Picture of William Camden

William Camden

places mentioned

Cornwall and Devon

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THAT region which, according to the Geographers, is the first of all Britaine, and, growing straiter still and narrower, shooteth out farthest into the West, and hath on the North side the Severne-Sea, on the South the British, and on the West the Vergivian or Western Ocean beating upon it, was in antient time inhabited by those Britans whom Solinus called Dunmonii, Ptolomee Damnonii, or (as wee find in some other copies) more truly Danmonii. Which name, if it bee not derived from those ever-continuing mines of tinne in this tract, which the Britans terme moina , may seeme to come of the dwelling there under hils. For their habitation all over this Countrey is somewhat low and in valleys, which manner of dwelling is called in the British tongue Dan-munith , in which sense also the Province next adjoyning in like respect is at this day named by the Britans Duffneit , that is to say, Low valleys. Now whether the Ostidamnii, called also Ostaei and Ostiones, of whom Strabo maketh mention out of Pithaeas of Marsiles, be our Danmonii, I wish the studious searchers of Antiquitie would weigh with themselves, and examine somewhat more diligently. For seated they were, by their report, in the furthest parts of Europe towards the West Ocean over against Spaine, not farre from the Isle Uxantissa, now called Ushant. Which particulars every one doe verie well and in each point agree unto this Region of our Danmonii. And seeing that those Ostiones be called by Artemidorus Cossini, as Stephanus in his Cities seemeth to note, I wish likewise they would consider (because these people are termed also Corini) whether instead of Cossini we are not to read Corini. For we read Fusii for Furii, and Valesii for Valerii. And surely the Geographers have not so much as a glimps where to seek these Ostidamni and Cossini by the westerne Sea, if they bee hence excluded. But the Country of this nation is at this day divided into two parts, knowen by later names of Cornwall and Denshire, whereof we will speake in order.


CORNWALL, which also by later Writers is called Cornubia in Latine, of all Britain doth beare most westward, and is inhabited by that remnant of Britans which Marianus Scotus calleth occidentales Britones , that is, Britans of the west parts, who in the British tongue (for as yet they have not lost their ancient language) name it Kernaw , because it waxeth smaller and smaller in maner of an horn, and runneth forth into the Sea with little promontories, as they were hornes, on everie side. For the Britans cal an horne corn , and hornes kern in the plurall number, although others would have Cornwall to take the name of one Corineus, I know not what companion of Brutus, and doe call it Corinea, according to this verse of a late-borne Poet:

To captaine Corinaeus part was given to hold by right:
Of him both coast Corinea and people Cornish hight.

But no strange matter it is (if a man search Antiquities) for many places to have their denominations given them of such a site as this. In Crete and Taurica Chersonessus there be promontories termed κριοῦ μέτωπα, that is, Rams Foreheads, because they shoot forth into the sea after the fashion of Rams hornes. Sembably, Cyprus was of the Greeks in old time called Cerastis, for that it butteth on the sea with promontories bearing out like hornes, so that it no marvell if this coast bee called Kernaw and Corn , crooking inward as it doth, like unto an horne, and having divers small capes and points sticking out, as it were hornes. Whereupon, when in the heat of the Saxons warre many Britans retired themselves into this tract, trusting to the naturall strength of the place, for they knew that the waies by land were hard enough to be passed thorow by reasons of mountaines, and crossed in divers places with armes of the Sea, that sailing likewise there was combersome, because the places were unknowen, the Saxon, being Conquerour, who called all forraine things, and aliens or strangers, in his language wealsh , named the Inhabitants hereof Cornweales and Westweales . Hereof sprang the Latin name Cornwallia , and in the later age Cornubia , and in some Writers Occidua Wallia. So farre is it off that it should be called Cornwallia of the Gaules that conquered it, which some there bee that in flatterie of the French name and nation would uphold, who, if they were as quicke-sighted at home as they bee curious abroad, might find that their Britaine lying upon the sea coast opposit to this country is so named of our Britaine, and that Cornovaille , no small territorie therein, which speaketh the same language that our Cornishmen doe, tooke name of our countrey-men that passed over hence to dwell there. For as these our Britains of the West parts aided the Armorici of Gaule inhabiting that tract in their warres against Caesar, upon which occasion he pretended a quarrell to invade Britaine, and they afterwards comming thither, as wee said before, changed the name of Armorici and called it Britaine, so in the fore-going ages readie they were and ever at hand to helpe those Britans their countrey-men against the French, and during the tempestuous troubles of the Danish warre some of them put over thither also, and are thought to have left this name of Cornovaille behind them there. But to leave that Cornovaille .

2. This our Cornwall, as if nature made amends and recompense for the incroching in of the sea, is for the most part raised on high with mountains, being in the valleys between of an indifferent glebe, which with the Sea weede or reit commonly called Orewood, and a certaine kind of fruitfull Sea-sand, they make so ranke and battle [foul] that it is incredible. The Sea coast is beautified with verie many townes, able to set out a great fleet of ships; the inland parts have rich and plentious mines of tinne. For there is digged out of them wonderfull store of tinne, yeelding exceeding much profit and commoditie, whereof are made houshold pewter vessels which are used thorowout many parts of Europe in service of the table, and for their glittering brightnesse compared with silver plate. The Inhabitants doe discover these mines by certaine tinne-stones lying on the face of the ground, which they call shoad , being somewhat smooth and round. Of these Mines or tinne-works there be two kinds: the one they call Lode-works, the other Stream-works. This lieth in lower grounds, when by trenching they follow the veines of tinne and turn aside now and then the streames of water comming in their way; that other is in higher places, when as upon the hils they dig verie deepe pits, which they call Shafts, and doe undermine. In working both waies there is seen wonderfull wit and skill, as well in draining of waters aside and reducing them into one streame, as in the underbuilding, pinning and propping up of their pits, to passe over with silence their devices of breaking, stamping, drying, crasing, washing, melting, and fining the mettall, than which there cannot be more cunning shewed. There are also two sorts of Tinne, Blacke tinne, which is tinne-ore broken and washed but not yet founded into mettall, and white tinne, that is molten into mettle, and that is either soft tinne, which is best merchantable, or hard tinne lesse merchantable.

3. That the antient Britans practised these tinne-works (to omit Timaeus the Historian in Plinie, who reporteth that the Britans fetched tinne out of the Isle Icta in wicker boats covered and stitched about with leather) appeareth for certaine out of Diodorus Siculus, who flourished under Augustus Caesar. For hee writeth that the Britans who inhabited this part digged tinne out of stonie ground, and at low water carried the same in carts to certain Ilands adjoyning, from whence Merchants transported it by ships into Gaule, and from thence conveied the same upon horses within thirtie daies unto the spring-heads of the river Eridanus [Po], or else to the citie Narbone, as it were to a Mart. Aethicus also, who ever hee was, that unworthily beareth title to be interpreted by S. Hierome out of the Sclavonian tongue, insinuateth the very same, and saith that hee delivered rules and precepts to these Tinne-workers. But it seemeth that the English-Saxons neglected it altogether, or to have used the workmanship and labour of Arabians or Saracens. For the Inhabitants in their language terme the mines forlet [abandoned] and given over attal Sarafin , that is, the leavings of the Saracens, if they did meane by that name the antient Panims.

4. After the comming in of the Normans, the Earles of Cornwal gathered great riches out of these mines, and especially Richard brother to King Henrie the Third: and no marvell, sith [since] that in those daies Europe had tinne from no other place. For the incursions of the Mores had stopped up the tinne mines of Spaine, and as for the tinne veines in Germanie, which are in Misnia and Bohemia, they were not as yet knowen, and those verily not discovered before the yeere after Christs nativitie 1240. For then (as a writer of that age recordeth) was tinne mettall found in Germanie by a certain Cornishman driven out of his native soile, to the great losse and hindrance of Richard Earle of Cornwal. This Richard began to make ordinances for these tin-works, and afterward Edmund his sonne granted a Charter and certain liberties, and withall prescribed certaine Lawes concerning the same, which hee ratified or strengthened under his seale, and imposed a tribute or rent upon tin to be answered unto the Earls.

5. These liberties, privileges and lawes King Edward the Third did afterwards confirme and augment. The whole common-wealth of those Tinners and workmen, as it were one bodie, hee divided into foure quarters, which of the places they call Foy-more, Black-more, Trewarnaile, and Penwith. Over them all he ordained a Warden called Lord Warden of the Stanniers, of stannum , that is, Tinne, who giveth judgement, as well according to equitie and conscience as law, and appointed to every quarter their Stewards, who once every iii weeks (every one in his severall quarter) minister justice in causes personall between Tinner and Tinner, and between Tinner and Forrainer, except in causes of land, life, or member. From whom there lieth an appeale to the Lord Warden, from him to the Duke, from the Duke to the King. In matters of moment there are by the Warden generall Parliaments or several assemblies summoned, whereunto Jurats are sent out of every Stannarie, whose constitutions do bind them. As for those that deale with tinne, they are foure sorts: the owners of the soile, the adventurers, the merchants or regraters, and the laborers, called the Spadiards (of their Spade), who poore men are pitifully out-eaten by usurious contracts. But the Kings of England and Dukes of Cornwall in their times have reserved to themselves a praeemption of tin (by the opinion of the learned in the Law), as well in regard of the propertie as being chiefe Lords and Proprietaries, as of their roiall prerogative. Lest the tribute or rent imposed should be embezelled and the Dukes of Cornwall defrauded, unto whom by the old custome for every thousand pound waight of tinne there is paid forty shillings, it is by a Law provided that in all the tin which is cast and wrought be brought to one of the foure appointed townes, where twice in the yeere it is weighted and signed with a stampe (they call it Coinage), and the said impost accordingly paid: nether is it lawfull for any man before that to sell or send it abroad, under forfeiture of their tin. And not onely tin his here found, but therewith also gold and silver; yea, and Diamonds shaped and pointed anglewise, smoothed also by nature it selfe, whereof some are as big as walnuts and inferiour to the Orient Diamonds in blacknese and hardnesse only. Moreover there is found eryngium , that is, Sea Holly, growing most abundantly everywhere along the shore. Furthermore, so plentifull is this country of graine, although not without great toile of the husbandman, that it hath not onely sufficient to maintaine it selfe, but also affordeth often times great store of corne into Spaine. Besides, a most rich revenue and commoditie they have by those little fishes that they call Pilchards, which swarming, as one would say, in mighty great skuls about the shores from July unto November, are there taken, garbaged [gutted], salted, hanged in the smoke, laied up, pressed, and by infinite numbers carried over into France, Spaine, and Italy, unto which countreys they be very good chaffer [provender] and right welcome merchandise, and are there named fumados . Whereupon Michael, a Cornish Poet, and of Rhymers in his time the chiefe, in his Satyre against Henrie of Aurenches, Archpoet to King Henrie the Third, because he had unreverently plaied upon Cornishmen, as if they were seated in the nocke hole of the world, after much satyricall sharpenes, came out with these round rhymes:

I need not here report the wealth wherewith enrich' d it is,
And whereby alwaies to sustaine poore folke it doth not misse:
No coast elsewhere for fish and tinne so plentious ywis.

6. And yet is Cornwall nothing happier in regard of the soile than it is for the people, who as they were endued and adorned with all civilitie, even in those antient times (for by reason of their acquaintance with merchants sailing thither for tin , as Diodorus Siculus reporteth, they were more courteous toward strangers ), so they are valiant, hardie, wel pitcht in stature, brawny and strong limmed, such as for wrastling (to speak nothing of that manly exercise and feat of hurling the Ball which they use) so fare excell, that for slight and cleane strength together they justly win the prize and praise from other nations in that behalfe. Moreover, that poet Michael, when as in the excessive commendation of his countreymen he had with gigging rimes resounded how Arthur in his battels gave them the honour to give the first charge, he thus couragiously concludeth in rime:

What frighteth us? If footing sure we have on steady ground
(Barre crafty sleights) there is no force but we can it confound.

