Sacred Texts  Legends and Sagas  Celtic  Index  Previous  Next 

Traditions and Hearthside Stories of West Cornwall, Vol. 1, by William Bottrell, [1870], at

p. 140

Betty Toddy and her Gown

A St. Just Droll

"Though motley images you weave,
   Yet mingle with them something clear;
 ’Mid much that's false, and may deceive,
   Let some small sparks of truth appear."—
                      Goethe's Faust (Filmore's translation).

One almost every day hears the saying "As gay as Betty Toddy's gown;" yet few know anything more of Betty or her gown, although both were rather remarkable in their way and day. Betty's right name was Elizabeth Williams. There were four, if not five, families of this name in St. Just about a hundred years ago, when Betty flourished in all her glory. To distinguish one of them from another, each family had a nick-name, by which they were better known than by their proper name. The family to which Betty belonged gained their queer name by some old granny of theirs giving the children toddy (spirit and water) with their bread and butter, instead of the usual milk, or pillas-porridge. When the old folks "went round land," Betty and her brother Jacob were left with a little holding in or near church-town. They had ground enough to keep a cow or two, raise a little pease, barley, pillas, or naked oats, which were very much used then before murphies came into the country: the everlasting pease-porridge, broth, and herby-pies, with milk instead of tea (only then used by the gentry) was the everyday fare. Jacob worked to bal, and brought home his gettings to provide the few articles that their little quillets didn't supply. Betty had all the profit, of what she could spare to sell, from her cows and poultry—not much, for Jacob could eat as much as half-a-dozen men, and do as much work as half-a-score of those going now, who have their insides washed out with tea and stuffed with potatoes.

The Toddys had been people of consequence in their time, and many rich and queer articles of old-fashioned dress came to Betty from grandmothers and great grandmothers, in which she would appear in state at church on Sundays, decked out in all sorts of worn-out finery, put on over the humblest of working-day clothing, as a black silk mantle over a bed-gown, check apron, and quilted petticoat so patched that it was hard to tell which was the first piece; high-heeled velvet shoes with silver buckles, over sheep-grey stockings; fan, rings, beads, pointed hat, lace ruffles hanging from her elbows to her knees; all the odds and ends of old-fashioned grandeur would be pitched on anyhow. But she was not the only one in the parish then, who dressed just in the same way. Betty determined (when nearly out of her teens) that she would have a brand new gown, the smartest in the parish. After saving her money for years—sometimes half starving Jacob on "bread and scrape," that she might have the more butter to sell, allowing him no more than half-a-dozen eggs with his breakfast, and so on—she thought that, by the feast, surely

p. 141

she would have money enough to buy as gay a gown as "heart could wish." So Hallan Thursday, Betty started off with her basket of three weeks’ butter, and the money she had been saving for years tied up in her pocket. Betty was so proud that day that, when any found fault with the grey look of her butter, she said they were fools and buckas not to know that the butter was always that colour from a black-and-white cow.

The grey butter was sold at last. Betty went up to Mr. Ben Pidwell's shop, and called out the old gentleman before she got down the steps into the shop, "Mr. Pidwell, here I am lock’e; and I do want as strong a piece of dowlas as you have got in your shop to make a smock, for I must have something that will stand plenty of wear, besides a piece of something brave and smart to make a new gownd against the feast." Dowlas for the smock was soon cut. Afterwards, Mr. Pidwell turned over all his gayest prints and chintz, but nothing could be found smart enough to please Betty; when she happed to spy some bed-furniture, covered with trees and flowers of all colours, birds singing in the branches, cows couranting, with more sorts of beasts than ever entered the ark—birds and beasts all as gay as the flowers. "Dear lord, Mr. Pidwell, there's the very thing I do want to have, but I suppose you do think that's too smart for me; that's the sort of stuff for the ladies of the town to deck themselves in on Sundays and high holidays; or else that I haven't money enough to pay for’n. What es et a yard, then?" "Two-and-twenty-pence," says Mr. Ben. "No, don't ye believe et; I arn’t going to be taken in like that, for mammy only gave two and a grate (groat) for her best gownd." Mr. Pidwell let her have it at her own price, and made up the difference, without taking the poor soul in. All the way home from Penzance to church-town Betty and her comrades never tired of admiring the red and blue sheep, goats and deer, rabbits and hares, horses, bulls, and such animals as were never born nor created.

