Lerryn village showing the river and stepping stones
Lerryn shown within Cornwall
|OS grid reference|
|Civil parish||St Veep|
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|Police||Devon and Cornwall|
|EU Parliament||South West England|
|UK Parliament||South East Cornwall|
Lerryn (Cornish: Leryon, archaically Lerrin) is a village in Cornwall, United Kingdom. It is situated on the River Lerryn (a tributary of the River Fowey) approximately three miles (5 km) southeast of Lostwithiel.
Lerryn straddles two parishes: north of the river it is in St Winnow parish and south of the river in St Veep parish. The river is tidal up to the village and there are stepping-stones across the river which are crossable at low water.
The village has a village school of about 46 pupils, a post office and village shop, "Lerryn river stores", which also provides fresh tea coffee and cakes seven days a week for walkers doing the many beautiful walks in the area. A pub, The Ship Inn, which dates from at least 1762. Much of the surrounding countryside is an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. An Elizabethan bridge crosses the river to the eastern edge of the village or you can cross via the famous stepping stones a must for all visitors to the village. The village hosts an annual 'Seagull' race, during which competitors can race any type of watercraft as long as it is propelled by a 'Seagull' outboard motor. This event attracts competitors from all over the world who are looking for an extraordinary challenge.
A German silver smelter and adventurer Burchard Kranich ran a silver smelting house between 1556 and 1583. The house cost £300 to build and to fund the house he borrowed money from Mary Tudor, William Godolphin and several others. The mill, used for crushing ore, had a leat of 2000 paces, and the melting house, for refining the silver, was sited at what is now Fen Cottage and Fen Field which used to be known as Fining. At least 2,000 ounces of silver were smelted with ore coming from mine in Tregadoke, Padstow, St Delion, Portysyke, Peran and St Columb. In 1573 Queen Elizabeth ordered that a rate be levied for rebuilding the bridge in to aid production of silver.
Smuggling was a part of village life in Lerryn, indeed one of the village lanes is called 'Brandy Lane' and it is said that a small cave which can still be found by an observant walker in Ethy woods, hides the entrance to a tunnel from the wood to Ethy House cellar; where contraband was hidden from the Excise Men. In reality the cave is in fact a charcoal burners' cave and no tunnel has been discovered however, it makes for a romantic smuggling story. An alternative explanation is that it was an exploratory mine adit. Ethy House is a Georgian house of two storeys and seven bays.
Notable buildings and earthworks
A large earthwork known as the Giant's Hedge runs from Lerryn to Looe, which is captured in the rhyme One day when the devil had nothing better to do, / He built a hedge from Lerryn to Looe. The hedge is believed to be a defensive dyke built during the Dark Ages.
There were four lime kilns in the village which were serviced by large sailing barges that carried their cargo up river from the deep port of Fowey, but the river has become silted over the years and unfortunately only small craft can now navigate the shallow waters. The limekilns are still visible, even though one has been converted into a dwelling.
The village hall was built in 1926 as a village institute and extended in the 1950s. It had a major rebuild at the turn of the millennium and was reopened in June 2000 by the Lord Lieutenant of Cornwall. It is dedicated to those who gave their lives in the First and Second World Wars and is called the Memorial Hall.
Kenneth Grahame may have based the book The Wind in the Willows or Tales of the Riverbank on Lerryn, or at least the Woods around Lerryn Toad Hall could be Ethy Manor on the hillside above the village, and the Wild Woods might be Ethy Woods and The Great Wood now managed by the National Trust. The woods do have a magical quality and near a small wooden bridge by Ethy Rock there are some willows by the banks of the river, where Grahame may have sat and penned his story. It is possible that Fowey the large port on the River Fowey of which the River Lerryn is a tributary, could be 'Troy Town'.
The Regatta and Tivoli Park
The Lerryn Regatta was a popular annual event and at one time it was called The Henley of the West. It was mentioned in the Royal Cornwall Gazette of 1870. There was a break for the first World War and the regatta restarted with a Peace Regatta in 1919. There was a second break for the second World War and the regatta restarted in 1953 and ran until 1968 when four thousand people attended.
Frank Parkyn, one of the members of the regatta committee and a successful miner, bought some woodland on the south of the river from the Rashleigh Estate in 1911. In about 1920 most of the trees were cut and started construction of a pleasure ground named Tivoli Park after the Tivoli Gardens in Copenhagen which Parkyn had visited. The park featured fountains, a pond, a cascade, obelisks plunge pool and bandstand. The park played a central role in subsequent regattas housing a fun fair, field sports and a pavilion. The park has now become overgrown but remains of the plunge pool can still be seen.
- Ordnance Survey: Landranger map sheet 200 Newquay & Bodmin ISBN 978-0-319-22938-5
- Acton, Bob (2001) , Around the River Fowey, Landfall Walks 7, Landfall Publications, ISBN 1-873443-42-0
- Bland, Roger; Voden-Decker, Lisa, eds. (2002). Treasure Annual Report 2000. Department for Culture, Media and Sport. pp. 117–118, 133.
- Andrew Foot (1986). A History of St. Veep Church & Parish Including Lerryn.
- Pevsner, N. (1970) Cornwall; 2nd ed. Harmondsworth: Penguin; p. 66
- "Giant's Hedge". The Modern Antiquarian. Retrieved 15 July 2013.
- Grigg, Erik (2006). "Dark Age Dykes". Wansdyke Project 21. Retrieved 15 July 2013.
- "Lerryn Memorial Hall". Lerryn.net. Retrieved 15 July 2013.
- THE ANIMALS OF THE WIND IN THE WILLOWS
- "The Story of Tivoli Park", Lostwithiel Past & Present (Lostwithiel Museum Association) 4 (3), July 2009
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