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The Pirates of Poundstock

Cornish Legends and Myths





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12 May 2009

Cornish Legends


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In the tiny hamlet of Poundstock, near Bude, lying in a secluded dell just a mile from the rocky Atlantic shore stands the ancient church of St. Winwaloe. A church has stood upon this spot for 14 centuries, and the mediaeval Guild house which stands nearby is the only surviving one of its kind in Cornwall, but despite it's charm and peaceful air, Poundstock Church harbours dark secrets and, it's said, an unquiet ghost.


In the 14th century nearby Widemouth Bay was the realm of pirates who attacked trading vessels and committed vile deeds of plunder and abduction. Ill befitting the role of church curate, gang member William Penfound apparently fell out with his unsavoury colleagues and as he assisted at Mass in the Church on December 27th 1357 a band of armed men burst into the Church. Penfound was brutally murdered and his blood splashed upon vestments and altar furnishings. Since then, it's claimed, his restless ghost has walked abroad. Later another vicar of the church was condemned to life imprisonment for complicity in murder, another hanged in Tudor times for leading a revolt against The Book of Common Prayer, and yet a third gained a reputation as a local lothario. In 1535 William Woodwarde, Parson of Poundstock was seen assisting the escape of one of his many mistresses across a wall, holding up his breeches with one hand whilst her irate husband banged at the front door!



St. Winwaloe Curch, Poundstock where many a Pirates is buried in the graveyard







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