Preparing for the big catch
A fisherman and his boat at Mevagissey’s inner harbour, Mevagissey, Cornwall
Some background information:
Mevagissey is a village and fishing port, which is situated approximalely five miles (8 km) south of the town of St Austell.
The village nestles in a small valley and faces east to Mevagissey Bay. The inner and outer harbours are busy with a mixture of pleasure vessels and working fishing boats, the remains of a once major industry. However tourism has supplanted fishing as the dominant industry in recent years.
Mevagissey was first mentioned in a document in 1313 (when it was known as Porthhilly), although there is evidence of settlement dating back to the Bronze Age. Towards the end of the 17th century, Porthhilly merged with the hamlet of Lamoreck to make a new village. It was named after two Irish saints, St Meva and St Issey (the "g" comes from "hag", the Cornish word for "and"). At this time the main sources of income for the village were pilchard fishing and smuggling and the village had at least ten inns, of which "The Fountain" and "The Ship Inn" still remain.
The current harbour of Mevagissey is built on the site of a medieval quay. The first Act of Parliament allowing the new port to be built was passed in 1774. The inner harbour, consisting of the current East and West Quays, was constructed from this time. An outer harbour was added in 1888, but seriously damaged in a blizzard in 1891. The outer walls were rebuilt by 1897. In 1988 the harbour was given charitable trust status. There are currently 63 registered fishing vessels, worked by 69 fishermen. Mevagissey harbour also offers tourist fishing trips and there's a regular summer passenger ferry to Fowey.
The village of Mevagissey is also home to three Cornish holy wells. The Brass Well and Lady's Well are both situated on the manor of Treleaven, the other Holy Well is within the gardens of Mevagissey House, the old vicarage.
Nowadays Mevagissey is within the Cornwall Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, which along with National Parks, is considered to be the most special landscape in Cornwall. The designation is aimed at conserving and enhancing the unspoiled nature of the whole area with two secondary aims: meeting the need for quiet enjoyment of the countryside and having regard for the interests of those who live and work there.