by Andrew Jay
Situated in the land of smugglers, myths and legends, it’s no surprise that some of our historic holiday homes in Cornwall have a tale or two to tell. Balcony Cottage in Cawsand is no exception. Alison, who owns the property with husband Keith, has shared its fascinating story in a book which takes you from its (probable) beginnings as a one-storey fisherman’s cottage to its life now as an imposing, storied property with delightful views across the harbour and beach. It was a perfect spot for a making a living from the sea – with one family in particular who lived there from the 1700s to early 1800s enjoying the rewards from smuggling (which was definitely not uncommon in Cornwall at the time).
The men of that family had a few close calls with the law but usually got away it – apparently the house had a few secret spots for contraband, and, according to local legend, a tunnel below the hallway floor down to the beach. You won’t find it there now, but you may be able to spot the clefts in the cliffs below the cottage from the beach. Other residents have had high jinks on the ocean wave too, with one sailing on the Esmerelda as it took wealthy sightseers on pleasure trips to watch the war between the British navy and the Russians.
We don’t want to give away too much about the ‘ghosts’ of Balcony Cottage – you definitely need to read Alison’s book for that – but as the years passed by the cottage also had a saddlery business in the back yard, was home for a short while to a Major who was killed in Gallipoli, and became two flats with the top floor used for holiday letting before it was sold in 2000. Balcony Cottage was bought by the current owners, Keith and Alison, in 2007. As Keith is a marine engineer and the others all love to sail, it seems the story of the sea will always be linked to this picturesque property with its fine panelling, coving, English Delft-ware tiles and view of the waves.
Do you let your Devon or Cornwall based property through us? Does it have an unusual history or story to share? If you would like to be featured on our blog, call us on 01647 401799. Alternatively, if you’d like to request a free owner’s pack, please take a look at our Let Your Cottage page.
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