Today it rained. And rained. It was an awful day. And the thing is, it’s all well and good going site seeing if your car is parked outside your accommodation but when you have to walk along a dirt track and, eventually, across a beach then up a muddy hill to reach your car…well, it feels a bit much. It means you’ll be wet all day for one thing. We decided to stay in.
Speaking of our faithful hire car, here’s Freddy parked on the hill.
So, yeah, we decided to stay in. Denise spent most of the morning reading while I wrote then Skyped with Mirinda. Eventually, it was time to head for the Pandora Inn for lunch, which we obviously did.
And the specials had changed. I had a lovely bit of roasted hake and Denise had tagliatelle. There was also a fair bit of alcohol consumed, including a shot of Captain Morgan’s rum. I’m afraid I’m getting quite attracted to rum. Bloody Nicktor.
Anyway, the Pandora Inn has an interesting history. The building dates back to the 13th century. Back then it was called Passage House. From here, a ferry operated. I haven’t been able to find out where it went, but I assume it connected Falmouth to the outlying villages. Obviously, in the 13th century, the ferry would have been a simple affair. Perhaps it was operated by oars and may have been like the lighters on the Thames.
Whatever the ferry was, it was, it seems, one of the first in the area.
More importantly (I suppose) were the pilgrims that would trudge through the area on their way to St Michael’s Mount and other religious places. The pilgrims would stop at places like the Passage House in order to get fresh horses, water and food. And directions. SatNav wasn’t too good in the 13th century.
We know this about the Passage House because it was let to an innkeeper in 1468 at a rent of 8s 4d per year, his tenancy leaving lots of records regarding ferry rides in the area starting and/or ending at Passage House. This bit of the south west was a hive of activity back then. They obviously didn’t have to park their car miles from their front door.
Eventually, Passage House was renamed the Ship Inn and entertained many a fisherman and sailor under its rafters. It was when it was the Ship Inn that a chap called Captain Edward Edwards (1742-1815) may have taken it over. Or so the legend would have you believe.
Eddie Edwards was the Captain of HMS Pandora (1779-1791). He was the man tasked with bringing back the mutineers of the Bounty. While he searched all the islands in and around Pitcairn Island, he didn’t find most of them. His map didn’t have Pitcairn Island on it, so he missed it completely. He did find a few bits of HMS Bounty but no Fletcher Christian or his fellow baddies. He found a few stragglers though and prepared to return to England.
Poor Eddie then fell foul of the Great Barrier Reef back when it actually was great and not bleached white. Perhaps he would have seen it better had it been white but, he didn’t and HMS Pandora foundered in 1791.
Lots of people died on the wreck but a few (including Lucky Eddie) managed to row a jolly boat to Timor and survived. Back in Blighty, Lucky Eddie was court marshalled for losing his ship, but was acquitted of any wrong doing and made his slow, half pay way up the naval ladder. And before anyone starts feeling that Eddie was a lovely, cuddly chap, from all accounts he was as bad and cruel a captain as Bligh.
The story goes on that Lucky Eddie retired to Cornwall and bought the Ship Inn and renamed it the Pandora Inn in memory of his lost ship. There is absolutely no evidence to support this. In fact, the evidence indicates that Lucky Eddie died in Lincolnshire where he was born and he probably never lived in Cornwall.
The more likely reason for the name of the Ship Inn changing to the Pandora Inn is after one of the last packet brigs, something for which this area was famous.
HMS Pandora, the packet brig, was built in 1833 at Woolwich dockyard. She sailed out of Falmouth for many years, being used as a coastguard watch vessel from 1857. She was eventually scrapped after a long and distinguished career.
I guess the story of Lucky Eddie and his HMS Pandora is a lot more exciting than the tale of the brig, so it makes an odd kind of sense that the pub would adopt that history. I rather like the other story. Maybe the Ship Inn was bought by an unknown and anonymous captain of the HMS Pandora brig for him to serve out his retirement. He renamed the pub after the ship he loved and the Pandora Inn was born.
In 2011, the pub almost vanished when it was devastated by fire. However, after some painstaking restoration work, it was soon back, serving a grateful public.
The Pandora Inn is an excellent pub. The food is superb, the beer excellent and the staff seem to really love working there. I totally recommend it for drink or food or just shelter from the inclement weather.
As for us, we walked back, splashing through the puddles in the path along the cliff until we reached the cottage where I managed to plug a heater in for Denise to enjoy.
A restful day. Tomorrow promises to be more exciting.