Saltash — Cornwall, England
Saltash is located on the River Tamar which runs through the Tamar Valley in the southeast of Cornwall, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) and a World Heritage Site.
The town, which has a population of over 15,000, is known as the "gateway to Cornwall" as it connects Cornwall to Devon by rail, road and river. Saltash is situated on the forested shore of the Tamar estuary facing Plymouth. The Royal Albert Bridge, a suspension bridge known for its height, was engineered by Isambard Brunel, and was officially opened in 1859 by HRH Prince Albert.
After the Norman Conquest in 1077 the Normans built a motte-and-bailey castle near Trematon. Saltash history commences in the 12th century, when the Lord of Trematon ordered a market town to be located at a strategic location where an ancient highway crossed over the River Tamar by ferry. After the town was founded Saltash evolved into a prosperous settlement and during the 13th and 14th centuries also became well known for ship building, and traded their vessels as far as north-east Norway.
Prosperity continued until the Civil War, 1642-1646, at which time maritime barrages by the Roundheads caused much damage to Saltash. The town changed hands between Roundheads and Royalists a total of eight times; as a result, Saltash was probably the most damaged town in all of Cornwall. After the War, Saltash was reduced to humbled circumstances with few remaining residents, creating a bleak outcome for meaningful recovery, limiting all efforts to revive their prior prosperity. However, Saltash remained an important town due to the ferry, which continued to be a major crossing into the 20th century.
After centuries of recovery, Saltash once again sustained damage during both World War I and World War II. There are two war memorials standing back to back on the grounds of St. Nicholas & St. Faith, originally built by the Normans in the 12th century as a chapel of ease. Norman work is still very much evident in its buttresses and tower as well as the blocked south door; later alterations were made in the 14th and 15th centuries. After a major restoration in 1869 the church, hitherto known as St Nicholas became a parish church (1881) and was dedicated to St. Nicholas & St. Faith. Till then St. Stephens, located a mile from the town centre was the mother church. Built in the Perpendicular style, with an impressive tower this structure also shows traces of its Norman origins.
The Town Heritage Trail has a Tourist Information Centre located in the Guildhall, a historic building from 1775 with granite Tuscan columns. There is also the Waterside Conservation Area, a popular place for water sports enthusiasts and home to a colony of mute swans. Other attractions include historical buildings, a museum and the remains of a Royalist Civil War battery located on the lane to Wearde Quay, which is a scheduled Ancient Monument. Mary Newman's Cottage purported to be the home of Sir Francis Drake's first wife is a 15th century cottage open to the public; and Churchtown Farm Community Nature Reserve lies near Saltash College. Also of interest is the Saltash community school which is reputed to be one of the finest comprehensive schools in Cornwall.Where is Saltash?
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