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Varfell is a hamlet situated in Ludgvan Parish west Cornwall. It was recorded as ‘Varwell’ in 1568 after the 16th-century Varwell family. The hamlet was the ancestral home of the famous Cornish chemist, Sir Humphry Davy 1778 to 1829, inventor of the miners’ safety lamp.

Varfell Farm is the world’s largest producer of daffodil bulbs and until recently was home to the National Dahlia Collection, where it enjoyed a long and successful growing period of over 20 years under the management of Mike Mann with the help of Dahlia breeder Mark Twyning.

Varfell and its daffodil farm

The nearby Giant’s Grave linear earthwork may be an early medieval linear earthwork and is comparable with both the Bolster Bank in St Agnes parish and the Giants Hedge, which runs from Lerryn to Looe.

This earthwork has borne the name for many years as the Tithe Award refers to it as an `ancient road called Giant’s Grave’.

It consists of a bank up to 10 feet high, but is sadly much mutilated by agricultural activity. At one time there was a ditch on the south side. It has been proposed that this may the best surviving section of an earthwork that ran from coast to coast, effectively isolating the Penwith peninsula.

Excerpt from 1888 OS Map Cornwall LXVIII.SE

A large circular mound just over 50 feet in diameter is visible as a cropmark on aerial photographs in a field east of Varfell. The date and function of this feature is unknown. It may be an agricultural feature, post-medieval in date.

Toponymy by the late Craig Weatherhill.

With thanks to Myghal Map Serpren.


February 2022

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