The 19thC Cornwall smuggler Martin Rowe and a jolly vicar who loves his liquor and dislikes rabbits.
That in those bygone days smuggling was thought no sin every one knows. And who has not heard the oft–quoted apocryphal anecdote of the Cornish clergyman, who—when he was in the middle of his sermon and some one opened the church door and shouted in, "A wreck! a wreck!"—begged his parishioners to wait whilst he took off his gown that they might all start fair.
The following is, however, a genuine letter of the last century from a vicar in the eastern part of the county to a noted smuggler of that district:
"Martin Rowe, you very well know,
That Cubert's vicar loves good liquor,
One bottle's all, upon my soul.
You'll do right to come to–night;
My wife's the banker, she'll pay for the anker."
To the same jovial vicar is credited this grace, given to his hostess' horror at her table after he had dined out several days in succession, and had rabbits offered him, a dish he detested:—
"Of rabbits young and rabbits old.
Of rabbits hot and rabbits cold.
Of rabbits tender, rabbits tough,
I thank the Lord we've had enough."
(Courtney, Cornish Feasts and Folklore, page 91.)
Rowe is a common name in Cornwall, although it is not a Cornish name (not Tre–, Pol– or Pen), so I cannot claim Martin Rowe as an ancestor, though I'd like to have met him.
I'd like to have met the Vicar of Cubert as well, seeing as he orders his contrban in verse and might have some colorful ways of saying grace.