1613- 1696 ( audio )'The Thousand Strong Mule Train


The Thousand-Strong Mule Train

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The mule train came early in the forenoon, the rumble of the hundreds of hooves could be heard for a long way,

 the cries of the boys who led them, six or eight at a time, the laughter and the calls of the drovers who

walked along beside them swinging their sticks. In summer, clouds of dust rose and lingered long after they

had passed, leaving a smell of leather and warm flesh.

There were anything from five hundred to a thousand mules in the train,  and they took an hour or more to

pass on the rough track roads. The mules had panniers on their backs, and some carried fodder for their

'comrades'.    In cold weather one mule would have dry firewood in his baskets so that the men could have

a fire to sit around while they ate, and perhaps heat up what they had brought with them.  On the return

journey the men and the boys would ride on the mules.

This was Gwinear in the 1600s and 1700s.  What they carried was tin ore, collected from the mines at

Drannack, Herland, Relistian (the biggest and most extensive mining operation in Cornwall) and Rosewarne.

All this ore from around Gwinear parish was taken to Hayle, to the smelters they had there, and to the wharves where

the sailing ships lay. A lot of the tin ore was exported.

    1613   What the minister and parishioners recorded at Rogation-tide

                                                                 .-( WITH MAP AND TRANSLATION)

Gwinear Parishe             xx                                 die 8 m                  Anno DOM  1613                                         Gwinear  parish   second millenium?         8th day of May      in the year of our Lord   1613


A certificate of the limits and boundes of the saide parishe w{hi] ch were st-ewed (stewed can mean 'studied

closely') by the minister and the parishioners of the saide p[a]rishe  at the Last Rogation weeke in manner

and forme followinge (8 illegible words)

firste on the east side divided from Crowan p[ar]ishe by

a stone standings on a Borrowe in Trenowith

moare( moor) adjoyning unto a moare called Catebedron

moore & from thence devided from Crowan by a

river running  Between a tenement called Geare and

Halegoose. And from thence to Cronsellowe gate, and

so by a banke  on the south side, runninge into a stone

on the downs called mensowe kirte,  from thence to

Lambo the Lane,  so to Goosengrosse adjoyning with

St Earth p{ar]ishe, so west warde by a lane deviding

St Earthe, Phillacke and Gwinnyar p{ar]ishes, And so to Bandower thence (from there) by a runninge streame unto

vellan vrane bridge,  thence to three stones on Connor downe moore the burrowes,  then on the

north side topitt Anwollan in the south downe thence by the boundes of Roseworthy to Pool meadowwe  to

a river their  where the boundes of  three p{ar]ishes meet vis Camboorne, Gwethyan and Gwynnyar  so-  tpe

a longe by the said runninge river to Halgosse to a headweare of Roseworthy mill adjoining w{it]h pke

Roger,  thence-  the river to Borripper  bridge And so a longe the river between Halgarracke & Busprawell

unto a stone in the -ellgear in Penhale moare,  And so to the firste bounde in Trenowther moore.


1632       The will of Thomas Howell mentions the day of resurrection and "my friend John Trefusis. He is

               acknowledging a Puritan friend.

1636       .In  1636 William Franc was excluded from this Living by the Puritans.

             In the parish register of 1633  there is a note signed by Major Ceely, a Puritan  Cromwellian.

1641      The protestation return, 134 men between 16 and 60 years of age. Parish population about 603.

1642-49 The Civil War

1646      The royalist army surrendered to Fairfax at Tresillian Bridge on 12th March

1646-7    Plague in Cornwall at St Austell and St Ives

1648       Exeter College  Thirteen Fellowes were appointed by the Parliamentary visitors. Ten of these

              vacances occurred because of expulsions of Fellows for Royalist sympathies.

              Francis Howell of Gwinear was  appointed Fellow and Greek Reader at Exeter College.

1649-78  Cornish vicars ejected from their livings, including those from St Erth, Camborne and Phillack.


