Cape Cornwall, which is about a mile and half from the church, is one of the boldest headlands of the western coast. The huge head that crowns its extremity appears to have had a beacon or watch-tower on its summit. Borlase speaks of this cape as “the Promontorie of Helenus, so called as some think, because Helenus the son of Priamus, who arrived with Brute, lieth buried there, except the sea have washed away his sepulchre.”
“On the isthmus which connects Cape Cornwall with the adjoining hill, in the middle of the plain stand the remains of an old chapel. It was about 45 feet long and 12 broad. The eastern end was faced outside with hewn stone, and had a pretty window to the altar. The chapel yard is enclosed with a circular wall of stone, and directly west of the chapel are to be seen the ruins of a dwelling house which tradition says was a religious retirement.”
This place is known by the name of Park-an-chapel, or the chape1 field; and it is sometimes called S. Helen’s Oratory. The ancient building, with some modern additions is now used as a cattle-shed.
A cross, which is supposed to have been the gable-cross of this chapel, was found in an adjoining water-course; it bore the Greek monogram of Christ. It was removed to the parish church, and a brass plate attached to it, on which its locality was described; it is not now there. [It is thought to be down the vicarage well together with the town market cross.]
Two chapels formerly stood at Bray or as the name was anciently spelt, Brea, and Bree; one chapel was attached to the residence, the other stood on the summit of the hill, to which it gives the name of Chapel Carn Brea.
Of the former chapel very little is known. Within memory it conferred a character of respectability on the old mansion, afterwards a farm house, but vas demolished to build a barn.
Of the chapel which crowned the top of the hill Borlase gives a full description. “On Carn Brea Hill stand the remains of a chapel, which, as if the natural hill were not high enough, though overtopping all the rest of these parts, has the additional advantage of an artificial hill of stone to rest upon, a work of great labour but of little use, unless to show the folly and superstition of our ancestors, who were weak enough to imagine that the more elevated the place of devotion was, the nearer it would be to heaven.”
“The artificial hill rising on the centre of the natural one is 100 paces in circumference. You ascend it by steps to the east and south. The rest was walled round with large stones. The perpendicular height of it may be about 20 feet; it rises into a conic figure. As this makes a large heap or mass of stone, it seemed very probable that some other use might be intended than barely supporting the chapel above, as it is capable of admitting a large vault or grot; we therefore searched as narrowly as possible for openings, thinking that an hermitage might have been concealed among the ruins, but we were disappointed; not the least vestige of that kind appearing. On the S. side, ascending by a large flight of steps, you enter by a small door into the chapel, which is arched with stone well wrought.”
This description of Chapel Carn Brea was written more than a century ago; the whole structure is now a shapeless ruin.
The ecclesiastical district of Pendeen, in this parish was gazetted January 9, 1846. The church, which is dedicated to S. John the Baptist, was built in 1854. It was designed by the present incumbent, the Rev. Robert Aitken, on the plan of the ancient cathedral of Iona. He was not only the architect but also the master builder, and the parishioners of the district their own masons and carpenters. This very fine cruciform church which is 135 feet long, and lofty in proportion, cost little more than the value of the materials. It was built entirely by the people of the village and chiefly in their extra hours. Such circumstances invest Pendeen church with an interest which attaches to no other modern church in the county. [More recent observers are less charitable both about the quality of the architecture and the exploitation of the parishioners in building it at their own expense.]
The Rev R. Aitken, who has recently become the patron also of the advowson, was admitted in 1849; the stipend is £197.
At the lower end of Chapel-street in the town, stands the large, commodious, and substantially built chapel of the Wesleyan Methodists. The front is built of granite ashlar, and the entrances are protected by a handsome portico [Picture]. Adjoining the chapel, and tastefully secured by iron railing, is a cemetery for the use of that religious society.
Near the centre of the town is the site of the amphitheatre originally called Plan-an-Guare, the plain of sport, and which still retains a portion of its ancient name, being commonly called “the plain” This was considered to be, a most remarkable one, in consequence of its having benches of stone. Borlase, who saw it about a century ago, describes it as an exact circle of 126 feet in diameter; the perpendicular height of the bank from the area within, 7 feet; but the height from the bottom of the ditch without, 10 feet, formerly more. The seats consisted of six steps, 14 inches wide, and 1 foot high, with one, on the top of all where the rampart as about 7 feet wide. Of late years this place has been much mutilated and disfigured, and nearly the whole of the stone benches removed.
