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From London to Land's End by Daniel Defoe

Part 2 out of 2

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places, both for the defence of the Cobb and the town also.

This town is under the government of a mayor and aldermen, and may
pass for a place of wealth, considering the bigness of it. Here,
we found, the merchants began to trade in the pilchard-fishing,
though not to so considerable a degree as they do farther west--the
pilchards seldom coming up so high eastward as Portland, and not
very often so high as Lyme.

It was in sight of these hills that Queen Elizabeth's fleet, under
the command of the Lord Howard of Effingham (then Admiral), began
first to engage in a close and resolved fight with the invincible
Spanish Armada in 1588, maintaining the fight, the Spaniards making
eastward till they came the length of Portland Race, where they
gave it over--the Spaniards having received considerable damage,
and keeping then closer together. Off of the same place was a
desperate engagement in the year 1672 between the English and
Dutch, in which the Dutch were worsted and driven over to the coast
of France, and then glad to make home to refit and repair.

While we stayed here some time viewing this town and coast, we had
opportunity to observe the pleasant way of conversation as it is
managed among the gentlemen of this county and their families,
which are, without reflection, some of the most polite and well-
bred people in the isle of Britain. As their hospitality is very
great, and their bounty to the poor remarkable, so their generous
friendly way of living with, visiting, and associating one with
another is as hard to be described as it is really to be admired;
they seem to have a mutual confidence in and friendship with one
another, as if they were all relations; nor did I observe the
sharping, tricking temper which is too much crept in among the
gaming and horse-racing gentry in some parts of England to be so
much known among them any otherwise than to be abhorred; and yet
they sometimes play, too, and make matches and horse-races, as they
see occasion.

The ladies here do not want the help of assemblies to assist in
matchmaking, or half-pay officers to run away with their daughters,
which the meetings called assemblies in some other parts of England
are recommended for. Here is no Bury Fair, where the women are
scandalously said to carry themselves to market, and where every
night they meet at the play or at the assembly for intrigue; and
yet I observed that the women do not seem to stick on hand so much
in this country as in those countries where those assemblies are so
lately set up--the reason of which, I cannot help saying, if my
opinion may bear any weight, is that the Dorsetshire ladies are
equal in beauty, and may be superior in reputation. In a word,
their reputation seems here to be better kept, guarded by better
conduct, and managed with more prudence; and yet the Dorsetshire
ladies, I assure you, are not nuns; they do not go veiled about
streets, or hide themselves when visited; but a general freedom of
conversation--agreeable, mannerly, kind, and good--runs through the
whole body of the gentry of both sexes, mixed with the best of
behaviour, and yet governed by prudence and modesty such as I
nowhere see better in all my observation through the whole isle of
Britain. In this little interval also I visited some of the
biggest towns in the north-west part of this county, as Blandford--
a town on the River Stour in the road between Salisbury and
Dorchester--a handsome well-built town, but chiefly famous for
making the finest bone-lace in England, and where they showed me
some so exquisitely fine as I think I never saw better in Flanders,
France, or Italy, and which they said they rated at above 30 pounds
sterling a yard; but I suppose there was not much of this to be
had. But it is most certain that they make exceeding rich lace in
that county, such as no part of England can equal.

From thence I went west to Stourbridge, vulgarly called Strabridge.
The town and the country around is employed in the manufacture of
stockings, and which was once famous for making the finest, best,
and highest-prize knit stocking in England; but that trade now is
much decayed by the increase of the knitting-stocking engine or
frame, which has destroyed the hand-knitting trade for fine
stockings through the whole kingdom, of which I shall speak more in
its place.

From hence I came to Sherborne, a large and populous town, with one
collegiate or conventual church, and may properly claim to have
more inhabitants in it than any town in Dorsetshire, though it is
neither the county-town, nor does it send members to Parliament.
The church is still a reverend pile, and shows the face of great
antiquity. Here begins the Wiltshire medley clothing (though this
town be in Dorsetshire), of which I shall speak at large in its
place, and therefore I omit any discourse of it here.

Shaftesbury is also on the edge of this county, adjoining to
Wiltshire and Dorsetshire, being fourteen miles from Salisbury,
over that fine down or carpet ground which they call particularly
or properly Salisbury Plain. It has neither house nor town in view
all the way; and the road, which often lies very broad and branches
off insensibly, might easily cause a traveller to lose his way.
But there is a certain never-failing assistance upon all these
downs for telling a stranger his way, and that is the number of
shepherds feeding or keeping their vast flocks of sheep which are
everywhere in the way, and who with a very little pains a traveller
may always speak with. Nothing can be like it. The Arcadians'
plains, of which we read so much pastoral trumpery in the poets,
could be nothing to them.

This Shaftesbury is now a sorry town upon the top of a high hill,
which closes the plain or downs, and whence Nature presents you a
new scene or prospect--viz., of Somerset and Wiltshire--where it is
all enclosed, and grown with woods, forests, and planted hedge-
rows; the country rich, fertile, and populous; the towns and houses
standing thick and being large and full of inhabitants, and those
inhabitants fully employed in the richest and most valuable
manufacture in the world--viz., the English clothing, as well the
medley or mixed clothing as whites, as well for the home trade as
the foreign trade, of which I shall take leave to be very
particular in my return through the west and north part of
Wiltshire in the latter part of this work.

In my return to my western progress, I passed some little part of
Somersetshire, as through Evil or Yeovil, upon the River Ivil, in
going to which we go down a long steep hill, which they call
Babylon Hill, but from what original I could find none of the
country people to inform me.

This Yeovil is a market-town of good resort; and some clothing is
carried on in and near it, but not much. Its main manufacture at
this time is making of gloves.

It cannot pass my observation here that when we are come this
length from London the dialect of the English tongue, or the
country way of expressing themselves, is not easily understood--it
is so strangely altered. It is true that it is so in many parts of
England besides, but in none in so gross a degree as in this part.
This way of boorish country speech, as in Ireland it is called the
"brogue" upon the tongue, so here it is called "jouring;" and it is
certain that though the tongue be all mere natural English, yet
those that are but a little acquainted with them cannot understand
one-half of what they say. It is not possible to explain this
fully by writing, because the difference is not so much in the
orthography of words as in the tone and diction--their abridging
the speech, "cham" for "I am," "chil" for "I will," "don" for "put
on," and "doff" for "put off," and the like. And I cannot omit a
short story here on this subject. Coming to a relation's house,
who was a school-master at Martock, in Somersetshire, I went into
his school to beg the boys a play-day, as is usual in such cases (I
should have said, to beg the master a play-day. But that by the
way). Coming into the school, I observed one of the lowest
scholars was reading his lesson to the usher, which lesson, it
seems, was a chapter in the Bible. So I sat down by the master
till the boy had read out his chapter. I observed the boy read a
little oddly in the tone of the country, which made me the more
attentive, because on inquiry I found that the words were the same
and the orthography the same as in all our Bibles. I observed also
the boy read it out with his eyes still on the book and his head
(like a mere boy) moving from side to side as the lines reached
cross the columns of the book. His lesson was in the Canticles, v.
3 of chap. v. The words these:- "I have put off my coat. How
shall I put it on? I have washed my feet. How shall I defile

The boy read thus, with his eyes, as I say, full on the text:-
"Chav a doffed my cooat. How shall I don't? Chav a washed my
veet. How shall I moil 'em?"

How the dexterous dunce could form his month to express so readily
the words (which stood right printed in the book) in his country
jargon, I could not but admire. I shall add to this another piece
as diverting, which also happened in my knowledge at this very town
of Yeovil, though some years ago.

There lived a good substantial family in the town not far from the
"Angel Inn"--a well-known house, which was then, and, I suppose, is
still, the chief inn of the town. This family had a dog which,
among his other good qualities for which they kept him (for he was
a rare house-dog), had this bad one--that he was a most notorious
thief, but withal so cunning a dog, and managed himself so warily,
that he preserved a mighty good reputation among the neighbourhood.
As the family was well beloved in the town, so was the dog. He was
known to be a very useful servant to them, especially in the night
(when he was fierce as a lion; but in the day the gentlest,
lovingest creature that could be), and, as they said, all the
neighbours had a good word for this dog.

