THE GIANTS OF TRENCROM, OR TRECROBBEN.
THE rough granite hill of Trecrobben rises in almost savage grandeur from the wooded lands which form the park of Trevetha, close by the picturesque village of Lelant. From the summit of this hill may be surveyed one of the most striking panoramic views in Cornwall. The country declines, rather rapidly, but still with a pleasing contour, towards the sea on the southern side. From the sandy plain, which extends from Marazion to Penzance, there stretch out two arms of land, one on the eastern side, towards the Lizard Point, and the other on the western side towards Mousehole and Lemorna, which embrace as it were that fine expanse of water known as the Mount's Bay. The most striking object, "set in the silver sea," is the pyramidical hill St Michael's Mount, crowned with the "castle," an unhappy mixture of church, castle, and modern dwelling-house, which, nevertheless, from its very incongruities, has a picturesque appearance when viewed from a distance. Nestling amidst the greenstone rocks,. sheltered by "the Holy Mount," is the irregular town of Marazion, or Market-Jew; and, balancing this, on the western side of " the Green," Penzance displays her more important buildings, framed by the beautifully fertile country by which the town is surrounded.
The high lands to the westward' of Penzance, with the fishing villages of Newlyn and Mousehole, the church of Paul on the summit of the hill, and the engine-house belonging to a mine at its base, have much quiet beauty under some aspects of light,-- the yet more western hills shutting out the Land's End from the observer's eye.
Looking from Trencrom (this is the more common name) to the south-east, the fine hills of Tregoning and Godolphin,--both of which have given names to two ancient Cornish families,--mark the southern boundary of a district famed for its mineral wealth. Looking eastward, Cam Brea Hill, with its ancient castle and its modern monument, stands up from the tableland in rugged grandeur. This hill, "a merry place, 'tis said, in days of yore," -- when British villages were spread amidst the mighty cairns, and Cyclopean walls sheltered the inhabitants,--rises to mark the most productive piece of mining-ground, of the same area, to be found in the world. Around the towns of Camborne and Redruth are seen hundreds of miners' cottages, and scores of tall chimneys, telling of the mechanical appliances which are brought to bear upon the extraction of tin and copper from the earth. Beyond this thickly-peopled region the eye wanders yet eastward, and eventually reposes on the series of granite hills which rise beyond St Austell and stretch northward,--the two highest hills in Cornwall, which are known as Roughtor and Brownwhilly," [a] being in this range.
Let the observer now turn his face northward, and a new and varied scene lies before him. Within two miles the waters of St Ives' Bay break against the cliffs. On the left is the creek of Hayle, which has been fashioned by the energy of man into a useful harbour, and given rise to the foundation of two extensive iron-foundries. Between those and the sea are the hills of blown sand, which have ever been the homes of the Fairy people. The lighthouse of Godrevy stands, a humble companion, to balance in this bay the "Mount," which adorns the bay, washing the southern slope of this "narrow neck of land." Godrevy marks the region of sand extending to the eastward. To the north the shores become more and more rugged, culminating in St Agnes' Beacon, -- a hill of graceful form rising somewhat rapidly to a considerable elevation. From this the "beetling cliffs" stretch away northward, until the bold promontory Trevose Head closes the scene, appropriately displaying another of those fine examples of humanity--a lighthouse.
To the left, towards the sea, rises the cenotaph of Knill, an eccentric man, who evidently sought to secure some immortality by this building, and the silly ceremonials carried on around it; the due performance of which he has secured by bequests to the Corporation of St Ives. Around this the mining district of St Ives is seen, and her fishing-boats dotting the sea give evidence of another industry of vast importance to the town and neighbourhood. Westward of St Ives, hills more brown and rugged than any which have yet been viewed stretch away to Zennor, Morva, and St Just, and these, girding the scene beneath our feet, shut out from us the region of the Land's End.
On the summit of this hill, which is only surpassed in savage grandeur by Cam Brea, the giants built a castle--the four entrances to which still remain in Cyclopean massiveness to attest the Herculean powers by which such mighty blocks were piled upon each other. There the giant chieftains dwelt in awful state. Along the serpentine road, passing up the hill to the principal gateway, they dragged their captives, and on the great flat rocks within the castle they sacrificed them. Almost every rock still bears some name connected with the giants--"a race may perish, but the name endures." The treasures of the giants who dwelt here are said to have been buried in the days of their troubles, when they were perishing before the conquerors of their land. Their gold and jewels were hidden deep in the granite caves of this hill, and secured by spells as potent as those which Merlin placed upon his "hoarded treasures." They are securely preserved, even to the present day, and carefully guarded from man by the Spriggans, or Trolls, of whom we have to speak in another page.
[a] Bryn-whella, the highest hill, according to Mr Bellows.