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24 September 2014

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You are in: Cornwall > Coast > The Killigrews of Falmouth

Killigrew Monument

The Killigrews of Falmouth

Stage two of our online walk through Falmouth brings us to the Killigrew Monument, just across from the National Maritime Museum. On this page you will find out more about the strange pyramid in the town.

Point two of our walk studies the strange pyramid monument in the town.

This obelisk is a monument to the family that made Falmouth - but it also tells the story of piracy, greed and ambition.

The Arwenack House Restoration

The restored Arwenack House

For as long as there are records of the town, the Killigrews were the power behind it. During the 16th and 17th centuries the family seemed to have it all.

Peter Killigrew was persuaded by King Charles II to make the town the Royal Mail Packet Station, where letters and gold bullion were sent from around the world, bringing wealth and influence to Falmouth and the Killigrews.

One of Peter’s closest relations Mary Killigrew  lived in Arwenack House near the pyramid. But she had a less salubrious way of getting cash.

Arwenack House

Arwenack House sign

Mary was one of Cornwall's most notorious pirates, on sea and land, and would take in sailors, before getting them drunk, slitting their throats and stealing their money.

Today Arwenack House has been restored and stands near the pyramid.

Everything came to an end in the 18th century. Peter's son was killed in a duel. His son-in-law Martin took the Killigrew name  - but he had no heirs, and that was the end of the Killigrews. 

Boats on the water

Boats on the water near the monument

Except for the monument – which Martin commissioned. Strangely, there are no markings on it at all. However closely you look at it, you won’t find any hint as to what it is really for.

Perhaps the answer lies within.

Local gossip has it that there are two glass bottles inside the monument, last seen when the obelisk was moved in the 1830s, containing something - perhaps a clue as to what Martin wanted you to think while you look at his monument.

Now head to the main road. Keep walking into town passed Trago Mills on your right. Soon after you will see a sign for Custom House Quay on a wall in front of you. Turn right down the hill into the quayside. This is the next stage of your walk.

last updated: 04/03/2008 at 10:13
created: 13/07/2005

You are in: Cornwall > Coast > The Killigrews of Falmouth



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