The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #168780   Message #4076711
Posted By: GUEST,henryp
24-Oct-20 - 06:25 PM
Thread Name: Folklore: city that sank into the sea
Subject: RE: Folklore: city that sank into the sea
The Bells of Bottreaux

After Michael Trewin had been home from London for many weeks, word reached Bottreaux Castle that the bells had been cast, blessed, inscribed, and they were ready to be shipped. Craftsmen had inscribed in broad letters on the finest and largest bell: “Lightning and thunder, I break asunder.” They engraved another storm message on the treble bell that said, “By name I Mary called and with sound I put to flight, The thunder crackers and hurtful storms, and every wicked sprite!” The Bottreaux Bells were loaded aboard a ship called The Golden Fleece, which set sail for Cornwall. Father Aymer de Rigand, priest of Forrabury Church, did not join the celebration and when a few of his parishioners asked him why he didn’t celebrate with them, he said that he feared that the people of Forrabury Church wanted the bells to be used to out ring the Tintagel bells instead of of praising God.

One night in early autumn, watchers on Willapark Point spied the sails of a ship and most of the citizens of Boscastle hurried to the cliffs. Chief Pilot John Pentire had left home for the ship several hours before and everyone felt certain that the ship was The Golden Fleece, bringing the Bottreaux Bells home. As soon as the lookout on Willapark Point confirmed the approaching ship was indeed The Golden Fleece, the bells of St. Materiana Parish Church in Tintagel rang joyously. The Golden Fleece skimmed along the coast, while the wind blew gently and the sea shone like glass.

Aboard The Golden Fleece, Chief Pilot John Pentire gave thanks for the safe arrival of the ship and the benediction of the bells. The ship’s captain replied with swearing and blasphemy and he shouted that John Pentire should thank the good timbers and the fair wind instead of the Almighty. The Chief Pilot told the blasphemous captain to listen to the message of the bells, “Come to thy God in Time.” Robert Stephen Hawker’s poem in Cornish Ballads with Other Poems described what happened to The Golden Fleece when he wrote: “Up rose the sea, as if it heard, The Mighty Master’s signal word.” Great black clouds covered the sky, the wind whipped into a squall, and the waves tossed and tumbled and raced to the shore. The sea drove The Golden Fleece onto the cliffs of the Black Pit, and she went to pieces. The onlookers on the cliffs swore that with the sound of the surf they heard the Bells of Bottreaux chiming loudly and solemnly, “Come to thy God in time.”

Father Aymer de Rigand hurried down to the boiling sea, hoping to find survivors of The Golden Fleece. He saw a man clinging to a spar and waded out to rescue the man. The man was Pilot John Pentire who when he had recovered his senses, swore that he had heard the Bells of Bottreaux ringing their solemn message. The Bells of Bottreaux sank to the bottom of the sea, near Lord William Bottreaux’s castle, who some sources say deprived of the protection of the bells died from the Plague. Father Aymer de Rigand preached many a sermon about the sin of envy and the sudden wrath of the Almighty and many of his parishioners agreed with him enough to make no further efforts to bring bells to Forrabury Church. The church tower is still called “The Silent Tower of Bottreaux”

Robert Stephen Hawker says in his poem that when storms sweep across the bay the deep tones of the Bells of Bottreaux can still be heard in weedy caves beneath the tide. Other mystical Cornish villagers contend that at night when the sea is very calm and the wind is kind the solemn ghostly music of the Bells of Bottreaux can be heard repeating the chime that the Tintagel bells rang the day that the Bells of Bottreaux sank beneath the waves under Bottreaux Castle.