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Causley's Launceston

The Causley Way - a walk through his home town of


Charles Causley wrote many poems which were either directly about features in his
home town of Launceston or which were set in specific locations within the town.
If you are visiting Launceston, this walk, which is on good paths with a few
gentle inclines (Launceston is not a flat town!), will take you about one hour,
including stops to read the poems.

Download a larger version of the map

Download fuller details of the walk and the poem references here

Below are the poems which relate to the numbers on the map


(Photograph: Malcolm Wright)

Mary, Mary Magdalene
Lying on the wall
I throw a pebble on your back
Will it lie or fall?

From Mary, Mary Magdalene

This relief is to be found on the east wall of St Mary Magdalene church. It is said that a stone lodged on her back will bring good luck


Henry Trecarell sat up in bed
His face was white and his eyes were red,
‘I dreamed,’ he cried, ‘ that our son was dead!’
‘Lie over, Sir Henry,’ her ladyship said.

From: A True Ballad of Sir Henry Trecarell

Henry Trecarell rebuilt the church of St Mary Magdalene in 1531. A story goes that he purchased the elaborately carved granite stones for a house, but donated them to the church after the death of his young son.



(Photograph: Malcolm Wright)



(Photograph: Malcolm Wright)

As I went down Zig Zag
The clock striking one,
I saw a man cooking
An egg in the sun

From As I went down Zig Zag

Zig Zag is the name of a steep footpath in Launceston. It linked the town to the railway stations.


Eagle one, eagle two,
Standing on the wall.
Your wings a-spread are made of lead
You never fly at all.

From Eagle one, eagle two

The two eagles are found at the entrance to the Eagle House Hotel. The building was originally built by a local constable from the proceeds of a national lottery. The eagles are rumoured to fly by night with a full moon.

Eagle House

(Photograph: Malcolm Wright)

5 & 6


(Photograph: Malcolm Wright)

Winded, on this blue stack
Of downward-drifting stone,
The unwashed sky a low-
Slung blanket-thick with rain,
I searched the cold, unclear
Vernacular of clay,
Water and woods and rock:
The primer of my day.

From: On Launceston Castle

Mr Hector Pennycomequick
Stood on the Castle Keep,
Opened up a carriage-umbrella
And took a mighty leap.

From: Mr Pennycomequick


In the Willow Gardens
Under the castle keep
A hundred town allotments
Stand beside the steep.

From: In the Willow Gardens

The allotments have since disappeared.

Willow Gardens

(Photograph: Malcolm Wright)



(Photograph: Malcolm Wright)

Pepper and salt his whiskers,
Pepper and salt his hair,
Pepper and salt the three-piece suit
He always likes to wear.

From: Pepper and Salt

A description of a teacher at the National School where Causley himself taught for many years.


Tom and Tim the quarter boys
On the Guildhall tower
Turn and strike the quarter-bell
Twenty times an hour.

From: Quarter-Jacks

These can be found on the Guildhall above the clock face and overlooking the castle entrance.

Tom Tim

(Photograph: Don Harris)


White Hart

(Photograph: Malcolm Wright)

I saw Charlie Chaplin
In 1924
Playing golf with a walking-cane
Outside our front door.

From: I saw Charlie Chaplin

Other locations can be found in the Newport area of the town. These are not on the map.

Here we go round the roundhouse
In the month of one
Looking to the eastward
For the springing sun.

From: Here We Go Round The Roundhouse

The roundhouse is built over a broken market cross and used to be the spot where election results (often for local pocket boroughs) were announced.


(Photograph: Malcolm Wright)


By St Thomas water
Where the river is thin
We looked for a jam jar
To catch the quick fish in

From: By St Thomas Water

St Thomas water is in fact the river Kensey which flows past St Thomas church. Causley's birthplace is the white house on the left of this photograph

(Photograph: Malcolm Wright)


For more information on Launceston and its activities, please visit the www.launceston-2020.co.uk


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