Exploring Cornwall: Castle, Cave and Cathedral

Cornwall is my second home from home! If you’re after seeing magical places, Cornwall ticks all those boxes. It is a heritage treasure trove! I’ve just got back from another two weeks down in the far south west of England, trekking about the Cornish countryside in the back of a van and thought I would post an update about three of the sites I’ve seen.

St Michael's Mount, Cornwall, Marazion
Walking along the causeway to the Mount

St Michael’s Mount, Marazion is a new favourite of mine. The St Aubyn family still reside in the castle however the island is now mostly owned by the National Trust to ensure its long term preservation.

It is a beautiful island, complete with a harbour, exotic gardens, Victorian dairy and a winding cobbled path up to the castle. After traversing across the man-made granite causeway (which was being re-made on our visit) we were led through the island’s picturesque harbour featuring a 15th century pier and a series of cottages. The island was once home to over 200 people in the early 19th century until the growth of nearby Penzance across the bay.

St Michael's Mount, Marazion, Cornwall
View from the gardens of the castle

The castle itself is a magnificent and imposing work of architecture and really is worth the long hike up the island path. It boasts a combination of building fabric spanning centuries, from a chapel built on the site of a church from 1135 to a period of construction in the Victorian era. It’s a romantic building and has been used in popular culture, such as the exterior of Dracula’s castle in the 1979 film Dracula.

Gull Rocks at Holywell
Gull Rocks (the two islands, right) at Holywell

Moving on to another special place I visited was the sandy bay of Holywell featuring a site of pagan pilgrimage- a holy well inside a cave.

This holy well takes the form of naturally-created basins shaped in the cave’s wall from a spring that falls from a hole in the ceiling.

Caves at Holywell
Caves at Holywell

It is said that mothers travelled from afar to baptise their children in this well. The tide was coming in too quickly to get photos, so have a look at the Megalithic website for images of the well.

The last place I visited was Truro, Cornwall’s only city. The city did have an almost York-like feeling about it with the skyline being dominated by a cathedral presence- Truro Cathedral.  This cathedral surprised me as being a recent construction in the Gothic Revival style, built from 1880 – 1910 and designed by John Loughborough Pearson. I have always been amazed by how the Victorians recreated the gothic styles of the Medieval England’s past with such attention to detail and iconography.

Truro Cathedral
Truro Cathedral

Truro sits alongside Lichfield Cathedral and St Mary’s Episcopal Church (Edinburgh) as being the only UK cathedrals with three spires. What is also interesting is that the cathedral is the “first to be built on a new site since Salisbury was started in 1220.” (Quote from Truro Cathedral website)

There are lots of other places of historical and spiritual significance in Cornwall and I hope to write more about those in the future…

Level Up! MSc Done!

Its been awhile since I last posted and logged in (sorry for late comment replies!), I had to concentrate on completing my dissertation, which FINALLY has been handed in!

My topic was “Exploring the Pedagogical Possibilities of Applying Gaming Theory and Technologies to Historic Architectural Visualisation”. My main case study was my St Mary’s Abbey model which I’ve been blogging about on here for a while now. In my first part of my dissertation I looked at the theory of place, authenticity, “edutainment”, narrative and gamification with regards to pedagogical methods and how this is utilised by museums, Serious Games and commercial games with an architectural history focus. In the second part I used all of the theory I discussed in part one to propose an educational game (planned as a first-person RPG) based on my model of St Mary’s Abbey. I may decide to upload this paper once I’ve officially graduated (July)…if you’re into computer games and heritage you may enjoy it!

Now I’ve finished my MSc I’ve been thinking about where to head next… I’ve been working on my own website, built from scratch (thanks to my web dev module at uni, and my partner Si Stamp for helping me with the PHP! ). The address is www.hannahbethrice.com and on here I’ll upload my 3D work. Now university is over I will be looking out for projects to work on and promote on my website. I’ll also be transferring this blog across at some point, and possibly adding a shop section. I will also start doing more game reviews- particularly on the topics of environments, architecture and history, and how they are portrayed in games.

I really enjoyed my time at the University of York. My thanks in particular go out to Sara Perry for her informative lectures on Cultural Heritage Management and support, and Anthony Masinton for his knowledge on gaming and historic visualisation, and also introducing me to Blender!

From my MSc I’ve learned how to create a website from scratch (that fully validates with W3C!), developed my database design skills, discovered new 3D modelling software that I am now obsessed with, learned how to survey historic buildings and also increased my knowledge in the management of cultural heritage. I would really recommend studying at York (I was there for 5 years!) if you’re wanting to study anything historical. Having experienced studying both in the History of Art and Archaeology departments, the staff really are the specialists in their fields, and the campus is also a nice, green space (full of ducks!).

University of York Graduation!

With all the wet weather recently we all had bad hopes for our graduation, however it turned out to be a great day receiving our well-earned degrees from the University of York on the 13th July.

I was receiving my BA in History of Art; above I appropriately display my degree posing in front of the sixteenth-century manor of Heslington Hall which we are fortunate to have on our campus! I was very lucky to achieve a First Class degree and had the most amazing three years  dabbling in all areas of Art History, from medieval paintings to postmodernism, castles to cathedrals. My thanks go to all my supportive tutors who have been so knowledgeable and inspiring. 

Below: The  official handshake, me with the Vice-Chancellor Professor Brian Cantor.