Bodmin and Bodmin Moor

BODMIN & THE BODMIN MOORCornwall, United Kingdom

One of Cornwall’s oldest towns … Bodmin has just over 13,000 citizens which stands as a civil parish in Cornwall, England located just southwest of the Bodmin Moor. It was formerly the county town of Cornwall until the Crown Courts moved to Truro. The name is believed to have come from an archaic word in the Cornish “bod” (meaning dwelling) and a contraction of “menegh” (or “Monks”) and may have referred to a early monastic settlement that was in the area that was instituted by St. Guron (St. Petroc) in the 6th century. The Black Death killed half of the town’s population in the mid 14th century. The town was the center of three Cornish uprisings – (1) 1497 when a Cornish army led by Michael An Gof marched to Blackheath in London where they were defeated by 10,000 men of the King’s army under Baron Daubeny. (2) Autumn of 1497 when a man named Perkin Warbeck tried to usurp the throne from Henry VII. (3) 1549 when Cornishmen rose once again in rebellion against Edward VI’s new Prayer book since the Cornish were very attached to Catholicism. This was called the Prayer Book Rebellion. The Bodmin Moor is a rough toor of granite moorland in northeastern Cornwall that is approximately 208 sq. kilometers in size. The geology dats from the Carboniferous period and is one of five granite batholiths in Cornwall. The landscape is eery and gives great background to the mythology, murders, and mysteries attributed to the area. There are approximately 500 holdings in the Moor with an estimated 10,000 cows; 55,000 breeding ewes; and 1,000 horses/ponies. The area is deemed a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and officially designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The Moor is also the source of several of Cornwall’s rivers such as the River FOwey, the Rivery Tiddy, the River Inny, River Lynher, River Camel, De Lank River, River Warleggan, and the River Tamar. The Moor is also home to the legendary Dozmary Pool where the Lady of the Lake theoretically gave King Arthur Excalibur. This is Cornwall’s only natural inland lake and is glacial in origin. By the 20th century, three reservoirs were constructed on the Moor – Colliford Lake, Siblyback Lake, and Crowdy Reservoir. These support much of the county’s population with fresh water. 10,000 years ago, on the Kilmar Tor, hunter-gatherers wandered the Moor and left incredible remains of flint scatters all across the region. During the Neolithic (4,500-2,300 BC) – the Moor began to be cleared and farmed. Megalithic monuments were constructed across the Moor consisting of long cairns and stone circles. By the Bronze Age, monuments increased with over 300 cairns and more stone circles, rows, and over 200 Bronze Age settlements with enclosures and field patterns. The Moor is also the legendary place for “King Arthur’s Hall” which is believed to have been a late Neolithic or early Bronze Age ceremonial site to the east of St. Breward. Quarrying and mining in the Moor took place during the Medieval period. The Moor is filled with legends … such as “The Wild Horse on Bodmin Moor”; “Dozmary Pool”; “Lady of the Lake”; “Jan Tregeagle”; and “The Beast of Bodmin“.

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