And hereof peradventure ariseth the report so generally received, that Giants in times past inhabited this countrey. For Havillan the poet, who lived foure hundred yeeres since, in describing of certaine British Giants, wrote pleasanty of Britaine and the Cornish Giants, in this wise:

A lodge it was to Giants fell (though few) of Titans brood
Enthralled, whose garments were raw hides of beasts full wood;
Their bloud they dranke, but copys they made of hollow blocks and stocks.
Caves serv' d for cabins, bushes for beds, for chambers craggie rocks.
Prey slak' d their hunger, rape their lust, in murder tooke they joy,
Force gave them rule, and furie heart, wrath weapons to annoy;
Fight brought them death, grieves were their graves. Thus
groan' d the ground againe
With mountain-Monsters. Howbeit, of them the number maine
Did pester most the westerne tract: more feare made thee agast,
O Cornwall, utmost dore that art to let in Zephyrus blast.

Now, whether this firme and wel compact constitution of the Cornish-men, which proceedeth from the temperature of heat and moisture, is to bee referred unto the breeding-west wind and the Westerne situation thereof, like as wee see that in Germanie the Batavians, in France the Gascoines, who be farthest Westward, are the ablest and most valiant, or rather to some peculiar and speciall reason of aire and soile, it is not my purpose to search curiously.

7. Now let us treat of the Promontories, Cities and Rivers, whereof ancient writers have made mention. For this my principall project, beginning at the furthest point, and so surveying first the Southern shore, then the Northern, and lastly the course of the river Tamara, which severeth this countie from Devonshire. The utmost Promontorie, which lieth upon the Western Ocean and is distant 17 degrees and no more in the globe or surface of the earth from the Ilands called Azores, is called by Ptolomee Bolerium, and by Diodorus Belerium, perhaps of the British word pell , which signifieth a thing most remote or farthest off. By Ptolomee also the same is termed Ἀντιουέσταιον or Antivestaeum; by the Britans, I meane their Bardi onely or Poets, Penringuaed , that is, The Promontorie of Bloud. For the Welsh Historians name it Penwith, that is, The Promontorie on the left hand. The Saxons, Penwith-steort , for steort with them betokeneth a peece of land shooting into the Sea. And hereupon all that Hundred of Penwith at this day is called by borderers in their language Pen von las , that is, The end of the land, and in the same sense we in English name it The Lands End, because it is the utmost part of the Iland toward the West. And if this Promontorie were sometimes called Helenum, as Volaterran and the late writers affirme, it came not of Helenus King Priams sonne, but of Pen-elin , which signifieth in the British tongue and elbow, as ancon doth in Greeke. And seeing that crooked and bending shores be termed by the Greeks ancones , as Elbows, for so Plinie witnesseth of Ancona in Italia, no absurditie is it at all that the crooked and bowing shore should by the Britains in the same sense be called Pen-elin , and thereof that Latin name Helenum be derived. But as touching this name Antivestaeum, I was wont now and then to doubt [suspect] whether it savoured not of some Greek originall. For seeing it was a common and usuall thing with the Greeks to impose names upon places taken from the names of such as were opposite unto them, not only in Greece it selfe, where they have Rhium and Antirrhium, but also in the Arabian gulfe, where there is Bacchium and Antibacchium, as also upon the gulf of Venice Antibarrium, because it looketh towards Barrium lying over against it in Italie, I searched diligently whether any place named Vestaeum lay opposite unto this our Antivestaeum: but finding no such thing, I betooke my selfe to the British tongue, neither yet can I here resolve my selfe. But the Inhabitants doe suppose that this Promontorie heeretofore ran further into the Sea, and by the rubbish which is drawen out from thence the Mariners affirme the same, yea and the neighbor Inhabitants avouch out of I wote not what fable, that the earth now covered there all over with the in-breaking of the sea was called Lionesse.

8. In the utmost rocks of this Promontorie, when at a low water they be bare, there appeare veines of tin and copper, and the people there dwelling report that there stood a watch-tower upon it, from whence, by the light of burning fire, there was a signe given unto sailers, no doubt ad speculam Hispaniae , according as Orosius hath put downe in writing, the the most high watch-towre of Brigantia in Gallica, a rare and admirable peece of worke, was erected ad speculam Britanniae, that is, if I well understand him, either for the use of Mariners sailing out of Britaine toward Spaine, or else over against the watch-towre of Britaine. For no other place of this Iland looketh directly to Spaine. Upon it there standeth now a little villageiana) consecrated to Buriena, a religious Irish woman. For this nation hath alwaies honored Irish Saints as tutelar patrons of their own, so as all their towns in maner they have consecrated unto them. This village King Athelstane, as the report goeth, granted to be a priviledged place or Sanctuarie what time has he arrived as Conquerour out of the Iles of Sylly. True it is that he built heere a Church, and that under William the Conquerour there was heere a Colledge of Chanons, unto whom the territorie adjoyning belonged. Neere unto this, in a place which they call Liscaw Woune , are to bee seene nineteen stones set in a round circle, distant every one about twelve feete named S. Burians (in old time Eglis Buriens , that is, the Church of Buriena or Beroote) from the other, and in the very center there is one pitched far higher and greater than the rest. This was some Trophee (or monument of victorie) erected by the Romans (as probably may be conjectured) under the late Emperours, or else by Athelstan the Saxon, when he had he had subdued the Cornish-men and brought them under his dominion.

9. As the shore fetcheth a compasse by little and little from hence Southward, it letteth in a bay or creeke of the Sea, in maner of a Crescent, which they call Mounts-bay, wherein, as the common speech goeth, the Ocean by rushing with a violent force drowned the land. Upon this lieth Monschole, in the British tongue Port Inis , that is, The Haven of the Iland. For which Henry of Tieis, a Baron of his time and Lord of Alwerton and Terwenel in this County, obtained of King Edward the First the grant to have a market there. Likewise there is seated upon this Bay Pen-sans, that is, The Cape or Head of Saints, or as some thinke, Sands, a prety market Towne, within a little wherof is that famous stone Main-Amber, which, being a great Rock advanced upon some other of meaner size with so equall a counterpeize [counterpoise], a man may stir with the push of his finger, but to remove it quite out of his place a great number of men are not able; as also Merkin, that is, Jupiters Market (because Thursday, anciently dedicated to Jupiter, is their market day), a dangerous rode for ships. And in the very angle and corner of it selfe S. Michaels Mount, which gave name unto the foresaid Bay, sometime called Donsol, as we find in the booke of Landaffe: the inhabitants name it Careg Cowse , that is, The hoary Crag or Rock, the Saxons Michel-stow , that is, Michaels place, as Master Laurence Noel, a man of good note for his singular learning, and who was the first in our age that brought into ure [use] againe and revived the language of our ancestours the Saxons, which through disuse lay forlet and buried in oblivion, hath well observed. This Rocke is of a good height and craggy, compassed round abut with water so oft as it is floud, but at every ebbe joined to the main-land, so that they say of it, it is land and Iland twice a day. For which cause John Earle of Oxford not many yeeres ago, presuming upon the strength of the place, chose it for his cheefest defense when he raised war against King Edward the Fourth, and valiantly held the same, but with no good successe. For, his souldiers being assailed by the Kings forces, straightwaies yeelded. In the very top heereof within the Fortresse there was a Chapell consecrated to S. Michael the Archangel, where William Earle of Cornwall and Moriton, who by the bounteous gift of King William the First had great lands and large possessions in this tract, built a Cell for one or two monks; who avouched that S. Michael appeered in that mount: which apparition, or the like, the Italians challenge to their hill Garganus, and the Frenchmen likewise to their Michaels mount in Normandie. At the foote of this mountaine within the memorie of our Fathers, whiles men were digging up of tin they found Spear-heads, axes, and swords of brasse wrapped in linnen, such as were sometimes found within the forest Hercinia in Germanie, and not long since in our Wales. For evident it is by the monuments of ancient Writers that the Greeks, the Cimbrians and Britans used brasen weapons, although the wounds given with brasse be lesse hurtfull, as in which mettall there is a medicinable vertue to heale, according as Macrobius reporteth out of Aristotle. But happily that age was not so cunning in devising meanes to mischiefe and murthers as ours is. In the rocks underneath, as also along the shore everywhere breedeth the pyrrhocorax , a kind of crow with bill and feet red, and not, as Plinie thought, proper to the Alpes onely. This bird the inhabitants have found to be an Incendiarie, and theevish beside. For oftentime it secretly conveieth fire-sticks, setting their houses a-faire, and as closely filcheth and hideth little peeces of money.

10. In this place the countrey is most narrow, and groweth as it were into an Isthmus, for it is scarse foure miles over from hence to the Severn or upper sea. A little above this mount there openeth a Creeke of good bredth, called of the mount Mounts-bay, a most safe rode and harbour for ships when the South and Southeast winds are aloft and bluster, at a mid ebbe and returne of the Sea, six or seven fathom deepe. More toward the east ariseth Godolcan hill, right famous for plentifull veines of tinn (they call it now Godolphin), but much more renowned in regard of the Lords thereof bearing the same name, who with their vertues have equalled the ancientnesse of that house and linage. But that name in the Cornish language came of a white Aegle, and this family hath anciently borne for their armes in a field Gules and Aegle displaied Argent between three Flower-deluces of the same shield .

11. From S. Michaels Mount Southward, immediately there is thrust forth a bi-land or demi-Ile, at the very entrie whereof Heilston sheweth it selfe, called in their country language Hellas by reason of the salt water flowing thereto: a Towne of great resort for their priviledge of marking and coinage of tin. Under which by the confluence and meeting of many waters there is made a lake two miles in length named Loopoole, divided from the Sea by a narrow banke running betweene, which whensoever it is by the violence of waves broken thorow, a wonderfull roring of waters is heard farre and neere all over the countrey adjoining. And not far from thence there is to be seene a militarie fense or rampire of a large compasse built of stones heaped together and laid without morter, they call it in their tongue Earth , of which sort there be others heere and there, raised, as I verily beleeve, in the Danish warre. Neither is it unlike to those fortifications of the Britans which Tacitus termeth rudes et informes saxorum compages , that is, rude and ilfavoured compacted piles of stone. As for the said Demi-Iland, it selfe being of a good bignesse and replenished with villages, it is named Meneg, and no doubt that Menna, which out of Cornelius a writer of Annals (but whether he be Tacitus, I wot not) Iornandes in his Geticks describeth, and is in some copies found written Memma. For it is, as he saith, in the utmost coast of Britaine, having in it great store of mettall mines, very full of grasse and herbes, bringing forth more plentifully all those things which serve for pastorage of beasts rather than nourishment of men. But whereas he said that it hath plenteous store of Mettals, it is now so destitute that it may seeme long since to have beene exhaust thereof. The Sailers at this day call the utmost South-West point thereof Lisard; Ptolomee, The Promontorie of the Danmonii, and Ocrinum; Aethicus in that strange Geographie of his, Ocranum; and he reckoneth it among the mountaines of the West Ocean. Which name whether it take of ocra , which by Sextus Pompeius signifieth a craggy hill, I dare not affirme. And yet among the Alpes Ocrea, Oriculum, and Interocrea drew their denomination of the steepe and rocky site. But seeing that ochr betokeneth in the British tongue an edge, what if I should thinke the name was given to this Promontorie because it hath a sharp edge and groweth at the end pointed in fashion of a cone? In the turning in of the shore from this Meneg you meet with a Bay very commodious for ships to harbour in by reason of so many turning, coves, and angled windings therein, receiving into it the little river Vale. Neere unto which within the countrey flourished sometime that ancient Towne Voluha mentioned by Ptolomee: but it is long since either utterly decaied, or hath lost his name, yet it remaineth partely in Valemouth or Falemouth Haven. This Haven is as noble as Brundisium it selfe in Italie, of exceeding great capacity: for it is able to receive an hundred ships, which may ride therein so apart by themselves that out of never a one of them the top of anothers Mast can be seene, and most safe withall under the wind, by reason that it is enclosed on every side with brims of high rising banks. In the very entrance of this Haven there mounteth up an high and steep craggy rock, which the inhabitants call Crage. The gullet on either hand, as well for the defense and safetie of the place, as for terror to enimies, is fortified with block-houses: to wit, the castle of S. Maudet East-ward, and towards the West the fort Pendinas , built both by King Henrie the Eighth. Of which fortresses the Antiquarian Poet writeth thus:

Pendina mouted is aloft
On craggy cliffe, and thundreth oft.
S. Maudit eke, a castle round
That stands beneath on lower ground,
With gunshot makes Fale-mouth resound.

