuring the great outdoors and all its breezy, unpredictable Cornish beauty.

For more on the  Hut take a look at this week’s West Briton newspaper www.thisiscornwall.co.uk/Hidden-tales-Hut/story-15723507-detail/story.html or go to www.hiddenhut.co.uk

Under wraps – the perfect excuse to eat   al fresco at Porthcurnick beach on the Roseland. Your cup of tea becomes a brew with a view.

Musical Adventures in Cornwall

The British Newspaper Archives make fascinating reading and in the Western Morning News and Daily Gazette of Monday March 14th 1938 I came across a reference to an appearance of the Falmouth Opera Singers, giving two performances at London’s Notting Hill Gate of Mozart’s opera “Idomineo”, with “The chief honours” going to “the orchestra, which, under the baton of Miss Maisie Radford, played crisply throughout”! The story of the Radford sisters, and indeed the Falmouth Opera Singers, is told in their 1965 book, “Musical Adventures in Cornwall”, and the amazing achievements emerging from their St Anthony-in-Roseland cottage and studio are a joy just waiting to be discovered.

They shared their music in W.I’s and village halls and formed choirs and orchestras all over Cornwall, founding the Falmouth Opera Singers in 1923. Their productions of classical opera included the first performance of Mozart’s Idomeneo in England, and performances of Gluck’s operas, which were acclaimed by musicians throughout the country. The best means of transport from St Anthony at the time was by water, and in their own words, “All had to be transplanted by farm cart, by row boat, by steamer, by truck from the steamer, whenever we set out.” To get to their newly founded St Mawes Choral Society, their first permanent choir, they “had only to run down two fields and row across.” The book tells of the dismay of their visiting singer at having to “wade over thick mud in evening dress, through pitch darkness, to launch the rowing boat which was then their only transport back to their Roseland home”.

Their tradition has been continued by their niece, Jennet Campbell, founder of our local band, ‘St Anthony’s Noyse’, and you can read more on the website of the Radford Trust, and of course in their fabulous book, published by David and Charles.

Cornish Tin at the London Olympics

Tin mined and smelted in the county is being used to create the bronze medals for this summer’s Olympic Games in London.

The tin was mined at South Crofty 14 years ago and smelted at Wheal Jane, near Redruth.  It had been stored at Wheal Jane since the South Crofty mine closure in 1998 and was thought to be the only candidate to match the incredibly high levels of purity needed for medals that will grace the necks of the world’s finest athletes. This is a very emotional moment for Cornish miners since production of tin ceased in Cornwall some years ago. There are still hopes that the South Crofty Mine will reopen in the not-too-distant future. You can read all about it in The Western Morning News and see comments here.

From the Archives………

Taken from a 2004 newsletter:

The Pool was finally declared open in February this year to everyone’s relief. We have received so many compliments on its quality that we feel that all the waiting was worthwhile. It has not been without its teething troubles, some of which continue: the UV technology which is used in the purification process is state-of-the-art and still being pe…rfected, and for everyone’s safety we err on the side of caution, especially with the spa pool, but everyone agrees that the low chlorine/no red eyes result is far superior to the chemical solution.

It has been a steep learning curve for our staff, for, contrary to our plans for a totally unattended pool, we found it necessary for health and safety reasons to have trained first aiders and pool rescue staff within call for emergencies. We have had a full health and safety analysis of the whole business, which has put everything on a secure footing. We have also struggled with our photo-entry computer software system which proved to be not quite so state-of-the art as we had hoped, but we have had lots of fun asking everyone to stand in front of the camera and some amusement when cards entered into the machine as Mrs A came out with an entirely new identity as Mr B!

Spring is here

The daffodils are out in the Woods now – I picked a big bunch last week. My favourites are the jonquils which smell so heavenly – but they are quite hard to find. Peter sent a few to his mum in the post – she loves the scent. Let’s hope there are some left to send for Mother’s Day. There are various types of daffodils, from the tiniest ‘wild’ ones, to the large King Alfred and the frilly double ones. We’re told that in times gone by the bulbs were literally thrown into the woods and allowed to grow where they settled.

Some years are better than others, and at the moment there are a lot of ‘blind’ leaves as well as flowers, but they may be waiting to pop up later in the month. We have some daffodils in the front garden which regularly flower in December. We bought them one September when we were down Lamorna way, and I’ve often thought it would be good to get some more. There’s nothing quite like a daffodil in the garden at Christmas.

As for the deer – I didn’t see any sign of them but then they are rather shy creatures. The badger tracks are very clearly seen at this time of year when the ground cover is minimal. It’s so lovely to walk through to the end of the woods – the view alone is worth it, and it’s so quiet and peaceful so early in the season. In a way you want to share it with everyone but at the same time keep it all to yourself – that’s Trewince I suppose.

On a more practical matter…

You may have admired the curtains in the manor house lounge without realising there was a little story attached. I’m going back a few years now, and the curtains are no longer there as the house has been sold and is being renovated – but it’s a good story so I’ll tell it.

We had decided to refurbish the room which had been used as a public TV room and was rather shabby.

We had chosen a carpet but hadn’t yet purchased it and we went along to a holiday/catering Trade show and casually looked at an interior designer’s stand where we recognised a sample of our carpet on a concept board with fabric samples and colours.

