Carn Brea

Overlooking both Camborne and Redruth and reaching up to 738 feet above sea level is Carn Brea. The carn can be seen from most high ground in Cornwall and the monument on top easily picked out. Conversely the view from the top of the Carn takes in both coasts and a good deal of the Camborne/Redruth conurbation.

Carn Brea Monument
Carn Brea Monument

What is not apparent from any distance is the size of the monument. You could be forgiven for assuming it was a simple standing stone whereas in fact it is a 90 foot high granite obelisk. The huge hexagonal column was erected in 1836 in memory of Francis Bassett, Lord de Dunstaville. The interior of the monument can be accessed by a door and is hollow with a staircase leading up to a viewing platform (allegedly - I didn't see the stairs but there is no lighting so maybe take a torch!?).

The Bassetts where the most important mining family in the area and had lived in Tehidy for over 700 years. Francis Bassett was however the first to be elevated to the nobility due to his efforts to raise an army of miners to defend the port of Plymouth from the combined Spanish and French fleets.

Somewhat of a philanthropist, Francis Bassett did a lot to improve the welfare of the miners who worked for him. He was also a patron of various other worthy causes.

Carn Brea Castle
Carn Brea Castle

When he died in 1865, 20,000 people formed a procession at his funeral and all the mines were shut. The memorial monument was built with money donated by the public (whether it was advisable not to donate is questionable!).

Another legacy of the Bassett family is Carn Brea Castle. It is suggested that it started out as an Elizabethan hunting lodge - the current form is a Victorian folly and is now a resteraunt.

Carn Brea also has associations with the legendary giants of Cornwall. It is said to be the home of the giant Bolster who when standing could put his other foot on top of St Agnes Beacon over 10 miles away!