12. But the Haven it selfe is by Ptolomee called Ostium Cenionis , The mouth of Cenio, doubtlesse of the British word geneu , which betokeneth a doore and entrance. And this to bee true the Towne Tegenie neere adjoyning doth testifie: for it is as much (if a man interpret it) as a little Towne by the Mouth. Upon the innermore creeks and nooks of this Haven there stand some Townes: namely, Peryn, for a market well frequented, where Walter Bronscome Bishop of Excester in the yeere 1288 erected a Collegiat Church (they call it Galsnith ) and twelve Prebendaries; Arwenak, the seat of the ancient and noble family of the Killegrews; Truro, in the Cornish tongue Truru , so called of three Streets encircled, as it were, with two rivers, a Major towne, as they call it, and endowed with many priviledges and coynage of tin; also Grampound, which is seated farthest from the Haven, ‡ and neighbour to it is Colde, the inheritance of Tregian, a house ancient and well allied. But descending to the Havens mouth you may see Fenten-Gollan , in English Hartes Well, lately the seat of Carinow, a family anciently of high esteeme for bloud and wealth, between whom and the Lord Scrope, two hundred yeeres since, was a plea commenced in the Court of Chivalry for bearing in a Shield Azure a Bend Or. ‡ Under which on the Sea side lieth the territorie of Rosseland, so named, as some thinke, as if it were a rose-plot, but, as I suppose, because it is an heath or place of lings: for so roth signifieth in the British tongue. Whereof Rosse in Scotland and another Rosse in Wales have their names, as being tracts drie, hungry and barren. Howbeit this heere, through the industrie of the husbandmen, is more battle-ground [fertile land] and fruitfull. Beyond this Rosseland presently the Ocean (as the land retireth and giveth back) shooteth in and maketh a larger Bay; they call it Tru-ar-draith Bay , which is by interpretation The Bay of the towne upon the sand, ‡ whereinto fall many fresh rillets, amongst which that is principal which passeth by Lanladron, whose Lord Sir Sirlo Lanladron was summoned a Baron to the Parlament in that age when the select men for wisdome and worth amongst the Gentrie were called to Parlament, and their posteritie omitted if they were defective therein. ‡

13. Scarse two miles from hence, whereas the river Fawey falleth into the Sea, lieth the town Fowey, Foath in Cornish, stretching out in length upon the sea bank: a towne most renowned in former ages for sea-fights, which the very armes of the towne doe witnesse, as being compounded of the Cinque-ports arms. By the haven it hath bulwarks on both sides built by King Edward the Fourth, who shortly after, being displeased with these townesmen of Fawey for that when the warre in France was compounded, they practised piracy upon the French, tooke from them all their ships and furniture for shipping. Upon the other bank over against it standeth Hall, situate on the hanging of an hill with a right pleasant walke, the habitation full well knowen of Sir Reginald Mohun, Knight, of an ancient and noble house by birth, as descended from the Mohunes of Dunster and the Courteneyes Earles of Devonshire.

14. Further within the countrie and by the same river, Uzella, mentioned by Ptolomee, is seated: which towne, having not lost altogether the old name, is at this day called Lest-uthiell. It stood anciently upon an high hill, where the old castle Lestmel now sheweth his ruins, but it was removed lower into the valley. From the high situation it received then ancient name, for uchel in the British tongue soundeth as much as high or aloft, whence Uxellodunum also in France tooke the name, because the towne standing upon an hill had a very steep fall on every side. In the British storie, this is called Pen-uchelcoit , that is, The high hill in the wood, which some would have to be Exceter. But the situation in Ptolomee, and the name remaining still, prove this to be the ancient Uzella. In these our daies, a small towne it is and nothing populous, because the river Fawey, which aforetime was wont at every tide or high water to flow unto the very towne and to beare and bring in ships, hath his chanell so choked and dammed up now with sands comming from the tin-workes (wherewith all the havens in this province are like in processe of time to be choked up) as that it is hardly able to beare the least barge that is. Howbeit, the chiefe towne it is of the whole countie, where the Shiriffe sitteth judicially every moneth and determineth causes, and there the Warden of the Stannaries hath his prison. It enjoieth also the priviledge, by the bounteous favour, as themselves say, of Edmund Earle of Cornwall (who there in times past had his honor) to seale or coyne the tin. But there bee two townes above the rest that hinder the light and eclipse the same of this, to wit, on the East side thereof Leskerd, situat on the top of a very high hill, much frequented for the mercat [market], and renowned for an ancient castle there, and on the North side Bodman, which standeth on the side hand of it scarse two miles off, and is named (if I be not deceived) Bosuenna in the Cornish tongue, and Bodminian in old Deeds and Charters. This towne situate thus in no healthy seat betweene two hils, and lying out in length East and West, is for the mercat there kept of great resort, for the inhabitants populous, beautifull enough for building, and of name for their privilege of coinage of tin, but more famous in ancient time for the Bishops See there. For about the yeere of our salvation 905, when the State of the Church lay in this tract altogether neglected, by vertue of a decree from Pope Formosus, King Edward the Elder erected heere a Bishops See, and granted at that time unto the Bishop of Kirton three villages in this countrie, Polton, Caeling, and Lonwitham, that from thence every yeere he should visit the people of Cornwall, to fetch out of them their errours; for beforetime they did what they could to resist the truth, and obeied not the Apostolicall decrees. But afterwards, in the furious heat of that terrible Danish warre, the Bishoprick was translated to Saint Germans. Hard by Leskerd lieth that which sometimes was the Church of S. Guerir, that is (if you interpet it out of the British speech) S. Leech or Physician: where (as writeth Asserius) King Alfred, lying prostrate at his praiers, recovered out of a sicknesse. But when Neotus, a man of singular holiness and learning, was afterwards entombed in the same Church, he outshone the light of the other Saint, so that in his memorie it was named Neoestow , that is, The place of Neotus, and now Saint Neoths, and the religious men that served God therein where named Saint Neoths Clerkes, and had for their maintenance rich and large revenues, as we may see in William Conquerours booke. Neere unto this, as I have learned, within the parish of Saint Clare, there are to be seene in a place called Pennant, that is, The head of the vale, two monuments of stone, of which the one in the upper part is wrought hollow in mainer of a Chaire; the other, named Other halfe stone , hath an inscription of Barbarous characters, now in maner worne out, in this wise:


Which, as I take it, should be read this, DONIERT ROGAVIT PRO ANIMA, unlesse it please you to give this conjecture, that those little pricks after DONIERT are the reliques of the letter E, and then to read it after this manner, DONIERT EROGAVIT, as if he had given and bestowed upon those religious men that peece of land for his soule. As for Doniert, I cannot but think he was that Prince of Cornwall whom the Chronicles name Dungerth, and record that he was drowned in the yeere of our Salvation 872.

15. Hard by there is a number of good big rocks heaped up together, and under the one Stone of lesser size, fashioned naturally in forme of a cheese, so as it seemeth to be pressed like a cheese, whereupon it is named Wring-cheese. Many other Stones besides in some sort square are to be seene upon the plaine adjoyning, of which seven or eight are pitched upright of equall distance asunder. The neighbour Inhabitants terme them Hurlers, as being by a devout and godly error perswaded they had beene men sometimes transformed into Stones for profaning the Lords Day with hurling the ball. Others would have it to be Trophee (as it were) or a monument in memoriall of some battell. And some think verily they were set as meere stones or land marks, as having read in those authors that wrote of Limits that stones were gathered together of both parties, and the same erected for bounders.

16. In this coast the river Loo maketh way and runneth into the sea, and in his very mouth giveth name to two little townes joined with a bridge together. That on the West side, which is the newer, flourisheth most, but the other Eastward, time hath much decaied, although it be a Corporation retaining still the priviledge of a Major [Mayor]and Burgesses. ‡ Somewhat West-ward from this lieth Kilgarth, the habitation of the Bevils, of especiall good note for antiquity and gentry. ‡ From Loo East-ward you meet with no memorable thing ‡ but a small river passing by Minevet, whereby is Pole the seat of the Trelawnies, to whom with others the inheritance of the Courtneys Earles of Devon accrewed, ‡ until you come to the Liver, a little river stored with oisters that runneth under S. Germans, a small towne, unto which during the tempestuous Danish warre the Bishops Sees were for feare translated, where there is a prety Church dedicated unto S. German of Antiziodorum, who rooted out the heresie of Pelagius that sprung up againe in Britaine. Wherein after that some few Bishops had sitten, Levinus the Bishop of Kirton, who was in great favour with Canutus the Dane, obtained by vertue of the Kings authoritie that it should be joined to his See. Since which time there hath beene but one Bishop over this Province and Denshire both (whose seat is now at Exceter), and who appointed the little towne of S. Germans to be the seat of his Suffragane. For at this date it is nothing else but a village consisting of fishermens cabines that make a good gainfull trade by catching store of fish in the Ocean and rivers neere adjoining. Some few miles from hence upon the same river standeth Trematon, bearing the name of a Castle, though the wall be halfe downe, in which, as we find in Domesday booke , William Earle of Moriton had his Castle and held his mercate, and was the capitall seat of the Baronie belonging to the Earles and Dukes of Cornwall, as we may see in the Inquisitions. When the Liver is past this Castle, neere unto Saltash, sometimes Esse, the habitation in old times of the Valtons, and now a towne well replenished with Merchants and endowed with many privileges, it runneth into the river Tamar, the bound of the whole country: where at the East-side Mont-Edgecombe, the seat of that ancient familie of the Edgecombs, sited most pleasantly, hath a prospect into an haven underneath it, full of winding creeks. Next unto which is Anthony, a towne memorable for the elegant building thereof, as also for a fish poole that letteth in the Ocean and yeeldeth sea-fish for profit and pleasure both. But more memorable is it for the Lord thereof, Richard Carew, who maintaineth his place and estate left unto him by his ancestors, as that in ornaments of vertues he surmounteth them. Hitherto we have surveied the South coast, now let us take a view of the Northern also.

17. The Northern-shore from the very lands end, having for a great length huge banks of sand driven upon heapes against it, shooteth out first to a towne running into the sea with a long ridge like a tongue, called S. Iie, taking the name of one Iia an Irish woman that lived heere in great holiness, for anciently it was named Pendinas . And from her the Bay underneath, into which the little river Haile falleth, hath likewise received the name, for the Mariners call it S. Iies Bay. As for the towne it selfe, it is now very small. For the North west wind that plaies the tyrant in this coast by drifts of sand hath so beatten upon it that from thence it is translated and removed. From hence the country on both sides, still Eastward, waxeth broader, and the Northren shore with a more crooked winding holdeth on North-east as far as Padstow: neither all that way along hath it any thing savouring of antiquity, save onely a Chapell built in the sands to the honor of S. Piran, who being likewise an Irish Saint, resteth heere entombed; unto whose Sanctitie a certaine vaine writer in his childish folly hath ascribed this miracle, that with three kine of his owne he fed ten Kings of Ireland and their armies eight daies together, also that he raised from death to life both pigs and men. Then farther from the shore is seated S. Columbs, a little mercate towne consecrated to the memoriall of Columba, [a] right devout woman and a martyr, and not of Columban the Scot, as I am now given to understand for certaine out of her life. Neere unto which, but more to the sea-ward, Llhanheron sheweth it selfe, the seat of the Arondels, a familie of Knights degree, who for their faire lands and large possessions were not long since called the Great Arondels. In some places they are written in Latin De Hirundine , and not amisse, if my judgement be ought. For hirundo , that is, a swallow, is named arondell in French, and in a shield sables they beare for their armes six Swallowes argent. certes, a very ancient and renowned house this is, spreading far and neere the branches of their kinred and affinity, unto the name and coat-armour whereof William Brito a Poet alluded, when as he described a valiant warriour out of his familie flying as it were upon ‡ William of Bar, ‡ a French noble man, and assailing him, about the yeere of our Lord 1170, in these termes:

More swift than bird hight Arondell
That giv' s him name, and in his shield of armes emblazoned well,
He rides amid the armed troupes, and with his speare in rest
(The staffe was strong, the point right sharpe) runs full upon the brest
Of Sir Guillaum, and perceth through his bright and glittering shield,
Which on left arme he for defense against him stoutly held.

