Thursday Thought: Cornish Connections!

Another wonderful connection that has come from my book tour of Cornwall in July! Last week there was a comment on my website from Thomas Angear. His sisters went to school with my sisters in Liskeard! They played field hockey for Cornwall on the team my sister Pat captained. I spoke on Skype today with Pat in England (she will be 93 in a few days). She showed me her copy of that issue of The Cornish Times and she remembers the Angear sisters!

Here is Thomas’ message:

“My sister in Liskeard, Susan Trundle, sent me the article in The Cornish Times (October 2, 2015) about your book and your Cornish heritage.  We have a lot in common? I was born in Looe in 1936 to a family of builders, carpenters and Dissenting Ministers originating in East Cornwall in the early 17 hundreds.

“I had one term at Liskeard Grammar School before moving to another grammar school in the Midlands with my parents. This was followed by three years in the Army as an Instructor with the Brigade of Gurkhas in Malaya and Hong Kong.  This service also required four years in the Territorial Army as an officer with the South Staffordshire Regiment. My business career encompassed six years with Lever Brothers(1963-1969),  Warner Lambert, management consulting, and finally running my own M&A business for 25 years which I sold in 2000.

“Your sister Pat may remember my Aunt (Violet Mabel Angear) and my cousin, (Mary Angear)who were contemporaries at Liskeard Grammar. I remember Mary – who married Harry Bonson, Mayor of Looe – telling me about a schoolfriend who went to Girton!! Both Violet and Mary played hockey for the school and for Cornwall.

“From one Cousin Jack to another!”


Thursday Thought: Once a Priory, now a Grand House

Port Eliot

Port Eliot

Edward Eliot, my protagonist in The Miner & the Viscount, inherited the great estate of Port Eliot, near St. Germans in Cornwall. This is one wing of the house, with the imposing main entrance wing to the right. The wing at the left at one point housed servants but now is where the estate offices are located.

 Here the Earl of St. Germans, the present owner, is showing me around the house.
Art collection

Art collection

He is enormously knowledgeable about the accomplishments of his famous ancestors. There is a fabulous collection of paintings, including 14 by the great English portraitist Sir Joshua Reynolds.

Chapter 57 in The Miner & the Viscount tells the delightful story of a visit by Reynolds to his friends the Eliots, who were among his earliest patrons. Reynolds and Edward Eliot tell stories of their travels, Edward’s still youthful mother flirts with the artist charmingly, and Edward’s wife Catherine does her best to pry from Reynolds the secrets of his technique and his earnings.
St. Germanus Church

St. Germanus Church

To the right of the house was the church of St. Germanus, once the cathedral of Cornwall. Port Eliot was originally a priory until Henry VIII dissolved the monasteries and sold it to a layman supporter. It was eventually bought by the Eliot family, who over the centuries improved it for family use.

Round Room

Round Room

  This is part of the spectacular 40 foot diameter Round Room at Port Eliot. It was designed by Sir John Soane the great 18th century architect and interior designer. The contemporary “Riddle Mural” was painted over several years by Robert Lenkiewicz from nearby Plymouth, but not finished when he died.

Thursday Thought: More Synchronicity

Old Faithful Inn

Old Faithful Inn

Mike and Anna Parris live in Cornwall near Perranporth. They have the first copy of my book sold in America. How did that happen?

They were touring in Yellowstone Park last fall when they ran into our Kentucky friends and neighbors, Chuck and Judy Heilman at the Old Faithful Inn. Chuck had bought the first ever copy of my book, and had taken it along to read on their trip. They got into conversation with the Parrises (who are very friendly), and learned they were from Cornwall. So they gave them the book, promising to collect it this summer.

A day later my daughter, Sarah’s mother, called me and said she was touring in Yellowstone Park with a friend from England. She overhead some tourists talking and asked if they were from England. “No, Cornwall,” they replied.

“My ex-husband is from Cornwall,” she said. “Aha,” they said, “We have just been given a historical novel from Cornwall, the author is from there, called Richard Hoskin.”

