What Might This (Camborne) Structure Have Been ?

Ranger is the Historian for this website. He can stand on the edge of a meadow, or the banks of a stream, and see the long–gone structures of the 18th century. As for me … I need more of a hint. And “more of a hint” was what I got while exploring a backroad near Ranger’s Home town of Camborne recently.

We all take for granted, that which is common-place to us. I was born and raised in Toronto. But I rarely saw the sights until I left the city, only to return later with friends to see it through the eyes of a visitor. A tourist, in my own Home town.

Ranger and I were checking out the progress on the Camborne bridge (watch for Ranger’s write-up on it’s history soon) when he says “I’ve been meaning to go up that road for a long time now. It’s got a name on a sign, so it must be meant to be driven on” he reasoned. As usual, I was more than willing to twist the wheel and head off-road. However, as we climbed the steep hill on the single lane “road” I became a tad concerned about the possibility of on-coming traffic.

I was reassured by Ranger’s story about how he used to “house-sit” for the people up the hill when they went on holiday. Then, with some further questioning on my part it occurred to me that he was talking like, around 1961. “So these people are still around … right?” I inquired. “Oh, well, I’m sure their kids would remember my name” he slowly answered/pondered.

As previously mentioned, I was born and raised in a place where, if I returned 50 weeks later, much less 50 years later, I might well be viewed as more of a target, than some guy, somebody, used to know. But on our return descent of the hill, I couldn’t help but stop and quickly study this :



Ranger told me no one knew for certain, exactly, what it was, even during his childhood. He’d always surmised it was a Smithy. There were stories about how it had a structure over it at some time in the distant past. However, the “road” winding past it had seen a lot of change over the decades during, and before, Ranger’s time. Just look at the drystone construction. The stones making the curved archway aren’t cut, they’re natural. Someone worked very hard, and very well, to build this … possibly a century ago.

It’s built into the side of the glacial drumlin with care, and was obviously meant to last, but what was it’s function ? A Smithy ? I can’t see how a blacksmith could’ve generated sufficient heat with the visible stonework. I thought it looked more like a bakery, and that prompted Ranger to point out that old estates often had “out-kitchens” where the baking and cooking was done to reduce the “in-house” heat sources. But even that doesn’t seem to answer the question as I look at it again.

I’m hoping we have a reader or two who might’ve seen something similar to this, and can help explain it. Otherwise, any ideas from anyone would be muchly appreciated.


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