Within a little hereof, there is a double rampire intrenched upon the pitch of an hill, with a causey [causeway] leading thereto, named Catellan Denis , that is, The Danes Campe, because the Danes when they preied upon the coasts of England encamped themselves there, like as they did in other places of this tract.

18. Not farre from hence the river Alan, which also is caled Camb-alan and Camel, of the crooked windings and reaches that it makes in his course (for so cam with them doth signifie) runneth gently into the upper sea: which river at the very mouth therof hath Padstow, a pretty market towne, so called short for Petrockstow (as we read in the Histories of Saints), of one Petrocch, a Britan, canonized a Saint by the people: who spent his daies here in the service of God, whereas before time it had the name of Loderic and Laffenac. The site of this towne is very commodious for traffique in Ireland, to which men may easily saile in foure and twentie houres. And much beautified it is with faire and goodly houses adjoyning thereto, in maner of a Castle, built by Nicholas Prideaux, a Gentleman of ancient gentry in those West parts. At the Springhead of this river Alan standeth the little village Camelford, otherwise Gaffelford. Leland judgeth it was in old time called Kamblan, who writeth also that King Arthur our Hector was there slaine. For, as hee recordeth, peeces of armour, rings, horse-harnesse of brasse are otherwhiles [sometimes] digged up and turned out of the ground by husbandmen, and the common fame that continued for so many ages together reporteth that there was a notable battell fought in this place. There are also certaine verses in an unknowen Poet living in the middle time, of Cambula flowing with bloud, shed in a battell of Arthur against Mordred: which I will not thinke much of my labour to put downe, because they may seeme to have been written in no bad Poeticall vaine:

Then Cambula was sore agast, the nature chang' d to see
Of his spring-head, for now the streame by this time gan to bee
All mixt with bloud, which, swelling high, the banks doth overflow,
And carry downe the bodies slaine into the sea below.
There might one see how many a man that swum and helpe did crave
Was lost among the billowes strong, and water was their grave.

19. And in very deed (not to deny this of Arthur) I have read in Marianus that the Britans and Saxons fought in this place a bloudy battel in the yeere of our Lord 820, so that this may seeme a place consecrated unto Mars. And if it bee true that Arthur here died, the same coast was destined unto him for his death as for his birth. For on the shore hard by standeth Tindagium (the native place of that great Arthur), partly upon a little ridge putting forth, as it were, a tongue, and partly within an Iland, having both of them sometime a bridge betweene. They call it at this day Tindage, being now a glorious ruine onely, in times past a stately Castle: of which a late Poet hath thus written:

There is a place within the winding shore of Severne Sea
On mids a rocke, about whose foote the dies turne-keeping play,
[A] Towry topped Castle here farre thundreth over all,
Which Cornishmen by antient name Tindagel Castle call.

A long discourse it would aske to declare here out of Geffries history how Uther Pendragon King of Britaine within this Castle became enamoured upon the wife of Gorlois Prince of Cornwall, and how by Magick slights and delusions, taking the shape of her husband upon him, dishonourably violated the Ladie his wife, and of her begat the said renowned Arthur. It may suffice if I doe but alleage the verses of our Poet John Havillan:

Whiles Pendragon, that could not quench his flaming heats of love,
But beare a mind adult' rous still, by meanes brake in above
To Tindagel, disguis' d in face, by Merlin taught thereto,
By magicke and inchauntments strange, which all such feats could doe.
Duke Gorloes habite, absent then that was, he tooke by gile,
But presence of the King in place he did conceale the while.

This Uther Pendragon verily was a Prince flourishing in Martiall feats, and who valiantly upheld the decaying state of his countrey against the English Saxons. But whether came him from that Roiall Banner in England, having the portraict of a Dragon with a golden head, whereof neighbour nations have had experience, and which in far Lands beyond sea was under King Richard the First, terrible to the Panims, I dare not avouch: I would beleeve rather it was received from the Romans, who a long time used the Aegle, after that Marius had rejected the Ensignes of a Wolfe, of Minotaurus, of an Horse, & and in the end under the latter Emperours, tooke them to the Dragon. Whereupon Claudianus writeth thus,

The banners these advance aloft
With speckled necks of Dragons wrought.

And Nemesianus:

Their Ensignes shine, and Dragons fell that therein pictur' d show,
Wave to and fro with whiffes of wind, as it doth gently blow.

And Hovedin sheweth that the West Saxon Kings used to carrie in their Banners the Dragon. As for another Banner of the English, which Beda called Tufa , as also the Danes Reafan , I will say nothing of them in this place, for feare I may seeme to have digressed too farre from my purpose. ‡ Betweene Padstow and Tindagel inwardly there extendeth a fruitfull veine, and therein flourish the families of Roscarrock, Carnsew, Penkevell, Cavell, Pencavell, of antient name and great respect in this coast.

20. Forward still, Eastward on the same coast, which is open, barren, and destitute of woods, there butteth upon the sea Botereaux Castle, corruptly by the common people called Boscastle, built by the Lords Botereaux, who gave for their armes three buffons , toads sable in a shield Argent. William Botereaux was the first famous man of honour in this familie, who married Alice the daughter of Robert Corbet, whose sister was Paramour to King Henrie the First, of whom hee begat Reginald Earle of Cornwall. From this William there flourished eleven successively in order. But Margaret, the onely daughter and sole heire of the last, was wedded unto Robert Hungerford, by whose posteritie the inheritance is devolved upon the familie of the Hastings: which inheritance was augmented and became more honourable by marriages that those of Botereaux contracted with the heires of the Noble houses De Moels, S. Laut, commonly called S. Lo, and Thweng.

From hence the Land, shooting forth into the Sea, extendeth it selfe so farre northward that the countrey carrieth here full three and twenty miles in breath between the two seas, which hitherto went on still drawen after a sort together into a narrow streit. In this greatest breadth of it standeth Stow upon the sea-side, the antient habitation of the Greenvils, which verily for Antiquitie and Noblenesse of birth is a famous house: out of which one Richard, in the raigne of William Rufus, was for his valour much renowmed among those worthy Knights that subdued Glamorganshire in Wales; and another of late daies forenamed likewise Richard, for his magnanimitie surpassing the Nobilitie of his bloud, fighting most valiantly against the Spaniards at the Ilands of Tercera, lost his life, ‡ as I shall shew more fully in my Annals . ‡ To this Stratton lieth close to a market towne of no meane name amongst the neighbours for their gardens and good garlicke, and next unto it Lancels, a faire new seat of that old famile De Calvo Monte, or Chaumond.

21. The river Tamara, now Tamar, sheweing his head heere not farre from the northern shore, taketh his course with a swift running streame southward, encreased with the chanels of many riverets hard by Tamara, a towne mentioned by Ptolomee, now called Tamerton, ‡ by Tamar an antient manour of the Trevilions, to whom by mariage the inheritance of Whalesbourgh and Raleigh of Netlested descended; ‡ also by Lanstuphadon, that is, Saint Stephens, commonly and contracty Launston, which standeth farther off from his banke: a proper little towne this is, situate upon the pitch of a prettie hill, which of two Burgards [villages], Dunevet and Newport, is growne, as it were, into one Burgh. At the first comming of the Normans, William Earl of Moriton built a Castle there, and had a Colledge of Chanons or Secular priests, as appeareth out of Domesday book , wherein it is named Launtsaveton, of that Colledge, no doubt, built in the honour of Saint Stephen which Reginald Earle of Cornwall, about the yeere of our Lord 1150, turned into a monasterie. Against which pious work of his the Bishops of Excester, caried away overmuch and seduced with humane and private affection, were verie maliciously bent, as fearing exceedingly lest one day it would become a Bishops seat, and so prejudice and impeach their jurisdiction. At this day this towne is best known by reason of the common Gaole of the countrey, and the Assises which are often times kept there.

22. Then Tamer looketh up into an high hil stretched out in length, with a vast head, which Marianus nameth Hengesdoun , and interpreteth it Hengists Mount, commonly called Hengston-hill. ‡ Which in times past was so plentifull of Tinne veines that the countrey people had this by word of it,

Hengston downe well ywrought
Is worth London deere ybought.

And it was an ordinarie place, where everie seven or eight yeere the Stannarie men of Cornwall and Denshire were wont in great frequencie to assemble together and to consult abut their affaires. At this hill in the yeere of salvation DCCCXXXI the British Danmonii, who calling the Danes to aid them of purpose to break into Devonshire that they might drive out the English from thence, who alreadie possessed themselves of the countrey, were pitiously defeated by King Egbert, and slaine almost to the very last man. Beneath it Tamar ‡ leaveth Halton, the Habitation of the Rouses, antiently Lords of Little Modbery in Devonshire, ‡ and running nigh into Salt-Esse, a prettie market towne seated in the descent of an hill, which hath a Major and certaine priviledges of their owne, as I said erewhile, it entertaineth the river Liver, on which standeth that same towne of Saint Germans whereof I spake before. And now by this time spreading broader, dischargeth it selfe into the Ocean, making the haven which in the life of Saint Indractus is called Tamerworth, after it hath severed Cornwal from Denshire. For Athelstane, the first English King that brought this countrey absolute under his dominion, appointed this river to be the bound or limit betweene the Britans of Cornwal and his Englishmen, after he had remooved the Britans out of Denshire, as witnesseth William of Malmsburie, who calleth it Tambra. Whereupon Alexander Necham, in his Praises of Divine Wisdome writeth thus:

Tamar that Lhoegres doth divide from Cornwall in the west,
The neighbour-dwellers richly serves with Salmons of the best.

23. The place requireth here that I should say somewhat of the holy and devout virgin Ursula, descended from hence, as also of the eleven thousand British Virgins. But such is the variety of Writers, whiles some report they suffered martyrdome under Gratian the Emperour about the yeere of our Lord CCCLXXXIII upon the coast of Germanie as they sailed to Armorica, others by Attila the Hun, that scourge of God, in the yeere CCCCL at Coleine upon Rhene, as they returned from Rome, that with some it hath brought the truth of the History into suspition of a vaine fable. And as touching that Constantine whom Gildas termeth a tyrannous whelpe of the uncleane Danmonian Lionesse , as also of the Disforresting of all this countrey (for beforetime it was reputed a Forrest) let Historians speake, for it is no part of my purpose.