Pamela replied, “Aha aha, he is my ex-husband.”

We connected with the Parrises during our book tour of Cornwall and here we are at lunch in The Miner’s Arms in Mithians. The cider was delicious! They are a most interesting couple with a big family. They have a son-in-law who lives in nearby Perrancombe. It was he who found the ancestral home of Steve Hoskin who lives in Boulder near Sarah!



Thursday Thought: More Synchronicity

Last week I told about Steve Hoskin of Boulder, Colorado, and his interest in genealogy and linking our Hoskin families. However, when we first met him he showed us a picture of his ancestral home in Perrancombe in Cornwall.

Sarah and I determined to find the house during our trip and take a photo for Steve. It was really hidden away, but we found it with the help of our new friends Anna and Mike Parris of nearby Trewellas. Where do they fit into the story? Well, I’ll tell you about that synchronicity next week.

Sarah sent the photos to Steve and here is his reply:
Steve Hoskin's ancestral  home.

Steve Hoskin’s ancestral home.

“Thank you so much for  the photos of my Grandpa Hoskin’s birthplace that was called Trusla until about 1937 when his cousins purchased it from the Duchy.
“It had been built on land leased from the Duchy of Cornwall for the span of 3 or 4 lives, and when Grandpa’s uncle died in 1933 his was the last life on the lease and it had to revert.
“It is grand that you have had such a welcome to Perranporth and environs. We did enjoy Richard’s book and the talk that he gave in Boulder.”
Like so many Cornish, the Hoskins emigrated to America to seek work in the mines. They had a blacksmith business and the first Perrancombe Hoskin to arrive in Colorado became captain of three gold mines in the Rocky Mountains owned by Belgian investors.



Thursday Thoughts: Home

Our amazing visit to my native Cornwall got me thinking about “home”. There is something about being an emigrant.

Lanyon Quoit

Lanyon Quoit

Functionally, Kentucky is home these days and a happy place to live, surrounded by friends, things to do, ways to fulfill our lives, places to go.

But there is something that draws about the place where one grow up, especially when it is as beautiful, as historic, as magical as Cornwall. The neolithic monuments to me symbolize Cornwall’s uniqueness, its mystique.

Lanyon Quoit is a striking monument in a stark setting.It was probably a burial chamber for a Celtic noble. Ding Dong mine is in the distant background.


Thursday Thoughts: The Cornish Pasty

As I continues my adventure through Cornwall, I had the opportunity to indulge in an authentic Cornish Pasty.

We asked around here in Cornwall about the best local pasty shops. Most votes were for Philps in Hayle. They have a branch in Marazion so we bought steak and potato and rutabago and onion ones there and ate them on a bench looking across to Mt. Michael’s Mount. Delicious and exciting!

By popular demand, I have a recipe for you that will satisfy your cravings for this delicious creation!

This recipe is from Pamela Season Walker. She perfected her cooking skills at the famous Cordon Bleu school near London. However, she is not Cornish. Despite this handicap I can vouch that she bakes an excellent and authentic pasty. The right pastry is all important; soft enough to bite into, tough enough stand up to handling. She writes:

Cornish-pasty-007The very best pastry for Cornish Pasties is made with half LARD and half BUTTER.
The circle of pastry was usually cut with a dinner plate, so it was large enough for the miners, hay makers or harvest reapers to have several bites from it during the day and not eat it all for one meal. Initials were cut into the pasty at one end so the owner would know it was theirs. Nowadays they are usually made smaller, even large bite size (dice the meat and vegetables much smaller).
Some Cornish cooks prefer to put finely chopped or grated fats into the flour with the water as this makes the pasty more elastic and manageable. But rubbing the fat into the flour is the usual way to do it.
The exact amount of water depends on the type of flour and even the humidity, so this comes with experience. It is preferable to have the fats really cold and hard. They can even be put in the freezer for a while and then grated into the flour.

