Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Arrgh me hearties!

Our bedroom

Another B&B as good as the pictures on the internet! Our large room has a great view of the harbour, even in the rain. We were greeted with afternoon tea and ‘jubilee’ muffins.
On the recommendation of our hosts we walked around the corner for dinner in one of the oldest drinking houses in Penzance. The Admiral Benbow has an amazing collection of maritime artefacts incorporated into the building. Placemats and menus told stories of pirates and smugglers, and access through an old well. We sat in the Captain’s Cabin amongst woodwork from a Portuguese Man O’War and were served the largest portions you could imagine. The waitress later told us that they did that as a challenge to see if anyone could finish it – we couldn’t!
We woke to find the rain gone so took off to St Just, only 7 miles away but a good 20 minute drive on the windy narrow roads. The hedges on the sides of the roads are deceptive – they are not just bushes and weeds. They are rocks and hard dirt covered in bushes and weeds!
St Just is the town of many of my ancestors on my father’s side. Four sets of ggg grandparents came from the surrounding areas. It was the biggest town in West Cornwall for many years because of the tin mining. Now a small friendly village with more pubs and churches than food shops.
Dinner at the Admiral Benbow Inn
We first went to St John’s church where many of my Grenfell, Hattam, Warren and other ancestors were baptized, married and buried. Being so close to the sea and so exposed to wild winds, many of the gravestones were very hard to read. The current church dates from the 15th century, only part of the chancel remains from the original medieval church built in 1334.
We also went to the Wesleyan Methodist Church where we were able to go in as a man was practicing the organ. The lady there looked up the relevant graves and lent us a graveyard map of over 500 graves – a huge timesaver! This church was built in the 1830s because of the huge and growing population. It can hold about 1000 people but sadly the parish now is only about 30.
Ref to Russell Grenfell! I have a cousin Russell
I was surprised that even Paul was interested in trawling around the graveyards.
Then a walk down some of the streets my ancestors lived in, probably past the original houses as most of the town is as it was in the 1800s when they left.
We drove down to look at the Cape Cornwall Golf Club and found the headland with its National Coastwatch station having an open day. The day had become ‘warmer’ and very clear. We walked around the headland and climbed the steep stairs and hill to the Coastwatch. We could even make out the Scilly Isles in the distance. The National Trust people were thrilled to find Aussies had come to visit them, and even more thrilled that we (I) had Cornish ancestry.
Paul couldn’t resist booking in to play golf on such an amazing course (we’ll see if he still says that after he’s played it) and returned to our B&B to prepare for the Minack Theatre.

Rugged coastline on Cape Cornwall towards Lands End

On the way up to CoastWatch

Tight Squeeze


  1. Loving this! Is that Land's End in the background?

  2. Yes, it was very clear - that is Land's End and we could even see the Scilly Isles! Amazing as the next day we could barely see our feet.