Carn Galva

Cornwall Information & Accommodation Guide

Carn Galva dominates the skyline in this area of the Penwith Moors.


HOLIBURN, according to tradition, was a very amiable and somewhat sociable gentleman; but, like his brethren, he loved to dwell amongst the rocks of Cairn Galva. He made his home in this remote region, and relied for his support on the gifts of sheep and oxen from the farmers around--he, in return, protecting them from the predatory incursions of the less conscientious giants of Trecrobben. It is said that he fought many a battle in the defence of his friends, and that he injured but one of his neighbours during his long lifetime. This was, however, purely an accident. The giant was at play with the human pigmies, and in the excitement of the moment, being delighted at the capital game made by a fine young peasant, he tapped him on the head, and scattered his brains on the grass. I once heard that Holiburn had married a farmer's daughter, and that a very fine race, still bearing a name not very dissimilar, was the result of this union. Holiburn, like his brethren, was remarkably fond of quoits; indeed, go where we will within the Land's End district, the "Giant's Quoit" is still shown. Other--shall we call them household--relics of the giants occur. From Cairn Galva to Zennor we find a series of "Giant's Chairs;" and, careful to preserve each remarkable relic ot this interesting race, here is also the "Giant's Dinner-plate." That St Ives, too, was not without its giant, although the record of his name is lost, is evident from the fact that a tooth, an inch broad, was taken from a "Giant's Grave."

"Somewhere amongst the rocks in this cairn is the Giant's Cave--in ages long gone by the abode of a giant named Holiburn."--HALLIWELL. Mr Halliwell was fortunate in securing a name. I have often heard of the giant in question, but I never heard his name.

The following extract from a note written by the late Zennor postman and poet, shows how enduringly the giants have left their names on the rocks of Cornwall:--.

"Some districts in Cornwall were said to have been peopled in olden times by giants, and even Zennor district possesses the largest quoit--three Logan rocks--whilst Trecrobben Hill still exhibits the bowl in which the giants of the west used to wash. The large granite boulder near to the residence of the Rev. Mr S--, curate of Morva, is said to be the Giant's Dinner plate. Farther down the hill, and hard by the Zennor vicarage, the Seats of the giants are still shown by the inhabitants, Indeed, so strong is the belief that giants inhabited the hills of the west, that a young lady in this neighbourhood essayed a month or two ago, to deliver a lecture, or address, on the subject, taking for her text, 'There were giants in those days.' But the giants were not immortal; colossal as were their frames, they too had to 'sleep with their fathers.' Whether Jack the Giant-killer took any part in ridding the earth of this wonderful race of men we cannot positively state; but thus much is certain, the giants were succeeded by a numerous race of small people, and so small as not to be observable by the eye."

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