By the feasten-eve the mantua-maker had made the precious gown to Betty's mind. They contrived to cut the stuff so as to have one of the red sheep on each shoulder, and a blue bull on the back. In those good old times everybody kept up the feast as they ought. Jacob had killed the pig for winter's use that week, and a fine fat calf (none of your "staggering bob," three weeks old, but something worth calling veal, more than two months in this world), a noble piece of beef—to cut and come again, hares and rabbits, geese and ducks, enough that all the cousins and old acquaintances (not a few) expected to come to feast might have a good "blow-out." Don't ye believe it, that they went short of plenty of good drink in those roaring times, when there was none of your cussed boatmen sneaking about—trying to hinder one, but they can't, from having plenty of good brandy from France.

The feasten day, Betty was up in the morning early. The morning work was soon done; the great crock put on with the beef, calf's head, and

p. 142

dumplings, not more water than just enough to cover them, as Betty said "She wouldn't make dish-wash for feasten broth, no, not she;" rabbit-pie, veal and parsley-pies, with the figgy-puddings, all were put to bake, and the chimney full of turfy-fire, all in a glow from end to end, when a poor half-witted fellow called Bucca, * who thought himself

p. 143

[paragraph continues] Betty's sweetheart, came in to watch the cooking, that Betty might dress in time to got to church. When Betty came out in her new gown, with all the rest of her faldelals, Bucca said she was a grander lady, by ever so much than Madam down to Pendeen, even, leave alone the little gentry; and many others thought the same, when Betty stopped at the cross, where they waited long after the parson had gone into church that they might see all the beauty of Betty's gay new gownd. The feasters, from the other parishes, were not expected to arrive much before dinnertime. Jacob had started off to meet some cousins, from Sancrass, on the road. Betty told Bucca to be sure to keep the crock to boil, and, when the broth was ready, to take up some and a dumpling or two for himself. The basins were breaded on the table, ready for the feasters to help themselves as soon as they came in, according to custom. The sermon was begun before Betty entered the church door. Then the parson stopped preaching, and everybody stood up to see Betty's smart gown, and she was brave and proud to stand up that they might see it. At last the parson went on again. Betty and the rest had scarcely seated themselves 'when Bucca tore into church crying out "Betty! Betty! make haste home; the calf's head have eat the dumplings all but one, and es chasing that round the crock like mad, and the feasters are all come too!" The parson now stopped for good, and all went out of church as fast as they could tumble, to get a sight of Betty Toddy's gay gown, and such a gay gown

p. 144

has never been seen in church-town from that day to this. As might be expected, Buccas found the dumplings so good that he eat them all but one and put the fault on the calf's head. No matter; the feasters didn't lack good cheer.

Best part of the Sunday afternoon was passed in doing justice to the good cheer. Towards night, Jacob and the men went round to see their old comrades; then one and all went to the public-house for a spell. Betty and her female friends remained at home, that they might have a good chance of talking by themselves of what they never get weary—their sweethearts. By the time they had told each other about all the youngsters who were fighting for them, or getting drunk because they had been slighted by them, supper being cooked in the meantime, all came in, and found the board laid with as substantial a meal as they had for dinner, and plenty of nice kickshaws besides. About midnight, after taking eggy-beer and brandy, the old folks went home. The youngsters remained to see, and join in, the games of the feasten-week.

Monday morning early, all the men were off to the wrestling. The ring was in a field near church-town. All the standards had been made before; they had only then to contend for the prizes, which were given by the ladies of the parish, and usually consisted of a pair of spurs for the first prize, a laced hat or waistcoat for the second, and a pair of gloves for the third. The sports of the wrestling-ring and plan-an-guare (the round), which was given up to the boys for their games at quoits, were kept up from daylight till dark night, when all went home for a hasty meal and to take the girls to the public-house, where the fiddle and fife in every room put life into the legs of the dancers; but they seldom found fiddles enough, and many a merry jig and three-handed reel was kept agoing by the tune being sung to such old catches as—

"Here's to the devil,
 With his wooden spade and shovel,
 Digging tin by the bushel,
 With his tail cocked up;"

or to—

"Mal Brooks is gone to the wars,"

with a rattling chorus to suit the measure. The end to another old catch to which they shook their heel and toe was

"A guinea will sink and a note will float,
 Better is a guinea than a one-pound note."

