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Penhaligons Pride 

Caernoweth, Cornwall, came into being in 2010, while I was road-tripping across a section of America, bouncing ideas off my best friend.

I’d decided I wanted to write a traditional ghost story, about an awful injustice visited on young twins Sarah and Sebastian Trevellick; the plan was to tell their story as a time-slip novel focusing on the English Civil War and a modern day family, the Penhaligons.

When I was advised against writing a ghost story, I shelved the whole idea and went to work on something else, thinking that was the end of it.

Marke Valley Penhaligon

Marke Valley Mine

But it turned out I had already fallen in love with this fictional town and its neighbouring fishing hamlet, and years later I decided to explore it a little more; to see who lived there, what their jobs were, their problems, their priorities and their secrets. Having previously written a series set in the Edwardian era I stayed there for this story, and the more the town grew, the better I understood the lives its inhabitants lead.

I discovered that this was not a ghost story after all; that Sarah and Sebastian are still at the heart of the town’s history, and their sorry tale and its repercussions echo down through the years, but troubled fisherman Matthew Penhaligon and his family have their own particular problems, ambitions, and joys.

It’s through their lives that we come to understand and appreciate the strengths and the troubles of this tight-knit community.

Caernoweth translates from Cornish as new fort, and is a mining town on the west coast of Cornwall which takes its name from the now-crumbled military fortress on the hill. The nearby fishing hamlet is Porthstennack, which roughly translates as ‘entrance to the tin lands,’ and indeed the tin mine, Wheal Furzy, plays a big part in the fortunes of several characters. Not to mention the terrible danger it poses to its workers.

Waves Penhaliogon


All of life is here, as they say!

The Tin Streamers Arms (The Tinner’s) is a hub for many of the locals, and is the scene of astonishing revelations as mysteries are unravelled and arguments fuelled, while the hotel at the top of town provides a more salubrious atmosphere. In this time of enormous social change there are small businesses; landowners; fishermen; miners; cleaners; architects; doctors; bal maidens; tanners, and many others. Watching over them all, from Pencarrack House, is the wealthy Batten family. They differ greatly in temperament and outlook, and their love for one another is complicated and not always evident, but it shines through when it’s needed the most.

So, although Matthew and Anna Penhaligon, and their daughters Freya and Mairead, are the main focus of the stories in this saga, they are surrounded by a living, breathing community that I’m curious to keep exploring... Who knows what, or who, will turn up next!

EDITOR: Look out for a fabulous competition involving Terri which will be announced on the website soon!

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