On this Day 18th April 1824

Goldsmith Dislodges Rocking Stone of Treen

In 1754 Dr William Borlase, the Cornish Antiquary, in his book Antiquities of Cornwall wrote:

Logan Rock, Treen, photo by Jim Champion,  licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported licenseIn the parish of S. Levan, there is a promontory called Castle Treryn. This cape consists of three distinct groups of rocks. On the western side of the middle group near the top, lies a very large stone, so evenly, poised that any hand may move it to and fro; but the extremeties of its base are at such a distance from each other, and so well secured by their nearness to the stone which it stretches itself upon, that it is morally impossible that any lever, or indeed force, however applied in a mechanical way, can remove it from its present situation.”

This challenge proved too much for a Lieutenant Goldsmith (nephew of the poet Oliver Goldsmith) to resist. On April 18th he was commanding a cutter in the area and with twelve of his crew decided to test this assertion. This they succeeded in doing, dislodging the rocking stone which fell down onto the rocks beneath it but not into the sea. The outcry The Re-erection of the Logan Rock from Rodda's Guide to Penzance, 1894 Edition.and dismay that followed this action was immediate, as the Logan Stone attracted many visitors to the area to the benefit of local population, and the Admiralty ordered the Lieutenant to replace the stone in its original position. He was fortunate in that Mr Davies Gilbert (Giddy), of Tredrea near St Erth, took up the cause and, as well as donating £25 towards the cost, persuaded the Admiralty to let their machinery and tackle be used to re-erect the stone. This was successfully achieved and the bore holes and remains of iron bolts used to support the equipment can still be seen. However the stone did not rock as easily as before. It is said that the cost to the Lieutenant was £130.8s 6d and in the book Penzance to Land’s End by Michael Williams and John Chard (1978) reference is made to a Bill of Costs which lists among other items a ‘most colourful entry in respect of ‘60 men of St Just who did nothing but drink beer to the value of 13/6d’’.


England’s Rivera: J Harris Stone 1912 Kegan Paul, Trench Trubner & Do Ltd.

Penzance to Land’s End: Michael Williams & John Chard 1978 Bossiney Books

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