Mousehole

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Coordinates: 50°04′59″N 5°32′20″W / 50.083°N 5.539°W / 50.083; -5.539

Mousehole
Cornish: Porthenys
Mousehole.jpg
Mousehole Harbour
Mousehole is located in Cornwall
Mousehole
Mousehole
 Mousehole shown within Cornwall
OS grid reference SW468264
Civil parish Penzance
Unitary authority Cornwall
Ceremonial county Cornwall
Region South West
Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Post town PENZANCE
Postcode district TR19
Dialling code 01736
Police Devon and Cornwall
Fire Cornwall
Ambulance South Western
EU Parliament South West England
UK Parliament St Ives
List of places
UK
England
Cornwall

Mousehole (/ˈmzəl/; Cornish: Porthenys[1]) is a village and fishing port in Cornwall, England, United Kingdom. It is situated approximately 2 12 miles (4.0 km) south of Penzance on the shore of Mount's Bay.[2]

The village is in the civil parish of Penzance. An islet called St Clement's Isle lies 400 yards offshore from the harbour entrance.

Mousehole lies within the Cornwall Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB). Almost a third of Cornwall has AONB designation, with the same status and protection as a National Park.

History[edit]

Mousehole, along with Marazion, was until the 16th century one of the principal ports of Mount's Bay. Before its decline as a major commercial centre, Mousehole also had a number of fairs and markets, including the charter for a market on Tuesdays, with a fair for three days at the festival of St Barnabas, granted to Henry de Tyes in 1292.[3] Mousehole, like many communities in Mount's Bay, fell within the authority of the Manor of Alverton; all early charters, fairs etc. associated with Mousehole are associated with this manorial estate.

Mousehole, like Penzance, Newlyn, and Paul, was destroyed in the 1595 raid on Mount's Bay by Spaniard Carlos de Amésquita, the only surviving building being the 'Keigwin Arms', a local pub. Outside the Keigwin Arms (now a private residence) is a plaque with the wording "Squire Jenkyn Keigwin was killed here 23 July 1595 defending this house against the Spaniards".

Twentieth century[edit]

Although a lifeboat had been available in Mount's Bay for many years, a new lifeboat station at Penlee Point, on the outskirts of the village, was opened in 1913. On 19 December 1981 the entire lifeboat crew of eight was lost during an attempted rescue in hurricane-force winds.[4] The lifeboat was moved to Newlyn in 1983 but continues to be known as the 'Penlee Lifeboat'.[5]

Since then, Mousehole has seen an increase in second home ownership and a corresponding decline in resident population[citation needed]. The village’s historic harbourside hotel, The Lobster Pot – in the 1930s a guest house run by Wyn Henderson, friend to poet Dylan Thomas – was replaced by modern luxury apartments. It was in the Lobster Pot in 1938 that Dylan Thomas spent his honeymoon, after marrying Caitlin Macnamara at Penzance register office.[6]

Mousehole hosts a vibrant variety of festivals and community activities. It is known for its Christmas illuminations, created each year to raise money for charity. Since 1981, every December 19 the lights have been turned off in memory of the victims of the lifeboat disaster. Tom Bawcock's Eve is a unique celebration held on December 23 each year to celebrate the ending of a famine in the 16th century by local resident Tom Bawcock. This festival is the inspiration behind the book The Mousehole Cat by Antonia Barber and the associated television productions. This festival is also the origin of 'Star Gazey Pie', a mixed fish, egg and potato pie with fish heads protruding through the pastry. Mousehole also holds a small maritime festival every two years called 'Sea, Salt and Sail'.[7]

Notable residents[edit]

Dolly Pentreath

Penwith is believed to be the last part of Cornwall where the Cornish language was spoken as the community language. Dolly Pentreath, the last recorded speaker (but arguably not the very last) is often reported as being from Mousehole and there is a memorial to her in the village. In fact, she was from Paul (the parish of Paul historically included Mousehole).

A year after Dolly Pentreath died in 1777, Daines Barrington received a letter, written in Cornish and accompanied by an English translation, from a fisherman in Mousehole named William Bodinar stating that he knew of five people who could speak Cornish in that village alone. Barrington also speaks of a John Nancarrow from Marazion who was a native speaker and survived into the 1790s.[8]

John Keigwin, a scholar in the Cornish language, William Carvosso, the Methodist, and Joseph Trewavas VC were also born in Mousehole.

English writer and illustrator Michelle Cartlidge lives in Mousehole.[9]

Literary associations[edit]

Charles de Lint, writer of many modern and urban fairy tales, set his novel The Little Country in the village of Mousehole.[10]

The Mousehole Cat, a children's book written by Antonia Barber and illustrated by Nicola Bayley, is also set in Mousehole and based on the legend of Tom Bawcock and the continuing tradition of Tom Bawcock's Eve.

References[edit]

  1. ^ [1][dead link]
  2. ^ Ordnance Survey: Landranger map sheet 203 Land's End ISBN 978-0-319-23148-7
  3. ^ "West Penwith Resources – Paul (Lysons)". West-penwith.org.uk. 2003-10-18. Retrieved 2013-10-15. 
  4. ^ "Solomon Browne history". BBC. 27 September 2010. Retrieved 2010-12-03. 
  5. ^ Leach, Nicholas (2006) [2000]. Cornwall's Lifeboat Heritage. Chacewater: Twelveheads Press. pp. 41–42. ISBN 0-906294-43-6. 
  6. ^ "City and County of Swansea – The 1930s". Dylanthomas.com. 2010-10-25. Retrieved 2013-10-15. 
  7. ^ "Home". Seasalts.co.uk. Retrieved 2013-10-15. 
  8. ^ Ellis, P. Berresford (ca. 1970) The Story of the Cornish Language. Penryn: Tor Mark Press
  9. ^ "Michelle Cartlidge". Mabecronbooks.co.uk. Retrieved 2013-10-15. 
  10. ^ "The Little Country". Amazon.com. Retrieved 2007-05-11. 

External links[edit]