The town of S. Just comprises several streets diverging from a triangular space in the centre. A spacious and convenient market-house was built about the year 1840, by James Trembath, Esq., of Sennen, the proprietor of the surrounding land, which on Saturdays, the market day, is well supplied with beef, mutton, and vegetables of every kind. There is also a neat building for the use of the members of the S. Just Literary Institution; the library, reading room, and lecture hall of which are tastefully and conveniently arranged. There are two banks, namely, that of Messrs. Batten, Carne, and Carne; and the Messrs. Bolithos’.
Besides the places of worship already named, there is a chapel belonging to the Wesleyan Free Church, and a Bible Christian chapel in the town.
In 1829 a piece of land was purchased of Major Pascoe, R.A., for a new burying ground; it was opened for use on the 12th of April in that year. The cost of purchase, enclosing, and preparing it, amounted to about £400. Another piece of land has been set apart for the same purpose, but it is not yet available.
The manor of Kalinack, Killenick, or Kelynack, supposed to be the Chelenoeh of Domesday, was held in the days of Edward the Confessor by Godric, and contained a hide of land embraced of the adjoining farms, namely, Bosavern, Hendra, Dowran, Letcha, Bosorn, and other tenants. The manor belonged successively to the families of Longeland and Hankford. John Longeland died 3 Richard II. 1379, seised jointly with Isabella his wife of the manor of Keleynek, held by Robert Chambron. From Hankford it passed by a female heir to the Bourchiers, Lords Fitzwarren and Earls of Bath. The manor is said to have been sold under a decree of the Court of Chancery, in 1720. Borlase writing under the date 1762, says, “The manor of Killinack belonged in the last generation to Grenville, of Stow, Earl of Bath; and by remains of a like name common in the parish, written Grinfield, and Grenfell, in the parish register, it is probable that a branch of the family was settled in the parish.”
In the beginning of the last century the manor of Collinack or Killinack was in possession of John Nicholls, by whose trustees it was sold for the purposes mentioned in his will. Mr. James Millett became purchaser of one part, by whom it was again sold to Mr. George Blewett in 1742, and by whose descendants it was conveyed to Joseph Carne, Esq., of Penzance, whose daughter, Mrs. Johnson, of Bath, is the present proprietor.
In the Itinerary of Solomon de, Ross, 12 Edward I. 1283–4, Kalynack was estimated at 24 acres; Bree, i.e. Bray, the, adjoining property, at 8 acres.
Some years ago ten stone, celts were found in one place on Kalinack common; two of them are in the Museum at Penzance.
Bosavern was the residence of a family of that name in 1625. The arms of this family namely, three scallop shells in pale, between six martlets, 3 in pale on each side, were carved in wood, and fixed over the old Bosavern pew in the church. John Bosavern married Margery, daughter of Christopher Arundell, Esq., of Camborne; she was buried May 12, 1622. It has been suggested that this gentleman placed his own arms between those of his wife, on the same shield. Bosavern afterwards became the property of J. N. R. Millett, Esq., of Penzance, and Mr. Saundry. Mr. Millett’s part had previously been in the possession of the Pendarves family. Mr. Saundry’s portion was sold in 1724, by Nicholls, of Trereife, to Thomas Allon, who sold it in 1789, to the family of Saundry.
Busvargus became the property of the family of Lathon or Lothon in the latter part of the reign of Henry VIII. John Lathon who resided at Busvargus about the year 1560, assumed the name of the estate. He married Jenepher, daughter of John Sparnon, and had issue John, who married Maria, daughter of Thomas Randall, gent., of Mode. Their only issue was John Busvargus, whose, mother on the death of his father married in 1611, John Noy, Esq., of Burian. John Busvargus succeeded to his father’s estates in 1610, and married Agnes, daughter of John Hill, gent., of Wendron; and had issue William his heir, and Thomas who died unmarried in 1604. William married in 1648, Prudence, daughter of Hugh Pawley, gent., of Lelant, and died in April, 1665, having issue John, born in 1651; Hugh, born in 1663; and Margaret, born in 1649, who married in December, 1671, Thomas son of the Rev. Amos Mason.
