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

The Giant Bolster, of Saint Ann's

Only a few giants’ steps from Portreath there dwelt in Saint Ann's another huge giant called Bolster, who made nothing of striding from the beacon to Carn Brea—a distance of six miles or, more. The Saint Ann's people say that Bolster fell in love with the beautiful Saint Agnes, who was a pattern woman of virtue. We think that monkish invention is apparent in this legend, because our real old giants were never the fools to waste their wind in filling the air with such a tempest of groans and sighs as Bolster is said to have blown after the cruel Saint Agnes, who served her tall lover, at last, too treacherous a trick, as an honest body might think, for any female saint to invent. After coquetting with the giant, she asked him, as a last proof of his love, to fill the hole in the cliff at Chapel Porth with his blood. The giant, thinking he could spare blood enough to fill many such holes, without hesitation stretched his

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great arm over the hole, plunged a knife into a vein, and torrents of blood gushed out and flowed into the hole. The love-sick giant, ready to do anything to please the fancy of the fair saint, bled himself to death without discovering that, as fast as the seething gore issued from his arm, it ran into the sea through a hole in the bottom of the pit. The cunning saint, well aware that the hole had an opening at the bottom into the sea, thus got rid of her hill-striding lover.

Some may think that Saint Agnes served Bolster no worse than he deserved, because he was a married man all the time that he persecuted the blessed saint with his troublesome love; besides, he was a most cruel husband. Whilst he was going over the hills galivanting the saint, he compelled the unfortunate giantess to pick all the stones from the ground at the foot of Bury-Anack or Barytanack (as the Beacon was called in Bolster's time), on the side of the hill nearest Saint Ann's town. She was made to carry the stones in her apron to the top of the hill, where they may still be seen, forming many burrows. She laboured so dilligently that, at this day, the farm which is now made out of this part of the giant's land is remarkably clear of stones, although all the surrounding farms are as stony as the Fourborough Downs. Bolster himself, before he became enamoured of Saint Agnes, must have been an industrious, hardworking, giant enough to throw up the great gurgoe or hedge, miles long, which is still called by his name. Any one who will take the trouble to go to Saint Ann's may still see great part of this earthwork, thrown up by the giant, which, when he completed it, extended from Trevaunce Porth to Chapel Porth, enclosing all the richest tin-ground on the giant's land. As a proof of the truth of the tradition respecting the way in which the giant Bolster came by his death, the inhabitants of these parts still show the red stains in the hole at Chapel Porth, marking the track of the giant's gore which fell in torrents and flowed for hours down the hole, while the

                  "Fretted flood
Roll’d frothy waves of purple blood."

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