History of Newlyn

The settlement of Newlyn was first recorded as Nulyn in 1279 and as Lulyn in 1290. The name is believed to be derived from the Cornish words 'Lu' meaning 'fleet' and 'Lynn/Lydn' meaning 'pool' thus translating as 'pool for a fleet of boats' which probably refers to the offshore area known as Gwavas Lake.

In its early history, Newlyn's landing rights and most property within the Newlyn area was owned by the Manor of Alverton.

Newlyn's growth is linked to its rise as a major fishing port. Its position, adjacent to the sheltered waters of Gwavas Lake, made it a popular landing site for fishermen from early times.

Newlyn harbour is first recorded in 1435 by the Bishop of Exeter. The improvements and addition of new piers to the harbour led to Newlyn becoming the major fishing port on Mount's Bay.

In 1755, the tsunami caused by the Lisbon earthquake, struck the Cornish coast.
At Newlyn, the sea rose ten feet in ten minutes causing considerable loss of life and damage to property, before ebbing just as quickly.

Before the nineteenth century, only the area around the old quay was known as 'Newlyn'. The area of the town where the fish market is situated was known as 'Streetanowan'. At high tide 'Streetanowan' was separated from 'Newlyn Town'. The lower part of area around the modern harbour is built on land that was reclaimed from the sea. It used to be a beach.

Prior to the 1890s Newlyn had strong connections with nearby parish of Paul. It was common for villagers to climb the steep route from 'Newlyn Cliff' to Paul, via the area which is now known as Gwavas, to worship at Paul Church.

Until the mid twentieth century an ancient stone cross stood on the route, at the site called 'Park an Grouse' (Field of the Cross). The current whereabouts of the Cross are not known.

It is believed that this cross was one of several sites where the Cornish sea deity Bucca, was venerated. Newlyn beach is another site

The name bucca has often been used as nick name for people resident in Newlyn.



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