Pasty Pastry
1 lb (450g) white flour
4 oz (100g) lard or equivalent shortening
4 oz (100g) butter
5-7 oz (175 ml) cold water
Chop or rub fat into flour.
Add water (a little less than the total amount) and mix with flour and fat mixture until it is all absorbed by the water, but not wet.
Knead lightly until it forms a ball.
Wrap and leave in fridge for 1/2 hour (or longer until ready to use).

Traditional Filing (for one large pasty):
4 oz (100g) lean beef cut into small cubes (Chuck steak, top round, flank)
2 oz (50g) onion or shallot diced (more could be added for onion lovers)
6 oz (150g) potatoes cut into small pieces
3 oz (75g) rutabaga or turnip diced (optional according to taste)
Salt and pepper

Roll out pastry to about 1/4 inch thick and cut to desired size.
Place some potato in a line along middle of circle, leaving the edges empty.
Place some onions and rutabaga (turnip) over potatoes.
Place the meat over the vegetables.
Season well with salt and pepper.
Add a few drops of water for moistness.

I egg well beaten for sealing edges and glazing.

Brush edges of circle with egg.
Join the long sides of the circle across the top over the meat and vegetables,
pressing the pastry together gently. Then fold edge from one end over and over till you reach the far end (curling the edges like a wave). The finished edge looks like a rope.

Place on well greased baking sheet or oiled parchment paper.
Brush with egg mixture.

Bake in 400*F oven for 15 minutes.
Turn oven down to 350*F and continue baking for 30 minutes.

Enjoy! Great for outdoor summer parties and picnics. The pasties can be wrapped in a towel and will hold their heat for about an hour. Delicious served with cider or scrumpy (rough cider).

There are many variations on the fillings:
Chopped parsley or Herbs of Provence
Pork, sausage, chicken

If using Gluten Free flour I would suggest using egg in the mixture to help bind the pastry.


Thursday Thoughts: A Cornwall Adventure

16876298531_9e85a3edd9_oSaturday, July 4th, Richard starts a month long journey of travels around his hometown, Cornwall, Britain. With a schedule full of book signings, appearances and activities, he will be sharing his novel with those that live in the heart of it all.

Traveling with him will be his daughter, Sarah, his partner in navigating his wild July calendar.

Not all of Richard’s trip will be business, in fact, he’d argue none of it is. His passion for the history of Cornwall and the stories within the town have propelled his novel to places just dreamed of. The activities following its publish has resulted in furthering an amazing hobby that has led to wonderful experiences that just keep getting greater.

Richard will be visiting many friends and family who still reside in his native hometown.

Lately, Richard has been finding more and more connections that have led him to meeting many spectacular people. He will continue to explore those connections during his travels, a story that is worth an enormous web of people, and places that have all made the publishing of Richard’s novel so much more than a book.

In the most unlikely places, Richard continues to find relationships between either his book or himself with another person or place. He has embraced these now common coincidences as a sign to keep uncovering the history and mystery of Cornwall and beyond!



Thursday Thoughts: Cornish Saffron Bun

I’ve been invited to talk about my historical novel at Wild Sage in Boulder. Why go all the way to Colorado? Well, I so enjoy the audience reaction when we discuss my book. The trip coincides with my visit to Denver for the Historical Novel Society conference. And the hosts are my daughter Sarah Hoskin Clymer and my son Nicholas J.C. Hoskin; they both live in Boulder with their families.

But here’s the kicker — Saffron Buns will be served. Such a treat! They are a bready mixture stuffed with dried fruits and candied peel, flavored and colored with saffron. They are different, delicious, some say an acquired taste — but  like the pasty characteristic of Cornwall.

Saffron is the dried stamens of a special crocus, plentiful in Spain. To buy it in England you had to sign the poison register. In Cornwall you just went to the chemist’s shop (drugstore). They say that when Phoenician traders came to Cornwall centuries ago they traded for tin with saffron.

