Federation of Old Cornwall Societies

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Wadebridge Old Cornwall Society



PRESIDENT:  Mrs Ceri Goodfellow.  Tel No 01208 814367


CHAIRMAN: Mr David Bartlett


SECRETARY:  Mrs Margaret Bartlett.  44A Bridge View Wadebridge PL27 6BZ.  Tel No 01208 816307


TREASURER:  Miss Jane Menhinick Higher Trevilling, Bodieve, Wadebridge, Cornwall PL27 6EQ  


RECORDER:  Mr David Bartlett


FEDERATION DELEGATES: Margaret Bartlett & Andrew Langdon



We regret that we have no email contact



ANNUAL MEMBERSHIP  £7.50  -  Under 19’s £2


Visitors £2 per meeting







Venue: The Town Hall (Main Hall) at 7.30pm









Secretary’s Report ~ October 4th 2016


Since the last AGM we have covered a wide range of topics, extending our knowledge of Cornwall’s diversity, culture and history.  Alan Cox’s unusual slides illustrated the lives of past Cornish inventors, smugglers, preachers and eccentrics.  John Knill had a mausoleum built on a hill above his native St Ives and planned an elaborate procession and ceremony to be held there every seven years.  Mathematical genius Daniel Gumb lived with his family in a cave on Bodmin Moor, where his calculations are carved on rocks in the area.  Parson Hawker excommunicated his cat for eating a mouse during the Sunday morning service, but also gave us “Trelawny” and ensured drowned sailors received a Christian burial. The annual dinner at the Swan hotel proved popular in November and on December 1st slides of Wadebridge events, seasonal poems, a selection of “The Things Children Say”, plus mincepies and cream gave us an enjoyable Christmas party.

2016 began with a trip around Cornwall with Margaret Thompson’s “Out and About in Cornwall”, covering miles, centuries and long vanished industries, from mining in Camborne, to clay country and Bal Maidens, to fishing ports (some long vanished) with fishing boats on the beaches and local women preparing fish alongside.  So sad to see how much is lost and how difficult the future is for our young people in their own county.  One of our own members Nicola Wills gave a talk on the ill-fated voyage of the barque John which left Plymouth on May 23rd 1855 and was wrecked by evening on “The Manacles” reef off St Keverne.  The vessel was full of people seeking a new life in Canada and some came from villages in North Cornwall.  Many drowned, but Nicola had researched the lives of several survivors and discovered that the famous engineering family of Tangyes and film director David Lean are among their descendants.

Kingsley Rickard not only arrived to talk about the good points of arsenic, but brought along a heavy chunk of ore with him.  This industry emerged in the early 1800’s at Perranarworthal and by 1900 Cornwall produced half the world’s supply.  It was widely used to harden metals, protect seed corn from being eaten, treat leukaemia and dermatitis, remove impurities from glass and produce the blue colour in fireworks.  Nowadays it is used in the manufacture of computer chips!  Strangely no one took up the offer to lick the raw arsenic rock, but it was apparently quite safe to do so!!

Donald Rawe talked about our folklore along with a few tales about such notable characters as local villain John Tregagle and the Zennor mermaid.  David Bartlett showed our members some of the local monuments we keep an eye on, including the Culverhouse in Wadebridge, which our Society helped to renovate some years ago.

Elaine Henderson came armed with several old wills and documents to talk about “Harassment from Heaven”, illustrating how a few words could affect life for following generations.  Her information came from a study of wills from 1750 to 1850 in the contrasting areas of the rural parish of St Stephen in Brannel and the prosperous town of Launceston.  One wife received continuing care for the future, as her husband ensured an annual delivery of dung for her food crops and a relative had to provide a horse whenever needed.  Another wife received only a shilling as she had “behaved wickedly” in the absence of her sailor husband and who knows why a son had inherited a book on the “Practise of Piety” from his father?

Mark Camp gave us two images of smugglers beginning with the romantic fictional version even used by Enid Blyton in her Famous Five children’s books. The other harsher version was of local men defrauding the government of taxes and not averse to killing customs and excise men while smuggling.  Tony Mansell gave a vivid picture of Truro in earlier times when there were many more public houses around and drunkenness was rife.  The coming of Methodism in its various forms led to many chapels being built and a battle ensued to save people from the evils of drink.  Truro gained some impressive buildings along the way.  Unfortunately our September speaker was ill and we were grateful to Valerie and Brian Jacob who brought along more “Curious Corners of Cornwall” to educate and entertain us.

This year we held a St Piran’s Day coffee morning and were grateful for the display from the St Piran’s Trust to illustrate his life.  Our summer coffee morning involved the local farming community, included a display from the Town Museum and Ann Trebilcock launched her book about the “Wadebridge Casualties in The Great War”. Both events were very successful and we are grateful for the splendid variety of cakes provided by members for refreshments.  We were blessed with sunshine and blue skies on our June trip to Zennor and St Ives, but the boat trip up the river Tamar in July encountered showery conditions, although lunchtime at Calstock was sunny and dry.  Crying the Neck in September was well attended and   special thanks must go to the Menhinick family for welcoming us to Burniere and Mark Hawken, who was corn cutter, organist and finally entertainer at the supper.   We also took part in the Town Hall event in September showcasing the numerous groups and activities in Wadebridge.

What will the next year bring?
















































































Founded: 1932


Colours: Argent & Azure