[paragraph continues] Sometimes they merely sang hal-an-toe (heel-and-toe) to keep the mill agoing. At the same time the sober old folks would be below stairs singing their "three-men's-songs." At last, when all had danced and drunk so much that they could dance nor drink no more, it was "hurrah for home, comrades, to be up for the hurling-match in the morning."

p. 145

Tuesday morning, you would hear the noble old hurling cry of "Guare wheag y guare teag" (fair play is good play) when the silver ball, with this motto engraved on it, was thrown up from the cross. At the feast the match was usually between St. Just and Burian or San-creed; or Sennen and St. Levan together were regarded as a fair match for St. Just. The run was often from church-town to the stone marking the boundary of the four parishes, but when Pendeen was kept up in its glory then the goal was down to the green-court gate, where the noble old squire would have a barrel of strong beer, with abundance of other good cheer, to treat all corners.

Pendeen didn't look wisht and dreary then, with the place crowded with ladies, decked in all that was rich and rare, to see the hurling-ball brought in. You should have been there to see all the beautiful chimney-stacks of the grand old house sending out the turf smoke, to note the clouds coming out of that noble hall-chimney, just beside the door; doesn’t it tell one of the comfort and free heart of all within? What is it that makes the old building look so noble? Is it the angle at which the roof is pitched, the exact proportions and correspondence of the whole, that makes the old mansion so pleasing to the eye as well as interesting?

Whilst we are admiring the house, all the hurlers are drinking health and a happy long life to the squire and all his family. If old stories may be credited there was always good store of something stronger than "old October" no farther off than the vow, which the squire, being a justice, was supposed to know nothing about. They say that when a cargo from France was expected to be run into the Cove, the ladies would contrive to send the good old squire from home, or keep him indoors till the liquor was safe in the vow—the silks and laces in the ladies’ chests.

Few were so curious as to venture near the vow by night, scarcely by day, as all said the place was haunted by the spirit of a lady which had often been seen coming out of the cavern in the depth of winter, dressed all in white, with a red rose in her mouth; and woe betide the person who had the bad luck to see the ghost—misfortune was sure to follow. We know now that great part of the ghosts which were said to haunt many old mansions in the west were mere creations of the smugglers’ brains, to scare away the over-curious from the convenient hiding-places furnished by these old houses in their vaults, caverns, secret closets behind or beside the chimneys, with many other contrivances for the concealment of persons and property.

The hurlers from the other parishes, whether they lost or won, were made to go back to church-town or home with our St. Justers, to be treated. If the strangers would neither eat nor drink with them they would soon have to fight with them, and all in friendship too. They

p. 146

would like enough to be asked, "Dost thee think thyself too good to eat or drink with me then? If that's the case, come let’s ee which is the best man of is." When they had half-killed each other and had been only parted by their comrades to save their lives, then they would shake hands, and say "Well, thee art worth having for a comrade; thee art just as good a man as myself," and be the best of friend in the world ever after; and the night would be passed in dancing and other fun till morning.

On Wednesday the feast was over with many, yet others would then turn out for slinging matches. This sport, if it may be called so (often more like a battle), is as ancient as wrestling, or hurling, and has no doubt been in vogue as a pastime ever since the sling was regarded as next in importance, as an offensive arm, to the bow and arrow. The stories about giants slinging rocks at each other on Morvah Downs is proof enough of the antiquity of the sport. In the time of Betty and Jacob, boys and girls, by constant practice with the sling, were so dexterous in its use that they could hit a mark at a very great distance. The men of St. Just, and many of the women too, liked the sport so well that they would often draw for sides. The two parties place themselves on the burrows of old tin works at a convenient distance, and sling stones at each other, for dear life; they didn't mind a few cut heads, for the fun of the thing.

We have said nothing about Jacob, Betty, and their feasters this good while, but then, you must know, they took their share in all the games that were going on, the same as the rest.

Wednesday came, which is known as servy-day, as then all the odds and ends of the feast are served up, and early in the afternoon the feasters return home. It wasn't come to servy-day either, with Jacob and Betty; but as they intended to hold the "Little Feasten Day" (for some visitors who could not come the feasten week), they didn't press the cousins to stay any longer.

On Thursday, Betty thought they might as well return to the ordinary fare of pease porridge, and save the joints of meat for next Sunday's visitors. Jacob went to bal, just for the saying of the thing. Nobody thought of doing much before the next week, as it takes days to tell all the news about the feast, the news brought to the parish by the strangers, and to get to rights, as we say. The crock, with water to boil a gallon or so of peas for Jacob's supper, was only put on in the afternoon, as he was sure to be late home. Betty placed some coals of turf fire under the brandes (trivet) to keep the peas to boil: then she went out to "coursey" a bit.

