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The Boleigh Working

This had been a trip in the planning for many months. The only real plan though was to record in a Fogou. Boleigh Fogou to be precise.

Everywhere else we got to visit was a real bonus. What an amazing couple of days we had.

The trip began for me with a drive from Blandford Forum to Southampton Airport to pick up Brian Lavelle. We have become a pair of Fogou obsessive's over the last few months after choosing Fougou as the name of our band. We decided to spell the name Fougou after T.C Lethbridge and his spelling of the word. You're much more likely to see the word spelled Fogou these days though.
It would be fair to say that Lethbridge and the promise of seeing and experiencing a real life Fogou were the inspirations for the beginnings of our musical project.

Brian and I made the journey down to Boleigh Fogou. We met Rob at Rosemerryn, our home for the next few days. Rob and Laura are really lovely people and possibly the only people lucky enough to have a Fogou in their back garden. I would highly recommend staying here if you are thinking of visiting Cornwall.
Here is a link to their website

We stopped only to drop our bags in our rooms before heading straight out with Rob to see the Fogou.
Brian and I spent the rest of the afternoon recording in there and generally just taking it all in. The accoustics in there are quite unlike any place i have heard before. The dripping water adding to the sounds we made. Other ambient sounds such as the wind or birdsong are really reduced once you step into the fogou.

Boleigh Fogou is alive. There is no doubt about that. It is a living breathing entity. I have never in my life experienced anything else quite like it and the way I felt there.

We spent hours looking around the Fogou, sitting in the creep passage, experiencing dark, so dark that we couldn't see our hands an inch in front of our faces, and enjoying being there.
The first live performance Brian and I did as Fougou was in front of an audience of spiders, some of which were big enough to look us in the eye. With red spots on their backs, they were the only audience we could see but who knows who or what else was in there during the hours we spent in the Fogou.

On the Saturday we walked from Rosemerryn to The Pipers. Two enormous standing stones just a few yards down the road from our base. These stones are enormous and quite spectacular to see and be in the presence of.

Later we visited Tregiffian Burial Chamber. This lies on the side of the road and apparently used to extend through the road that so rudely cut it in half at some stage. It is impressive to see even now and has large Cup marks in one stone. I believe this is a replica, the original cup marked stone being in a museum somewhere. This stone also faces the wrong way now, originally having faced the dead inside the grave itself. There is also a cup mark on the capstone. Easy to find and well worth seeing if you are in the area.

The Merry Maidens. One of the best preserved and most complete circles I have ever visited was our next port of call. Brian and I had the place to ourselves for over an hour or so and only saw a dog walker, a couple of girls living in the back of a van and an elderly couple during our visit. We recorded here using just singing bowls with the microphone in the very middle of the circle. I also used a pendulum in a dowsing experiment around the circle with interesting results. I had never tried this before but influenced by Lethbridge and with an open mind I gave it a go. I'm not sure what any of my results mean but it was a start.
The Merry Maidens on an early March morning in Spring were a real joy to behold.

On Saturday afternoon we drove over to Carn Euny and again we were lucky enough to have the place to ourselves for a couple of hours. So we visited another Fogou, and took in the whole place, which is simply incredible to see. How on earth this place has survived so long is amazing to think about. The Fogou here is quite different to Boleigh. Bigger and more extensive but more sanitised and museum like in its reconstruction and preservation. Even so this is still a fascinating and compelling place to be.

The creep passage here is open to the grounds surface and the temptation to pass through it was too hard to resist. However, I chose not to go down the creep as presumably was originally intended. To do this would have had me spill out into a heap at the bottom covered in mud. Instead I decided to crawl upwards out of the main chamber. It was quite a squeeze, and I had to scrape my way though, catching my back on the stones above me before entering the light at the end of the tunnel and being free again.
Carn Euny is high up on a hillside but surprisingly secluded and sheltered from the wind, at least it was on this visit.

On the way back we had a good view of St Euny's Well . This was a nice spot but spoiled somewhat by a large metal grid.

