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Myrtle Grove

(Sleeps 6)

Myrtle Grove is a listed cottage lying in a wooded valley.  

Myrtle Grove 

Enter the stable doors to the kitchen which has an open fire and slate floor. Discover the living area with log fire and wooden beams, French doors lead out onto a slate patio and large private garden. Upstairs you will find a double bedroom with en-suite shower, the bathroom and a twin bedroom. The third bedroom is downstairs and has bunk beds with an adjacent toilet. It is a five minute walk along a country lane to the games room, tennis court and main farm activity.

Myrtle Grove is ideal for a honeymoon or that special weekend away.

  Lounge

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MYRTLE GROVE AND ITS STORY
by Henry Symons

 

This cottage is situated some five hundred metres from the main farm buildings. It is by the side of the road leading up to St. Endellion. The parish boundary between St. Endellion and St. Kew follows the valley bottom southwards from the eastern side of the cottage and northwards along the road to St. Endellion. Many years ago our four fields between Myrtle Grove and the main road at St. Endellion and the little meadow adjoining the cottage were part of Trentinney Farm.

Nicholas Roscarrock, an historian, wrote "The Lives of the Cornish Saints" in 1590. (Much of the information in the book came from earlier manuscripts.) The patron saint of St. Endellion Church is "St. Endelienta" who was the daughter of a Welsh king named "Brechan". Some of his other daughters became saints of churches in the area such as "Menfre" of St. Minver, "Tedda" of St. Teath and "Maben" of St. Mabyn.

Endelienta, he writes, lived in a valley south-west of the church and she lived on the milk of a cow. This cow, however, strayed on to the Lord of Trentinney's "manor" (land) and he apparently killed the cow. King Arthur, who was Endelienta's godfather, came and gave the Lord of Trentinney a mortal blow but Endelienta revived him. This was of course looked upon as a saintly act.

Endelienta's last wish was that when she died her body was to be placed on a sled drawn by year-old bullocks and that her body be buried where they stopped. "They brought her to a place which at that time was waste ground and a great quagmire on top of an hill, where in time after there was a church builded on her and dedicated to her, which since proved a find, firm and fruitful part of ground".

Nicholas Roscarrock also wrote that he could remember seeing a chapel dedicated to Endelienta at Trentinney when he was a boy. (He was born about 1549.) He said in 1590 that the chapel was in a decayed state. Naturally, he would have presumed that Myrtle Grove and the woods to the east of the road belonged to Trentinney.

What you read from now on are recent discoveries and facts about Myrtle Grove along with my ideas linking the past with the present.

In 1978 a water main was being laid near the B3314 at St. Endellion. We were aware that there were slate capstones on graves in our strawberry field when the plough went to deep and hit the slates. These slates were sometimes less than a foot deep. When the trenching machine hit a slate I called in a Cornish archaeologist, Mr Peter Trugian. He and I carefully excavated this grave which was at the eastern end of the field.

The grave consisted of two rough slates covering an area of dark earth (the original grave) surrounded by yellow clay. No human remains or grave goods were found. The following two days about twenty archaeologists excavated another twelve graves, westward along the trench in our field. Unfortunately nothing of interest was found.

In the meadow, westward, three slate-lined graves were found and one of them contained bones. Then in the next small meadow four slate coffins with skeletons were found. All the graves described above are all south of the B3314. The church is on the north side of the B3314 and opposite the four slate coffins. These coffins are believed to be circa 13th/14th century and the graves in our field circa 6th/7th century.

Geologically the only area of clay on the top of high ground around St Endellion is in our field where the early graves are. It seems to me to be highly probable that Endelienta was buried in our field and no doubt a wooden shrine was erected to her. In the early Christian era the local people wished to be buried near an important person because they believed on the Day of Resurrection they would be lifted up with that person.

No doubt an earlier church existed somewhere on the south side of the B3314 with graves surrounding it. There is no evidence of an earlier church either in the vicinity of the present church or in its actual structure. In many churches one can see parts which were built in the "Norman" period.

You may remember I mentioned that the early manuscript described that the valley, where Endelienta lived was south-west of the church. The valley is actually south of the present church but if the early church was in our field then the valley would be south-west of that church.

I always thought Myrtle Grove originally looked like a chapel with three arches in the front. One over the door and the others over the windows on either side of the doorway. The single window at the back also has an arch over it. I presumed that at some time the chapel had been converted into a cottage. In 1988 we had to demolish the cottage as it had become unsafe to live in.

During the demolition I was very careful to examine every feature of the building.

Firstly, there were some purlins and rafters in the roof which had come from an earlier roof, these had holes in for wood pegs which were used to hold the timbers together. This form of construction was used up to the end of the 1500 hundreds. Also the rafters were of the type which were used when the roofs were thatched.

Secondly, the arches had never existed right through the walls. I think that the original windows would have been stone or granite mullion windows with small apertures. These would have been replaced at some time with wood-framed windows so as to let in more light. No lintels on the outer face of the wall were necessary with the stone mullion windows so when these were removed they either had to put in a wood lintel or, as I believe, a brick arch was put up to hold up the outer stonework.

Thirdly, many stones in the wall were found to have white lime-wash on one face which was in the middle of the wall. This means that the stones had been part of an earlier building.

I could never understand why the cottage has always had the name "Myrtle Grove" but in 1990, when we bought a small Myrtle tree, the leaflet with it stated that the Myrtle tree represented "Love and Immortality in ancient times". I looked up the Concordance, which is the dictionary of the Bible, and found that in the Bible in the Book of Zechariah Chapter I, it says the prophet saw a man on horseback in a myrtle grove. The man was believed to be the Messiah. In the "Henry's Bible" (the Rev. Henry wrote his exposition of the Bible) he writes, "a myrtle grove, hid from sight by the surrounding hills and you didn't see it till you came across it". This, to me, describes our "Myrtle Grove" very well, particularly if there had been a chapel there with its possible "saintly" connection.

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