Full text of "The Bonython family of Maine"
The name of Bonython* is one of the most ancient and aristocratic in the county of Cornwall, England. Its antiquity is shown in the records which tell us that they were possessed of the Bonython Manor continuously from the 14th century to the beginning of the 18th century, and the social position of the family is certified by their intermarriage with the leading families of Cornwall for four centuries.
One Simon de Boniton in the middle of the 13th century was despatched to Ireland as a royal messenger (Pipe, 38 Hen. III., Rot. I. dors), and in 1397 another Simon Bonython, with his son Gawin, had license for an Oratory within the city of Exeter. [Bp. Stufferd Reg. folio 12.]
* The pronunciation of this name is to be made by accenting the second syllable and rhyming it with " python " — Bo-ny'-thon. It means a furzy abode.
The Bonythons of Bonython were seated in the Lizard district of Cornwall in the parish of Cury,* a bleak wild track on the serpentine formation, and notwithstanding their remote situation they became conspicuous figures in the political agitations of that period which culminated in the stormy days of the Stuart dynasty. Several branches issued from the parent stock, the most opulent of which, through a fortunate marriage, became possessed of Carclew, in Mylor, and is designatad as the Bonythons of Carclew to distinguish them from the elder house which held the ancient manor.f We shall not have occasion to follow out this junior line, as the Maine family were descended from the elder branch, and it will only be necessary to state that in 1749 the Carclew estate passed out of the family by sale, as in 1702 the Bonython manor had been alienated by the elder branch.
Bonython manor is a plain substantial building with a granite front, facing the sea, which it overlooks at a distance of about two miles by the valleys of Poljew and Gunwalloe. The view from the front of the house is a most extensive one, unusually so, as most of the ancient Cornish houses are built quite on the side of the hill or in the valley. On the lower part of the estate, in a small plantation, is a group of magnificent rocks, the grandeur of which strikes the beholder at the first glance. One of these — the topmost — is named the Fire or Bonfire Rock, and is probably a relic of the Druidic religion. [Western Antiquary (Supplement), pt. iv. 204.]