John Busvargus the eldest son, married in 1683, Mary daughter of John Ustick, gent., of Botallack, and by her had issue John, William, and Prudence. John married in March, 1707, Hannah, daughter of William Veal, gent., of Trevaylor, and dying without issue in 1710, William his brother became his heir. He married in 1705, Anne Ceeley, who died in 1745, without issue; and on the death of William Busvargus about the, year 1755, the male line of this family became extinct.
Prudence Busvargus married the Rev. Jonathan Toup, lecturer, of S. Ives, and by him, had issue the celebrated Jonathan Toup; and a daughter Mary, who married Charles Worth, gent., and died without issue. Mrs.Toup married secondly, the Rev. John Keigwin, rector of Landrake. Mr. Keigwin died in 1761, and his wife February 13, 1773, leaving two daughters, Anne and Prudence. The latter married Mr. Worth, and had issue Anne-Keigwin, born in 1730, and married John Blake, who died in 1763, and left three daughters; Phillis, born in 1751, who married Nicholas Harris Nicolas, Esq., and died in 1799, without issue; Anne, born in 1760, who married Paul Harris Nicolas, gent., who died in 1788, without issue; and Margaret, born in 1762, who married in 1787, Captain John Harris Nicolas, R.N., and had issue five sons; the eldest son Captain John Toup Nicolas, R.N., became the male representative of the Busvargus family.
From the Nicolas family Busvargiis passed to Peter Ellis, Esq., from whom it descended to William Veale Ellis, Esq., who bequeathed it to his relative, Peter Ellis Lawry, gent., the present proprietor.
A substantial modern villa residence has been built within the last few years on Busvargus. The arms of the family of Busvargus were, Argent, on fess azure, between two chevronels Gules, three bezants. Crest,—A Cornish clough proper.
Bray or Brea, anciently the property and residence of a family of the same name, retains no traces of its former consequence. The ancestor of the family came in with the Conqueror. In a feodary made out 20 Edward III., 1346, for the purpose of an aid for knighting the Black Prince, Michael de Bray is stated to have held two parts of one knight’s fee in Bray, in Penwith.—Hundred de Penwith. Mich. De Bray ten. 2. Partes unius feod. In Bray. The same estate, 12 Edward I., 1283, had been charged by the justices itinerant for eight acres.
Edward Bray was summoned to parliament Nov. 3, 1529, by the style, and title of Baron Bray, which honour expired on the death of John, the second lord, Nov. 18, 1557.
I take the Lord Bray of Hampshire to be descended from this family. [Hals]
Bray was afterwards the property of the Heles, and was sold early in the seventeenth century by John Hele, Esq., to Charles Ellis Gent., who is said to have previously held it on lease. It appears from an inscribed stone over one of the chimneys that the present house was built by Charles Ellis in 1634. A former member of the family who lived here was a quaker. He enclosed a burying ground not far from the house, in which he was interred under a granite tomb.
Botallack was formerly the property and residence of the Ustick family. The last Mr. Ustick squandered the estate, and through the productiveness of the mine redeemed it again. He afterwards sold it to the widow of Admiral Boscawen in whose representatives it remains. On one of the gables is the date 1663, cut in stone.
Pendeen or Pen-dean, the head man’s place is the most important place in the parish. It his long been the property, and occasionally the residence of different branches of the Borlase family. The Rev. Dr. Borlase the antiquary and natural historian was born there.
The mansion itself, though now only used as a farm house, retains much of its ancient respectability of appearance. The structure is of wrought granite, and the chimneys battlemented; it bears the date 1670.
The ancestor of the family of Borlase, whose original name was Taillefer, came in with the Norman Conqueror. In the reign of Charles II. Borlase of Treluddra in Newlyn, the then head of the family, possessed a diploma granted to his ancestor by William Rufus, circa 1090, enabling him to assume the name, of Borlâs, after the estate on which the family had settled.