As for the Earles, none of British bloud are mentioned but onely Candorus (called by others Cadocus), who is accounted by the late writers the lat Earle of Cornwall of British race, and as they which are skilfull in Heraldry have a tradition, bare XV Besaunts V IIII III II and I in a shield Sable . But of the Normans bloud the first Earle was Robert of Moriton, halfe brother to William Conqueror by Herlotta their mother, after whom succeeded William his sonne: who when hee had sided with Robert of Normandie against Henrie the First, King of England, being taken prisoner in battell, lost both his libertie and his honours, and at last turned Monke at Bermondsey. Then Reginald, a base sonne of Henrie the First by the daughter of Sir Robert Corbet (for that King plied getting children so lustily as that hee was father of thirteen Bastards) was placed in his roome. This Reginald dying without issue male legitimate, King Henrie the Second, having assigned unto his daughters certaine lands and Lordships, reserved this Earledome to himselfe for the behoofe of his owne youngest sonne John, a child of nine yeres old, upon whom his brother Richard the First conferred it afterwards with other Earledomes. This John afterwards was crowned King of England, and his second sonne Richard was by his brother King Henrie the Third endowed with this honour, and the Earldome of Poictou: a Prince verily in those daies puissant, in Gods service devout and religious, in warre right valiant, for counsell sage and prudent, who in Aquitaine fought battels with fortunate successe and shewed much valour; and having made a voiage into the Holy Land, enforced the Saracens to take truce with him. The Kingdome of Apulia, offered unto him by the Pope, he refused; the troubles and tumults in England hee often times composed, and in the yeere of our Lord MCCLVII by some of the Princes Electours of Germany was chosen King of the Romans and crowned at Aquisgrane: herupon, as if he had made meanes thereto by money, this verse was so rife and currant every where:

For me my money saieth this,
"Cornwal to Rome now wedded is."

24. For so well monied he was before, that one who then lived hath put downe in writing that for ten yeares together hee might dispend one hundred markes a day. But when as Germanie was all on a light fire with civill warres among competitors of the Empire, he returned quickly into England, where he departed this life and was interred in the famous Monastery of Hales, which he had built, a little after that his first divine son Henry, newly in his return from the Holy Land, whiles he was at divine service, devoutly occupied within a church at Viterbium in Italy, was by Guy de Montfort, son of Simon Montfort Earle of Leicester, in revenge of his fathers death, wickedly slaine. Edmund therefore, his second son, succeded in the Earldome of Cornwall: who died without any lawfull issue, and so his high and great estate of inheritance returned to King Edward the First, as who was the next unto him in bloud, and found (as our Lawyers say) his heire. Whereas that Richard and Edmund his sonne, Princes of the bloud roiall of England, bare divers Armes from the Armes roiall of England, to wit, in a shield argent a Lion rampant, gules crowned or, within a border sables Bezante , I have with others oftentimes much marvailled at. Neither (I assure you) can I alleage any other reason but that they in this point imitated the house Roial of France (for the maner of bearing Armes came from the French men unto us). For the yonger sonnes of the Kings of France, even to the time wee now speake of, bare other coats than the Kings themselves did, as we may see in the family of Vermandois, Dreux, and Courtney. And as Robert Duke of Burgundie, brother to Henrie the First, King of France, tooke unto him the antient shield of the Dukes of Burgundie, so we may well thinke that this Richard, having received the Earldome of Poictou from Henrie the Third his brother, assumed unto him that Lion gules crowned which belonged to the Earles of Poictou before him (as the French writers doe record), and added thereto that border garnished with Beasaunts out of the antient coat of the Earles of Cornwall. For so soone as the yonger sonnes of the Kings of France began to beare the armes of France with differences, semblably they did among us, and began first at Edward the First his children. But whither am I carried away from my purposed matter, as forgetting my selfe in the delight I take of mine owne studie and profession? When Cornwall was thus reverted unto the Crowne, King Edward the Second, who had received from his father faire lands and possessions here, bestowed the title of Earle of Cornwall upon Piers Gaveston a Gascon, who had ensnared his youth by the allurements of corrupt life. But when as hee for corrupting the Prince, and for other hainous crimes, was by the Nobles intercepted and beheaded, there succeeded him John of Eltham, a younger sonne of Edward the Second, advanced therunto by his brother Edward the Third: who dying young, and without issue also, Edward the Third erected Cornwall into a Dukedome, and invested Edward his sonne, a Prince most accomplished with martiall prowesse, in the yeere of Christ 1336 Duke of Cornwall by a wreath on his head, a Ring upon his finger, and a silver verge. Since which time, that I may note so much under warrant of record (let the skilfull Lawyers judge thereof) the King of Englands eldest sonne is reputed Duke of Cornwall by birth, and by vertue of a speciall Act the verie first day of his nativitie is presumed and taken to bee of full and perfect age, so that he may sue that day for his liverie of the said Dukedome, and ought by right to obtaine the same as well as if he had been full one and twentie yeeres told, and hee hath his roialties in certain actions, in Stannary matters, in wracks at sea, customes, &, yea, and divers ministers or officers assigned unto him for these and such like matters. But more plainly and fully instructed we are in these points by Richard Carew of Anthony, a Gentleman ennobled no lesse in regard of his Parentage and descent, than for his vertue and learning, who hath polished and perfited [perfected] the description of this countrey more at large, and not in a slight and meane manner, whom I must needs acknowledge to have given me much light herein.

There be in this Countie Parishes 161.


THE neer or hithermore region of the Danmonians that I spake of is now commonly called Denshire, by the Cornish-Britans Dewnan , and by the Welsh Britans Duffneint , that is, Low valleies, for that the people dwell for the most part beneath in Vales; by the English Saxons Deven-schire , whereof grew the Latin name Devonia , and by that contraction which the vulgar people useth, Denshire, and not of the Danes, as some smatterers of meane knowledge most stifly maintaine; a countrey which as it is extendeth it selfe both waies wider than Cornwall, so it is harborous on their side with more commodious Havens, no lesse enriched with tin mines, especially Westward, garnished with pleasanter medows, sightly with greater store of woods, and passing well replenished with townes and buildings. but the soile in some places againe is as leane and barren: which notwithstanding yeeldeth fruit to the husband plenteously, so that he be skilfull in husbandry, and both can take paines and be able withall to defray the cost. Neither is there in all England almost any place where the ground requireth greater charges. For in most parts thereof it groweth in maner barren, if it not be overstrewed and and mingled with a certaine sand from the Sea, which is of great efficacy to procure fertility by quickning, as it were, and giving life unto the glebe, and therefore in places far from the shore it is bought at a deare rate.

In describing of this region, I will first travell over the West-side, as the river Tamara runneth along, and then the South coat which bordereth on the ocean. From whence by the Easterne bounds where it confineth upon Dorset and Sommerset shires, I will returne backe unto the Northern, which is hemmed in with the Severn Sea.

2. Tamar, which divideth these two shires, first on this part receiveth into it from the East a riveret called Lid, ‡ which passeth by Corston and K. Sidenham, small townlets, but which have given surnames to ancient and worshipfull families, ‡ to Lidstow, a little mercate towne, and Lidford, now a small village but in ancient time a famous towne, which in the yeere 997 was most grievously shaken and spoiled by the furious rage of the Danes, which (as is written in that booke whereby William the First tooke the survey and valew of England) was not wont to be rated and assessed at any other time nor otherwise than London was. That little river Lid, here at the bridge, gathered into a streit and pent in betweene rocks, runneth downe amaine, and [holloweth] the ground daily more and more so deepe that his water is not seene, onely a roaring noise is heard, to the great woonder of those that passe over.

Beneath it, Tamer receiveth Teave, a little river on which Teavistok, commonly called Tavistoke, flourisheth, a towne in times past famous for the Abbay there, which Ordulph the sonne of Ordgare Earle of Devonshire (admonished by a vision from heaven) built about the yere of our Saviour Christ DCCCCLXI, a place, as William of Malmesburie describeth it, Pleasant in regard of the groves standing so conveniently about it, and of the plenteous fishing there, for the handsome and uniforme building also of the Church, so the sewers from the river passing downe along by the houses of office, which runne with such a force of their owne that they cary away with them all the superfluity they find. Saint Rumon is much spoken of, and lies as Bishop there. There is to be seene also in the same Abbay the Sepulcher of that Ordgar before named, and the huge bignesse of his sonnes tomb, which was called Ordolph, is thought to be a rare thing worth the sight: for he was a man of a mighty stature giantlike, and of exceeding great strength, as who was able to burst in sunder the bars of great gates and to stride over the river there, ten foote broad , if yee list to beleeve the said William. But scarsely had this Abbay stood thirty yeeres after it was first founded, when the Danes in their spoiling rage burnt it to the ground: yet if flourished againe, and by a laudable ordinance, lectures therein were kept of our ancient language (I meane the English Saxon tongue), which continued even to our fathers daies; for feare lest the saide language (a thing that now is well neere come to passe) should be forgotten. Tamar, having thus received the Teave, draweth now very neere unto his mouth, where he and the river Plime together fall into the Ocean: of which river the towne adjoining to it is called Plimmouth, sometimes named Sutton, and seemeth to have consisted of two parts. For we read in the Parlamentary Acts of Sutton Vautort and Sutton Prior, because it belonged partly to the familie of the Vautorts and partly to the Prior. Of late time it became of a poore fisher village to be a great towne, and for the number of inhabitants growne to that passe (as now it is to be seene) that it may be compared with a Citie. Such is the commodiousnesse of the haven, which without striking saile admitteth into the bosome thereof the tallest ships that be, and doth harbour them very safely, as well within Tamar as Plime, and is beside against hostility sufficiently fortified. For before the very mids of the havens mouth lieth S. Nicholas Isle, strongly fortified both by nature and art: as for the haven it selfe at the very towne, it hath fortifications on both sides, and is chained over when need requireth, having on the South side a Pier against it, and upon an hill next adjoyning a Castle built, as it is thought, by the Vautorts. The whole towne is divided into foure Wards governed by a Major ordained there by King Henrie the Sixth, and under him every ward had in times past a Captaine set over it, ech of them likewise had his inferiour officers. As touching that fabulous wrestling betweene Corinaeus and Gogmagog the Giant in this place, let it suffice to set downe a verse or two out of Architrenius concerning the same and the Westerne Giants.

These martiall monsters, Giants strong, by Corinaeus slaine,
With Gogmagog twelve cubits high, a combat did remaine:
Whom up he hang' d ' twixt heaven and earth (thus once Alcides hung
Antaeus fell), and from the rock into the Seam him flung.
His bloud gave Thetis the waves to drinke (her selfe therewith was drunke),
His grisly ghost had Cerberus, when bodie torne was sunck.

3. As for that rock from whence, they say, this giant was cast down, it is now called the Haw, a very hill standing between the town and the Ocean, on top whereof, which lieth spred into a most pleasant plaine, there is a right delectable and goodly prospect every way, and for the use of Sailers a very faire Compasse erected. The circuit of this towne not great, but much renowned it is among forraine nations, and not so much for the commodious haven as the valour of the inhabitants in sea services of al sorts. For (to say nothing of all others) from hence was Sir Francis Drake, that most famous Knight and most skilfull man at sea in our daies, who first (as I have heard himselfe relate) to repaire the losses which he had sustained at the Spaniards hands, for two yeeres space together with victorious successe held and kept the Bay of Mexico as it were besieged, and viewed over the Isthmus of Dariena. From whence when he had once beheld the South Sea (as the Spaniards call it), as another Themistocles stirred up with the Trophees of Miltiades, he thought he should have neglected himselfe, his country and his owne glory, unlesse he sailed over it, which continually presented it selfe as an object to his adventurous mind. In the yeere therefore 1577, putting to sea from hence, he entred into the streits of Magellane, and in two yeeres and tenne moneths, thorow many alternative varieties of fortune, God being his guide and his valour his consort, was the next after Magellanus that sailed round the world. Whereupon one wrote thus unto him:

Sir Drake, whom well the worlds end know, which thou dids' t compasse round,
And whom both poles of heaven once saw, which North and South doe bound,
The Stars above will make thee known, if men heere silent were,
The Sunne himselfe cannot forget his fellow-travailler.

The rest of his noble exploits, and of others who descended from hence taking example by him, flourished in glorious atchievements by sea, seeing it belongs not to this place, let Histories record in writing. Neither have I ought else to say more of this towne but that in the reigne of William Rufus there flourished heere on Ealphege, a learned and maried Priest. For untill the yeere 1102 Preists in England were not forbidden to have their wives. Then Anselme Archbishop of Canterbury violently forced both the sacred Scripture and nature also, as our writers in those daies doe complaine, and namely Henry of Huntingdon expresly of Anselme in these termes: He prohibited English Priests to have wives, who beforetime were not prohibited. Which as some thought to be a matter of greatest purity, so others againe tooke it to be most perilous, lest while by this meanes they aimed at cleannesse above their power, they shold fall into horrible uncleannesse, to the exceeding great shame of Christianity.