The Will of William Lanyon Gent

I William Lanyon Gent in the parish of St Gwinear being sick in body but in my perfect

memory praise be to Almighty God; do at this time make my last will and testament in manner and

form following. First I do bequeath my Soul to Almighty God in hope of a joyfull resurrection at the

last day and my Body to the earth.

Item: I give and bequeath unto the poor of the parish of Gwinear to   ---ayne (maintain?) the parish

stock forty shillings.

Item;  I give unto my so Tobias Lanyon twelve pence.  Item:  I give to my daughter Constance Veale

twelve pence. Item:  I give unto my daughter Elizabeth Lanyon twelve pence.  All the rest of my

goods and chattels moveable and immoveable I do give to my wife Elizabeth Lanyon whom I do

make my full and whole Executrix. Witness my sign and seal the day and year first above written.

William Lanyon. Sealed, signed and delivered in the presence of these. Renatus Trenwith;

Wil Stevens; the sign of Henry Stevens.

The will was proved at London the seventeenth day of February in the year of our Lord God one thousand six hundred fifty and four.  Before the Judges for Probate of Wills and granting administration lawfully authorized.  By the oath of Elizabeth Lanyon the relict and sole Executrix named in the said will to whom admon of all and singular the goods chattels and debts of the said deceased was committed.  She being first sworn by Commission truly to Administer the same.














1664       Church seating plan 

1665       The death of Otto Polkinhorne the last male Gwinear Polkinhorne.


Polkinghorne Farm is of great historic interest. The Polkinghorne family (later the name seems to have been

changed to Polkinhorne) were established here from the year 1290, and took and active part in Cornish and

national life through the centuries. They were saved from dying out by recognising female succession and using

the device of permitting the bridegroom to assume the family name.

The present house is chiefly of 18th century construction, but stands upon the remains of an ancient Tudor

building. The charming porch is probably of 17th century date, but the onlty relics of the Tudor mansion are some

blocks of cut stone built into the barn near the house.

The house is now occupied by the Laity family, proud of their dairy herd.  Laity is said to be a Breton name and

methinks it is appropriately linked to lait, the French word for milk.

              His Heiress Mary married Thomas Glynn of Helston.

              Their son Otto Glynn married Elizabeth Pandarves of Taskus.

1674       Windmill erected on Relistian Down to pump water from Relistian mine.

1676       Compton census. 302 persons over 16.  Parish population about 500.

1681       Rock fall at Relistian mine caused death of 24 miners working underground.

1686       Relistian windmill destroyed by fire.

1696                              The Tye, Wall

The area known as 'The Tye' in Wall has an interesting history. It  is part or a very old open case mine

going back to Elizabethan times.  Relistian, a very ancient tin mine was known as far back as 1502,

and on the Lanhydrock Estate Map it is shown in 1696 as the Relistian Tin Works in the manor of Drinnick.

The famous Cornish historian Dr.Borlase described Rellistian in 1760  as the largest open work he had ever seen.

The waste rock that had been thrown out formed an immense ridge which gave to the locality the name of GWALL

or Wall. At the west end of it was a huge trench, then it split into two very deep channels with a sharp ridge

between them.  The south trench was subsequently planted with trees and shrubs.

At the west end of the sett the workings were excavated to a depth of 240 feet by 1843, and 66 feet in width with

near vertical sides. it must  have been ab extraordinary sight. The 17th century working was for tin. but copper

discovered early in the 18th century and was exploited by Bristol merchants.

The mine closed in about 1720, but it was re-opened and worked for ten years. Then it was again re-opened and

was active between 1823 and 1842 when 12,000 tons of tin ore,  and 1,000 tins of copper ore were taken out.

The last known working was in 1852.


The letter of thanks to the loyal Cornish from King Charles the Second hangs on the north wall just inside the church

entrance. (Still to be copied for the website)




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