THE LOVEDAY FAMILY - BACKGROUND
             
Books

Bibliography

Reviews

About the Author

Tips on writing

Contact me

Home

 

The setting: Cornwall 1786 - 1800 The period is as turbulent and dramatic as the sweeping seascapes of the setting for the series. Who has visited Cornwall and not been touched by its beauty and mystery? Or been inspired by its history or folklore. Secret sandy coves speak of ancient days when smuggling was the only way many families could survive through a harsh winter when the fishing fleet failed. The granite cliffs buffeted by stormy seas tested many a proud sea-captain to the limits of his skill against the elements - and many lost their lives when their ships floundered on the rocks. The vast moors with their heritage of ancient standing stones is the mystical heritage of all mankind. The courage of King Arthur and the legacy of Merlin is steeped in this beautiful county.

Cornwall was famous for its tin mines but the LOVEDAY series brings to life another prolific industry of the time- that of shipbuilding. Competition was fierce amongst the family run boatyards producing fishing sloops and dinghies. Adam Loveday had a vision to expand the Loveday yard at Trevowan Hard and with a keen eye for design and an expertise on sailing ships during his time in the navy, he designed a brigantine and a cutter both of which were renown for their speed and performance. Small shipyards still exist in Cornwall today.

Lives of the fishermen of Cornwall was hard and when the catch failed the only way to keep your family from starving was to risk your freedom and your life by joining the local freetraders (smuggling tea, brandy, silk and lace). Taxes on these items were high and the trade was profitable. Many of the smugglers were ordinary men with little choice to engage in such a dangerous double-life. Often their leaders were ruthless and cruel and ruled the gangs through fear. Harry Sawle, the brother-in-law of St John Loveday, was such a smuggler. Many men who crossed him ended as food for the fishes in the Cornish waters. He dragged the Lovedays into his web of intrigue and deceit putting their lives in danger. Even the stalwart Edward Loveday, father of Adam and St John and an honourable man and respectable pillar of society, cannot escape the consequenes of the trade.

This period in history was a turbulent one. The French Revolution bought danger to Adam Loveday's cousins Lisette and Etienne Riviere living in France. Adam became involved with the British government as a spy during this time, rescuing émigrés from the Terror. The later war with France would bring many members of the family into danger and imprisonment.

Our English King was declared mad and political intrigue brought discord to our shores. Smuggling was a way of life for many including the Lovedays and in times of war, any captain with his own ship could be granted license to become a privateer and seize enemy ships. A calling well suited to Adam Loveday and his thirst for adventure and need for financial security.

In London a criminal underworld flourished and into this was drawn Japhet Loveday - a loveable rogue with a fascination for danger. Inevitably his gaming debts drive him to highway robbery and the dire consequences of so hazardous a life. The London theatre thrives at this time and Thomas Mercer, cousin to the Lovedays, becomes a playwright.

Life with the Lovedays is not confined to England and France. America has won its independence but the Lovedays have connections in Virginia and the new penal colony in Australia becomes the residence of one Loveday who took a chance too many.

Homes of the Lovedays:

Trevowan The Loveday family home. Built high on a cliff overlooking Trevowan Cove and a mile from the village of Penruan where the Lovedays own several cottages rented by fishermen. Home to Edward and his wife Amelia. Edward's unmarried elder sister Elspeth and his naval captain brother William. Adam and St John live in Trevowan house until they marry.

The Dower House on the Trevowan Estate. On his marriage St John moves to the Dower House with his wife Meriel.

Mariner's House at the shipyard at Trevowan Hard, became Adam's home after he married.

Trevowan Hard Situated on an inlet of the River Fowey a few miles upriver from Fowey. The shipyard has a dozen cottages to house the shipwrights and their families, a kiddlywink (a pub/general store) provisioned by the Lovedays for the use of the workers, a schoolhouse, forge, carpentry sheds, Edward's office and a dry dock and a landing stage.

Boscabel A ruined Elizabethan house and estate purchased by Adam. He repairs the house and struggles to make the estate prosper to rival Trevowan his childhood home that he loves with an abiding passion. But despite its glory and all Adam's achievements Boscabel will never replace Trevowan in Adam's heart. And when the dissolute St John inherits his beloved home and his wastrel ways bring Trevowan ino dispute and close to ruin, the old rivalry intensifies between the twins.

Penruan is a fishing village and harbour a mile from Trevowan. It is the home of the notorious Sawle family and Thadeous Lanyon both adversaries of the Loveday family. The lives of many of the villagers are interwoven into the Loveday series.

FAMILY TREE             top            LOVEDAY NEWS