Morgawr (folklore)

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In Cornish folklore, the Morgawr (meaning sea giant in Cornish) is a sea serpent that purportedly inhabits the sea near Falmouth Bay, Cornwall, England.


According to legend, the creature first appeared near Pendennis Point in 1975, described as having a trunk with a very long neck and black or brown skin "like a sea lion's". Local mackerel fisherman blamed bad weather and poor fishing on supposed sightings of the monster. Some versions of the story say the monster appeared after German submarine U28 torpedoed a British merchant ship during World War I, and describe it as 60 feet long, shaped like a crocodile with four webbed feet and a powerful tail.[1][2][3]

Folklorists speculate that Cornish author Tony 'Doc' Shiels "invented" the creature as a hoax, having coined the name "Morgawr" after claiming to sight it in 1976. According to the story, Shiels sent the Falmouth Packet newspaper photographs of the monster attributed to an anonymous individual called "Mary F". The same year in July, fishermen John Cock and George Vinnicombe claimed to have sighted the creature in the waters off Lizard Point. Also in 1976, Shiels claimed to have photographed the creature lying low in the water near Mawnan. According to some anecdotes, British writer Sheila Bird claimed to have seen the monster while walking the cliffs of Gerrans Bay in 1985.[2][1][3]

The legend continues to the present day with sporadic claims of Morgawr sightings on the stretch of coastline between Rosemullion Head and Toll Point popularly known as "Morgawr's Mile".[2][1][3]

In popular culture[edit]

Boat name[edit]

The Falmouth-made reproduction of the Ferriby Boats was named Morgawr after the legendary beast.[6]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Malcolm Archibald (30 September 1998). Sixpence for the Wind: A Knot of Nautical Folklore. Dundurn. pp. 20–. ISBN 978-1-870325-57-8.
  2. ^ a b c Fred Botting; Catherine Spooner (1 May 2015). Monstrous media/spectral subjects: Imaging gothic fictions from the nineteenth century to the present. Manchester University Press. pp. 132–. ISBN 978-0-7190-9812-3.
  3. ^ a b c Tony Deane; Tony Shaw (1 March 2009). Folklore of Cornwall. History Press. pp. 55–. ISBN 978-0-7509-5652-9.
  4. ^ Peter Tremayne (1982). The Morgow Rises!. Sphere. ISBN 978-0-7221-8615-2.
  5. ^ "A Warlock in Whitby". Robin Jarvis. Retrieved 18 January 2017.
  6. ^ "Bronze Age boat reconstruction is altering archaeologists' view of era". Western Morning News. Local World. Retrieved 18 January 2017.