Giants loom large in the folklore of Cornwall, and legend tells that once
upon a time the Penwith area was plagued with them. Of the two most famous,
Cormoran, the wicked Giant of St Michael's Mount was eventually dispatched
by Jack The Giant Killer, but Giant Bolster is said to have succumbed to
the wiles of a saintly woman!
Bolster must have been a truly enormous figure, since he could plant one
foot on Carn Brea (the high hill just outside Camborne) and the other on
the cliffs outside St Agnes - some six miles away as the crow flies he must
have been, by the calculations of George Cruikshank, about 12 miles high.
Bolster was a bad tempered and violent brute I who terrorised the
countryside and struck fear into the hearts of ordinary folk, but he met
his match in the pious and chaste St Agnes. He fell in love with her and
pursued her relentlesly, but St Agnes wanted none of it.
Sick of his constant attentions, St. Agnes told him to prove his love for
her by filling up a hole
in the cliff at Chapel Porth with his own blood.
To Bolster that was an easy task. After all, he'd never miss a few gallons
- but St.Agnes ' knew that the hole was bottomless and led into the sea
He stretched out his arm, plunged a knife into it and lay down to wait for
the hole to fill up. It never did, of course and eventually Bolster lost so
much blood he died.
Thus,St. Agnes was rid of his
unwanted attentions but he left his mark behind. The cliffs at Chapel
Porth to this day still bear a red stain, said to be from where his blood
ran down into to sea.