4. More inward in the countrey, and yet not far from the water of Plim, is Plimton seated, a mercate towne, well frequented, where the remnants and deformed ruines of a castle shew themselves: of which many men have holden as our Lawyers terme it, in Castle garde ; for it was the chiefe seat of the Redversies or the Riparii (for both we read), who were Barons of Plimpton and Earles of Denshire. Next unto this stood Plimpton S. Marie, the glorie whereof then fell to decay when as not long since the College there of Chanons was dissolved, which William Warlewast, Bishop of Exceter, in old time had founded. More Eastward you see Modbery, a little towne, which acknowledgeth it selfe to appertaine to the ancient and right worshipfull familie of the Campernulphs, Knights, who also are called in old Deeds De Campo Arnulphi , but commonly Champernouns, which received much advancement and reputation by the heire of the Vautorts.

5. From Plims mouth, where the South shore of this region beginneth, the countrey runneth along with a large and great front as far as to Stert, a cape or promontorie (for so the word in the English Saxon tongue signifieth), but so soone as the shore hath drawen it selfe backe land-ward, the river Dert breaketh out, which arising from the inward part of the country runneth downe apace thorow a certaine leane and high grounds called thereupon Dertmore (wherein of late were Lode stones found), and carieth downe with it certaine grit and sand out of the Tin-mines (which by little and little choke up the channel) thorow the Forrest of Dertmore, where David of Sciredun held lands in Sciredun and Siplegh by this tenure or service, to find two arrowes when the King his soveraigne Lord should come to hunt in that Forrest. From thence by Dertingon, a Baronie sometimes of the Martins, who were Lords of Keimes in Wales, it holdeth in his streame unto Totnes. Which being an ancient little towne standing pendant upon the fall of an hill, East and West, flourished sometime in great honor. It paid no tribute , as we find in Doomesday , the survey-booke of England, but when Exceter paid, and then it yelded XL d. and did service, if any expedition marched by land or went by sea: and Totnes, Barnestaple and Lidlord served and paid as much as Exceter. King John granted unto it power to chuse a Major for the chiefe Magistrate; Edward the First enriched with with sundry liberties; and about that time it was fortified with a castle by the Zouches, as the inhabitants are perswaded. The possession of it was in times past of one Iudeal, surnamed De Totenais; afterwards of William Briwer, a right noble personage, by one of whose daughters it came to the Breoses, and from them by a daughter likewise to George de Canelupo, Lord of Abergevenny, whose sister Melicent, wedded unto Eudo De la Zouch, brought it by hir marriage to the familie of the Barons La Zouches; and theirs it was untill that John Lord Zouch, being attaint and proscribed because he tooke part with King Richard the Third, Henry the Seventh bestowed it franckly (as I have hard say) upon Peter Edgecomb, a noble and wise gentleman. Adjoining to this towne is Berie Pomerie, so called of the Pomeries, a right noble house in those parts, which a little more Eastward and somewhat farther from the river side, had a very proper castle of their owne. These derive their pedigree from Radulph Pomerie, who in William Conquerors time held Wich, Dunwinesdon, Brawerdine, Pudeford, Horewood, Toriland, Helecom, and this Berie &. Of this Totnes the strond or shore adjoining was called in old time Totonese, where (as the British Historie saith) Brutus the founder of the British nation first landed, and Havillanus, as a Poet relying thereon, versified in this wise:

Thence hoising sailes with Gaulish spoiles, the fleet fraight sea does take
Our Brutus with his trustiest friend, and through waves way doth make.
The Gods lookt cheereful on his course, the wind he had at will.
At Totnesse shore, that happy haven, arriv' d he and stood still.

6. But that river Dert whereof I speake, having passed beyond Totnes bridge, at which it leaveth whole heapes of sands brought downe by his streame from out of the Tin mines, hath for prospect on both sides nothing but fruitfull fields, untill he come all weary with this long course to his mouth; over which upon an hill reaching forth in length standeth Dertmouth, a port towne, by reason of the commodious haven, defended with two castels, much frequented of Merchants and furnished with very good shipping. A Major it hath by the grant of Edward the Third. For Lords it acknowledged long since the Zouches, Nicolas of Teukesbury,and the Brients, according to the variable change of the times: and hath sundry times defended it selfe stoutly gainst the French, but especially in the yeere of Christ 1404. Monsieur De Gastell, a Frenchman, who by his men of warre and piracies had stopped all intercourse of trafficke in those parts and burnt Plimmouth whiles he invaded this place, was by women and country people intercepted and slaine with all his companie. And heere I must not passe over in silence Stoke Fleming that lieth hard by, and which, taking that name of a noble man of Flanders sometimes Lord thereof, came by the daughter of Mohun to the Carewes.

From this place, as the shore giveth backe Northward, the sea followeth in upon it, and by that meanes with a large and spatious creeke, which taketh about ten miles in circuit, maketh a bay, called now Torbay: a very safe rode and harbour for ships when the South-west wind is aloft, and hath fast by it a little village so called, where sometimes the Briewrs dwelt and built a religious house, who in the daies of King Richard the First and of King John were men of great renowne and revenue: and afterward the habitation it was of the Wakes. Nere unto it is Cockington, where the family of the Caries (a different house from that of the Carewes) hath flourished a long time in great honor and estimation; out of which the Barons of Hunsdon, concerning I will speake more in due place, are descended. A little higher appeares in sight Hacombe, the habitation in old times of Sir Jordan Fitz-Stephen, Knight, surnamed of this place de Hacombe: by whose daughter and heire Cecilie it came into the familie of the Archdeacons. From which likewise by Hugh Courtney in processe of time it was devolved upon the the Carews, whose house in these parts is reputed very worshipfull, and spred into many branches. For Jane, the daughter of the said Hugh and heire to her mother, being joined in mariage to Nicolas Baron Carew, brought him many children: and when the eldest of them, named Thomas, used not his mother with such dutifull respect as a sonne ought, she made a conveiance of that great and wealthy inheritance to her three younger sonnes (from whom those three families of the Carews, de Hacombe, Anthony, and Bery are sprung), and to John Vere, a sonne that she had by a second husband, from whom the Earles of Oxford are issue.

7. Then meet you with Teignemouth, a little village at the mouth of the river Teigne, whereof it hath also the name, where the Danes that were sent before to discover the situation of Britaine and to sound the landing places, being first ashore about the yeere of Salvation 800 and having slaine the governor of the place, tooke it as an ominous good token of future victorie; which indeed afterward they followed with extreme cruelty thorow the whole Iland. More inward, neere unto the fourde of the river Teigne, is Chegford seated, where flourished sometime the noble family of the Prows; then Chidley, which gave the name to that great house and linage of the Chidleyes; and next unto the very mouth of thereof Bishops Teignton, so called because it belonged to the Bishops; in which, because there was a Sanctuarie, John Grandison descended out of Burgundy, Bishop of Exceter, as presaging what would ensue in future time, built a very faire house, to the end that his successors (these are the very words of his testament) might have a place whereon to leane and lay their heades, if happily [perhaps] their Temporalities should be seized into the Kings hands. But so farre was it off that his purpose tooke effect, that his successors have not onely lost that house, but also been quite desseized [deprived] now well neere of all the rest. About six miles from thence there river Isc, whereof Ptolomee maketh mention, which the Britans call Isc and the English-Saxons Ex, with a large channell running into the Ocean. Whether it took this name of iscaw , that signifieth in the British tongue Elders trees, I wot not. Some fetch it from Reeds, which the Britans call hesk , wherewith Northerne nations (and such are the Britans) thatched and covered their houses, yea and fastned together, as it were with soder, the joints of their ships. But considering that there be no reeds heere found, I am not hasty to give credit thereto. This river hath his head and springeth first in a weely [poor] and barren ground named Exmore, neere unto Severn sea, a great part whereof is counted within Sommersetshire: and where in there are seen certaine monuments of anticke worke, to wit, Stones pitched in order, some triangle wise, others in a round circle, and one among the rest with an inscription in Saxon letters, or Danish rather, to direct those (as it should seeme) who were to travaile that way. Now this Ex or Ise, beginning his course first from thence Southward by Twifordton, so called of two foords but commonly Teverton, a towne standing much upon clothing to the great gaine and credit thereof, passeth forward thorow a faire countrey of good and fertile fields, and is augmented with two especiall riverlets, Creden from the west, and Columb from the East. Upon Creden is the primitive Church of the Saxons, there flourished an Episcopall Sea in a towne of the same name, anciently called Cridiantun, now by contraction Kirton, where that Winifride or Boniface was borne who converted the Haessians, Thuringers, and Frisians of Germany unto Christ, and for that was accounted the Apostle of Germanie and canonized a Saint. At this present, it is of no great reckoning but for a small market, and the Bishop of Exceter his house there: but within our Fathers remembrance of much greater name and request it was for a Colledge there of twelve Prebendaries, who now are all vanished and gone. The river Columb, that commeth from the East, passeth hard by Columbton, a little towne bearing his name, which King Alfred by his Testament bequeathed to his younger sonne, and neere unto Poltimore, the seat of that worshipfull and right antient family of Bampfield, intermingleth it selfe with the waters of Ex. And now by this time Isc or Ex, growing bigger and sporting himselfe, as it were, with spreading into many streames very commodious for mills, hieth apace, and commeth close to the citie of Excester, unto which he leaveth his name: whereupon Alexander Necham writeth thus in his Poeme Of Divine Sapience :

To Excester Ex, a river of fame
(First Iscia call' d) impos' d the name.

8. This Citie Ptolomee calleth Isca, Antoninus Isca Dunmoniorum for Danmoniorum, others (but falsly) Augusta, as if the second Legion Augusta had there been resident, whereas we shall shew hereafter that it kept station and residence in Isca Silurum. The English-Saxons termed it Exanceaster and Monketon , of the Monks; at this day it is called Excester, in Latine Exonia , in British Caerisk , Caeruth , and Pencaer , that is, a head or principall Citie. For caer (to tell you once for all) with our Britans is as much to say as a Citie, whereupon they use to name Jerusalem Caer Salem , Lutetia or Paris, Caer Paris , Rome, Caer Ruffaine. Thus Carthage in the Punick tongue was called, as Solinus witnesseth, Cartheia , that is, the new City. I have heard likewise that caer in the Syriak tongue signified a Citie. Now seeing that the Syrians, as all men confesse, peopled the whole world with their Colonies, it may seeme probable that they left their tongue also to the posteritie, as the mother of all future languages. This Citie , as saith William of Malmesburie, albeit the soile adjoyning be wet, foule and wealie, scarse able to bring forth hungry oates, and many time emptie huskes without graine in them, yet by reason of the statelinesse of the place, the riches of the inhabitants, and frequent concourse of strangers, all kind of traffique and commerce of merchants, is there so fresh that a man can aske there for no necessary, but hee may have it. Situate it is on the Eastward banke of the river Ex, upon a little hill gently arising with an easie ascent to a pretty height, the pendant wherof lieth East and West, environed about with ditches and verie strong wals, having many turrets orderly interposed, and containeth in circuit a mile and an halfe, having suburbs running out a great way on each side. In it there are XV Parish Churches, and the very highest part thereof, neere the East gate, a Castle called Rugemont, sometime the seat of the West Saxon Kings, and afterwards of the Earles of Cornwall: but at this day commended for nothing else but the antiquitie and situation thereof. For it commandeth the whole citie and territorie about it, and hath a verie pleasant prospect into the Sea. In the East quarter of the City is to be seen the cathedrall Church in the mids of many faire houses round about it, founded, as the privat History of the place witnesseth, by King Athelstan in the honour of Saint Peter, and replenished with Monks: which Church at length Edward the Confessour, after he had remooved some of the Monkes form there to Westminster, and translated thither the Bishops Seas of Cornwall and Kirton, adorned with Episcopall Dignitie, and made Leofrike the Briton first Bishop there, whose Successours augmented the Church both with Edifices and also with revenues, and William Bruier, the ninth Bishop after him, when the Monkes were displaced, brought in a Deane and twentie and foure Prebendaries. In which age flourished Joseph Iscanus borne heere, and fron hence taking his surname, a Poet of a most excellent wit, whose writings were so well approoved as that they had equall commendation with the works of ancient Poets. For his Poeme of the Trojane warre was divulged once or twice in Germanie under the name of Cornelius Nepos.