It happened that the good wife or mistress at the "Angel Inn" had
frequently missed several pieces of meat out of the pail, as they
say--or powdering-tub, as we call it--and that some were very large
pieces. It is also to be observed the dog did not stay to eat what
he took upon the spot, in which case some pieces or bones or
fragments might be left, and so it might be discovered to be a dog;
but he made cleaner work, and when he fastened upon a piece of meat
he was sure to carry it quite away to such retreats as he knew he
could be safe in, and so feast upon it at leisure.

It happened at last, as with most thieves it does, that the inn-
keeper was too cunning for him, and the poor dog was nabbed, taken
in the fact, and could make no defence.

Having found the thief and got him in custody, the master of the
house, a good-humoured fellow, and loth to disoblige the dog's
master by executing the criminal, as the dog law directs, mitigates
his sentence, and handled him as follows:- First, taking out his
knife, he cut off both his ears; and then, bringing him to the
threshold, he chopped off his tail. And having thus effectually
dishonoured the poor cur among his neighbours, he tied a string
about his neck, and a piece of paper to the string, directed to his
master, and with these witty West Country verses on it:-

"To my honoured master,--Esq.
"Hail master a cham a' com hoam,
So cut as an ape, and tail have I noan,
For stealing of beef and pork out of the pail,
For thease they'v cut my ears, for th' wother my tail;
Nea measter, and us tell thee more nor that
And's come there again, my brains will be flat."

I could give many more accounts of the different dialects of the
people of this country, in some of which they are really not to be
understood; but the particulars have little or no diversion in
them. They carry it such a length that we see their "jouring"
speech even upon their monuments and grave-stones; as, for example,
even in some of the churchyards of the city of Bristol I saw this
excellent poetry after some other lines:-

"And when that thou doest hear of thick,
Think of the glass that runneth quick."

But I proceed into Devonshire. From Yeovil we came to Crookorn,
thence to Chard, and from thence into the same road I was in before
at Honiton.

This is a large and beautiful market-town, very populous and well
built, and is so very remarkably paved with small pebbles that on
either side the way a little channel is left shouldered up on the
sides of it, so that it holds a small stream of fine clear running
water, with a little square dipping-place left at every door; so
that every family in the town has a clear, clean running river (as
it may be called) just at their own door, and this so much finer,
so much pleasanter, and agreeable to look on than that at Salisbury
(which they boast so much of), that, in my opinion, there is no

Here we see the first of the great serge manufacture of Devonshire-
-a trade too great to be described in miniature, as it must be if I
undertake it here, and which takes up this whole county, which is
the largest and most populous in England, Yorkshire excepted (which
ought to be esteemed three counties, and is, indeed, divided as
such into the East, West, and North Riding). But Devonshire, one
entire county, is so full of great towns, and those towns so full
of people, and those people so universally employed in trade and
manufactures, that not only it cannot be equalled in England, but
perhaps not in Europe.

In my travel through Dorsetshire I ought to have observed that the
biggest towns in that county sent no members to Parliament, and
that the smallest did--that is to say that Sherborne, Blandford,
Wimborneminster, Stourminster, and several other towns choose no
members; whereas Weymouth, Melcombe, and Bridport were all burgess
towns. But now we come to Devonshire we find almost all the great
towns, and some smaller, choosing members also. It is true there
are some large populous towns that do not choose, but then there
are so many that do, that the county seems to have no injustice,
for they send up six-and-twenty members.

However, as I say above, there are several great towns which do not
choose Parliament men, of which Bideford is one, Crediton or Kirton
another, Ilfracombe a third; but, those excepted, the principal
towns in the county do all choose members of Parliament.

Honiton is one of those, and may pass not only for a pleasant good
town, as before, but stands in the best and pleasantest part of the
whole county, and I cannot but recommend it to any gentlemen that
travel this road, that if they please to observe the prospect for
half a mile till their coming down the hill and to the entrance
into Honiton, the view of the country is the most beautiful
landscape in the world--a mere picture--and I do not remember the
like in any one place in England. It is observable that the market
of this town was kept originally on the Sunday, till it was changed
by the direction of King John.

From Honiton the country is exceeding pleasant still, and on the
road they have a beautiful prospect almost all the way to Exeter
(which is twelve miles). On the left-hand of this road lies that
part of the county which they call the South Hams, and which is
famous for the best cider in that part of England; also the town of
St.-Mary-Ottery, commonly called St. Mary Autree. They tell us the
name is derived from the River Ottery, and that from the multitude
of otters found always in that river, which however, to me, seems
fabulous. Nor does there appear to be any such great number of
otters in that water, or in the county about, more than is usual in
other counties or in other parts of the county about them. They
tell us they send twenty thousand hogsheads of cider hence every
year to London, and (which is still worse) that it is most of it
bought there by the merchants to mix with their wines--which, if
true, is not much to the reputation of the London vintners. But
that by-the-bye.

From hence we came to Exeter, a city famous for two things which we
seldom find unite in the same town--viz., that it is full of gentry
and good company, and yet full of trade and manufactures also. The
serge market held here every week is very well worth a stranger's
seeing, and next to the Brigg Market at Leeds, in Yorkshire, is the
greatest in England. The people assured me that at this market is
generally sold from sixty to seventy to eighty, and sometimes a
hundred, thousand pounds value in serges in a week. I think it is
kept on Mondays.

They have the River Esk here, a very considerable river, and
principal in the whole county; and within three miles, or
thereabouts, it receives ships of any ordinary burthen, the port
there being called Topsham. But now by the application, and at the
expense, of the citizens the channel of the river is so widened,
deepened, and cleansed from the shoal, which would otherwise
interrupt the navigation, that the ships come now quite up to the
city, and there with ease both deliver and take in their lading.

This city drives a very great correspondence with Holland, as also
directly to Portugal, Spain, and Italy--shipping off vast
quantities of their woollen manufactures especially to Holland, the
Dutch giving very large commissions here for the buying of serges
perpetuans, and such goods; which are made not only in and about
Exeter, but at Crediton, Honiton, Culliton, St.-Mary-Ottery, Newton
Bushel, Ashburton, and especially at Tiverton, Cullompton, Bampton,
and all the north-east part of the county--which part of the county
is, as it may be said, fully employed, the people made rich, and
the poor that are properly so called well subsisted and employed by

Exeter is a large, rich, beautiful, populous, and was once a very
strong city; but as to the last, as the castle, the walls, and all
the old works are demolished, so, were they standing, the way of
managing sieges and attacks of towns is such now, and so altered
from what it was in those days, that Exeter in the utmost strength
it could ever boast would not now hold out five days open trenches-
-nay, would hardly put an army to the trouble of opening trenches
against it at all. This city was famous in the late civil
unnatural war for its loyalty to the king, and for being a
sanctuary to the queen, where her Majesty resided for some time,
and here she was delivered of a daughter, being the Princess
Henrietta Maria, of whom our histories give a particular account,
so I need say no more of it here.

The cathedral church of this city is an ancient beauty, or, as it
may be said, it is beautiful for its antiquity; but it has been so
fully and often described that it would look like a mere copying
from others to mention it. There is a good library kept in it, in
which are some manuscripts, and particularly an old missal or mass-
book, the leaves of vellum, and famous for its most exquisite

This county, and this part of it in particular, has been famous for
the birth of several eminent men as well for learning as for arts
and for war, as particularly:-

1. Sir William Petre, who the learned Dr. Wake (now Archbishop of
Canterbury, and author of the Additions to Mr. Camden) says was
Secretary of State and Privy Councillor to King Henry VIII., Edward
VI., Queen Mary, and Queen Elizabeth, and seven times sent
ambassador into foreign countries.

2. Sir Thomas Bodley, famous and of grateful memory to all learned
men and lovers of letters for his collecting and establishing the
best library in Britain, which is now at Oxford, and is called,
after his name, the Bodleian Library to this day.

3. Also Sir Francis Drake, born at Plymouth.

4. Sir Walter Raleigh. Of both those I need say nothing; fame
publishes their merit upon every mention of their names.

5. That great patron of learning, Richard Hooker, author of the
"Ecclesiastical Polity," and of several other valuable pieces.

6. Of Dr. Arthur Duck, a famed civilian, and well known by his
works among the learned advocates of Doctors' Commons.

7. Dr. John Moreman, of Southold, famous for being the first
clergyman in England who ventured to teach his parishioners the
Lord's Prayer, Creed, and Ten Commandments in the English tongue,
and reading them so publicly in the parish church of Mayenhennet in
this county, of which he was vicar.

