BOSSINEY MOUND BY MICHAEL WILLIAMS
Specially written for Tintagelweb
Legend gives Bossiney Mound a fascinating niche in the
"According to Cornish tradition," said Sabine Baring‑Gould, "King Arthur's
golden Round Table lies deep in the earth buried under this earthen circular
mound; only on midsummer night does it rise, and then the flash of light from it
for a moment illuminates the sky, after which the golden table sinks again. At
the end of the world it will come to the surface again and be carried to Heaven,
and the Saints will sit and eat at it and Christ will serve them."
We can, in the eye of our imagination, see the Rev Sabine Baring‑Gould
travelling in his horse‑drawn carriage. He would have driven over from
Lewtrenchard where he was Vicar and Squire.
The village of Bossiney grew around what is today a hump on the landscape. This
Mound, alongside the Methodist Chapel, is an ancient earthwork. We know it was a
castle, used for defensive purposes until the building of bigger Tintagel
Castle. Its architect was Robert, Earl of Mortain, a half‑brother of William the
Conqueror. From the Mound writs for the election were read and results declared.
Here too Cornishmen raised their hands to send
Francis Drake to Parliament. He
was returned as MP for the Borough of Bossiney in November 1584. For a while it
looked as if the great sea dog was going to settle down to the life of a country
gentleman with a residence at Buckland and a lodging in London for Parliamentary
sessions. But in June 1585 the sea called him once more. He sailed up the river
to the Part of London in a ship called Primrose ‑ and Bossiney was looking for a
new Member of Parliament.
The office of Mayor of Bossiney perished in 1832. The Mayor's robe though
survived for another 100 years. The last to wear it legally was Mr Thomas
There is, in fact, a charming story concerning one Mayor of Bossiney, a farmer
and no scholar. When the Sheriff arrived with
a writ one day, Mr Mayor was busy thatching a rick. Determined not to lose time,
he proceeded to read the document upside down. The Sheriff, attempting to be
helpful, pointed this out, but was promptly told:
"Sir, the Mayor of Bossiney
can read upside down if he wants."
At a personal level Bossiney Mound has played an important part in my life. On
Midsummer Eve 1965 I and three others came here on the stroke of midnight.
Common sense told us King Arthur's Golden Round Table would not appear but we
did see strange supernatural lights coming on and going out inside the empty.
locked chapel. From that night my interest in the paranormal deepened and, as a
result. 1 have written and broadcast extensively - and am today a member of the
Council of the Ghost Club Society.