The beautiful village of Mousehole, is located West of Penzance. Today some 640 live in Mousehole but this number doubles during the popular holiday periods. So most people see Mousehole as just a lovely holiday destination, but there is a very vibrant and creative working scene here in Mousehole, and it also has a very colourful history…
The earliest mention of the name ‘Mousehole appears in a Latin name in an 11th Century deed – ‘loculus muris’ or ‘the place of the mouse’. An alternative name for the village is Porth Ennys or Porthennis, meaning Island Cove, Mousehole being protected as it is by St Clements Isle, just beyond the harbour wall.
When the Phoenicians came to Cornwall for tin some 2,500 years ago it was probably shipped from the port at Mousehole. In 1292 a charter was granted for a market and a 3 day fair at the harvest festival of St Barnabus. The existing South Pier was built in 1393 and during the Middle Ages the harbour was used for the embarkation of Pilgrims via St Michaels Mount en route to Santiago de Compostela.
In 1595. the Spaniards invaded the village and burned it almost to the ground – the only building left unscathed was The Keigwin Manor House, which still stands today. No part of England has been invaded since. The invasion was led by Don Carlos de Amezola, and his descendants still live in a small village that bears his name in Spain. See if you can find it! The Amezola’s still run the family vineyard and produce a lively Rioja – interesting as Mousehole was once the major port in Cornwall for importing wine and most houses had, in addition to a net loft, a wine cellar.
Following the invasion, Napoleonic Gun Batteries were erected with associated beacon and control point at Pednolva the headland lookout.
Mousehole developed into the main fishing and trading port in Mounts Bay, and with the 1804 Pilotage Act, became the dominant port for Channel pilots.
These days Mousehole relies on the Tourist trade but unlike many other seaside towns Mousehole extends it's holiday season into the Winter months with it's world famous Christmas Lights Display. Please follow the link to read more about the Mousehole Harbour Lights and their history.
Photography courtesy of Hughes Photography