One of my friends on Facebook drew my attention to an excellent blog article from 2019 by The Cornish Bird about Virginia Woolf in Cornwall. While I was vaguely aware of Virginia Woolf’s connection with Cornwall and in particular with the Godrevy lighthouse, which partially inspired her 1927 novel To The Lighthouse (I’m going to have to reread it now), I hadn’t realized how large a part the county had played in her life. Nor had I realized that on a spontaneous visit at Christmas 1909, she recorded paying a visit to Trencrom hill, very close to the engine house that gives its name to this blog.
Wheal Alice and Trencrom’s Iron Age hill fort
As Elizabeth Dale says in her article, Trencrom (or Trecobben) is indeed “a place full of history and legend”: I was very aware of that when I wrote the song ‘Cornish Ghosts’, which took shape while I was doing my daily walks around and on the hill. The next time I walk to the top, not many minutes from where I’m writing this, I’ll surely think of Virginia Woolf sitting there in the mist.