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Halton Quay

At Halton quay, there is very little, apart from this very small chapel, which claims to commemorate St Indract and his sister St Dominica, saints and Irish royalty, who arrived in Cornwall in 689AD. Very little of note has happened since this very firm and established event, is the impression you get from the sign.   Wikipedia, on the other hand, seems very reluctant to even admit St Indract was alive in 689AD, so who knows.

Supposedly, they brought Christianity to the pagan Cornish, although I'm not entirely sure why the Cornish are considered to be pagan at this point, since presumably Cornwall converted to Christianity along with the rest of the Roman Empire via the Edict of Thessalonica in 380AD.  But perhaps there were backsliders. Or if St Indract has slipped through Cornish history by two or three hundred years, in the slippery manner common to obscure saints, it may be that the pagans who martyred him were Anglo Saxons and not Cornish at all.  But that would mean this chapel is on the wrong bank of the Tamar, which surely cannot be true.  Look at it standing there, quite convinced it is in the right place.


We were here to canoe, of course, rather than to celebrate St Indract.  Halton Quay is rather a muddy quay, even at close to high tide, and we did carry some of the mud with us into the Queen Emma on our shoes.  The quay is also rather ruinous.  There was clearly a slipway here once, but there is not a lot left of it now.  But there was enough muddy beach to launch the canoe from.

We canoed up to Cotehele, and practiced getting out there to swap seats, again without falling in!   There was rather a lot of wind, and mysteriously, it managed to be blowing against us both coming and going.  But we had canoed upstream and then the tide turned, so at least we had the river and the tide with us on the way back down again.

The little yacht you can just see in the distance below,  passed us at Cotehele running downstream on her outboard motor, but swapped to sail for this wider section, and flew away from us!

I envied her sails.   Canoeing is fun, but it does require quite a bit of muscle, particularly when you are paddling against the wind.   One can sail canoes, but I am not sure if they are very well adapted for it.  In particular, how do you compensate for the lack of a centerboard and rudder?  I have no idea.

I keep meaning to take a photo of the canoe in the water and forgetting, but here she is on top of Helga Saab.  I have to admit that getting the canoe on top of Helga is by far the hardest bit of the whole canoeing thing.  We haven't quite got the knack of it yet, and it usually takes us a couple of attempts to get it up there.


( 16 comments — Leave a comment )
10th Aug, 2016 23:22 (UTC)
Oh, yes, there were backsliders. Quite substantial. The Venerable Bede basically portrays England as having to be converted all over again.

Cornwall, actually, was a hold-out for the degree to which it held onto Christianity, but probably wasn't uniform.
11th Aug, 2016 06:53 (UTC)
Fond though I am of Bede, I trust him about as far as I can throw him on the pre-invasion British church. And double helpings for Cornwall (about as far from his native Northumbria as you can get*). I don't think he mentions St Indract, but if he did, he'd have a vested interest in magnifying the impact of an Irish saint (since Northumbria was converted in the Irish tradition).

Bede on the British (not English) church is like some nineteenth century American writing about Manifest Destiny. :-/

* and still be in Britain :-D

Edited at 2016-08-11 11:46 (UTC)
11th Aug, 2016 14:38 (UTC)
When I was writing my paper on the historical Arthur I found I could throw Bede all the way across the room...
11th Aug, 2016 14:47 (UTC)
That's a good point, actually. My copy of the Ecclesiastical History is very small and light.

Maybe I should trust him as far as I can throw the Chapel of St Indract. Or at the very most, some chunkier historical tome, such as the Paston Letters.
11th Aug, 2016 15:53 (UTC)
I narrowly missed hitting my roommate in the head with Bede, when she happened to enter the room just as the book left my hands. She was less than amused.

To be fair, Bede received the lion's share of frustration-induced book hurling since I actually owned the volume in question. I reasoned (probably correctly) that the library would look emphatically askance at my flinging any of *their* books across the room, and thus Bede was set up as the sacrificial lamb.
11th Aug, 2016 22:13 (UTC)
Well, there were plenty of earlier sources about the re-conversion of Britain. Partly because it was done by both Irish and Roman missionaries and there were plenty of culture clashes.

Bede was the one I happened to remember the name of.
11th Aug, 2016 00:20 (UTC)
The pictures are delightful, and I am happy to know about St. Indract.
11th Aug, 2016 07:06 (UTC)
I have to admit, St Indract had passed me by entirely : a most obscure gentleman, if he wasn't invented by Glastonbury monks as another cash generation scheme.
11th Aug, 2016 14:45 (UTC)
You'd think they would have had plenty of cash, since they already had both Arthur and the Holy Thorn...
11th Aug, 2016 14:52 (UTC)
I think possibly if you are a medieval monk of Glastonbury, the concept of 'enough cash' is not really one you are prepared to settle for...
11th Aug, 2016 15:59 (UTC)
That is an extremely good point.
11th Aug, 2016 14:28 (UTC)
That is a most peculiar chapel. Well done, Cornwall! Carry on.
11th Aug, 2016 14:40 (UTC)
Anglo-Saxon era churches tend to be narrow and tall, so that might be the aesthetic they're aiming for. There's a lovely one in...er...Bradford-on-Avon: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/St_Laurence%27s_Church,_Bradford-on-Avon

Edited at 2016-08-11 14:42 (UTC)
12th Aug, 2016 09:41 (UTC)
Now that's a beauty! Even nicer than Breamore.
11th Aug, 2016 23:06 (UTC)
A couple more canoe posts and I am definitely buying one, this looks awesome.
12th Aug, 2016 11:02 (UTC)
what an interesting find!
( 16 comments — Leave a comment )

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