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On Rame Head

Randomly we went to Rame Head: a long tall bulge of land pointing out into the sea.
 It has a little building on it that from a distance looks like a chapel.  Wikipedia calls it an 'intact shell' and says it is dedicated to St Michael, but at close quarters, it is fairly clear that the people who are mostly using it nowadays are equine.  Possibly they still say horsy prayers to St Michael for providing them with a horse-shelter with such fine views.

Rosie Roo, on  lead, with a puzzled PP in tow. For there were many, many rabbits, and I do not trust the common sense of lurchers not to leap off cliffs into the sea.
PP and rosie on Rame Head

Brythen inside the chapel, admiring the view provided by St Michael for his ponies.
Brythen inside the chapel

  Earl Ordulf, the uncle of king Ethelred, gave Rame to Tavistock Abbey in 981 - in the height of the Viking period: Tavistock Abbey itself would be burned down by raiders in 997. You can't help wondering if the gift of a barren headland right in the path of any raiders that might be sailing along the South coast of Britain was really all that generous.   Anyway, as a result, for a long time it used to be an odd little bit of Devon that had got stranded a long way on the wrong side of Tamar, until the county line was tidied up.
Pony's View

On the south side of the chapel is this big concrete platform thing, ably modelled by Rosie Roo.  We guessed it a Second World War defence of some sort. from up here we could see a frigate, a submarine, and a number of little sailing yachts.   The drop wasn't  as alarming as it looks!
Rosie on the brink

On the way home, we noticed a bird hovering very competently over the cliff-edge and pulled in to watch.  Then we saw another: a pair of peregrine falcons, poised on the edge of the wind.


( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
3rd Aug, 2014 16:21 (UTC)
"It is recorded in the fifteenth century accounts of the Borough of Plymouth that a watchman was to be paid to maintain a beacon on Rame Head, and to give news of incoming vessels. During the attempted invasion by the Spanish Armada in 1588 another entry records that two watchmen were paid to keep a look out for Spanish vessels sailing along the coast. An anti-submarine gun was mounted on a platform here during World War I and hydrophones were used to detect passing submarines. During World War II a concrete gun platform was constructed to the south of the chapel and a modification to the window in the south wall of the chapel is possibly evidence of a doorway connecting the two structures. A mobile radar installation was also sited here during WWII."

4th Aug, 2014 07:52 (UTC)
Good article, thanks! Our guess was right then - although we hadn't guessed the WW1 anti-submarine gun!
4th Aug, 2014 07:57 (UTC)
It does seem quite a tricky one to guess!
3rd Aug, 2014 18:28 (UTC)
Wonderful pictures... Especially Brythen gazing out to sea and Rosie against the blue and the grey.

That looks like the sort of impossibly windswept spot that monks really liked - I expect they were quite pleased to be given it. Shame about the Vikings.
4th Aug, 2014 07:54 (UTC)
I suppose I'd been thinking of the rather materialist-seeming later medieval monks with their profitable bridge-building and huge barns, but I suppose that might be early enough that hermitage was still in vogue...
5th Aug, 2014 22:26 (UTC)
Given the number of times I heard Navigation Officers mentioning Rame Head whilst doing sitings to plot the ship's position on the chart I suspect the chapel has to remain as a navigational point, in the same way that certain towers or chimmneys get used: its on the chart and unless you can replace it you can't knock it down - so there nah!

Edited at 2014-08-05 22:27 (UTC)
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )

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