8. Dr. John de Brampton, a man of great learning who flourished in
the reign of Henry VI., was famous for being the first that read
Aristotle publicly in the University of Cambridge, and for several
learned books of his writing, which are now lost.

9. Peter Blundel, a clothier, who built the free school at
Tiverton, and endowed it very handsomely; of which in its place.

10. Sir John Glanvill, a noted lawyer, and one of the Judges of
the Common Pleas.

11. Sergeant Glanvill, his son; as great a lawyer as his father.

12. Sir John Maynard, an eminent lawyer of later years; one of the
Commissioners of the Great Seal under King William III. All these
three were born at Tavistock.

13. Sir Peter King, the present Lord Chief Justice of the Common
Pleas. And many others.

I shall take the north part of this county in my return from
Cornwall; so I must now lean to the south--that is to say, to the
South Coast--for in going on indeed we go south-west.

About twenty-two miles from Exeter we go to Totnes, on the River
Dart. This is a very good town, of some trade; but has more
gentlemen in it than tradesmen of note. They have a very fine
stone bridge here over the river, which, being within seven or
eight miles of the sea, is very large; and the tide flows ten or
twelve feet at the bridge. Here we had the diversion of seeing
them catch fish with the assistance of a dog. The case is this:-
On the south side of the river, and on a slip, or narrow cut or
channel made on purpose for a mill, there stands a corn-mill; the
mill-tail, or floor for the water below the wheels, is wharfed up
on either side with stone above high-water mark, and for above
twenty or thirty feet in length below it on that part of the river
towards the sea; at the end of this wharfing is a grating of wood,
the cross-bars of which stand bearing inward, sharp at the end, and
pointing inward towards one another, as the wires of a mouse-trap.

When the tide flows up, the fish can with ease go in between the
points of these cross-bars, but the mill being shut down they can
go no farther upwards; and when the water ebbs again, they are left
behind, not being able to pass the points of the grating, as above,
outwards; which, like a mouse-trap, keeps them in, so that they are
left at the bottom with about a foot or a foot and a half of water.
We were carried hither at low water, where we saw about fifty or
sixty small salmon, about seventeen to twenty inches long, which
the country people call salmon-peal; and to catch these the person
who went with us, who was our landlord at a great inn next the
bridge, put in a net on a hoop at the end of a pole, the pole going
cross the hoop (which we call in this country a shove-net). The
net being fixed at one end of the place, they put in a dog (who was
taught his trade beforehand) at the other end of the place, and he
drives all the fish into the net; so that, only holding the net
still in its place, the man took up two or three and thirty salmon-
peal at the first time.

Of these we took six for our dinner, for which they asked a
shilling (viz., twopence a-piece); and for such fish, not at all
bigger, and not so fresh, I have seen six-and-sixpence each given
at a London fish-market, whither they are sometimes brought from
Chichester by land carriage.

This excessive plenty of so good fish (and other provisions being
likewise very cheap in proportion) makes the town of Totnes a very
good place to live in; especially for such as have large families
and but small estates. And many such are said to come into those
parts on purpose for saving money, and to live in proportion to
their income.

From hence we went still south about seven miles (all in view of
this river) to Dartmouth, a town of note, seated at the mouth of
the River Dart, and where it enters into the sea at a very narrow
but safe entrance. The opening into Dartmouth Harbour is not
broad, but the channel deep enough for the biggest ship in the
Royal Navy. The sides of the entrance are high-mounded with rocks,
without which, just at the first narrowing of the passage, stands a
good strong fort without a platform of guns, which commands the

The narrow entrance is not much above half a mile, when it opens
and makes a basin or harbour able to receive 500 sail of ships of
any size, and where they may ride with the greatest safety, even as
in a mill-pond or wet dock. I had the curiosity here, with the
assistance of a merchant of the town, to go out to the mouth of the
haven in a boat to see the entrance, and castle or fort that
commands it; and coming back with the tide of flood, I observed
some small fish to skip and play upon the surface of the water,
upon which I asked my friend what fish they were. Immediately one
of the rowers or seamen starts up in the boat, and, throwing his
arms abroad as if he had been bewitched, cries out as loud as he
could bawl, "A school! a school!" The word was taken to the shore
as hastily as it would have been on land if he had cried "Fire!"
And by that time we reached the quays the town was all in a kind of
an uproar.

The matter was that a great shoal--or, as they call it, a "school"-
-of pilchards came swimming with the tide of flood, directly out of
the sea into the harbour. My friend whose boat we were in told me
this was a surprise which he would have been very glad of if he
could but have had a day or two's warning, for he might have taken
200 tons of them. And the like was the case of other merchants in
town; for, in short, nobody was ready for them, except a small
fishing-boat or two--one of which went out into the middle of the
harbour, and at two or three hauls took about forty thousand of
them. We sent our servant to the quay to buy some, who for a
halfpenny brought us seventeen, and, if he would have taken them,
might have had as many more for the same money. With these we went
to dinner; the cook at the inn broiled them for us, which is their
way of dressing them, with pepper and salt, which cost us about a
farthing; so that two of us and a servant dined--and at a tavern,
too--for three farthings, dressing and all. And this is the reason
of telling the tale. What drink--wine or beer--we had I do not
remember; but, whatever it was, that we paid for by itself. But
for our food we really dined for three farthings, and very well,
too. Our friend treated us the next day with a dish of large
lobsters, and I being curious to know the value of such things, and
having freedom enough with him to inquire, I found that for 6d. or
8d. they bought as good lobsters there as would have cost in London
3s. to 3s. 6d. each.

In observing the coming in of those pilchards, as above, we found
that out at sea, in the offing, beyond the mouth of the harbour,
there was a whole army of porpoises, which, as they told us,
pursued the pilchards, and, it is probable, drove them into the
harbour, as above. The school, it seems, drove up the river a
great way, even as high as Totnes Bridge, as we heard afterwards;
so that the country people who had boats and nets catched as many
as they knew what to do with, and perhaps lived upon pilchards for
several days. But as to the merchants and trade, their coming was
so sudden that it was no advantage to them.

Round the west side of this basin or harbour, in a kind of a
semicircle, lies the town of Dartmouth, a very large and populous
town, though but meanly built, and standing on the side of a steep
hill; yet the quay is large, and the street before it spacious.
Here are some very flourishing merchants, who trade very
prosperously, and to the most considerable trading ports of Spain,
Portugal, Italy, and the Plantations; but especially they are great
traders to Newfoundland, and from thence to Spain and Italy, with
fish; and they drive a good trade also in their own fishery of
pilchards, which is hereabouts carried on with the greatest number
of vessels of any port in the west, except Falmouth.

A little to the southward of this town, and to the east of the
port, is Tor Bay, of which I know nothing proper to my observation,
more than that it is a very good road for ships, though sometimes
(especially with a southerly or south-east wind) ships have been
obliged to quit the bay and put out to sea, or run into Dartmouth
for shelter.

I suppose I need not mention that they had from the hilly part of
this town, and especially from the hills opposite to it, the noble
prospect, and at that time particularly delightful, of the Prince
of Orange's fleet when he came to that coast, and as they entered
into Tor Bay to land--the Prince and his army being in a fleet of
about 600 sail of transport ships, besides 50 sail of men-of-war of
the line, all which, with a fair wind and fine weather, came to an
anchor there at once.

This town, as most of the towns of Devonshire are, is full of
Dissenters, and a very large meeting-house they have here. How
they act here with respect to the great dispute about the doctrine
of the Trinity, which has caused such a breach among those people
at Exeter and other parts of the county, I cannot give any account
of. This town sends two members to Parliament.

From hence we went to Plympton, a poor and thinly-inhabited town,
though blessed with the like privilege of sending members to the
Parliament, of which I have little more to say but that from thence
the road lies to Plymouth, distance about six miles.

Plymouth is indeed a town of consideration, and of great importance
to the public. The situation of it between two very large inlets
of the sea, and in the bottom of a large bay, which is very
remarkable for the advantage of navigation. The Sound or Bay is
compassed on every side with hills, and the shore generally steep
and rocky, though the anchorage is good, and it is pretty safe
riding. In the entrance to this bay lies a large and most
dangerous rock, which at high-water is covered, but at low-tide
lies bare, where many a good ship has been lost, even in the view
of safety, and many a ship's crew drowned in the night, before help
could be had for them.