Their first place of residence was at Borlas Burgess in S. Wenn. The name appears to have been variously spelled, sometimes Burlacy, Burlacie, Burlass, Burlice, and more correctly, Borlâs de Borlâs, in S. Wenn. One branch settled at Marlowe in Buckinghamshire; and a younger branch at Treluddra or Treluderow. Andrew Borlas was M.P. for Truro, 18 Richard II., 1394. Mark Borlas was M.P. for Helston, 2 Henry VI. 1432. Sir Walter Borlas was a Knight Baneret in the reign of Edward IV. A branch of the family resided at S. Neot in the sixteenth century, and married the heiress of Vivian. The second window from the cast in the south aisle of the church of that polish is inscribed Orate pro animabus Catherinæ Burlas, Nicholi Burlas, et Johannis Vyvyan, qui istam fenestram fieri fecurunt. Sir John Borlas, Bart., was chief justice of Ireland in 1640.
According to the inscription on a brass in Sithney church, Walter Borlas, of Tranack in that parish, was buried Feb. 28, 1601. This Walter married Mary daughter of William Langdon, and had issue William, John, Walter, and other children. William, after dissipating the family estate in Sithney, without issue. John the second son purchased Pendeen, and probably built the present house in 1670.
In the 4 Anne, 1703, John the grandson of the beforenamed John, was M.P. for S. Ives; he was the father of Dr. Borlase the antiquary who was the fifth of his thirteen children by Lydia his wife, daughter of Christopher Harris, of Kenegie.
The Rev. William Borlase, LL.D. was born at Pendeen, probably in the year 1695, as his Baptism is entered in the, parish register of S. Just, as being on “March 2nd, 1695.” After receiving the usual preliminary education he was sent to Exeter College, Oxford, when he took the degree of M.A. in 1719. He was ordained a priest in the ensuing year, and in 1722 he was presented to the rectory of Ludgvan, which was followed in 1732 by the vicarage of his native parish; and this was all the preferment he ever obtained. Settling at Ludgvan, where he resided for the last fifty-two years of his life, he applied himself to his professional duties; and to these he added the studies of natural history and antiquities. An Essay on Cornish Crystals, which he communicated to the Royal Society, was the cause of his election into that body, in 1749. To this Society he contributed several papers which were published in the Philosophical Transactions from 1750 to 1772.
In 1754, he, published his Antiquities, historical and monumental, of the County of Cornwall, in one volume folio. A second edition with additions, and with additional plates, and a new map, appeared in 1769. He next published Observations on the ancient and present state of the Islands of Scilly, and their importance to the trade of Great Britain, in one volume quarto, 1756. His next publication was The Natural History of Cornwall in one volume folio, 1758, embellished with twenty-eight plates, most of which were presented to him by the gentlemen of the county. Among those plates were several views of the gentlemen’s seats of the county.
A collection of fossils, and remains of antiquity which he presented to the Ashmolean Museum at Oxford, obtained for him the degree of LL.D. from that university. He corresponded with the poet Pope, and presented him with some Cornish diamonds, and valuable, ores and metals. “I have received your gift” wrote Pope on receiving from him a Cornish diamond, “and have so placed it my grotto, that it will resemble the donor, in the shade, but shining.”
He also employed much time in studies of a more professional nature, drawing up various paraphrases of parts of Scripture, chiefly for his own improvement; and he had prepared for the press a Treatise on the Creation and Deluge, which age prevented him from publishing.
Dr. Borlase died August 31, 1772, in the seventy-seventh year of his age, and was buried in the chancel of Ludgvan church. He left two sons both clergymen. His connection with literary characters was very extensive, and he left a large quantity of letters; together with plates, additional notes to his printed works, and other MSS. including a “History of St. Michael’s Mount”; nearly all of which were deposited with Mr. Lawrence, attorney of Launceston, as security for a considerable sum of money borrowed of his father by Mr. William Borlase, son of the Rev. John Borlase, rector of S. Mewan, who was one of the two sons of the Doctor. Four folio volumes of the Doctor’s memoranda in MS. are now in the possession of the St. Aubyn family.
The Rev. Walter Borlase LL.D., the Doctor’s brother, was also born at Pendeen; he was Vice Warden of the Stannaries.