Besides the feasten news, there was then, and always had been, a never-ending subject for them to talk of in their constant fears of some foreigners or other landing in Whitsand Bay or Priest's Cove. Who they were to be they couldn't tell exactly; only they knew that the red haired

p. 147

[paragraph continues] Danes * were to come again, when Vellandruchar  mill would again be worked with blood, and the kings would tine on Table-mayon (men) for the last time (as the world was to come to an end soon after). This they still firmly believe may take place any day, because Merlin uttered a prophecy to that effect more than a thousand years ago. As the time of Betty Toddy's glory was about the commencement of the American war of independence, when the French took sides with cousins over the water, the greatest fear then was that the French would land some night and carry off the tin; they didn't fear much for what the French would do in the way of fighting. Betty and the rest passed the evening, or night rather, in going round church-town to hear the news and drinking confusion to the French in almost every house. Long before Betty came in, Jacob came home pretty well stewed (tipsy) and very hungry, but the peas were just as hard as when put in the crock; for, soon after Betty

p. 148

went out, the fire went out too. However, Jacob ate about a gallon of the peas, ready or raw, and, that he mightn't have the mullgrubs, took an extra glass of brandy, and was in bed snoring, grunting, groaning, and tossing like a porpoise, when Betty came in. We know that ill-boiled pease are very indigestible, so one may guess how they troubled Jacob, among the beer and brandy, half raw as they were. Betty could hear all Jacob's uneasiness, as there was only a screen of thin boards between their chambers, but she little heeded Jacob's groaning having enough to do (as she wasn't very steady in the head) to get into bed, to sleep herself sober.

Towards the morning part of the night Betty awoke in a terrible fright. She had lost all recollection of Jacob's groans, as she went to bed, and, when she was fairly sensible now, his roars were frightful. Her first thought was of the French! Without staying to dress, she tore out of the house, and roused all the neighbours from their beds, by crying out at everybody's door as she went tearing half-naked, round church-town, "Get up! get up! you'll be murdered alive; the French es landed,—I heard the great guns, gun for gun, in our house."

In a few minutes, half the women in church-town were racing round the place, crying, "Fire!" and "Murder!" "Blood and thunder; you'll all be killed in your beds and be buried alive; the French es landed, get up! get up!" The bells were set ringing in the tower. Will Tregear fired the furze on the Biccan (Beacon); the Biccan hills were soon all ablaze from St. Just to Plymouth, where the nearest troops were stationed then. Whilst the bells were still ringing, and women screeching in church-town, trumpet and drum sounded reveille in Plymouth garrison. The troops, in red-hot haste, got under arms and were marching westward ho! Jan Trezise was sent off, fast as horse could go, to meet the troops and guide them to St. Just. There were relays of horses kept in all the principal towns on the road to Plymouth, ready saddled as soon as the Biccan fires gave notice of the enemy landing in the west.

They say that Jan didn't ride very fast after he passed Penzance, for the pack-saddle he took in his hurry to ride on so galled him that he could hardly sit on the horse's back when he arrived at Crowlas, sitting sidelong for more ease. The landlady took pity on him, gave him the best pillow she had in the house to make a softer seat for him, and a good dram, of course; then on he went as best he could for Redruth, cussing the French all the way. When Betty had alarmed all the town, she came in and waked up her brother, but Jacob only cussed the peas, the French, and Betty too, then snored away again. Betty, knowing that the smugglers brought the silks, laves, and other smart things from France, and that the French greatly admired dress and fashion, donned her gay gown, with all her trinkets and trappings; placed bread, cream, and honey on the board, that the French officers, whom she expected to see

p. 149

every minute, might take her for a grand lady of the land and treat her with great respect. So she seated herself on the chimney-stool ready to rise and make her curtsey, and thinking what she would say if the French captain came in. There leave her.

At last, when daylight came to dispel the fears of the people of Church-town, they traced all the alarm spread by Betty to the indigestible peas eaten by Jacob for supper. Yet they seem never to have thought of the consequences of the false alarm, and of having the troops quartered on them for nothing, till the parson, hearing of it in Penzance (where he lived), came out the Saturday to see what was the matter. To make sure that no Frenchmen were lurking about, all the creeks and coves were searched, and the hills and carns inspected. When satisfied that all the fuss was for nothing they had the sense to send off countermanding orders by the parson's man.

