The third and final episode devotes itself to examining how shipwrecks have been a serious reality for mariners and the Cornish people for hundreds of years, and how the church landmark has either stood as a helpful marker to save lives, or to facilitate illegal smuggling activities. The first scene however deals with how certain locations in Cornwall experienced shipwrecks more than others, just as certain districts have benefited from the harvest of wrecked goods. Victoria examines two particularly dangerous locations around the Lizard Peninsula in Cornwall, first walking along Gunwalloe’s Church Cove to discuss the sixteenth-century wreckage of St Anthony, a Portuguese merchant carrack that was the property of King John III of Portugal. An evocative tribute to the wreck and church is embodied through a poem, ‘Church of Storms’ written by 15-year-old Lucy Whatley last year on behalf of the heritage project. It is narrated by voice actor, Issy Inchbald, and brought to life with powerful music composed by Nerys Grivolas. What’s more, today’s methods of exploring wreck sites are captured as Victoria takes a shot at freediving with Sam Gill, Founder of Behaviour Change Cornwall, a Looe-based company that engages in active methods of cleaning local waterways and protecting sea-life. Mark Milburn, Owner of Atlantic Scuba whose enthusiasm for underwater archaeology is also discussed, showing unseen footage of parts of the Schiedam’s carronades.
The second part of the episode challenges why maritime churches have preserved the remains of broken up ships, questioning whether the display of these wrecked vessels is this a form of commemoration to the many lives lost. Lecturer and host of the ‘On the Hill’ podcast, Dr Sherezade Garcia Rangel, importantly talks of how churches and cemeteries close to the sea become the focus for commemorating the loss of those in shipwrecks, and even rescue missions, before and after the Burial of Drowned Persons Act 1808 came into being. The act meant that any unclaimed bodies of dead persons cast ashore from the sea should be removed by the churchwardens and overseers of the parish and buried respectfully in consecrated ground – a result of the wreck of the Royal Navy frigate HMS Anson in Mount’s Bay in 1807. The psychology behind collecting pieces from wrecks is another strand that Victoria taps into, looking at two very different public collections at the Admiral Benbow Pub in Penzance and the Shipwreck Treasure Museum in Charlestown. The fact that the wrecker emerged as someone who was less than human – a ‘folk devil’ – through its representation in the press, the public pronouncements of the clergy and the didactic function of the novel, is a compelling case and ties together the overarching theme throughout the three episodes about cultural constructions of Cornwall.