Come and try some! My talk will be at Thursday, June 25 at 7:00pm MDT in the Common House, Wild Sage, 1650 Zamia Ave, Boulder, CO 80304.

Could anyone share a favorite recipe?

Cornish Saffron Bun

Cornish Saffron Bun


Who’s Who in The Miner & the Viscount?

One of the joys and, indeed, challenges of writing an historical novel is creating fictional characters and integrating them with real people from the time of the book’s events.  Interweaving real people with fictional persons helps enliven a bygone era and engage the reader in a way a dry, historical account might not.

I have my own favorite characters in The Miner & the Viscount; I wonder who yours might be.

Here is the cast of characters — the imagined and the long dead — which you can also find in the front pages of the book.

The Historic Characters

ELIOT FAMILY, of Port Eliot

Edward Eliot (1727-1804), created first Baron Eliot 1784

Catherine Elliston Eliot (1735-1804) his wife;

Edward James Eliot (1758-1797) their eldest surviving son;

John Eliot (1761-1823) their second son, first Earl of St. Germans;

William Eliot (1767-1845) their third son, second Earl of St. Germans;

John Eliot (1742-1769) younger brother of Edward Eliot

 PITT FAMILY, of Boconnoc

Thomas “Diamond” Pitt (1653-1726) East India merchant, Governor of Madras;

Robert Pitt (1680-1727) his eldest son, married Harriet Villiers (c.1680-1736);

Thomas Pitt, (1705-1761) elder son of Robert, former Lord Warden of the Stannaries, married Lucy Lyttelton;

William Pitt, the Elder (1708-1778) second son of Robert, married Lady Hester Grenville (1720-1803);

William Pitt, the Younger (1759-1806) second son of William Pitt the Elder;

Harriot Pitt (c. 1758-1786) younger daughter of William Pitt the Elder;  

Other Characters of Note:

Ralph Allen (1693-1764) Postmaster of Bath, entrepreneur;

Thomas Bolitho, merchant, investor, man of business;

Frances Boscawen (?-1805) widow of Admiral Edmund Boscawen, member of Blue Stockings Society;

Hannah More, intellectual, educator, member of Blue Stockings Society;

St. Piran (c. 6th century) patron saint of Cornwall and of tin miners;

Joshua Reynolds, portraitist, patronized by Eliots;

John Smeaton, inventor, first civil engineer, Fellow of the Royal Society;

Philip Stanhope, illegitimate son of Earl of Chesterfield, MP for Liskeard and later St. Germans, diplomat;

Reverend John Wesley, founder of Methodism;

John Williams, captain of Poldice Mine;

James Davis, Mayor of Liskeard;

Edwin Ough,Town Clerk of Liskeard;

Stephen Clogg, Councilman of Liskeard;

Thomas Peeke, turnpike witness

The Fictional Characters


Addis, a tin miner in the Poldice mine; mine captain at Wheal Hykka; Lizzie, wife of Addis;

Jedson, a tin miner and younger brother of Addis;

Jeremiah (Jemmy), his firstborn son;

Jedson, second son;

Jennifer, his infant daughter

TRENANCE FAMILY, of Lanhydrock

Baron Trenance

Sir James Trenance, his son; becomes Baron Trenance upon the death of his father; later acquires title of Viscount Dunbargan

Lady Elianor, his wife

Honorable James Trenance, their son;

Honorable Gwenifer Trenance, their daughter;

Willy Bunt, valet and footman at Lanhydrock , then worker at Port Eliot;

Mary Bunt, née Abbott, Willy Bunt’s wife and former maid at Lanhydrock;

Catherine Bunt, their daughter, goddaughter to Catherine Eliot;

Charles Bunt, their son, godson to Charles Polkinghorne;

Joseph Clymo, steward of Lanhydrock estate;

Morwenna Clymo, his daughter

Tom Kegwyn, member of a mining family, ringleader at Wheal Hykka;

Reverend Peter Perry, Perranporth, Methodist minister;

Charles Polkinghorne, man of business for Port Eliot estate.