Upon this rock (which was called the Eddystone, from its situation)
the famous Mr. Winstanley undertook to build a lighthouse for the
direction of sailors, and with great art and expedition finished
it; which work--considering its height, the magnitude of its
building, and the little hold there was by which it was possible to
fasten it to the rock--stood to admiration, and bore out many a
bitter storm.

Mr. Winstanley often visited, and frequently strengthened, the
building by new works, and was so confident of its firmness and
stability that he usually said he only desired to be in it when a
storm should happen; for many people had told him it would
certainly fall if it came to blow a little harder than ordinary.

But he happened at last to be in it once too often--namely, when
that dreadful tempest blew, November 27, 1703. This tempest began
on the Wednesday before, and blew with such violence, and shook the
lighthouse so much, that, as they told me there, Mr. Winstanley
would fain have been on shore, and made signals for help; but no
boats durst go off to him; and, to finish the tragedy, on the
Friday, November 26, when the tempest was so redoubled that it
became a terror to the whole nation, the first sight there seaward
that the people of Plymouth were presented with in the morning
after the storm was the bare Eddystone, the lighthouse being gone;
in which Mr. Winstanley and all that were with him perished, and
were never seen or heard of since. But that which was a worse loss
still was that, a few days after, a merchant's ship called the
Winchelsea, homeward bound from Virginia, not knowing the Eddystone
lighthouse was down, for want of the light that should have been
seen, run foul of the rock itself, and was lost with all her lading
and most of her men. But there is now another light-house built on
the same rock.

What other disasters happened at the same time in the Sound and in
the roads about Plymouth is not my business; they are also
published in other books, to which I refer.

One thing which I was a witness to on a former journey to this
place, I cannot omit. It was the next year after that great storm,
and but a little sooner in the year, being in August; I was at
Plymouth, and walking on the Hoo (which is a plain on the edge of
the sea, looking to the road), I observed the evening so serene, so
calm, so bright, and the sea so smooth, that a finer sight, I
think, I never saw. There was very little wind, but what was,
seemed to be westerly; and about an hour after, it blew a little
breeze at south-west, with which wind there came into the Sound
that night and the next morning a fleet of fourteen sail of ships
from Barbadoes, richly laden for London. Having been long at sea,
most of the captains and passengers came on shore to refresh
themselves, as is usual after such tedious voyages; and the ships
rode all in the Sound on that side next to Catwater. As is
customary upon safe arriving to their native country, there was a
general joy and rejoicing both on board and on shore.

The next day the wind began to freshen, especially in the
afternoon, and the sea to be disturbed, and very hard it blew at
night; but all was well for that time. But the night after, it
blew a dreadful storm (not much inferior, for the time it lasted,
to the storm mentioned above which blew down the lighthouse on the
Eddystone). About mid-night the noise, indeed, was very dreadful,
what with the rearing of the sea and of the wind, intermixed with
the firing of guns for help from the ships, the cries of the seamen
and people on shore, and (which was worse) the cries of those which
were driven on shore by the tempest and dashed in pieces. In a
word, all the fleet except three, or thereabouts, were dashed to
pieces against the rocks and sunk in the sea, most of the men being
drowned. Those three who were saved, received so much damage that
their lading was almost all spoiled. One ship in the dark of the
night, the men not knowing where they were, run into Catwater, and
run on shore there; by which she was, however, saved from
shipwreck, and the lives of her crew were saved also.

This was a melancholy morning indeed. Nothing was to be seen but
wrecks of the ships and a foaming, furious sea in that very place
where they rode all in joy and triumph but the evening before. The
captains, passengers, and officers who were, as I have said, gone
on shore, between the joy of saving their lives, and the affliction
of having lost their ships, their cargoes, and their friends, were
objects indeed worth our compassion and observation. And there was
a great variety of the passions to be observed in them--now
lamenting their losses, their giving thanks for their deliverance.
Many of the passengers had lost their all, and were, as they
expressed themselves, "utterly undone." They were, I say, now
lamenting their losses with violent excesses of grief; then giving
thanks for their lives, and that they should be brought on shore,
as it were, on purpose to be saved from death; then again in tears
for such as were drowned. The various cases were indeed very
affecting, and, in many things, very instructing.

As I say, Plymouth lies in the bottom of this Sound, in the centre
between the two waters, so there lies against it, in the same
position, an island, which they call St. Nicholas, on which there
is a castle which commands the entrance into Hamoaze, and indeed
that also into Catwater in some degree. In this island the famous
General Lambert, one of Cromwell's great agents or officers in the
rebellion, was imprisoned for life, and lived many years there.

On the shore over against this island is the citadel of Plymouth, a
small but regular fortification, inaccessible by sea, but not
exceeding strong by land, except that they say the works are of a
stone hard as marble, and would not seen yield to the batteries of
an enemy--but that is a language our modern engineers now laugh at.

The town stands above this, upon the same rock, and lies sloping on
the side of it, towards the east--the inlet of the sea which is
called Catwater, and which is a harbour capable of receiving any
number of ships and of any size, washing the eastern shore of the
town, where they have a kind of natural mole or haven, with a quay
and all other conveniences for bringing in vessels for loading and
unloading; nor is the trade carried on here inconsiderable in
itself, or the number of merchants small.

The other inlet of the sea, as I term it, is on the other side of
the town, and is called Hamoaze, being the mouth of the River
Tamar, a considerable river which parts the two counties of Devon
and Cornwall. Here (the war with France making it necessary that
the ships of war should have a retreat nearer hand than at
Portsmouth) the late King William ordered a wet dock--with yards,
dry docks, launches, and conveniences of all kinds for building and
repairing of ships--to be built; and with these followed
necessarily the building of store-houses and warehouses for the
rigging, sails, naval and military stores, &c., of such ships as
may be appointed to be laid up there, as now several are; with very
handsome houses for the commissioners, clerks, and officers of all
kinds usual in the king's yards, to dwell in. It is, in short, now
become as complete an arsenal or yard for building and fitting men-
of-war as any the Government are masters of, and perhaps much more
convenient than some of them, though not so large.

The building of these things, with the addition of rope-walks and
mast-yards, &c., as it brought abundance of trades-people and
workmen to the place, so they began by little and little to build
houses on the lands adjacent, till at length there appeared a very
handsome street, spacious and large, and as well inhabited; and so
many houses are since added that it is become a considerable town,
and must of consequence in time draw abundance of people from
Plymouth itself.

However, the town of Plymouth is, and will always be, a very
considerable town, while that excellent harbour makes it such a
general port for the receiving all the fleets of merchants' ships
from the southward (as from Spain, Italy, the West Indies, &c.),
who generally make it the first port to put in at for refreshment,
or safety from either weather or enemies.

The town is populous and wealthy, having, as above, several
considerable merchants and abundance of wealthy shopkeepers, whose
trade depends upon supplying the sea-faring people that upon so
many occasions put into that port. As for gentlemen--I mean, those
that are such by family and birth and way of living--it cannot be
expected to find many such in a town merely depending on trade,
shipping, and sea-faring business; yet I found here some men of
value (persons of liberal education, general knowledge, and
excellent behaviour), whose society obliges me to say that a
gentleman might find very agreeable company in Plymouth.

From Plymouth we pass the Tamar over a ferry to Saltash--a little,
poor, shattered town, the first we set foot on in the county of
Cornwall. The Tamar here is very wide, and the ferry-boats bad; so
that I thought myself well escaped when I got safe on shore in

Saltash seems to be the ruins of a larger place; and we saw many
houses, as it were, falling down, and I doubt not but the mice and
rats have abandoned many more, as they say they will when they are
likely to fall. Yet this town is governed by a mayor and aldermen,
has many privileges, sends members to Parliament, takes toll of all
vessels that pass the river, and have the sole oyster-fishing in
the whole river, which is considerable. Mr. Carew, author of the
"Survey of Cornwall," tells us a strange story of a dog in this
town, of whom it was observed that if they gave him any large bone
or piece of meat, he immediately went out of doors with it, and
after having disappeared for some time would return again; upon
which, after some time, they watched him, when, to their great
surprise, they found that the poor charitable creature carried what
he so got to an old decrepit mastiff, which lay in a nest that he
had made among the brakes a little way out of the town, and was
blind, so that he could not help himself; and there this creature
fed him. He adds also that on Sundays or holidays, when he found
they made good cheer in the house where he lived, he would go out
and bring this old blind dog to the door, and feed him there till
he had enough, and then go with him back to his habitation in the
country again, and see him safe in. If this story is true, it is
very remarkable indeed; and I thought it worth telling, because the
author was a person who, they say, might be credited.

