Friday, 23 August 2013


Today we walked through the town of Penzance and discovered Chapel Street where all the oldest buildings seem to be. Now given we are in Penzance it only makes sense that we would find where the pirates live in this amazing ship.

The awe-inspiring sense of history greets you at The Dolphin Tavern. In 1585 the tavern served as John Hawkin's HQ, recruiting Cornishmen to fight in the Armada, Sir Walter Raleigh is thought to have smoked the first pipe of tobacco in England here, and the tavern was used as a courtroom for centuries following. So legend says, it is also home to three spirits.

The Dolphin Inn just one of the many properties with tunnels running to the harbour where unsuspecting men would find themselves on board a sailing vessel after a big night drinking

This Chocolate House was built in 1700

Halfway down Chapel Street is an unusual inn and restaurant, with a mariners theme, named after the famous 17th Century Admiral Benbow. Decorating the inn are cannon and figure heads, much of it authentic, being brought up by divers from some of the many wrecks found off the notorious Cornish coast. The inn was originally converted from an old cottage, and from the front, the outside still has a quaint feel with its small paned windows. One unusual feature is a smuggler on the roof.

The Admiral Benbow Hotel where we had lunch

Amazing Interior

The Turks Head is reputed to date from 1233 when, during the crusades, the Turks invaded Penzance, from Jerusalem. At that time the Turks were excommunicated by Pope Calixtus.

It was the first Inn, in England, to be named 'The Turks Head', others adopting the name in future times. Alterations were made during the 16th Century when part of the building was burnt down during the Spanish Invasion. The original building had a courtyard at the front (this is now the main bar).

During the 17th Century, the old cellar, which is now the dining room, was used by navel ratings. There was a smugglers tunnel leading directly to the harbour. The tunnel is still under the property and can be found to the right of the building, the whole of which used to be part of the Turks Head. The tunnel came in to the diner then up a shaft, arriving to the right of what is now the main bar, and then on to the first floor, where priests were hidden in the 'Priest Holes'. These are still in existence. The second floor was a fisherman's loft, with two large net doors leading onto the original courtyard. At the rear of the building there used to be both a Band Hall and a Cell for locking up drunks and undesirables.

The Turks Head is the oldest hotel in Penzance
At the top end of Chapel Street is one of the major landmarks of Penzance The Egyptian House. This was built in 1836 by John Lavin, a Penzance mineralogist, to house a geological museum. On the outside, apart from the fascinating hieroglyphics, you can see Royal Arms from the periods of George III, IV and William IV. Today the Egyptian House is owned by the Landmark Trust. 

The Egyptian House  is a rare and noble survivor of a style that enjoyed a vogue after Napoleon's campaign in Egypt in 1798, now a guesthouse.
Penlee House was originally built in 1865 as the home of the wealthy Branwell family. The house was purchased by the Penzance Borough council in 1946 along with the surrounding Penlee Park as a memorial to the dead of World War II and was formally opened as the Penzance District Museum in 1949. 

The large granite cross situated outside the museum dates from the 11th century and has been moved, on at least three occasions, and its original location being the Green Market in Penzance. While this cross was situated in the previously stated location it formed the accepted measurement point for the then Borough of Penzance, all settlements within ½ mile of the cross being classified as being within the control of the said Borough and subject to associated local government taxation. It was moved from the Green Market in 1829 a short distance to a house in North Street but on the demolition of this house (ca. 1868) the cross was then moved to a position at the western end of the Market House. The height is 66 in (1.7 m).

Cidar Mill mid 17th Century

Our last night in Penzance our home is in this row of terraces

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