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West Penwith

Michael Gove Appreciation

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Gobbett Mine and Environs

Splendid word - environs - and I have been waiting for a chance to use it. Gob is another word I admire. It sounds so beautifully vulgar. It makes the phrase "punch in the gob" so meaningful. I am so pleased therefore, to discover that it is derived from the French and therefore could be used in polite society.

Historically a gobbet is a small chunk of meat, roughly the size of a mouthful. It is derived from the Old French gober (to swallow) which is related to the modern word gobble (to eat quickly)

A bit or morsel: a diary containing gobbets of useful information.

A small amount of liquid; a drop.

[Middle English gobet, from Old French, diminutive of gobe, mouthful; see gob1.]

We met not as usual but an hour earlier. I think the reasoning was that we then had time to nip home for a nap before our carers returned.

First stop was at Dunnabridge Pound. From Legendary Dartmoor we learn that "English Heritage lists Dunnabridge as a "later prehistoric pound", and a "medieval stock enclosure". My view is that is more likely prehistoric enclosure", and a "medieval pound ". However it is a large and impressive monument. Just inside the gate is the Judge's Chair. Tim Sandle's account in the aforementioned Legendary Dartmoor offers no explanation as to the origin of the name but I note that there is a mention of interference by a Judge Buller. It certainly makes a convenient seat but I stand by my view that it resembles the structure of the chambered tombs of West Penwith where they are called dolmens, cromlechs, or quoits.

There is another good account here and this picture is well worth looking at.

Anyway the boys sat happily there for a while waiting for something to judge but the only things that came close were a few nervous sheep.

Judges Chair

Judges Chair

Legend has it that Michael Gove visited Huccaby Church and it was there he received his vision of education. He believed God was telling him that these few things shown below were all that good teachers need to educate the plebs. The only things missing were a cane and a good dose of austerity to whip the ingrates into shape.

Huccaby Church

We paused to admire the tranquillity at Huccaby Bridge and then climbed the hill in the car past the Forest Inn.

Having parked the car we walked down the hill alongside the ancient openworks. We noted the adit on the left and when we reached the bottom examined the wheelpit. For a nanosecond we wondered if we could clear it but wouldn't want to deprive someone else of the pleasure.

Wheel Pit

There are three absolute gems on this excursion but the most important one is the old mill. I haven't found a date for these although crazing pre-dates stamps and these started to appear in the 15th Century. Look at the animation below and you will notice that the top millstone has been moved. In the old picture there is a large millstone at the bottom and a mould. Both of these have disappeared. The pictures on our resources pages suggest the top crazing millstone has been moved too.

Gobbett Mill

The Dartmoor Tin Research Group has a good description of Tin Mills which can be read here.

Having read her story we have devoloped a sneeking affection for Dolly Trebble and a deep dislike of Thomas Tyrwhitt and his smutty pal the Prince Regent. Dolly's house would take a fair bit of re-building but at least the fireplace is still there and we could imagine her warming her dumplings and mutton ready for when her husband came home.

We know that her admirer, the old Etonian, Tyrwhitt lived between 1762 – 24 February 1833 so part of Dolly's story takes place in that time frame. Unfortunately we have not been able to trace her beyond what Baring-Gould has told us. However, you do not develop obsessions just to give them up when things get difficult and there is more to come from this little beauty I am sure.

Dolly's House

Dolly's house

From Dolly's we went over the Fairy Bridge to call on John Bishop.

Fairy Bridge

Fairy Bridge

You can read about John Bishop here - Legendary Dartmoor.

John Bishop's House

John Bishop has let his house go a bit since the black and white one was taken in 1940

Tim Sandle has an excellent rant about the state of the house which is worth reading.

Today it is the lair of a herd of Galloway and other cattle who are doing a sterling job of further adding to the dilapidation of the house. Why on earth does the National Park not insist on the ruins being fenced off? There are thousands of pounds wasted each year on trivial grants and projects and nobody can be bothered to protect what heritage is left. For instance in 2005 the sum of £3,500 was given to produce a play where young people highlighted their aspirations, £5,000 was doled out to promote the use of re-cycled materials in art and crafts, and £6,300 went to children who, "found school difficult (some of them excluded)," so they were to able to experience conservation work. Bloody marvellous, £14,800 which would have easily paid for some fencing and given plenty of experience of conservation work.

Excellent man. Would fit in well with us.

Moving up the lane we came across the gatepost marking the start of Tyrwhitts Estate and where he or the Prince Regent would have gone prancing by in their pursuit of Dolly.

Tyrwhitts Drive
Tyrwhitts Gateway
Stepping stones over the river

 

Lichen

After such a feast of granite workings we wandered slowly back to the car and thence to the Forest Inn.

The Forest in is a very pleasant, friendly pub which has an air of it reminiscent of a byegone age.

It had some nice beer on offer one of which was Jail Ale that went down very well.

The food was a more mixed experience. SB's Ham egg and chips had a good portion of ham and our Steak and Ale pie tasted OK but lacked meat. However it was all home made and service was good.

On the whole a good watering hole.

After lunch SB and PR did a bit of mountaineering of the heady heights of Combestone Tor. However they had to come down due to oxygen deprivation and they had forgotten why they had gone up there. Back to the car and CTH fell asleep waking just as we arrived back at Whiddon Down.