This town has a kind of jurisdiction upon the River Tamar down to
the mouth of the port, so that they claim anchorage of all small
ships that enter the river; their coroner sits upon all dead bodies
that are found drowned in the river and the like, but they make not
much profit of them. There is a good market here, and that is the
best thing to be said of the town; it is also very much increased
since the number of the inhabitants are increased at the new town,
as I mentioned as near the dock at the mouth of Hamoaze, for those
people choose rather to go to Saltash to market by water than to
walk to Plymouth by land for their provisions. Because, first, as
they go in the town boat, the same boat brings home what they buy,
so that it is much less trouble; second, because provisions are
bought much cheaper at Saltash than at Plymouth. This, I say, is
like to be a very great advantage to the town of Saltash, and may
in time put a new face of wealth upon the place.

They talk of some merchants beginning to trade here, and they have
some ships that use the Newfoundland fishery; but I could not hear
of anything considerable they do in it. There is no other
considerable town up the Tamar till we come to Launceston, the
county town, which I shall take in my return; so I turned west,
keeping the south shore of the county to the Land's End.

From Saltash I went to Liskeard, about seven miles. This is a
considerable town, well built; has people of fashion in it, and a
very great market; it also sends two members to Parliament, and is
one of the five towns called Stannary Towns--that is to say, where
the blocks of tin are brought to the coinage; of which, by itself,
this coinage of tin is an article very much to the advantage of the
towns where it is settled, though the money paid goes another way.

This town of Liskeard was once eminent, had a good castle, and a
large house, where the ancient Dukes of Cornwall kept their court
in those days; also it enjoyed several privileges, especially by
the favour of the Black Prince, who as Prince of Wales and Duke of
Cornwall resided here. And in return they say this town and the
country round it raised a great body of stout young fellows, who
entered into his service and followed his fortunes in his wars in
France, as also in Spain. But these buildings are so decayed that
there are now scarce any of the ruins of the castle or of the
prince's court remaining.

The only public edifices they have now to show are the guild or
town hall, on which there is a turret with a fine clock; a very
good free school, well provided; a very fine conduit in the market-
place; an ancient large church; and, which is something rare for
the county of Cornwall, a large, new-built meeting-house for the
Dissenters, which I name because they assured me there was but
three more, and those very inconsiderable, in all the county of
Cornwall; whereas in Devonshire, which is the next county, there
are reckoned about seventy, some of which are exceeding large and

This town is also remarkable for a very great trade in all
manufactures of leather, such as boots, shoes, gloves, purses,
breaches, &c.; and some spinning of late years is set up here,
encouraged by the woollen manufacturers of Devonshire.

Between these two towns of Saltash and Liskeard is St. Germans, now
a village, decayed, and without any market, but the largest parish
in the whole county--in the bounds of which is contained, as they
report, seventeen villages, and the town of Saltash among them; for
Saltash has no parish church, it seems, of itself, but as a chapel-
of-ease to St. Germans. In the neighbourhood of these towns are
many pleasant seats of the Cornish gentry, who are indeed very
numerous, though their estates may not be so large as is usual in
England; yet neither are they despicable in that part; and in
particular this may be said of them--that as they generally live
cheap, and are more at home than in other counties, so they live
more like gentlemen, and keep more within bounds of their estates
than the English generally do, take them all together.

Add to this that they are the most sociable, generous, and to one
another the kindest, neighbours that are to be found; and as they
generally live, as we may say, together (for they are almost always
at one another's houses), so they generally intermarry among
themselves, the gentlemen seldom going out of the county for a
wife, or the ladies for a husband; from whence they say that
proverb upon them was raised, viz., "That all the Cornish gentlemen
are cousins."

On the hills north of Liskeard, and in the way between Liskeard and
Launceston, there are many tin-mines. And, as they told us, some
of the richest veins of that metal are found there that are in the
whole county--the metal, when cast at the blowing houses into
blocks, being, as above, carried to Liskeard to be coined.

From Liskeard, in our course west, we are necessarily carried to
the sea-coast, because of the River Fowey or Fowath, which empties
itself into the sea at a very large mouth. And hereby this river
rising in the middle of the breadth of the county and running
south, and the River Camel rising not far from it and running
north, with a like large channel, the land from Bodmin to the
western part of the county is almost made an island and in a manner
cut off from the eastern part--the peninsula, or neck of land
between, being not above twelve miles over.

On this south side we came to Foy or Fowey, an ancient town, and
formerly very large--nay, not large only, but powerful and potent;
for the Foyens, as they were then called, were able to fit out
large fleets, not only for merchants' ships, but even of men-of-
war; and with these not only fought with, but several times
vanquished and routed, the squadron of the Cinque Ports men, who in
those days were thought very powerful.

Mr. Camden observes that the town of Foy quarters some part of the
arms of every one of those Cinque Ports with their own, intimating
that they had at several times trampled over them all. Certain it
is they did often beat them, and took their ships, and brought them
as good prizes into their haven of Foy; and carried it so high that
they fitted out their fleets against the French, and took several
of their men-of-war when they were at war with England, and
enriched their town by the spoil of their enemies.

Edward IV. favoured them much; and because the French threatened
them to come up their river with a powerful navy to burn their
town, he caused two forts to be built at the public charge for
security of the town and river, which forts--at least, some show of
them--remain there still. But the same King Edward was some time
after so disgusted at the townsmen for officiously falling upon the
French, after a truce was made and proclaimed, that he effectually
disarmed them, took away their whole fleet, ships, tackle, apparel,
and furniture; and since that time we do not read of any of their
naval exploits, nor that they ever recovered or attempted to
recover their strength at sea. However, Foy at this time is a very
fair town; it lies extended on the east side of the river for above
a mile, the buildings fair. And there are a great many flourishing
merchants in it, who have a great share in the fishing trade,
especially for pilchards, of which they take a great quantity
hereabouts. In this town is also a coinage for the tin, of which a
great quantity is dug up in the country north and west of the town.

The River Fowey, which is very broad and deep here, was formerly
navigable by ships of good burthen as high as Lostwithiel--an
ancient and once a flourishing but now a decayed town; and as to
trade and navigation, quite destitute; which is occasioned by the
river being filled up with sands, which, some say, the tides drive
up in stormy weather from the sea; others say it is by sands washed
from the lead-mines in the hills; the last of which, by the way, I
take to be a mistake, the sand from the hills being not of quantity
sufficient to fill up the channel of a navigable river, and, if it
had, might easily have been stopped by the townspeople from falling
into the river. But that the sea has choked up the river with sand
is not only probable, but true; and there are other rivers which
suffer in the like manner in this same country.

This town of Lostwithiel retains, however, several advantages which
support its figure--as, first, that it is one of the Coinage Towns,
as I call them; or Stannary Towns, as others call them; (2) the
common gaol for the whole Stannary is here, as are also the County
Courts for the whole county of Cornwall.

There is a mock cavalcade kept up at this town, which is very
remarkable. The particulars, as they are related by Mr. Carew in
his "Survey of Cornwall," take as follows:-

"Upon Little Easter Sunday the freeholders of this town and manor,
by themselves or their deputies, did there assemble; amongst whom
one (as it fell to his lot by turn), bravely apparelled, gallantly
mounted, with a crown on his head, a sceptre in his hand, and a
sword borne before him, and dutifully attended by all the rest
(also on horseback), rode through the principal street to the
church. The curate in his best beseen solemnly received him at the
churchyard stile, and conducted him to hear divine service. After
which he repaired, with the same pomp, to a house provided for that
purpose, made a feast to his attendants, kept the table's-end
himself, and was served with kneeling assay and all other rights
due to the estate of a prince; with which dinner the ceremony
ended, and every man returned home again. The pedigree of this
usage is derived from so many descents of ages that the cause and
author outreach the remembrance. Howbeit, these circumstances
afford a conjecture that it should betoken royalties appertaining
to the honour of Cornwall."

Behind Foy and nearer to the coast, at the mouth of a small river
which some call Lowe, though without any authority, there stand two
towns opposite to one another bearing the name of the River Looe--
that is to say, distinguished by the addition of East Looe and West
Looe. These are both good trading towns, and especially fishing
towns; and, which is very particular, are (like Weymouth and
Melcombe, in Dorsetshire) separated only by the creek or river, and
yet each of them sends members to Parliament. These towns are
joined together by a very beautiful and stately stone bridge having
fifteen arches.

