THE FACTION FIGHT AT CURY GREAT TREE.
ON a green knoll in the centre of the intersection of the road from Helston to the Lizard, and Mawgan to Cury, flourished an ash-tree of magnificent dimensions. The peculiarity of its position, together with its unusual size, in the midst of a district singularly destitute of trees, rendered it famous throughout the surrounding neighbourhood; and in designating a special locality, reference was, and still continues to be, made to "Cury Great Tree," as a position generally known. During the last fifty years the tree has been gradually decaying, and at present only a portion of the hollow trunk remains, which is rapidly disappearing. It stands about haif way up a gentle rise facing the north; and in passing over the road, the country people speak of a dim tradition of a time when the "road ran with blood." The occasion of this, which is almost forgotten, was a faction fight, on a large scale, between the men of the parishes of Wendron and Breage, happening about a hundred years since. A wreck took place near the Lizard, and the Wendron-men being nearest, were soon upon the spot to appropriate whatever flotsam and jetsam might come in their way. Returning laden with their spoils, they were encountered at the Great Tree by the Wendron-men bound on a similar errand, and . a fight, as a matter of course, ensued, which was prolonged till the following day. The contest is said to have been a most terrible one, each party being armed with staves. The savage nature of the fight may be inferred from the following fact :-- A Wendron-man named Gluyas, having been disabled, was put upon the top of the roadside hedge, out of the melée, when he was seen by a Breage termagant known as "Prudy the Wicked," and by her quickly dragged into the road, "Prudy" exclaiming, "Ef thee artn't ded, I make thee," suiting the action to the word by striking Gluyas with her patten iron until he was dead. There is some account of Prudy's having been taken before the "Justice," but she does not appear to have been punished. These fights between parishes were so common in those days that any death occurring in the fray was quietly passed over as a thing of course, and soon forgotten. "So late as thirty years since it was unsafe to venture alone through the streets of the lower part of this town (Helston) after nightfall on a market-day owing to the frays of the Breage, Wendron, and Sithney men." So writes a friend residing in Helston.