Friday 23 September 2011

Libra, The Scales of St Cleer

The scales are an analogue device that measures continuous information in an infinite number of possible values. The only limitation on resolution is the accuracy of the measuring device. By contrast, a digital system is one that uses discrete values, representing numbers or non-numeric symbols such as letters or icons, for input, processing, transmission, storage, or display.

The scales lie around Rosecraddock and close to the Wheal Tor Inn, the highest inn in Cornwall. The handle of the scales is formed by the road that runs from St Cleer through Tremar Coombe past Polwrath to Darite. From the church at Darite, through Crow's Nest to Higher Trethake runs the cord that suspends the northern scale which is formed by a system of fields on Fore Down. Below the northern Scale lies Newton Farm, this reminds us of Newton's discovery of gravity as the force that works the scales. The process of weighing is suggested by hamlet immediately below the scale, known as Wayland. The cord which suspends the southern scale is formed by the road that runs from St Cleer Post Office across St Cleer Downs, past the water works. The southern scale itself is formed by a complex of fields enclosing Trenabe and Treneath.

St Cleer is one of the larger Cornish parishes and has been inhabited for more than 6000 years. The village has two public houses, a post office and a general store. For thousands of years metal ores have been dug from the ground in this parish, first tin ores from open works and later copper ore from deep mines. In the nineteenth century 3000 men, women and children were employed in mining, a boom that led to the building of new villages like Darite and Minions. St Cleer Well, sanctified by St. Clarus, was said to cure insanity and blindness when a patient was ducked in the water.