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Lostwithiel — Cornwall, England

Lostwithiel was founded by the Normans approximately 800 years ago for the purpose of exporting tin. The Fowey River was wide and deep helping to make Lostwithiel the second busiest port on the south coast of England.

LostwithielBy the 13th century it was considered to be the capital of Cornwall. The town flourished until the River Fowey silted up from the tin mines, eventually restricting the size of the vessels that were able to use the quay. The town is located in a beautiful wooded valley at the River Fowey and being centrally located, it is within easy access to both coasts of Cornwall. Additionally, Saint's Way Trail, also known as the Mariners' Way passes through this beautiful countryside; and the river runs through the town which is well known for its many antique shops, its easy access to the Eden Project, and other points of interest. In addition to antiquing, one can visit in May when the Lostwithiel Festival takes place as part of the week-long Daphne du Maurier Festival.

At present Lostwithiel utilizes part of the historical Duchy Palace buildings, where long ago the Stannaries and the Public Convocations were held, to house the local Masonic Lodge, a printer's, and the antique shops for which Lostwithiel is known. The original Palace was a large complex of buildings which has since been sold off primarily for private ownership. Duchy Palace was not actually a palace but rather a Great Hall modeled after the Great Hall of Westminster, circa 1280. According to the records, Lostwithiel's "Great Hall" was completed circa 1300, and was thereafter referred to as Duchy Palace which was befitting for the grandest complex in the Duchy during that era.

One of the oldest bridges still in existence in Cornwall is Lostwithiel Bridge dating back to the 1200's. The exact date of construction is unknown; however the western arches of the bridge classify it as l3th Century. One of the earliest references to Lostwithiel Bridge was made by the Bishop of Exeter in 1314; and another by Edward, the Black Prince giving instructions in 1357 for the bridge to be repaired. During the reign of Henry IV, a wealthy merchant, Walter Wooley, arranged for the leasing of lands with the revenue to be used for maintaining both the old bridge, and the Church of Bartholomew.

The Church is dedicated to St. Bartholomew, Patron Saint of Tanners. The foundations are believed to be from an earlier Church built circa 542, and it is believed that Robert de Cardinan began the work of building the original St. Bartholomew's on the old foundation in the year 1190. An outstanding feature of the Church is the Lantern Spire, a Breton influence, circa 14th century; and the great eastern window is one of the finest in Cornwall. At one time the arches below the Spire were open with a right of way through the tower, but was closed during the restoration in the late 19th century. Two of the oldest antiquities are a monument to memorialize Tristram Curtys, a Parliamentarian who represented Lostwithiel from 1419-1421; and the Pentewan stone font, circa 13th century, dating from the reign of King Henry III. Part of the Church's history even includes occupation by Parliamentary forces during the Civil War, whereby they stabled their horses in the Church.

Due its size and age, revenue for maintenance and repairs are continually in a shortfall, giving rise to The Friends of St. Bartholomew Church (FOSB) whose sole aim is fund raising to ensure that the Church will not fall into disrepair.

Where is Lostwithiel?

Lostwithiel is located in Cornwall, England, on the A390 between Liskeard and St. Austell. The nearest populated areas include Bodmin to the north and St. Austell to the south.

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