Next was a visit to Boscawen-Un. We approached the circle and saw people in the circle. As we got closer it was clear that they were dowsing with rods. We entered the circle and I asked the man in front of me if he was having any luck with the dowsing. He told me "Yes, It's always good here, would you like to try?". To which I said "yes", and so it began. I walked towards the center of the circle from the large Quartz stone, I was told to slow down and hold my hands further apart, making sure that the rods pointed downward away from me slightly. Almost alongside the large leaning stone the rods both turned in my hands. How very odd, and very exciting this was. When I walked across the circle towards the leaning stone (now leaning towards the left) I experienced the rods turning to the left alongside this center stone., completely in line with it. I had other results too with the rods turning in towards certain stones at different points. The Quartz stone was quite different though with the rods just moving freely in my hands when I stood by it. Why? Was this some kind of mental suggestion? Or perhaps it's something to do with magnetism, my body the conductor and the rods the indicator? I'm not sure what it all means yet but something happened and despite common sense and a certain amount of skepticism I experienced results. Have I been reading too much Lethbridge or is this the beginning of something I should explore further?
I must say that I loved being in this circle, a fantastic place in so many ways.

Saturday ended with another visit in complete pitch darkness to Boleigh Fogou.

On Sunday morning the rain and mist had set in and enveloped the whole of the Land's End Peninsula.
Undeterred we decided to go and find Men-An-Tol.

Even though a nice lady walking her dog had pointed us in the right direction, we still missed Men-An-Tol completely at first.
So our next stop was at Lanyon Quoit. An amazing structure and shelter from the rain for a little while, then onwards…

Mud rain and mist, my friends, we feared them not.

Reaching Men-An-Tol was a joyous experience.
I first set eyes on Men-An-Tol on a postcard I received from Julian Cope / Head Heritage. It was printed with a black and white photo of Men-An-Tol taken by Julian Cope on one side, with printed news of a new band called Queen Elizabeth on the other. Years later I was there, looking at Men-An-Tol in real life.
Before too long I was crawling through the hole, the wind, mud and rain all cheering me on. And so ended The Boleigh Working.

St Euny's Well — Images

<b>St Euny's Well</b>Posted by texlahoma<b>St Euny's Well</b>Posted by texlahoma

Carn Euny Fogou & Village — Images

<b>Carn Euny Fogou & Village</b>Posted by texlahoma<b>Carn Euny Fogou & Village</b>Posted by texlahoma<b>Carn Euny Fogou & Village</b>Posted by texlahoma<b>Carn Euny Fogou & Village</b>Posted by texlahoma

Boscawen-Un — Images

<b>Boscawen-Un</b>Posted by texlahoma<b>Boscawen-Un</b>Posted by texlahoma

Tregiffian — Images

<b>Tregiffian</b>Posted by texlahoma

The Pipers (Boleigh) — Images

<b>The Pipers (Boleigh)</b>Posted by texlahoma<b>The Pipers (Boleigh)</b>Posted by texlahoma<b>The Pipers (Boleigh)</b>Posted by texlahoma<b>The Pipers (Boleigh)</b>Posted by texlahoma

The Merry Maidens — Images

<b>The Merry Maidens</b>Posted by texlahoma<b>The Merry Maidens</b>Posted by texlahoma<b>The Merry Maidens</b>Posted by texlahoma

Men-An-Tol — Images

<b>Men-An-Tol</b>Posted by texlahoma<b>Men-An-Tol</b>Posted by texlahoma

Lanyon Quoit — Images

<b>Lanyon Quoit</b>Posted by texlahoma<b>Lanyon Quoit</b>Posted by texlahoma

Boleigh — Images

<b>Boleigh</b>Posted by texlahoma<b>Boleigh</b>Posted by texlahoma<b>Boleigh</b>Posted by texlahoma<b>Boleigh</b>Posted by texlahoma<b>Boleigh</b>Posted by texlahoma

Tregiffian — Folklore

It was previously thought that treasure was buried under the monument, and digging over the years certainly weakened the foundations and probably contributed to its collapse.

