The Countess of Bellarmine

Location

The Bodmin area. Tregarrick in the story represents Bodmin and  Castle Cannick is possibly Castle Cankye or Kernick.

Summary

The Earl of Bellarmine kills a man in London and flees abroad. On returning to Cornwall he sees a drover’s lass at the Pack-Horse Inn, near Tregarrick, and marries her. Ill-treatment is followed by love, and it is the love that the lass cannot tolerate. She orders a shay and driver from the Pack-Horse Inn and in the late evening makes her escape, only to find her husband as the ghostly driver. The shay and its passengers end in the river, where the narrator is fishing, and the occupants are drowned. The Earl prefers death to the loss of the Countess.

Lord Bellarmine is briefly mentioned in the short story ‘The Regent’s Wager’ from The Delectable Duchy. The story suggests that he was alive about the time of the Napoleonic War and lived at Castle Cannick with at least one female servant.