The Lizard Peninsula has a rich history from ancient times up to the modern day, several historic events of both national and international significance having taken place here. There is evidence of human settlement on the Lizard since Mesolithic times. Extensive woodland clearance during the Bronze Age led to the expansion of the heathlands, which were used as rough grazing for cattle and as a source of fuel until the early 20th century.
Some historic events of both national and international significance have taken place on the Lizard. The mining of soapstone along the Soaprock Coast contributed directly to the birth of the English porcelain industry with the production of the first tableware to be able to withstand boiling water. The first ever inter-continental radio transmission was sent from Poldhu to Canada on the 12th December 1901 and the first inter-continental moving picture transmission of a live United States televison broadcast was received here in July 1962. Titanium was discovered in Manaccan in 1791.
Visit this link to read about a pilgrimage to the discovery of Titanium.
A Pilgrimage to the Discovery of Titanium.
History of the Local Area
The nearby coinage town of Helston was a major centre for tin during the Middle Ages, and required fuel for smelting. This was obtained by cutting and burning turf and peat, and between the 16th and 19th centuries by coppicing the woods around the Helford Estuary to make charcoal.
Peat was cut and burnt in "turf huts", the remains of which are scattered all over the Lizard, to form "peat charcoal", used for smelting tin in the 14th century. Heathland turf was used for both domestic and industrial fuel. Local landowners made fortunes by selling "rights of turbary". The net impact of this land use was the removal of almost all the topsoil of the Lizard heathland at some point in history.
Cornish Stannary Towns
The English word stannary is derived from the Middle English stannarie, which came from the Latin stannaria, meaning "tin mine", and stannum, meaning "tin". The principal role of a stannary town was the collection of tin coinage, the proceeds of which were passed to the Duchy of Cornwall or the Crown. With the abolition of tin coinage in 1838 the principal purpose for coinage town status ceased. However coinage towns still retained certain historic rights to appoint stannators to Cornwall's Stannary Parliament.
The towns at which coinage was carried out in Cornwall varied over time, including: Truro, Helston, St Austell, Bodmin, Liskeard and Lostwithiel. Whilst the Lizard area itself was never a major mining area, the Tregonning and Trewavas Mining District west of Helston was the largest of the ten Cornish mining areas.
From the nearby Tregonning and Trewavas Mining District two great houses and their estates â€“ Godolphin and Trevarno - provide a valuable insight into the wealth of some of Cornwallâ€™s most successful industrialists and mine owners. From the wealth of the Goldolphin Estate came the Godolphin Arabian. All modern Thoroughbreds trace back to three stallions imported into England from the Middle East in the late 17th and early 18th centuries: the Byerley Turk (1680s), the Darley Arabian (1704), and the Godolphin Arabian (1729).
Helston Flora Day - Furry Dance - 8th May
The Furry Dance takes place every year on May 8, and is one of the oldest British customs still practised today. The dance is very well attended every year and people travel from all over the world to see it: Helston Town Band play all the music for the dances. The Furry Dance takes place every year on May 8 (or the Saturday before if May 8 falls on a Sunday or Monday). In Helston, May 8, the Feast of St. Michael, is called Furry Day., and the word probably derives from Cornish: fer, "fair, feast".It is a celebration of the passing of Winter and the arrival of Spring. The schedule of the day is thus: morning dance at 7 a.m., Hal-an-Tow pageant at 8 a.m., children's dance at 10 a.m., midday dance at noon, and evening dance at 5 p.m.. Of these, the midday dance is perhaps the best known: it was traditionally the dance of the gentry in the town, and today the men wear top hats and tails while the women dance in their finest frocks. Traditionally, the dancers wear lily of the valley, which is Helston's symbolic flower. The gentlemen wear it on the left, with the flowers pointing upwards, and the ladies wear it upside down on the right.
Cornish Steam Engine Heritage - Camborne Trevithick Day
Trevithick Day is held in Camborne in late April each year and includes street dances and a steam parade. Trevithick's Dance, for adults dressed in the traditional Cornish colours of black and gold, dances in procession behind Camborne Town Band. The Steam Parade leaves Basset Road and the engines steam along Church Street, down Wellington Road and Trelawney Road, then up (Camborne Hill) Tehidy Road.