The Wednesday dawned grey and misty but not deterred we met at the hotel car park and swanned off in her car to Launceston in nearby Cornwall. “We be in Cornwall now” declared Lynne in authentic Cornish accent as we crossed the Tamar bridge that separates it from Devon. During the short journey Lynne pointed out landmarks such as the church at Milton Abbot and other Endsleigh cottages lived in by Horace Adams.
Launceston : ‘a real Cornish town’ says the tourist leaflet picked up at the TIC our first stop in the town. Interestingly, and isn’t always the same when you live somewhere? Lynne had thought she had never been to the Castle; at least not in the last few decades, maybe when the children were very small.
Welcome to Launceston Castle
“The town is notable for its impressive castle built by Brian de Bretagne, the first Norman Earl of Cornwall. It has never been besieged or captured.” Well, I’m not surprised it’s a short, steep climb up the mound to the keep and the the walls are several feet thick. In fact the steps up to the battlements are built within the thickness of the walls.
The castle is now in the care of English Heritage who have created a small exhibition with displays and information boards that set the scene.
The Approach to Launceston Castle – on a dull day
As with all climbs, it was worth the effort for the views from the top. On a good day they would have been exceptional but on this day we could really only study the town in the foreground.
The View NW from the Battlements – in the foreground on the right is Castle Street. Sir John Betjeman called it “the most perfect collection of 18th century townhouses in Cornwall” the tourist leaflet declares. In the middle in the distance is the location of the Cowslip Workshops which we visited later.
Looking west from the castle to a very misty Cornwall: the Earl’s hunting park stretched towards Bodmin Moor
East of the castle is the Church of St Mary Magdalene
In fact the Church was our next port-of-call.
A striking brass with inscription commemorating an unidentified 16th century lady
A rather disturbing memorial
The Altar Triptych : The Nativity of Our Lord; The Adoration of the Magi; The Presentation of Our Lord in the Temple (sorry photo doesn’t do it justice)
The poet Charles Causley was born in Launceston in 1971 and spent most of his life there. I discovered the Causley Society website which includes his biography and a Causley trail around the town. He wrote a poem about St Mary Magdalene which is available on a little leaflet from the church.
Mary Magdalene Poem :
Mary, Mary Magdalene
Lying on the wall
I throw a pebble on your back
Will it lie or fall?
A relief of Mary Magdalene is to be found on the east wall of St Mary Magdalene church. It is said that a stone lodged on her back will bring good luck.
The Mary Magdalene Stained Glass Window
By this time we were ready for something to eat and Lynne drove us out of town to the Cowslip Workshops.
View of Launceston from the Cowslip Workshops
Anyone, even the least artistic person, would find something to interest here. The Workshops are based at a very working farm, there’s a café, where we had soup for lunch, sewing classes, a fabric shop which also sells pottery by Nicholas Mossse, a gallery, and a farmhouse/kitchen garden. On a good day there will also be distant views!
The Farmhouse Garden
Inside the Fabric Shop
Much as we were tempted by the cakes and pastries in the cafe we knew that very soon we would be back at Pond Cottage and tucking in to Bettys Yorkshire treats as Lynne came back with me for tea and to meet my friends. Thanks again, for showing me your local area, Lynne. What a lovely part of the country you live in!