East Looe was the ancienter corporation of the two, and for some
ages ago the greater and more considerable town; but now they tell
us West Looe is the richest, and has the most ships belonging to
it. Were they put together, they would make a very handsome
seaport town. They have a great fishing trade here, as well for
supply of the country as for merchandise, and the towns are not
despisable. But as to sending four members to the British
Parliament (which is as many as the City of London chooses), that,
I confess, seems a little scandalous; but to whom, is none of my
business to inquire.

Passing from hence, and ferrying over Foy River or the River Foweth
(call it as you please), we come into a large country without many
towns in it of note, but very well furnished with gentlemen's
seats, and a little higher up with tin-works.

The sea making several deep bays here, they who travel by land are
obliged to go higher into the country to pass above the water,
especially at Trewardreth Bay, which lies very broad, above ten
miles within the country, which passing at Trewardreth (a town of
no great note, though the bay takes its name from it), the next
inlet of the sea is the famous firth or inlet called Falmouth
Haven. It is certainly, next to Milford Haven in South Wales, the
fairest and best road for shipping that is in the whole isle of
Britain, whether be considered the depth of water for above twenty
miles within land; the safety of riding, sheltered from all kind of
winds or storms; the good anchorage; and the many creeks, all
navigable, where ships may run in and be safe; so that the like is
nowhere to be found.

There are six or seven very considerable places upon this haven and
the rivers from it--viz., Grampound, Tregony, Truro, Penryn,
Falmouth, St. Maws, and Pendennis. The three first of these send
members to Parliament. The town of Falmouth, as big as all the
three, and richer than ten of them, sends none; which imports no
more than this--that Falmouth itself is not of so great antiquity
as to its rising as those other towns are; and yet the whole haven
takes its name from Falmouth, too, unless, as some think, the town
took its name from the haven, which, however, they give no
authority to suggest.

St. Maws and Pendennis are two fortifications placed at the points
or entrance of this haven, opposite to one another, though not with
a communication or view; they are very strong--the first
principally by sea, having a good platform of guns pointing athwart
the Channel, and planted on a level with the water. But Pendennis
Castle is strong by land as well as by water, is regularly
fortified, has good out-works, and generally a strong garrison.
St. Maws, otherwise called St. Mary's, has a town annexed to the
castle, and is a borough sending members to the Parliament.
Pendennis is a mere fortress, though there are some habitations in
it, too, and some at a small distance near the seaside, but not of
any great consideration.

The town of Falmouth is by much the richest and best trading town
in this county, though not so ancient as its neighbour town of
Truro; and indeed is in some things obliged to acknowledge the
seigniority--namely, that in the corporation of Truro the person
whom they choose to be their Mayor of Truro is also Mayor of
Falmouth of course. How the jurisdiction is managed is an account
too long for this place. The Truro-men also receive several duties
collected in Falmouth, particularly wharfage for the merchandises
landed or shipped off; but let these advantages be what they will,
the town of Falmouth has gotten the trade--at least, the best part
of it--from the other, which is chiefly owing to the situation.
For that Falmouth lying upon the sea, but within the entrance,
ships of the greatest burthen come up to the very quays, and the
whole Royal Navy might ride safely in the road; whereas the town of
Truro lying far within, and at the mouth of two fresh rivers, is
not navigable for vessels of above 150 tons or thereabouts.

Some have suggested that the original of Falmouth was the having so
large a quay, and so good a depth of water at it. The merchants of
Truro formerly used it for the place of lading and unlading their
ships, as the merchants of Exeter did at Topsham; and this is the
more probable in that, as above, the wharfage of those landing-
places is still the property of the corporation of Truro.

But let this be as it will, the trade is now in a manner wholly
gone to Falmouth, the trade at Truro being now chiefly (if not
only) for the shipping off of block tin and copper ore, the latter
being lately found in large quantities in some of the mountains
between Truro and St. Michael's, and which is much improved since
the several mills are erected at Bristol and other parts for the
manufactures of battery ware, as it is called (brass), or which is
made out of English copper, most of it duct in these parts--the ore
itself ago being found very rich and good.

Falmouth is well built, has abundance of shipping belonging to it,
is full of rich merchants, and has a flourishing and increasing
trade. I say "increasing," because by the late setting up the
English packets between this port and Lisbon, there is a new
commerce between Portugal and this town carried on to a very great

It is true, part of this trade was founded in a clandestine
commerce carried on by the said packets at Lisbon, where, being the
king's ships, and claiming the privilege of not being searched or
visited by the Custom House officers, they found means to carry off
great quantities of British manufactures, which they sold on board
to the Portuguese merchants, and they conveyed them on shore, as it
is supposed, without paying custom.

But the Government there getting intelligence of it, and complaint
being made in England also, where it was found to be very
prejudicial to the fair merchant, that trade has been effectually
stopped. But the Falmouth merchants, having by this means gotten a
taste of the Portuguese trade, have maintained it ever since in
ships of their own. These packets bring over such vast quantities
of gold in specie, either in MOIDORES (which is the Portugal coin)
or in bars of gold, that I am very credibly informed the carrier
from Falmouth brought by land from thence to London at one time, in
the month of January, 1722, or near it, eighty thousand MOIDORES in
gold, which came from Lisbon in the packet-boats for account of the
merchants at London, and that it was attended with a guard of
twelve horsemen well armed, for which the said carrier had half per
cent. for his hazard.

This is a specimen of the Portugal trade, and how considerable it
is in itself, as well as how advantageous to England; but as that
is not to the present case, I proceed. The Custom House for all
the towns in this port, and the head collector, is established at
this town, where the duties (including the other ports) is very
considerable. Here is also a very great fishing for pilchards; and
the merchants for Falmouth have the chief stroke in that gainful

Truro is, however, a very considerable town, too. It stands up the
water north and by east from Falmouth, in the utmost extended
branch of the Avon, in the middle between the conflux of two
rivers, which, though not of any long course, have a very good
appearance for a port, and make it large wharf between them in the
front of the town. And the water here makes a good port for small
ships, though it be at the influx, but not for ships of burthen.
This is the particular town where the Lord-Warden of the Stannaries
always holds his famous Parliament of miners, and for stamping of
tin. The town is well built, but shows that it has been much
fuller, both of houses and inhabitants, than it is now; nor will it
probably ever rise while the town of Falmouth stands where it does,
and while the trade is settled in it as it is. There are at least
three churches in it, but no Dissenters' meeting-house that I could
hear of.

Tregony is upon the same water north-east from Falmouth--distance
about fifteen miles from it--but is a town of very little trade;
nor, indeed, have any of the towns, so far within the shore,
notwithstanding the benefit of the water, any considerable trade
but what is carried on under the merchants of Falmouth or Truro.
The chief thing that is to be said of this town is that it sends
members to Parliament, as does also Grampound, a market-town; and
Burro', about four miles farther up the water. This place, indeed,
has a claim to antiquity, and is an appendix to the Duchy of
Cornwall, of which it holds at a fee farm rent and pays to the
Prince of Wales as duke 10 pounds 11s. 1d. per annum. It has no
parish church, but only a chapel-of-ease to an adjacent parish.

Penryn is up the same branch of the Avon as Falmouth, but stands
four miles higher towards the west; yet ships come to it of as
great a size as can come to Truro itself. It is a very pleasant,
agreeable town, and for that reason has many merchants in it, who
would perhaps otherwise live at Falmouth. The chief commerce of
these towns, as to their sea-affairs, is the pilchards and
Newfoundland fishing, which is very profitable to them all. It had
formerly a conventual church, with a chantry and a religious house
(a cell to Kirton); but they are all demolished, and scarce the
ruins of them distinguishable enough to know one part from another.

Quitting Falmouth Haven from Penryn West, we came to Helston, about
seven miles, and stands upon the little River Cober, which,
however, admits the sea so into its bosom as to make a tolerable
good harbour for ships a little below the town. It is the fifth
town allowed for the coining tin, and several of the ships called
tin-ships are laden here.

This town is large and populous, and has four spacious streets, a
handsome church, and a good trade. This town also sends members to
Parliament. Beyond this is a market-town, though of no resort for
trade, called Market Jew. It lies, indeed, on the seaside, but has
no harbour or safe road for shipping.

