My favorite Cornwall town was Launceston. Ruth favored Mousehole. I can see why. It’s more of a village than a town and the kind of place where kids can ride bikes and dive into the bay without adult supervision. It has galleries selling art and little shops with tourist trinkets in their windows but no real attractions other than its history and as a hamlet to witness a slower pace in an enchanted place. Since parking is a problem, I’d suggest taking the public bus from Penzance to get to Mousehole. Once there, your feet will be enough to see all of it.
Historically, Mousehole has been around for a long time as a fishing village. In 1595 it was almost completely burned to the ground by Spaniards in the Battle of Cornwall during the Anglo-Spanish War. I spied this information on a plaque on a private residence. It stated, “Squire Jenkyn Keigwin was killed here…defending his house against the Spaniards. Mousehole was burned but the house spared. It is now the oldest in the village built circa 14th Cent.” Another historical marker said, “Here lived Dolly Pentreath one of the last speakers of the Cornish language as her native tongue died Dec. 1777.”
A century ago Mousehole was a lively commercial fishing port of narrow streets lined with shops. Today it’s known for its elaborate Christmas lights. People helicopter out from Penzance to see them from on high.
About 35 years ago the Solomon Browne, a local lifeboat, sank while trying to rescue the crew of the Union Star, a cargo-laden coaster. The Browne’s entire crew, 8 men, died. Then in 1967 The Torrez Canyon, a supertanker carrying more than 25 million gallons of oil, struck a rock and broke up off the Cornish coast. It was the world’s worst oil spill for a time and 8,000 oil-covered birds passed through the Mousehole Wild Bird Hospital. Founded in 1928, this charity is still around and opened to the public.
Mousehole is the perfect name for this Cornish destination.