Two years after our first visit to this fascinating and multi-layered Manor House - and with a lot more dowsing experience under our belts - we were back.
There had been several requests for a repeat visit and 17 TDs turned out on a sunny oasis in this showery summer to make the most of the opportunity. Different people in a different time sought out the answers to different questions.
Like most older buildings, sequentially reconstructed on a similar footprint, Trecarrell has endured mixed fortunes and has hosted many personal stories.
The remains of granite column segments lie scattered amongst the trees by the entrance road, swathed in moss, like some fragments of an ancient temple remaindered in the rainforest. They dowsed not to be part of the existing Manor House, but belonged to a previous structure. Similarly, a stone arch, now in two segments and elegantly framing a rose bed, dowsed as having formerly formed part of a portico near the current back door.
The outlines of former buildings, on a different alignment to today’s residence, have left their subtle traces in the lawn.
In an adjacent field, stands the small chapel of St Mary Magdelene. This is a truly ancient sacred place, with active spiritual use dating back over several thousand years. The current structure seems to have been rebuilt, with the imprint of an earlier building now in the next field to the west.
In this field, the earth energies describe strange patterns in the grass, which could make yet another visit here a fascinating prospect – but next time with proper markers and more concentrated effort in this area. Annie felt this might once have been the site of a sacred grove in the days before St Piran brought the new word and the new way to Cornwall.
The chapel itself is an intriguing cameo of the continuity that is Trecarrell. Strong earth energies spiral timelessly through and beyond the carefully restored walls. The modern stained glass window and crucifix contrast with the historic masonry, while the transcendent sanctity of the chapel co-exists with its temporal use as a store.
There was even the suggestion that a religious artefact was yet to be discovered amongst the stonework, but not wishing to ignite any more Grail stories . . .
A strong ley - over twelve paces wide - runs through and encompasses the chapel and then across the nearby Great Hall at an angle. In the chapel field is a wide and meandering ‘female’ earth energy line, with at least five bands. We debated if this was the Mary Line, which passes through the area on its way from the Hurlers on Bodmin Moor to Sydenham Damerell on the Devon border - or maybe it is a tributary of it. The line runs through a corner of the Hall and then across the driveway to a lively Holy Well, half hidden by a quite massive Gunnera- at least someone was enjoying the sodden season.
A second well, on the same alignment, was found in the fruitful orchard, but a mixture of mud, nettles and low branches prevented us from examining it on this occasion - to discover if it, too, was a sacred spot.
Gay noted that, despite the great age of the farmstead, the remaining trees were surprisingly young. This was partly explained by her location of the oldest tree to stand on the site, which appeared to have been removed to make way for the relocated entrance. Jackie also sensed that driveway used today was not the original main entrance and that there had previously been another route, leading through what is now the garden, to a door now blocked up.
While Trecarrell is resplendent with stone structures of various vintages and energy lines too strong and too numerous to get to grips with properly in an afternoon, this homely manor is essentially about generations of people – some of whom, in a manner of speaking, are still about.
On arrival, Jackie became aware of a diminutive Victorian lady, walking up and down whilst waiting for her son to return from the war – Annie felt he might possibly have been away in India. In the chapel, Jackie sensed the bodies of two men on biers – one happy to lie there in perpetuity, the other a sad victim, having been crushed by a horse. Near the chapel she saw a Bishop, who had travelled from Truro, and who had come to perform an important marriage ceremony, linking two powerful families in the 1640s. The bride was a daughter of the family owning the house at the time – and she was very young. By the barn was the remanence of a hermit, possibly a Druid, who had lived there before the Hall was built.
Intriguingly, Jackie also picked up the remanence of an honoured guest, standing on a small dais at the noethern end of the Great Hall and preaching to a large assembly. She thought it might have been John Wesley. Several of us variously confirmed these details and, even more surprisingly, came to a tight consensus of the date of the event – April 13th 1743. While Wesley was certainly active in Cornwall around this time, and some of the former owners of Trecarrell were sufficiently staunch Wesleyans as to appear in the records of the ecclesiastical court, it would be fascinating to know if there are any records of the famous theologian having actually visited the site.
In the field next to the barn Gordon sensed there had been much summer feasting and also noted the site of a burial there. He also dowsed the location of the seat of at least one of the former Lords of the Manor in the Great Hall.
Many thanks indeed to owners, Neil and Ruth Burden, not only for cheerfully allowing us to roam around their property all afternoon, but also for plying us with tea and biscuits – and even asking us back again. It was yet another excellent day out with the TDs.
As an encore, on the way home Alan Neal repaid the generosity a little by locating a couple of wells for Neil on other sites of his - and even managed to give an impromptu bit of training to a somewhat bemused group of young people, at least one of whom turned out to be something of ‘a natural’.