9. When this Citie Isca came under the Romane Jurisdiction, it appeareth not for certaine. For so farre off am I from thinking that Vespasian wonne it (as Geffrey of Monmouth affirmeth) what time as he was warring in Britaine under Claudius the Emperour, was showed by the Destinies unto the world, that I thinke it was then scarsely built. Yet in the time of the Antonines it may seeme to have been well knowen, for hither and no farther this way did Antonine specifie any place in his way-faring book. It came not fully into the English-Saxon hands before the 465 yeere after their entrance into Britain. For at that time Athelstane expelled the Britans quite out of the Citie, who before had inhabited it in equall right with the Saxons, yea, and drave them beyond Tamar, and then fortified the citie round about with a rampire and wall of foure square stone, and other bulwarks for defence. Since which time many benefits by the Kings have been bestowed upon it, and among the rest, as we read in William the Conquerours booke, This Citie paide no tribute but when London, Yorke, and Winchester paid, and that was halfe a mark of silver for a souldiers service. And when there was any expedition set out either by sea or land, it served in proportion to five hides. It hath been likewise from time to time much afflicted, once spoiled and sore shaken by the furious outrage of the Danes, in the yeere of our redemption 875, but most grievously by Sven the Dane in the yeare 1023, at which time by the treacherie of one Hugh, a Norman Governor of the citie, it was raced and ruined along from the East gate to the West. And scarcely began it to flourish againe, when William the Conquerour most straightly beleaguered it: when the citizens in the meane while thought not sufficient to shut their gates against him, but malapertly let flie taunts and flouts at him; but when a peece of their wall fell downe by the speciall hand of God, as the Historians of that age report, they yeelded immediately thereupon. At which time, as we find in the said survey-booke of his, The King had in this Citie three hundred houses: it paid fifteen pounds by the yeere, and fortie houses were destroyed after that the King came into England. After this it was thrice besieged, and yet it easily avoided all: first by High Courtney Earle of Denshire in that civill warre between the two houses of Lancaster and Yorke; then by Perkin Warbecke, that imaginarie, counterfeit and pretended Prince, who being a young man of a verie base condition, faining himselfe to be Richard Duke of Yorke, the second sonne of King Edward the Fourth, stirred up dangerous sturres against Henrie the Seventh; thirdly, by seditious Rebels of Cornwall in the yeere of Christ 1549, at which time the Citizens, most grievously pinched though they were with scarsitie of all things, continued nevertheless in their faith and allegeance, untill that John Lord Russell raised the siege and delivered them.

10. But Excester received not so great damage at these enemies hands as it did by certaine dammes, which were called Weares, that Edward Courtney Earle of Denshire, taking high displeasure against the Citizens, made in the river of Ex, which stop the passage so that no vessell can come up to the Citie; but since that time all merchandize is carried by land from Topesham three miles off. And albeit it hath been decreed by Act of Parliament to take away these Weares, yet they continue there still. Hereupon the little towne adjoining is called Weare, being aforetime named Heneaton; which was sometime the possession of Augustine Baa, from in right of inheritance it descended to John Holland, who in his signet, which my selfe have seene, bare a Lion rampant, gardant among flowers de Lys. The civil government of this citie is in the power of foure and twentie persons, out of whom there is from yeere to yeere a Major elected, who with foure Bailiffes ruleth here the State. As touching the Geographicall description of this place, the old tables of Oxford have set downe the longitude thereof to bee nineteene degrees and eleven scruples, the latitude fiftie degrees and fortie scruples or minutes.

11. This citie, that I may not omit so much, hath had three Dukes. For Richard the second of that name, King of England, created John Holland, Earle of Huntington and his brother by the mothers side, the first Duke of Excester: whom Henrie the Fourth deposed from this dignity, and left unto him the name onely of Earle of Huntingdon, and soone after for conspiracy against the King he lost both it and his life by the hatchet. Some few yeeres after, Henrie the Fift set in his place Thomas Beaufort of the house of Lancaster and Earl of Dorset, a right noble and woorthy warriour. When he was dead, leaving no issue behind him, John Holland, sonne of the foresaid John (as heire unto his brother Richard, who died without children, and to his father both) being restored to his bloud, by the favour and bounty of King Henrie the Sixth, recoverd his fathers honour, and left the same to Henrie his sonne, who so long as the Lancastrians stood upright, flourished in very much honor; but afterwards, when the family of Yorke was afloat and had rule of all, gave an example to teach men how il trusting it is to great Fortunes. For this was that same Henrie Duke of Excester, who, albeit he had wedded King Edward the Fourth his sister, was driven to such miserie that he was seene all tottered [tattered], torne, and barefooted to beg for his living in the Low countries. And in the end after Barnet Field fought, wherein he bare himself valiantly against Edward the Fourth, was no more seene untill his dead bodie (as if he had perished by Shipwracke) was cast upon the shore of Kent. A good while after this, Henrie Courtney Earl of Denshire, the sonne of Katharine daughter to King Edward the Fourth, was advanced to the honor of Marquesse of Excester by Henry the Eight, and designed heire apparent. But this Marques, as well as the first Duke, was by his high parentage cast into a great tempest of troubles, wherein as a man subject to suspitions and desirous of a change in the State, he was quickly overthrowen. And among other matters, because he had with money and counsell assisted Reginald Poole (afterwards Cardinall), then a fugitive practising with the Emperour and Pope against his owne country and the King who had now abrogated the Popes authority, he was judicially arraigned, and being condemned with some others, lot his head. But now of late, by the favour of King James, Thomas Cecill Lord Burleigh enjoyeth the title of Earle of Excester, a right good man, and the worthy sonne of so excellent a father, being the eldest son of William Cecill Lord Burleigh, high Treasurer of England, whose wisedome for a long time was the support of peace and of Englands happie quietnesse.

12. From Excester, going to the verie mouth of the river, I find no monument of Antiquitie but Exminster, sometime called Exanminster, bequeathed by King Aelfred to his younger Sonne, and Pouderham Castle, bult by Isabel de Ripariis, the seat long time of that most noble familie of the Courtneys, Knights: who being lineally descended from the stocke of the Earles of Denshire, and allied by affinitie to most honourable houses, flourish stil at this day, most worthy of their descent from so high Ancestors. Under Pouderham, Ken, a pretty brooke, entreth into Ex, which riseth neere Holcome, where in a Parke is a faire place built by Sir Thomas Denis, whose familie fetcheth their first off-spring and surname from the Danes, But lower upon the verie mouth of the river on the other banke side, as the name it selfe doth testifie, standeth Exanmouth, knowen by nothing else but the name, and for that some fishermen dwelt therein.

More Eastward, Otterey, that is, The River of Otters or River-Dogs, which we call Otters, as may appeare by the signification of the word, falleth into the sea; which runneth hard under Honnyton, a towne not unknowen to those that travell into these parts, and was given by Isabell, heire to Earles of Devonshire, to King Edward the First when her issue failed, and doth impart his name to certaine places. Among which these are of greatest note: above Honnyton, Mohuns Ottery, the possession in times past of the Mohuns, from whom by right of marriage it came to the Carews; beneath Honniton Saint Maries Ottery, so called of Saint Maries Colledge, which John Grandison Bishop of Excester founded, who drew the whole estates of all the Clergie men in his Diocesse to himselfe. For hee perswaded them in their last Wils to give up and make over all that they had unto his hands, as who would bestow the same to godly uses in endowing Churches, and in building of Hospitals and Colledges therewith, which verily he (by report) performed accordingly very devoutly.

13. From the mouth of this Ottery the shore runneth Eastward with many winding reaches and turning-creeks, by Budley, Sidmouth, and Seaton, famous ports in times past, but now the havens there are so choked up with sand, brought in with the reciprocall course of the tides and heaped up against them, that they have almost uterly lost all that benefit. As for Seaton, I would ghesse it to be that Moridunum which Antoninus speaketh of, and is placed between Durnovaria and Isca (if the booke be not faultie) and called in Peutegerius table by a name cut short, Ridunum, considering both the distance and the signification of the name. For Mordanum in the British tongue is the verie same that Seaton [is] in English, to wit, A Towne upon an hill by the Sea. Hereto adjoyneth Wiscomb, a towne memorable in this respect, that in it there dwelt William Lord Bonevill, whose heire Cecilie by her marriage brought the titles of Lord Bonevill and Harington with a goodly inheritance in these parts unto Thomas Grey Marquesse Dorset.

Under these townes the River Ax dischargeth it selfe at a very small channell, ‡ after it hath passed downe by Ford, where Adelize daughter to Baldwine of Okehampton founded an Abbey for Cistertian Monkes, 1140, ‡ and by Axanminser, a towne renowmed in the ancient Histories only for their Tombes of the Saxon Princes, who were slaine in that bloudy battell at Brunaburg, and translated hither; and situat it is in the very frontire and limit of this Province. Neere unto which Reginald Mohun of Dunster, unto whom the Mannour of Axminster in right of inheritance fell by the Fourth daughter of William de Briewr, built the Abbey of Newenham in the yere of Grace 1246. Hence the East-bound runneth crookedly north-westward by villages of no fame toward Severn side; along which now let us take our way.

14. From Cornwall the first shore in this shire that stretcheth out it selfe in length to the Severne sea is by Ptolomee called The Promontorie of Hercules, and retaineth still some little remnant of that name, being called at this day Herty-poinct, and hath in it two prettie townes, Herton and Hertlond, famous in old time for the reliques of that holy man Saint Nectan. In honour of whom there was erected here a little Monasterie by Githa Earle Goodwines wife, who had this Nectan in especiall reverence for that she was perswaded that for his merits her husband had escaped the danger of shipwracke in a violent and raging tempest. Howbeit afterwards the Dinants, who also are named Dinhams, that came out of Bretagne in France, whose demeans, as in fee it was, were counted the founders thereof, and from them descended Baron Dinham, Lord high Treasurer of England under King Henrie the Seventh, by whose sisters and heires the inheritance was divided between Lord Zouch, Bourchier Fitz-warin, Carew, and Arundell.

15. The name of this Promontorie hath given credit to a verie formall tale that Hercules (forsooth) came into Britaine and vanquished here I wot not what Giants. But if this be true, as Mythologers affirme, that there was never any Hercules, but that by him the power of humane wisedome is understood, whereby wee overcome pride, lust, envie, and such like monsters; or if, according to the Gentiles divinitie [theologians], by Hercules they meane the Sunne, and by those twelve Labours endured and performed by Hercules, the twelve signes of the Zodiack which the Sunne in his yeerely course passeth thorow, what it is they say, let them looke to it themselves. But for mine own part, I willingly beleeve that there was an Hercules, nay, I could be content to grant with Varro that there were of them forty and three, all whose acts were ascribed to that Hercules who was the sonne of Alcmena; yet can I not perswade my selfe that ever Hercules came hither, unlesse haply hee sailed over the Ocean in that Cup which God Nereus had given him, whereof Athenaeus maketh mention. But you wil say that Franciscus Philelphus in his Epistles, and Lilius Giraldus in his Hercules averre no lesse. Pardon mee, I pray you; these later writers may well moove mee, but they are not able to remoove me, considering that Diodorus Siculus, who went on with the Greekish historie in order, even from the most remote and first records of all Antiquitie, in plaine terms affirmeth that neither Hercules nor Father Bacchus went ever into Britaine. I am therefore verily perswaded that the name of Hercules, even to this place, came either through the vanitie of Greekes, or from the suspersitious Religion of Britans. for as these, being a most warlike Nation themselves, had valiant men in marvellous admiration, and as highly esteemed of such as vanquished Monsters, so the Greeks againe, whatsoever was any where stately and magnificent, that they referred to the glorie of Hercules: and because hee had been a great traveller, such as travelled were wont to offer sacrifice unto him, and to him likewise consecrate the places where they first arrived. Hereof came Hercules-rocke in Campania, Hercules Haven in Liguria, Hercules Grove in Germanie; hence likewise the Promontories of Hercules in Mauritania, Galatia, and Britaine.