At Helford is a small but good harbour between Falmouth and this
port, where many times the tin-ships go in to load for London; also
here are a good number of fishing vessels for the pilchard trade,
and abundance of skilful fishermen. It was from this town that in
the great storm which happened November 27, 1703, a ship laden with
tin was blown out to sea and driven to the Isle of Wight in seven
hours, having on board only one man and two boys. The story is as

"The beginning of the storm there lay a ship laden with tin in
Helford Haven, about two leagues and a half west of Falmouth. The
tin was taken on board at a place called Guague Wharf, five or six
miles up the river, and the vessel was come down to Helford in
order to pursue her voyage to London.

"About eight o'clock in the evening the commander, whose name was
Anthony Jenkins, went on board with his mate to see that everything
was safe, and to give orders, but went both on shore again, leaving
only a man and two boys on board, not apprehending any danger, they
being in safe harbour. However, he ordered them that if it should
blow hard they should carry out the small bower anchor, and so to
moor the ship by two anchors, and then giving what other orders he
thought to be needful, he went ashore, as above.

"About nine o'clock, the wind beginning to blow harder, they
carried out the anchor, according to the master's order; but the
wind increasing about ten, the ship began to drive, so they carried
out their best bower, which, having a good new cable, brought the
ship up. The storm still increasing, they let go the kedge anchor;
so that they then rode by four anchors ahead, which were all they

"But between eleven and twelve o'clock the wind came about west and
by south, and blew in so violent and terrible a manner that, though
they rode under the lee of a high shore, yet the ship was driven
from all her anchors, and about midnight drove quite out of the
harbour (the opening of the harbour lying due east and west) into
the open sea, the men having neither anchor or cable or boat to
help themselves.

"In this dreadful condition (they driving, I say, out of the
harbour) their first and chief care was to go clear of the rocks
which lie on either side the harbour's mouth, and which they
performed pretty well. Then, seeing no remedy, they consulted what
to do next. They could carry no sail at first--no, not a knot; nor
do anything but run away afore it. The only thing they had to
think on was to keep her out at sea as far as they could, for fear
of a point of land called the Dead Man's Head, which lies to the
eastward of Falmouth Haven; and then, if they could escape the
land, thought to run in for Plymouth next morning, so, if possible,
to save their lives.

"In this frighted condition they drove away at a prodigious rate,
having sometimes the bonnet of their foresail a little out, but the
yard lowered almost to the deck--sometimes the ship almost under
water, and sometimes above, keeping still in the offing, for fear
of the land, till they might see daylight. But when the day broke
they found they were to think no more of Plymouth, for they were
far enough beyond it; and the first land they made was Peverel
Point, being the southernmost land of the Isle of Purbeck, in
Dorsetshire, and a little to the westward of the Isle of Wight; so
that now they were in a terrible consternation, and driving still
at a prodigious rate. By seven o'clock they found themselves
broadside of the Isle of Wight.

"Here they consulted again what to do to save their lives. One of
the boys was for running her into the Downs; but the man objected
that, having no anchor or cable nor boat to go on shore with, and
the storm blowing off shore in the Downs, they should be inevitably
blown off and lost upon the unfortunate Goodwin--which, it seems,
the man had been on once before and narrowly escaped.

"Now came the last consultation for their lives. The other of the
boys said he had been in a certain creek in the Isle of Wight,
where, between the rocks, he knew there was room to run the ship
in, and at least to save their lives, and that he saw the place
just that moment; so he desired the man to let him have the helm,
and he would do his best and venture it. The man gave him the
helm, and he stood directly in among the rocks, the people standing
on the shore thinking they were mad, and that they would in a few
minutes be dashed in a thousand pieces.

"But when they came nearer, and the people found they steered as if
they knew the place, they made signals to them to direct them as
well as they could, and the young bold fellow run her into a small
cove, where she stuck fast, as it were, between the rocks on both
sides, there being but just room enough for the breadth of the
ship. The ship indeed, giving two or three knocks, staved and
sunk, but the man and the two youths jumped ashore and were safe;
and the lading, being tin, was afterwards secured.

"N.B.--The merchants very well rewarded the three sailors,
especially the lad that ran her into that place."

Penzance is the farthest town of any note west, being 254 miles
from London, and within about ten miles of the promontory called
the Land's End; so that this promontory is from London 264 miles,
or thereabouts. This town of Penzance is a place of good business,
well built and populous, has a good trade, and a great many ships
belonging to it, notwithstanding it is so remote. Here are also a
great many good families of gentlemen, though in this utmost angle
of the nation; and, which is yet more strange, the veins of lead,
tin, and copper ore are said to be seen even to the utmost extent
of land at low-water mark, and in the very sea--so rich, so
valuable, a treasure is contained in these parts of Great Britain,
though they are supposed to be so poor, because so very remote from
London, which is the centre of our wealth.

Between this town and St. Burien, a town midway between it and the
Land's End, stands a circle of great stones, not unlike those at
Stonehenge, in Wiltshire, with one bigger than the rest in the
middle. They stand about twelve feet asunder, but have no
inscription; neither does tradition offer to leave any part of
their history upon record, as whether it was a trophy or a monument
of burial, or an altar for worship, or what else; so that all that
can be learned of them is that here they are. The parish where
they stand is called Boscawone, from whence the ancient and
honourable family of Boscawen derive their names.

Near Penzance, but open to the sea, is that gulf they call Mount's
Bay; named so from a high hill standing in the water, which they
call St. Michael's Mount: the seamen call it only the Cornish
Mount. It has been fortified, though the situation of it makes it
so difficult of access that, like the Bass in Scotland, there needs
no fortification; like the Bass, too, it was once made a prison for
prisoners of State, but now it is wholly neglected. There is a
very good road here for shipping, which makes the town of Penzance
be a place of good resort.

A little up in the county towards the north-west is Godolchan,
which though a hill, rather than a town, gives name to the noble
and ancient family of Godolphin; and nearer on the northern coast
is Royalton, which since the late Sydney Godolphin, Esq., a younger
brother of the family, was created Earl of Godolphin, gave title of
Lord to his eldest son, who was called Lord Royalton during the
life of his father. This place also is infinitely rich in tin-

I am now at my journey's end. As to the islands of Scilly, which
lie beyond the Land's End, I shall say something of them presently.
I must now return SUR MES PAS, as the French call it; though not
literally so, for I shall not come back the same way I went. But
as I have coasted the south shore to the Land's End, I shall come
back by the north coast, and my observations in my return will
furnish very well materials for another letter.


I have ended this account at the utmost extent of the island of
Great Britain west, without visiting those excrescences of the
island, as I think I may call them--viz., the rocks of Scilly; of
which what is most famous is their infamy or reproach; namely, how
many good ships are almost continually dashed in pieces there, and
how many brave lives lost, in spite of the mariners' best skill, or
the lighthouses' and other sea-marks' best notice.

These islands lie so in the middle between the two vast openings of
the north and south narrow seas (or, as the sailors call them, the
Bristol Channel, and The Channel--so called by way of eminence)
that it cannot, or perhaps never will, be avoided but that several
ships in the dark of the night and in stress of weather, may, by
being out in their reckonings, or other unavoidable accidents,
mistake; and if they do, they are sure, as the sailors call it, to
run "bump ashore" upon Scilly, where they find no quarter among the
breakers, but are beat to pieces without any possibility of escape.

One can hardly mention the Bishop and his Clerks, as they are
called, or the rocks of Scilly, without letting fall a tear to the
memory of Sir Cloudesley Shovel and all the gallant spirits that
were with him, at one blow and without a moment's warning dashed
into a state of immortality--the admiral, with three men-of-war,
and all their men (running upon these rocks right afore the wind,
and in a dark night) being lost there, and not a man saved. But
all our annals and histories are full of this, so I need say no

They tell us of eleven sail of merchant-ships homeward bound, and
richly laden from the southward, who had the like fate in the same
place a great many years ago; and that some of them coming from
Spain, and having a great quantity of bullion or pieces of eight on
board, the money frequently drives on shore still, and that in good
quantities, especially after stormy weather.

This may be the reason why, as we observed during our short stay
here, several mornings after it had blown something hard in the
night, the sands were covered with country people running to and
fro to see if the sea had cast up anything of value. This the
seamen call "going a-shoring;" and it seems they do often find good
purchase. Sometimes also dead bodies are cast up here, the
consequence of shipwrecks among those fatal rocks and islands; as
also broken pieces of ships, casks, chests, and almost everything
that will float or roll on shore by the surges of the sea.