Cornish Ancient Sites — Links

This is a web leaflet about Carn Euny you can download as a PDF

Boleigh — Miscellaneous

"In the middle of this barton of Trove on the top of a hill is still extant the downfalls of a castle or treble intrenchment called … , in the midst of which is a hole leading to a vault under ground. How far it extends no man now living can tell by reason of the damps or thick vapours that are in it, for as soon as you go an arrow flight in it or less your candles will go out or extinguish of themselves for want of air. For what end or use this vault was made is uncertain though it is probable it was an arsenal or store house for laying up arms ammunition corn and provision for the soldiers of the castle wherein it stands. In the wars between Charles I and his Parliament divers of the royal party pursued in the West by the Parliament troops under Sir Thomas Fairfax were privately conveyed into this vault as far as they could proceed with safety, where Mr Leveale fed and secured them till they found opportunity to make their escapes to the king's friends and party."

William Hals
texlahoma Posted by texlahoma
30th March 2010ce
Edited 31st March 2010ce

Comments (10)

This is a really inspiring blog; I felt quite excited while reading as I will be walking in your footsteps next month when I head down that way. Rosemerrynwood sounded like a perfect place to stay but I've opted to use Penzance as a base so I can travel out from there. I hope you don't mind, I will make some notes from your blog so I don't miss anything - in fact your blog is a helpful intinerary.

Great photos too, Boscawan-un will probably be the first place I head for.
tjj Posted by tjj
30th March 2010ce
tjj thanks for your comment, I really hope you have a wonderful trip. I'm sure you will! texlahoma Posted by texlahoma
30th March 2010ce
Fantastic blog post, Matt. Such an inspirational weekend! brianlavelle Posted by brianlavelle
30th March 2010ce
Hi Matt

I read this yesterday and thought it to be THE most TMA posting I've seen in a very long time! SO true to the spirit of the site... Perfect - thanks for that, matey!

We've been to Boleigh Fogou on a number of occasions. Such a friendly place, but I still find there's something eerie about them. Is Rob still in residence in the big house? The cottage in the grounds looks like an amazing place to spend a holiday...

I see you visited St Euny's Well - I wonder what the grid's all about? I've not been in a while but the grid wasn't there last time I popped by... Probably had some cattle fall in. Or people! There's some cracking wells around there, but don't get me started, eh? ;)

G x
goffik Posted by goffik
31st March 2010ce
Hi Goff,

I thought of you when we were at that well. In fact you always spring to mind whenever i find a well! Such is your influence and passion about these places. It's quite infectious.

Rob is still in the house, and a really nice guy. I would love to live in that house it's wonderful in so many ways.

I know what you mean about the Fogou, there is something really different about them than any other place i've been. Boleigh in particular has a very unique feel to it.

I think the grid at St. Euny's is just placed there, i don't think it is attached at all, so could probably easily be removed. I suspect it is just to stop animals or people falling in. It was quite overgrown around it, and i can imagine it being a bit dangerous in the dead of night if you weren't aware of the well being there.

Really glad you enjoying reading about our adventures, we must meet up again sometime this summer!

texlahoma Posted by texlahoma
2nd April 2010ce
I'm flattered! :) I do love a good well, me! As you may have gathered...

It'd be criminal if we didn't meet up this summer, being as we're not a million miles from each other! It's been far too long... We'll get our heads together and come up with summat! (There's always the Megameet, if we can't think of owt before then!)

RE the well - it's on a (frequently muddy) bridle path, so yeah - I imagine that, when it's getting dark, it might be a bit of a trap for horse riders and walkers alike... I don't think there's any livestock on that particular stretch (but may be wrong). At least it's still accessible. :) There's the slightly more overgrown well on the other side of the bridle path too - was that visible? It's not such a structure as the one you photographed - more just a hole!

I did say not to get me started, didn't I? ;)

Hope all is good with you and your new(ish)found fatherhood!

G x
goffik Posted by goffik
2nd April 2010ce
Hi Goff,

I think the well on the otherside must have been so overgrown i walked straight past it. Ah well, there's always next time.

The Megameet or before then!

I look forward to it.
texlahoma Posted by texlahoma
2nd April 2010ce
"Spring to mind" ?? You should be ashamed of yourself Texlahoma. Get your coat immediately.
Very interesting blog though :)
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
3rd April 2010ce
Bad pun i know but i do like to put a spring in Goffs step.
texlahoma Posted by texlahoma
4th April 2010ce
Thanks for providing this informative article which will be effective to know the effective ideas from this post…
With Regards
Jayson Wilson
Senior Administrator
Posted by Jayson Wilson
19th April 2010ce
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