The troops left Plymouth and came on west in uncertainty as to where the enemy had landed; Jan Trezise having lost his road, got down to Gweek, where he was found a month after in clover, for Gweek people treated him like a gentleman for bringing them the news (there was no fear of the French finding them, yet they liked to know what was going on in the rest of the world).

The parson's courier found the troops wandering about in a fog on the Four-burrows downs, not knowing what way to steer. When told of the false alarm they were glad enough to turn tail and cut off home again.

There are plenty more queer things told about Betty Toddy, and others who lived about this time in St. Just, but they are such wild rants that one don't like to mention them in these precise times.


This story may be somewhat embellished or exaggerated through the volant fancies of the drolls; yet, from all that we have heard about the matter, there is good reason for believing that a false alarm of the French having landed in St. Just occurred, as stated above, on the feasten week, when they were so muddle-headed that they didn't think of, nor care about, the consequences of signalling to Plymouth for troops. "They might all come to feast if they would; and welcome." In some versions of the story the troops are said to have arrived in Marketjew, without knowing where they were wanted; the alarm had spread, from seeing the Beacons blazing, that the French had landed in various parts of the county.


142:* This old Cornish word "Bucca" (still in common use) has various significations, and none very clearly defined. It appears to belong to the same family of words as the Irish "Pooka," and the Welsh "Pwcca." As above, it is often applied to a poor, half-witted person of a mischievous disposition—one about whom there is anything weird or wisht—to a ghost, or any kind of frightful apparition, and by association of ideas to a scarecrow. By "Buckaboo", which is probably a corruption of "Bucca-dhu" (black spirit) we mean Old Nick, or one of his near relations. As an example of this, there is a story told of an old lady who lived long ago at Raftra, in St. Levan. The old dame, when more than fourscore, was so fond of card-playing that she would walk almost every winter's night, in spite of wind or weather, to the village of Trebear, distant a mile or more, that she might enjoy her favourite pastime with a family of congenial tastes who resided there. The old lady's step-daughter wished to put a stop to what she regarded as rather scandalous vagaries, as the old dame seldom arrived home before the small hours of the morning; with this intention the young mistress persuaded the serving-man to array himself in a white sheet, &c., so as to personate a ghost that was accused of wandering about a lonely spot over which old madam would have to pass. The winter's night was dark and rainy, when, about midnight, the ghost seated himself on the side of Goonproynter stile, where he had to wait two or three hours. The dear old lady was in no hurry to leave pleasant company, as it was Christmas time. At last she passed Padz-jigga, mounted the stile, and seated herself to draw breath opposite the ghost. Over a while she said, "Hallo! Bucca-gwidden (white spirit), what cheer? and what in the world dost thee do here with Bucca-dhu close behind thee?" This cool address so frightened Bucca-gwidden that he ran off as fast as he could lay feet to ground, the old lady scampering after, clapping her hands, and calling, "Good boy, Bucca-dhu; now thee west catch Bucca-gwidden and take’n away with thee!" The ghost was so frightened that he fell in a fit, and was never right in the head after. Then he was a real Bucca in the sense of out Betty's sweetheart, and the strong-minded sociable old lady enjoyed many more years of her favourite pastime with her friends in Trebear.

Another Bucca of the mischievous class lived in St. Just but a short time since, who gave rise to the saying, "Between both, as Bucca said." Being, as usual, loafing about the public-house of a pay-day, when there is more than the ordinary good cheer about, Bucca happened to look into a room where Capt. Chynoids and another gentleman were sitting in the window-seat. The captain said to the intruder, "Which art thee, Bucca, a fool or a rogue." Before making any reply, Bucca placed himself between them, then answered, "I'm, between both, I believe!" Another day he was idling about a new shaft that two men were engaged in sinking—one filling the kibbal, the other winding up the stuff with a hand-winze. The man to grass told Bucca to take hold of the winze and wind up a few kibbals whilst he lighted his pipe. Bucca wound up two or three alright. When the next kibalful was near the top of the shaft he called out, "Hold on there below while I spit on my hands a minute!" Down went the kibbal, winze and all, smash, and half killed the man below. Bucca took to his heels, crying, "Triz wiz, triz wiz; whipper-snapper, catch me if thee cust (can’st)."

