"BY HOOK OR BY CROOK."
IN the parish of Egles-Hayle are two crosses, known as "Peverell's Crosses;" and near Mount Charles, also in this parish, is another "moorstone" cross, called the Prior's Cross, whereon is cut the figure of a hook and a crook, in memory of the privileges granted by a prior, belonging to the family of the Peverells, who are said to have possessed lands in this parish since the time of Richard II.
The poor of Bodmin were greatly distressed through the scarcity of fuel, the "turf" or peat of the moors, being insufficient to supply their wants. The prior gave "privilege and freedom" to the poor of Bodmin for gathering, for "fire-boote and house-boote," such boughs and branches of oak-trees in his woods at Dunmear, as they could reach to, or come at, with a "hook and a crook," without further damage to the trees.
Hence the proverb concerning filching, "that they will have it by hook or by crook."