National Geographic : 1915 Jul
CHANNEL PORTS-AND SOME OTHERS been tenanted by saint and sinner, soldier, monk, and knight. Dearest to the heart, perhaps, is the story of Cormoran, whom later Jack-the-Giant-Killer slew, dearest perhaps because of the memories of a little girl and boy who loved the story long ago. We ought to prefer Saint Keyne-but, well, Cormoran is so hu man. Can you see the one-eyed monster playing "bob-button" with his friend, the giant, on Carn Brea? And the huge boulders they used for playthings! Ah! Cormoran was a real giant then and in his prime; doubtless he had grown old and weak and thin when Jack came. The mount belongs now to the St. Aubyn family and Lord St. Levan admits strangers quite graciously at suitable hours. One may make a tour through its rooms if one likes, but it is pleasanter to sit among the grasses, where shy rab bits scurry to and fro, and read or dream. Besides its legends, the castle has much real history, some of it martial. In the War of the Roses Henry II entered it as a pilgrim, held it as a soldier, while Per kin Warbeck marched toward London claiming a crown; the "Fair Rose of Scotland" sought shelter there; during the Civil War Roundhead and Royalist strove hotly for its possession. WHERE PILCH-ARDS BECOME SARDINES We may follow the coast-line eastward and southward to the Lizard, passing the great wireless station upon Poldhu, or cut across the little neck of land to Fal mouth, a very fair harbor. Megavissey, beyond, is but a fishing port, where-may I hint it ?-pilchards sometimes become sardines; but Fowey, to which we next come, has considerable past importance and present pride (see page 6). Once one of the great seaports of the kingdom, boats from Fowey sailed by scores to the Crusades, to the siege of Calais, to the plundering of Normandy. "Fowey gallants" swaggered on all the then known seas, and when not busy with strangers turned to trimming their rivals nearer home. Finally, accused of piracy, Edward IV confiscated their ships and gave them to Dartmouth. "What a blow to a port which had sent more boats and men to support Edward III than any other in the kingdom! Fowey never recovered from this crush ing injustice; but after a time she turned to peaceful trades and welcomed the stranger ships that she once barred out, filling them with barrels upon barrels of powdery china-clay. There are remnants of forts upon each side of the harbor entrance, forts between which a chain was slung each night. In spite of the forts and the chain and a castle on the hill, invaders got in, how ever, Frenchmen coming to avenge a fight against a Genoese corsair in the hire of the King of France, in which the "Fowey gallants" seem to have had the best of it. Do you know the ballad of "John Dory," otherwise Giovanni Doria? The grappling hooks were brought at length, The brown bill and the sword-a; John Dory at length, for all his strength, Was clapt fast under board-a . FOWEY'S GLORY GONE That was in the days of good King John of France (say 1350), and in 1457 comes the invasion; and then, pouf ! adieu to all Fowey's glory and hope. Once the greatest port in the kingdom, she has seen every rival outgrow her in favor and prosperity. Probably the little town is no larger today than then; certainly the har bor is the same - close locked, deep, smooth, shining green surrounded with steep tree-clad hills, and always boats coming and going through the narrow entrance, the entrance whose chain went to Dartmouth along with the fleet; boats at anchor far out on the mirror-like sur face or tied up close to shore, the masts and spars mingling in astonishingly friendly way with trees or houses. There are no men-of-war among them and no fishing-boats! Make no mistake there! Fowey is furious if taken for a fishing port. Peaceful merchantmen and yachts, these fill Fowey harbor, make its life. More than twoscore men-of-war she sent to Calais-770 men. How piti fully small are the figures today, when one modern battleship requires a larger crew than did that fleet 450 years ago. No 50 ships of modern type could find place in Fowey harbor today, but for smaller craft-submarines, destroyers-it affords admirable shelter.