Jan Tregagle: In Legend and in History

A.L. Rowse introduces the legendary spirit whom generations of Cornish people heard roaring in the storm-winds. Jan Tregagle proves to have originated as an unscrupulous seventeenth-century steward.

It is sad to think that the life is going out of the old Cornish legends and folk-lore. I was just in time to catch the last echoes of the traditional tales that filled the minds of our forbears, tales that had been told for generations by winter firelight while the gales blew in from the sea and roared in the chimney. On the Ups of my parents only fragments of this traditional culture remained in snatches of song, in verses and phrases. All the same, it was just not too late for me. While the present generation has hardly even heard of Tregagle, the leading figure in the Cornish mythology of the past three centuries as King Arthur was in the Middle Ages.

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