16. As the shore giveth backe againe from this Promontorie of Hercules, the two Rivers Towridge and Taw, which are the onely Rivers in this north part of the Countie, discharge themselves into the sea at one mouth. Towridge, springing not farre from Herty poinct above said, runneth South-Eastward, and taking into him the river Ock, wherof Ock-hampton a little market towne tooke the name, where Baldwine the Vicount had his Castle in William the Conquerours time (as appeareth out of Domesday booke ), from whom it descended to the Courtneys; suddenly turning his chanell maketh way Northward, ‡ insulating in a maner Potheridge, the Mansion of the Familie surnamed Monke, happily for that some one of them being a professed Monke, by dispensation to continue his house, returned to temporall state, as that Noble house in France surnamed Archevesque, that is, Archbishop, took that name to continue the memorie that one of their Progenitours of an Archbishop returned by dispensation to be a Temporall man. Certainly, whencesoever the name came, it is antient, and they have worshipfully matched, and not long since, with one of the daughters of Arthur Plantagenet, Vicount Lisle, naturall sonne to King Edward the Fourth. ‡ Hence Towridge hasteneth to Tourington, which it giveth name unto, standing over it in a great length upon the brow of a little hill; by Bediford also, a town of right good name for the frequent resort of people and number of inhabitants, as also for a goodly stone bridge with arched worke, where straightwaies it windeth it selfe into the Taw. This Taw, breaking forth out of the very midst and hart of the shire, first runneth downe by Chimligh, a little market towne not farre from Chettlehampton, a small Village where Hierytha, canonized a Shee-Saint, lay interred: from thence having passed by Tawton, where Werstane and Putta, the first Bishops of Denshire, had their Sea about the yeere of our Lord 906, and Tawstoke over against it, now the seat of the right honourable Earle of Bathe, it maketh haste to Berstaple. Reputed this is a very antient towne, and for elegant building and frequencie of people held chiefe in all this coast, situat amidst hilles in forme of a semicircle upon the river, being, as it were, a diameter. Which River, at every change and full of the Moone, by the swelling of the Ocean, overfloweth the fields to as the very towne it selfe seemeth to be a demie Iland: but when (as one saith) the sea reengorgeth it selfe backe againe into the sea, it is so shallow, creeping betweene sands and shelves, as it hardly beareth smaller vessels. On the south side it hath a stately bridge built by one Stamford, a citizen of London. In the North part where North Ewe, a little river or brooke runneth, are seene the reliques of a Castle, which by the common report King Athelstane, but (as others say) Judael of Totenais built: for the keeping and defence whereof certaine Lands adjoyning thereabout are held in Castle-gard. It had sometimes a wall about it, but now there remaine scarse any small tokens thereof. The said Judael of Totenais received it in free gift in fee of King William the First: after him the Tracies held it for a long time: then, the Martines: after whom in the raigne of KIng Richard the Second, it came to John Holland Earle of Huntingdon, who afterwards was Duke of Excester; and last of all it fell to the Crowne. But William the First his daies, as we finde in Domesday booke, It had within the Burgh fortie Burgesses, and nine without. King Henrie the First endowed it with many priviledges, and King John with more. A Major and two Bailiffes for a long time it had, but Queene Marie ordained there a Major, two Aldermen, and a Counsell of twentie and foure. The Inhabitants (for the most part) are merchantes, who in France and Spain trade and traffick much. Neither must this be passed over with silence, that out of this townes schoole there issued two right learned men, and most renowmed divines, John Jewell Bishop of Sarisburie, and Thomas Harding the publike professour in Lovain, who most hotly contended and wrote learnedly one against the other concerning the truth of Religion.

17. From hence the river Taw, saluting (as it were) Ralegh, which in times past had noble Lords of that name, but now is in the possession of a right worshipfull house surnamed Chichester, and afterwards encreased by Towbridge water, falleth into the Severne Sea, but it meeteth not with Kinwith Castle, whereof Asserius maketh mention. For here about such a Castle there was of that name, for site of the ground about it very safe on everie side save onely on the East quarter: at the which in the yeere of Christ 879 Hubba the Dane, who with many slaughters and overthrowes had harried the English Nation, was (with many other Danes) slaine. And thereupon the place afterwards was called by our Historiographers Hubblestow. And then it was that the Englishmen wan the Danes banner called reafan . Which, I note therefore the rather, because it may bee gathered out of a pretty tale in Asserius Menevensis, who hath delivered these things in writing, that the Danes bare in their Ensign a Raven wrought (by report) in needle-worke by the daughters of Lothbroke, that is, Leather-breech the Dane, with such an opinion of good lucke as they thought that it never should be wonne.

After this, nothing there is to be seen upon this coast but Ilfarcomb, a good and sure rode for ships, and Comb-Marton, bordering hard upon it: under which, old mines of lead, not without veines of silver, have of late been discovered. As for this word comb (to observe so much once for all), which is an usuall adjection to names of places in this tract, it signifieth a low situation, or a Vale, and derived it may seeme to be of kum , a British word that betokeneth the same: and the French men in their tongue reteine it still in the verie same sense, from the antient Gallique language the same with old British.

More South-East from hence, and neere unto Sommerset shire, Bampton, sometimes Baentun , sheweth it selfe: which under William the Conquerour befell unto Walter de Doawy, with other right large and faire lands elsewhere, of whose posteritie Juliana an Inheretrix married to William Paganell, commonly Paynell, bare Fulk de Bampton, and he begat William and Christian the wife of Cogan of Ireland, whose posteritie succeeded in the possession thereof, for that the issue of the said William died without children. But from the Cogans the possession descended at length hereditarily unto the Bourchiers, now Earles of Bathe, by an heire of Haneford who had married likewise an heire of the Lord Fitz-warin.

18. In the prime and infancie of the Normans Empire (to say nothing of Hugh the Norman, whom Queene Emnia [sic] had before time made Ruler over this countey), King William the First ordained one Baldwine to be the hereditarie Sheriffe or Vicount of Denshire, and Baron of Okehampton: after whom succeeded in that honour Richard his sonne, who died without issue male. Then King Henry the First bestowed upon Richard de Redveriis First Tiverton, and afterwards the honour of Plimpton with other places appertaining thereto: and consequently created him Earle of Denshire, by granting unto him the third penie of the yerely revenues growing out of the same Countie. Now the revenue of the Countie which in those daies was due to the King was not above thirtie marks, out of which the said Earle tooke unto him for his part ten markes yeerely. After this hee obtained of the said King the Isle of Wight, whereupon stiled he was Earle of Denshire and Lord of the Isle. Hee had a Sonne named Baldwin, who, siding with Maude the Empresse against King Stephen, was banished the Realme. Howbeit, Richard his Sonne recovered this honour of this Fathers, and he left behinde him two Sonnes Baldwin and Richard, who in order successively were Earles of Denshire and died without issue. The honour therefore reverted backe againe to their unkle by their fathers side, named William, surnamed de Vernon because he was there borne. This William begat Baldwin, who departed this life before his father; yet before his death he had begotten of Margaret, daughter to Gwarin Fitz-Gerold, Baldwine the Third of that name, Earle of Denshire. This Baldwin had two children, to wit, Baldwin the last Earle out of this family, that died without issue 1261, who changed the Gryphon, clasping and crushing a little beast (which mark his Ancestours used in their seale) into a Scutcheon or with a Lion rampant azure , and Isabell, who being espoused to William de Fortibus Earle of Albermarle, bare to him a Sonne named Thomas, who died soone after, and Avellina a daughter, married to Edmund Earle of Lancaster, whom shee mightily enriched with the inheritance of her father, and died issuelesse. After some time, King Edward the Third, by his letter missive onely, without any other complement of ceremonies, created Hugh Courteney Earle of Devonshire, and linked as cousin and next heir to the said Isabel. For he commanded him by vertue of those missives to use that title, and by a precept to the high Sheriffe of the Shire, commaunded he should be so acknowledged. ‡ Reginald Courtney was the first of this family that came into England, brought hither by King Henrie the Second, by him advanced with the mariage of the heire of the Baronie of Okehampton, for that he procured the mariage between the said King and Aeleonor the heire of Poictou and Aquitaine. But whether hee was branched from the house of Courtney before it was matched in the bloud roiall of France or after, which our Monks affirme, but Du Tillet Keeper of the Records of France, doubteth, I may say somewhat in another place. ‡ After the first Earle Hugh succeeded his sonne Hugh, whom Edward his Grand-child by Edward his Sonne followed, who died before him; and when he died he left it to his sonne Hugh, and hee likewise to Thomas his Sonne, who died in the thirtieth and sixth yere of King Henrie the Sixth his raigne. The said Thomas begat three sonnes, namely, Thomas, Henrie, and John: whose estate during the heat of those mortall dissensions between the houses of Lancaster and Yorke was much tossed and shaken whiles they stood resolutely and stiffely for the Lancastrians. Thomas, taken at Towton field, was beheaded at Yorke; Henrie, his brother and Successour, seven yeeres after drank of the same cup at Salisburie. And although King Edward the Fourth advanced Sir Humfrey Stafford of Suthwicke to the Earldome of Denshire, who within three moneths revolting from King Edward his advancer most ingratefully, was apprehended and without processe executed at Bridg-Water. Yet John Courtney aforesaid, the youngest brother, would not leave this title but with his life, which hee lost in the battell of Tewksburie. For a long time after this familie lay in some sort obscured, yet under King Henrie the Seventh it reflourished: for hee advanced againe Edward Courtney, the next heire male, unto the honors of his Progenitors. He begat William Earle of Devonshire, who matched in wedlocke with Katherine, daughter to King Edward the Fourth: of whom he begat Henry Earle of Devonshire and Marquesse withall of Excester, who under King Henrie the Eighth lost his head, as we have now shewed: whose Sonne Edward was restored again by Queene Marie, a most noble young Gentleman and of passing good hope, but he died an untimely death at Padua in Italie, for the best men (as saith Quadrigarius) are of least continuance. In the fortieth and sixth yeere after his death, King James gave the honourable title of Earle of Devonshire to Charles Blunt Lord Montjoye and Lieutenant General of Ireland, which title hee affected as descended from a Cosin and heire of Humfrey Stafford Earle of Devonshire. He was a worthy personage, as well for martiall proesse and ornaments of learning as for antient nobilitie of birth, for that he had recovered Ireland into the former good estate, by driving out the Spaniards and by subduing or enforcing the Rebels to submission. Him (I say) hee created Earle of Devonshire, him he heaped with favours, and, according to the bountifull munificence of a King, mightily enriched. But within a small while, death envied him the fruition both of honour and wealth, which hee enjoyed as few yeeres as his Predecessour Humfrey Stafford did moneths.

There be contained in this Countie Parish-Churches 394.

William Camden, Britain, or, a Chorographicall Description of the most flourishing Kingdomes, England, Scotland, and Ireland (London: George Bishop and John Norton, 1610) Copyright 2004 by Dana F. Sutton. This text was transcribed by Professor Sutton, of the University of California, Irvine, from Philemon Holland's 1610 translation [British Library Short Title Catalogue 4509, Early English Books reel 911:1]. For a full critical edition presenting Camden's original Latin text in parallel with Holland's translation, visit Professor Sutton's site at:


Placename mark-up by Humphrey Southall.

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