Cornwall Information & Accommodation Guide

Mousehole and St Clement's Isle from the air

Mousehole and St Clement's Isle from the air

Mousehole( pronounced Mowzel) is a small picturesque fishing village centred on a charming harbour.

A cave called the Mousehole which is located nearby is thought to be one explanation for the name of the village.

Mousehole is a must for visitors to Cornwall at any time of year and during December, Mousehole switches on its amazing display of Christmas lights which decorate the harbour, town and surrounding hillside.

Mousehole is formerly believed to have been known as Porthenys (translated as harbour/port with island). St Clement's Isle lies opposite the village.

A Wild Bird Hospital and Sanctuary for sick and injured birds is located on Raginnis Hill behind the town. This charitable organisation cares for over 1000 birds each year and has a number of permanent residents. Admission is free and donations are welcome towards the upkeep of the birds.

Tradition tells that an ancient prediction in the old Cornish language stated that strangers would land on the Merlin Rock near the harbour and that Mousehole, Paul, Penzance and Newlyn would be burned.

Mousehole was sacked by Spaniards in the late 16th Century with much of the village burned to the ground.

Squire Keigwin is recorded as having fought so bravely in defence of the village that he earned the respect of the invaders and his home was one of the few buildings which was not razed to the ground.

Famous Men and Women from Mousehole

Joseph Trewavas VC, CGM was born in Mousehole on 14 December 1835 and died here on 20 July 1905. He is buried at Paul Village Cemetery.

At the age of 19, Trewavas fought with the Royal Navy in the Crimean War and was awarded the Victoria Cross for his bravery. He was the first Cornishman to receive the Victoria Cross.

Later, he achieved the rank of able seaman. He was a member of Cornwall County Council and a member of the County Fisheries Committee.

A plaque marks the house in which he was born.

His medal is housed in the Penlee House Gallery & Museum in Penzance. It is generally not on display, but can be seen on appointment.

Dolly Pentreath was an inhabitant of the village, famous for being the last surviving person to speak the Cornish language. Dorothy is buried in Paul churchyard. A memorial to her was erected in 1860, 83 years after her death by Prince Louie Lucien Bonaparte.

John Keigwin was born in Mousehole in 1641. He was a Cornish antiquary and a scholar of the Cornish language, in addition to the languages of Latin, Greek, Hebrew and French. He translated into Cornish King Charles I's letter to the people of Cornwall, written at Sudeley Castle in 1643. Keigwin died in Mousehole in 1716.

Mousehole's relationship with the sea has often been a stormy one and a major tragedy which affected the village in 1981 was the loss of the Penlee lifeboat, the Solomon Browne.

Called to the aid of the coaster Union Star on a very stormy December night, the lifeboat battled the treacherous 60 foot waves but despite their numerous courageous attempts the brave crew of the Penlee lifeboat lost their lives and there were no survivors from the Union Star.

The tragedy is remembered and every year on December 19th the Mousehole Christmas lights are switched off for 1 hour while villagers and visitors remember those who lost their lives.

To find out more about the Penlee lifeboat and the work of the RNLI please visit Penlee Lifeboat.

General Information

Local facilities include small specialised shops and galleries with many objects of local interest. There are also a number of fine pubs and restaurants.

Nearest Tourist Information Centre is at Station Road, Penzance.

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Located in West Cornwall. The streets of Mousehole are very narrow and drivers are advised to make use of parking situated on the edge of the town within a short walk of the village and harbour.

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