The River Gannel in Cornwall, separates the two parishes of Newquay and Crantock. It is a tidal river and as the sea rushes out of the estuary it is a very dangerous place to be. At low tide when the sea is far out, a rock carving can be found in a dark cave, it is physical proof of how dangerous the sea can be.
The carving features the face of a woman along with the following lines.
Mar not my face but let me be, Secure in this lone cave by the sea,
Let the wild waves around me roar,
Kissing my lips for evermore
I wonder who this tragic beauty was and what was her story?
The legend dates the tale to the early part of the twentieth century.
In the story, a young woman was riding her horse along Crantock Beach. Unaware of the danger of the tide creeping in around her she gallops at full speed across the golden sands, soon she and her horse were cut off and swept away, both were drowned. It is said that it was her distraught lover carved the poem along with her image into the rock.
There are three Joseph Praters born in this area at this time.
1820 Crantock Joseph PRATER to Francis and Elizabeth
1822 Cubert Joseph PRATER to Samuel and Elizabeth
1860 Cubert Joseph PRATER to Nathaniel and Susan
A quick look at the census for Cornwall I find only two
NAME: Joseph Prater Age: 15
BIRTH: abt 1826 Cornwall,
RESIDENCE: 1841 Crantock, Cornwall
NAME: Joseph Prater: AGE: 12
BIRTH: abt 1859 Cubert, Cornwall
RESIDENCE: 1871 - Cubert, Cornwall
I can find only one marriage:
1846 Colan Joseph PRATER to Mary MARK
There are no other references.
So who was this Joseph Prater?
Was it his love who was taken by the cruel tides or was he just a young man fascinated with the story?
Over the years much of the image has been worn away by the sea, but the story still fascinates those who come
across the carving. With this in mind the local county council have recently paid for the inscription
to be re carved in the rock.