After a brief chat with the designer we established that this was a scheme he had undertaken elsewhere, had over-ordered on the material and had a surplus getting damp in his garage at home! After a bit more chat we agreed that if we bought the carpet through him (and his price was very competitive) he would GIVE us the material. Well – I liked that idea. The only problem was that the material was already cut into lengths and the lengths were too short for our windows.

Not easily put off, I made a join in each curtain, placed at the top where it would be hidden behind swags and tails. All I had to do was dry it out, and buy fringing, lining and lead weights. The very nice man even sketched out a quick design for us on the ‘back of an envelope’! I do like a bargain – don’t you? What a generous supplier he was, and what an amazing provision it was for us.

Enter Stephen Johns

Lake’s “Parochial history of Cornwall” 1868 records that the present manor house at Trewince was erected in 1750 by the grandson or great grandson of a man named Richard Johns. Quoting from the ‘History of Cornwall vol 2 Gilbert 1838’ (based on manuscript histories of Hals and Tonkin), the editor wrote that: “An extremely good house was built here about the year 1750 by the grandson or greatgrandson of the gentleman who made the purchase of Trelegar from Mr Trevanian.”

Trewince was described as “A very pleasant house of 5 bays 2 storeyed with quoins and a door with an alternatingly rusticated surround (ie Gibbs) 1750. “

There is another reference to Mr Johns here; I don’t think that a ‘squire of Gerrans’, resident at Trewince, could possibly expect such entitlements in the 21st century:

“The Bishop of Exeter  endowed Gerrans church the one half as a rectory, the other as a vicarage. This division was effected in a very unusual manner, although in one not quite without example. Instead of apportioning the tithe of corn to the rector, and all other portions, as small tithes, to the vicar, the whole has here been divided into equal shares; so that Mr Johns of Trewince the lay impropriator is entitled to 1/20th of everything tithable and the incumbent to another twentieth.” This would have been Stephen Johns for we read of a lease of 1753  – ‘Stephen John, on the lives of Stephen 25 Elenor 18 son and daughter of Stephen’. This expression ‘on the lives’ refers to a form of lease which was used in the 17th & 18th centuries, which was based on the lives of three specified people, so the lease would last for the lifetimes of the father Stephen, who could have been about 45, his son Stephen, aged 25 and his daughter Elenor aged 18: for the natural life of the survivor or longest liver of them. The theory was that the property would remain in the family for a substantial amount of time, since every time one of the ‘lives’ died, the lease would be surrendered and raised again on another three lives.

Stephen died soon after this: in his will of 04/11/1761 the ‘remainder of lands’ were left to his son Stephen Johns. I saw a document relating to the administration of his will in 1766, and it was in such a fragile state that I was amazed that viewing was allowed! The will referred to daughters Abigail, Ann and Eleanor and son Stephen; witnesses were Henry Nicholls, Martin Davis, and John Pascoe. He left to his wife ‘meadows in Trewithian’; to daughter Abigail £500 as a marriage settlement to be paid within a year of his death; in the meantime interest on this of £4 per cent per annum; to daughter Ann and daughter Eleanor the same; the remainder of lands and tenements were left to his son Stephen.

It was interesting to read about leases at http://bit.ly/wgZJlG . Apparently, leases sometimes had a wavy edge where two halves of an agreement had been cut apart and could be matched back together at a later date in order  to check that both halves of the agreement were the original documents.

There are accounts books relating to this period, referring to large parcels of land
1760 S Johns – Trewince (80 acres)
Polhaughan
Lanhoose
267 acres
Treluggan and so on….
They show amounts of wheat and  barley and the sale of lump sugar

Location, location, location!

Long ago, all the fields around Trewince had descriptive names, and these can still been seen in the Tithe map of 1841 which can be viewed in the County Records office. The names are even older than this, though. In the Henderson Calendars we read:

“25/5/1648 Sir Peter Courteney leases to Ferdinando Hobbs of Gerrans gent for £60 and a surrender all Trewince and 4 closes called the Well Ground 20 acres, the Pease Meadow 1 1/4 acres, the Westerne grounds 12 lying on the west side of the Highway from Gerrans to St Anthony and being part of Trewynce and lands called the Downes 80 acres and a piece of waste ground called Polkerah (?) – lives said Ferdinando, Elizabeth his wife and Nicholas (son) — to the manor of Trethyn (illegible)”.

One field  below Trewince is called Pardon Bank, and it is where Henry VIII allegedly pardoned all political offenders in the area. In his “Accounts of the memories and reminiscences of a number of people of the parish of Gerrans”, Sam Marsden, rector of Gerrans 1975 or 6, wrote:

” The field on the left hand side of the road down to Trewince was where Henry viii held court, at which he pardoned all political offenders in the area. It is known as the Pardon Bank.”

Laurence O’Toole in his book  “Roseland between river and sea” wrote that Henry VIII was credited with staying at the Royal Standard in Gerrans during the time he was building St Mawes Castle but there is actually no evidence that he ever came to Cornwall. A bit like those other legends about Joseph of Arimathea…..

Minack Theatre on the cliffs wins Gold SW Tourism award

The Minack Theatre won the Gold award at the SW Tourism Awards finals in Torquay, in the category “Tourism Activity, Sport & Experience of the Year”. The West Cornwall winners were Team Minack, Penlee Gallery (gold in small attraction), Boskerris Hotel (bronze in small hotel) and Visit Cornwall. Geevor Tin Mine won bronze in the  small attraction category.

Who could think of a better ‘shelf’ on which to display their trophy? Quote from the Minack: “We were thinking about asking the builders to cement it in!!”.

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