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There are lots of excellent Cornish legends of course, but I particularly like this one.

 I'd heard about the leaky limpet shell and having to bail out Dozmary pool, but I hadnt' realised just how elaborate the story was, with Jan Tregeagle being posed so many thankless tasks one after the other.  I particularly like the mental image of his ghost trying to dive into the chapel at Roch Rock through the stained glass, and getting stuck with his bottom sticking out for the demons to torment. 

I also like the fact that he's a relatively recent figure historically, and yet the clergy of Cornwall have been repeatedly faced with the problem of posing him new eternal torments.  One feels the  Diocese of Truro probably has a file on the man with a 'torments to try next' section.

I love the idea of the ghost giving evidence against himself, and then the court deciding that although he's quite wicked, it's a bit extreme to damn the man to hell, after all.  Much more humane to give him a leaky limpet shell and a lake to bail, or put him on the beach to spin ropes from sand.  OK, it might not be much fun in the winter but in the summer it's probably quite a pleasant task.  :-D 

Comments

( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
ladyofastolat
1st May, 2012 17:02 (UTC)
I like this, especially the fact that he was originally a proper, documented real person (although the historian in me would like a few footnotes to prove this assertion.) It all tends to support the argument made in Sir Gawaine's first Arthurian book - i.e. that just because fanciful stories have been added in later years, it doesn't necessarily mean that the original person can't possibly real.
bunn
1st May, 2012 18:35 (UTC)
OK, how about this:
http://www.historyofparliamentonline.org/volume/1660-1690/member/tregagle-john-1644-80

(I don't have a copy of 'B. Spooner, John Tregagle of Trevorder, Man and Ghost.' I'm afraid.)

this is slightly inconsistent with the info in Westwood & Simpson 'The Lore of the land' which says he died in 1655, but at least is reasonable evidence of there being a family of eminent Trevagles in the right place at about the right time.
ladyofastolat
1st May, 2012 20:19 (UTC)
I like the juxtaposition of the last two sentences: "The sinister reputations of the Tregagles gave rise to many stories of the Tregagle ghost, one of the most malevolent in Cornwall, and said to be doomed to emptying Dozmary pool with a limpet shell with a hole in it. His son was returned for Mitchell in 1697 and for Bossiney in 1698 and 1701." From the sublime to the banal in one line.

Unfortunately, while the historian in me wanted footnotes, the Morris dancer in me, who has been up since 4 a.m., was far too tired to bother seeking them out, so thanks for doing the necessary research. :-)
bunn
1st May, 2012 18:49 (UTC)
puddleshark
1st May, 2012 17:53 (UTC)
That's a splendid legend. You do wonder which remote bit of Cornwall he will end up in next...
endlessrarities
17th May, 2012 18:01 (UTC)
That was a fun link. Thanks!!
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )

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