Nor is it seldom that the voracious country people scuffle and
fight about the right to what they find, and that in a desperate
manner; so that this part of Cornwall may truly be said to be
inhabited by a fierce and ravenous people. For they are so greedy,
and eager for the prey, that they are charged with strange, bloody,
and cruel dealings, even sometimes with one another; but especially
with poor distressed seamen when they come on shore by force of a
tempest, and seek help for their lives, and where they find the
rooks themselves not more merciless than the people who range about
them for their prey.

Here, also, as a farther testimony of the immense riches which have
been lost at several times upon this coast, we found several
engineers and projectors--some with one sort of diving engine, and
some with another; some claiming such a wreck, and some such-and-
such others; where they alleged they were assured there were great
quantities of money; and strange unprecedented ways were used by
them to come at it: some, I say, with one kind of engine, and some
another; and though we thought several of them very strange
impracticable methods, yet I was assured by the country people that
they had done wonders with them under water, and that some of them
had taken up things of great weight and in a great depth of water.
Others had split open the wrecks they had found in a manner one
would have thought not possible to be done so far under water, and
had taken out things from the very holds of the ships. But we
could not learn that they had come at any pieces of eight, which
was the thing they seemed most to aim at and depend upon; at least,
they had not found any great quantity, as they said they expected.

However, we left them as busy as we found them, and far from being
discouraged; and if half the golden mountains, or silver mountains
either, which they promise themselves should appear, they will be
very well paid for their labour.

From the tops of the hills on this extremity of the land you may
see out into that they call the Chops of the Channel, which, as it
is the greatest inlet of commerce, and the most frequented by
merchant-ships of any place in the world, so one seldom looks out
to seaward but something new presents--that is to say, of ships
passing or repassing, either on the great or lesser Channel.

Upon a former accidental journey into this part of the country,
during the war with France, it was with a mixture of pleasure and
horror that we saw from the hills at the Lizard, which is the
southern-most point of this land, an obstinate fight between three
French men-of-war and two English, with a privateer and three
merchant-ships in their company. The English had the misfortune,
not only to be fewer ships of war in number, but of less force; so
that while the two biggest French ships engaged the English, the
third in the meantime took the two merchant-ships and went off with
them. As to the picaroon or privateer, she was able to do little
in the matter, not daring to come so near the men-of-war as to take
a broadside, which her thin sides would not have been able to bear,
but would have sent her to the bottom at once; so that the English
men-of-war had no assistance from her, nor could she prevent the
taking the two merchant-ships. Yet we observed that the English
captains managed their fight so well, and their seamen behaved so
briskly, that in about three hours both the Frenchmen stood off,
and, being sufficiently banged, let us see that they had no more
stomach to fight; after which the English--having damage enough,
too, no doubt--stood away to the eastward, as we supposed, to

This point of the Lizard, which runs out to the southward, and the
other promontory mentioned above, make the two angles--or horns, as
they are called--from whence it is supposed this county received
its first name of Cornwall, or, as Mr. Camden says, CORNUBIA in the
Latin, and in the British "Kernaw," as running out in two vastly
extended horns. And indeed it seems as if Nature had formed this
situation for the direction of mariners, as foreknowing of what
importance it should be, and how in future ages these seas should
be thus thronged with merchant-ships, the protection of whose
wealth, and the safety of the people navigating them, was so much
her early care that she stretched out the land so very many ways,
and extended the points and promontories so far and in so many
different places into the sea, that the land might be more easily
discovered at a due distance, which way soever the ships should

Nor is the Lizard Point less useful (though not so far west) than
the other, which is more properly called the Land's End; but if we
may credit our mariners, it is more frequently first discovered
from the sea. For as our mariners, knowing by the soundings when
they are in the mouth of the Channel, do then most naturally stand
to the southward, to avoid mistaking the Channel, and to shun the
Severn Sea or Bristol Channel, but still more to avoid running upon
Scilly and the rocks about it, as is observed before--I say, as
they carefully keep to the southward till they think they are fair
with the Channel, and then stand to the northward again, or north-
east, to make the land, this is the reason why the Lizard is,
generally speaking, the first land they make, and not the Land's

Then having made the Lizard, they either (first) run in for
Falmouth, which is the next port, if they are taken short with
easterly winds, or are in want of provisions and refreshment, or
have anything out of order, so that they care not to keep the sea;
or (secondly) stand away for the Ram Head and Plymouth Sound; or
(thirdly) keep an offing to run up the Channel.

So that the Lizard is the general guide, and of more use in these
cases than the other point, and is therefore the land which the
ships choose to make first; for then also they are sure that they
are past Scilly and all the dangers of that part of the island.

Nature has fortified this part of the island of Britain in a
strange manner, and so, as is worth a traveller's observation, as
if she knew the force and violence of the mighty ocean which beats
upon it; and which, indeed, if the land was not made firm in
proportion, could not withstand, but would have been washed away
long ago.

First, there are the islands of Scilly and the rocks about them;
these are placed like out-works to resist the first assaults of
this enemy, and so break the force of it, as the piles (or
starlings, as they are called) are placed before the solid
stonework of London Bridge to fence off the force either of the
water or ice, or anything else that might be dangerous to the work.

Then there are a vast number of sunk rocks (so the seamen call
them), besides such as are visible and above water, which gradually
lessen the quantity of water that would otherwise lie with an
infinite weight and force upon the land. It is observed that these
rocks lie under water for a great way off into the sea on every
side the said two horns or points of land, so breaking the force of
the water, and, as above, lessening the weight of it.

But besides this the whole TERRA FIRMA, or body of the land which
makes this part of the isle of Britain, seems to be one solid rock,
as if it was formed by Nature to resist the otherwise irresistible
power of the ocean. And, indeed, if one was to observe with what
fury the sea comes on sometimes against the shore here, especially
at the Lizard Point, where there are but few, if any, out-works, as
I call them, to resist it; how high the waves come rolling forward,
storming on the neck of one another (particularly when the wind
blows off sea), one would wonder that even the strongest rocks
themselves should be able to resist and repel them. But, as I
said, the country seems to be, as it were, one great body of stone,
and prepared so on purpose.

And yet, as if all this was not enough, Nature has provided another
strong fence, and that is, that these vast rocks are, as it were,
cemented together by the solid and weighty ore of tin and copper,
especially the last, which is plentifully found upon the very
outmost edge of the land, and with which the stones may be said to
be soldered together, lest the force of the sea should separate and
disjoint them, and so break in upon these fortifications of the
island to destroy its chief security.

This is certain--that there is a more than ordinary quantity of
tin, copper, and lead also placed by the Great Director of Nature
in these very remote angles (and, as I have said above, the ore is
found upon the very surface of the rocks a good way into the sea);
and that it does not only lie, as it were, upon or between the
stones among the earth (which in that case might be washed from it
by the sea), but that it is even blended or mixed in with the
stones themselves, that the stones must be split into pieces to
come at it. By this mixture the rocks are made infinitely weighty
and solid, and thereby still the more qualified to repel the force
of the sea.

Upon this remote part of the island we saw great numbers of that
famous kind of crows which is known by the name of the Cornish
cough or chough (so the country people call them). They are the
same kind which are found in Switzerland among the Alps, and which
Pliny pretended were peculiar to those mountains, and calls the
PYRRHOCORAX. The body is black; the legs, feet, and bill of a deep
yellow, almost to a red. I could not find that it was affected for
any good quality it had, nor is the flesh good to eat, for it feeds
much on fish and carrion; it is counted little better than a kite,
for it is of ravenous quality, and is very mischievous. It will
steal and carry away anything it finds about the house that is not
too heavy, though not fit for its food--as knives, forks, spoons,
and linen cloths, or whatever it can fly away with; sometimes they
say it has stolen bits of firebrands, or lighted candles, and
lodged them in the stacks of corn and the thatch of barns and
houses, and set them on fire; but this I only had by oral

I might take up many sheets in describing the valuable curiosities
of this little Chersonese or Neck Land, called the Land's End, in
which there lies an immense treasure and many things worth notice
(I mean, besides those to be found upon the surface), but I am too
near the end of this letter. If I have opportunity I shall take
notice of some part of what I omit here in my return by the
northern shore of the county.

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