Another trick of the Bucca was to watch when the women put a nice bit of cake to bake that they might have a comfortable cup of tea before the good men came home from work. They would be sure to go out to coursey (gossip) a bit while the cake was baking. Then Bucca would steal in, carry off the cake, and place a turf under the bake-pan carefully covered with fire again. When the gossip came to take up the nice bit, she might be heard to exclaim, "Well, I never thought I'd been out so long; my cake is burned to ashes!" p. 143

From One and All for June, 1868, we extract the following article on the antiquity of the term "Bucca:"-

"Most people in this neighbourhood are probably aware of the comparative estimate made of themselves a long time ago by the boys of Newlyn:—

'Penzance boys up in a tree,
 Looking as whist as whist could be;
 Newlyn Bucks as strong as oak,
Knocking them down at every poke.'

[paragraph continues] Evidently youthful Newlyn once considered that to be a 'bucka' was a matter for pride and congratulation. And youthful Newlyn was correct. 'Bucka' was once a divinity, but, being older than English Christianity, it became degraded from that high rank as the new religion came westward.

"Nevertheless, Bucka did not die. Within easy memory every boat in Newlyn always set aside a portion of the catch, and left it in a collected heap on the beach to propitiate 'Bucka;' and every fisherman noted, with superstitious awe, the remarkable regularity with which 'bucka' fetched away his offerings, after dark. Nowadays, youthful Newlyn, and aged Newlyn too, decidedly object to be known as 'bucka'. The name of the great divinity has become a term of reproach.

"The derivation of the word is not the least curious thing about it. The name given to the Supreme Being, amongst all the Latin races, follows the type of 'Deus.' Amongst the Teutonic nations (including Anglo-Saxons), the type word is 'Gott;' whence our English word 'God.'

"Amongst the Sclaves (Russian, Bohemian, Serbian, &c.), it is 'Bog;' whence the Gaelic 'bogie,' the Celtic 'bo,' the slang English 'bogy,' and the Newlyn 'bucka;' but these two last having fallen among Teutonic thieves, were robbed of their divinity and turned adrift as disreputable devils. 'Bo,' too, has met with no better fate. The name of this terrible divinity is now proverbially one which a man must be very timid indeed not to be able to use to frighten a goose.

147:* The "red-haired Danes" have continued a source of terror and a name of reproach to the present day. On the 1st of this month a Long Rock quarrel was the subject of a magisterial inquiry at the Penzance townhall, when it was proved that the defendant, Jeffrey, had called one of the complainants, Lawrence, who has rubrick hair, a "red-haired Dane." In Sennen Cove, St. Just, and the western parishes generally, there has existed, time out of mind, a great antipathy to certain red-haired families, who were said to be descendants of the Danes, and whose ancestors were supposed, centuries before, to have landed in Whitsand Bay, and set fire to, and pillaged, the villages. Indeed, this dislike to the Rufus-headed people was carried so far that few families would allow any member to marry them, so that the unfortunate race had the less chance of seeing their children lose the objectionable tinge of hair.

147:† As the name "Vellandruchar" means "wheel-mill," the mill which was formerly in this place was probably one of the oldest in the west. At no great distance from Vellandruchar is the site of another ancient mill called Vellandsager. This name is equally suggestive, as denoting that the serging or bolting apparatus was not then common in the mills. These old mills were situated in the lower part of Burrien on the stream which divides that parish from Paul. According to tradition, a sanguinary battle was fought on the moors little above Vellandruchar, between Arthur and the Danes, when they say the mill was worked with blood, and that arrow-, spear-, and axe-heads, with remains of other weapons, have frequently been found in the bog-turf (peat soil) which is cut for fuel from Vellandruchar moors. These moors were also said to be so much infested with adders, in old time, that cattle could not be turned into them in summer, until one day an adder got into a pot of milk, which a man who was cutting turf on the moor brought with him to drink. The man placed a turf on the mouth of the pot, and stopped the adder in it. In a short time the imprisoned adder made a peculiar noise, which attracted other adders round the pot. These, in turn, seemed to call others, until from all parts of the moors the adders were seen directing their course straight to the interesting captive. The men cutting turf on the moors were all obliged to flee the low grounds. Towards night, when they ventured into the moor, they found that a mass of adders, as large as an ordinary haycock, had interlaced themselves into a solid heap over and around the pot. The people then formed a ring of dry furze, and other fuel they found ready cut, around the mass of adders, now apparently torpid. When many scores of trusses of furze were collected, fire was placed at the same instant to several parts of the ring of furze. They say that the noise made by the burning adders was frightful, and that a great number of milpreaves were found in the ashes.

This story of the adders is also told about Trevethow moors, the ground now called the Hay Meadow, and many other places.

Next: The Old Market-House, and its Surroundings