Man's beach photos prove tragic local myth is actually a true story

A man has become the first to photograph a secret cave drawing and poem dedicated to a woman which until now has only been a local myth.

Tom Last risked getting stranded by an incoming tide when he finally snapped the legendary etching inside a small cave on the far side of Crantock Beach, Cornwall, in England's southwest.

The cave was rumoured to contain a touching tribute to a mythical death.

Mr Last's pictures show a hidden poem that is carved into the wall of a cave that is only accessible at low tide.

The existence of this poem, carved into a cave in southwest England, has long been considered a myth. Source: SWNS
The existence of this poem, carved into a cave in southwest England, has long been considered a myth. Source: SWNS

The carving includes the portrait of a woman, a horse and a poem.

According to local folklore, a woman was riding her horse on the beach in the early 20th century and was cut off by the tide and drowned, never to be seen again.

Her partner, known locally as Joseph Prater, then went looking for her, and carved the poem into the wall of the cave as a tribute.

"Mar not my face but let me be, secure in this lone cavern by the sea. Let the wild waves around me roar, kissing my lips for evermore," the poem reads.

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The carvings tell the story of a woman missing after falling from her horse near the caves. Source: SWNS
The carvings tell the story of a woman missing after falling from her horse near the caves. Source: SWNS

Joseph Prater did exist; he is listed in Kelly's Directory 1930 as Joseph Henry Prater and as having lived at West Pentire, just above the cave, and working as a dairyman.

He was baptised in Cubert Church about 3km from the beach in 1860, and was the son of Nathan and Susan Prater. His father was a farm worker and it is possible that the family home was at Halwyn in Crantock parish.

Records show that in 1913, Joseph married a woman by the name of Lillie Jenkin.

The existence of the picture and poem has long been talked about by locals but only caught on film recently by Mr Last.

The carvings were found in a cave near Cornwall. Source: SWNS
The carvings were found in a cave near Cornwall. Source: SWNS
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