130427 A Lidl bit more about the bridge on wool.

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Just for today Henderson’s account of Wadebridge continues.

The smudges were taken in the car park at Lidl and afford views of the very new bridge over the Camel . This new marvel carries the A39, the Atlantic Highway. It is forbidden to stop, wait park or otherwise lark about on this bridge.  With the example of Cuthbert Mayne very much in mind I have found it easy to respect (as ever) the rulebook, and so these pics are of an old bike parked below rather than on it.

Back to Henderson …

According to Hals, Lovybond endowed the bridge with lands in Egloshayle worth £20 yearly. There were also lands for its support in St. Breoke and £300 capital stock. The tolls produced £10 yearly. This property was vested in Trustees. In 1531, Christopher Tredeneck bequeathed 3s, 4d. To the “store of Wadebridge.” Wadebridge became a County Bridge in the reign of James l, but it was not until  1853 that (on petition of the Trustees) the Court of Chancery directed that the lands should be sold and the capital be paid over to the County Stock.


In 1543 the Star Chamber proceedings tell of an affray or duel on horseback on Wadebridge between John Tredenick, Squire of St. Breoke, and George Wolcock, a substantial yeoman of that parish. At about this time the little Chapels at each end of the bridge, St. Michael’s and the King’s Chapel, were profaned and seized by the Crown. There are no remains of them to be seen. But the Chapels were not the only victims of religious intolerance. In 1577 the bridge, being esteemed “the most common travelled way in Cornwall,”  was selected for decoration with a ghastly trophy in the shape of one of the quarters of the young seminarian priest, Cuthbert Mayne. This man, who seems to have been a person of blameless life and conversation, had been acting as chaplain to Mr. Tregian, of Golden, near Probus, who adhered to the old Faith. Being discovered and dragged to prison, he suffered all the horrors of an execution for High Treason, his body being torn in pieces while he still lived. It was a part of this poor body that was fixed on Wadebridge by the authorities, “pour encourager les autres.”

According  to sir John Maclean, who gives a good account of the Bridge  in his Trigg Minor (I 399), the river bed is of rock, so that the bridge has better foundation than Leland’s tale about the wool-packs.

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Cuthbert Mayne was canonised 25/10/1970. His Wikipedia story is here -http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cuthbert_Mayne.

A few weeks back I met a chap who had found the skull of Cuthbert Mayne in cache in his house, I believe he said the skull (which has a hole in it) is now in Launceston Museum. Be that as it may, this chap’s story of the taking of Cuthbert at Golden included the detail that the anti-Catholic Sir Richard Greville, having searched high, low, and repeatedly, and despairing of finding the well-hidden young priest plied Francis Tregian with fine wine and compliments whereafter Francis crowed that Sir Richard had failed once again. A fresh search was made and poor Cuthbert was discovered. One of his quarters was put on Wadebridge, and so the story goes his head was put on a spike on Polson Bridge. This may account for the hole in the skull.

More on Polson Bridge here – http://wp.me/p2UWBr-2km

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