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A Brief Time line of Penzance

1014 Mount’s Bay inundated by a “mickle seaflood” Tidal wave when many towns and people were drowned.

1099 The Bay again inundated by the Sea.

1313 First quay

1322 Records show eight fishing boats each paying 2 shillings per annum to the Duchy of Cornwall.

1425 Penzance boats began carrying pilgrims to the shrine of St James of Compostella in North Spain.

1512 Mar. 16. Charter from Henry VIII. granting profits from all ships visiting the harbour.

1514 Marazion burnt by the French.

1537 August. Naval Engagement in Mount’s Bay between the French and English.

1578 Town visited by plague.

1595 July. Spaniards landed at Mousehole, and burnt part of Penzance.

1630 Penzance Quay Dues let for £21 (earliest recorded date).

1634 Turkish Pirates infest the coast. [“Turk” was a description of any raider of Moorish or North African origin]

1642 The Mount seized by Charles I.

1646 & 1648 Town sacked by the Parliamentary soldiers.

1647 Town again visited by plague.

1656 Penzance Quay dues let for £25 per annum.


1714 Penzance issued with its Charter of Commerce granted by King James I

1740 Battery built on rocks near the Old Quay, protection from invaders from the sea.

1760 Pirates visited Penzance.

1766 Old Pier built. Extended in 1785, in 1812 and in 1853

1779 The Mount Batteries fire on Pirate Ship. The last Engagement in the Bay.

1795 First Lighthouse on the Longships erected.

1815 Oct. 19. Capstone (weighing 3 tons) of Lanyon Quoit, Madron, blown off in a gale of wind. Replaced in 1824.

1817 Jan. 20. Great Storm and extraordinary High Tide. Much damage (£5,000) done to the Quay, Shipping, Boats, Houses etc.

1825 The first steamer came into Penzance Harbour. First Lifeboat stationed at Penzance. Since then seven other Lifeboats have been placed here, and 167 lives saved. Closed 1917.

1851 Mary Kelynack, an old Newlyn fishwife, walked from Penzance to London with her fish cowl on her back to see Queen Victoria who accepted ½-lb. Of Tea from her as a present from Penzance.

1854 Nov. 18. Newlyn Fishing-Boat, “Mystery,” sailed to Australia.

1860 By 1860 over 692 shipwrecks were recorded off the south west's dangerous coastline

1861–69 Lighthouse prepared at the Trinity Yard, Old Quay, for erection on the Wolf Rock. First lighted in December 1869.

1869 Predicted tidal wave at Penzance, flowed as high as top of Promenade wall on a calm day.

1878 The Castle at St. Michael’s Mount renovated and enlarged.

1880 Oct. 7. Road between Penzance and Newlyn washed away by sea.

1883 New Lighthouse erected on the Longships.

1884 Aug. Nov. 11. Floating Dock opened.

1894 July & 1896 July. The Prince of Wales’ Yacht, “Britannia,” raced in Mount’s Bay Regatta and won the first.
Nov. 11. Great Flood in West Cornwall. 2.33 inches of rain fell at Penzance in 24 hours 52,778 gallons per acre.

1906 Jan 25. Dense Fogs infested the coast of West Cornwall continuously from May to August. (Unprecedented).

July 18–24. Large Fleet of nearly 200 British Warships assembled in Mount’s Bay for a review which did not take place.

Sept. 21. Great successful swim by Mr. Richard Hicks (of Penzance) from Newlyn Pier to St. Michael’s Mount in 2 hours and 5 minutes.

Dec 26 to 28. Heavy fall of snow.

1911 Lifeboat House and Slip built at Penlee point.opened Oct 25, 1913 Home of the Solomone Browne that went down with all hands lost in 1982.

July 1 About 60 Whales became stranded on the Eastern Beach, near Ponsandane.

July 8 Maximum Temperature 83.7 degrees [Fahrenheit]. Highest recorded since Meteorological Station was intituted.

1912 Aug. A large number of Sharks visited the Bay.

1915 April 29. Newlyn Pier extension (100 feet), including tidal observatory, of which there are only two in the Kingdom,
Nov. 12. Terific gale caused much damage to property and uprooted large trees.

1916 Oct. Ancient Bronze cannon believed to be from the Armada, found at Low Lee, presented to the town.
Nov. Continuous heavy S.E. gales, doing considerable damage along the sea front.

1917 Jan. 16 to Feb. 12. The most severe spell of frosty weather experienced since 1895. Frost recorded on 13 days during this period. Min. temp.25.2F.

1920 Feb. 2. Butter 5/– [5 shillings] lb.
Feb. 7. Demonstration by a thousand St. Just and Pendeen miners and clay workers, who marched to Penzance as a protest against the price of butter. Overturn cans of milk into the harbour.

1921 June 1st to July 14th. Six weeks drought,

1929 Swimming Matches held in the harbour. Driest Summer recorded for 120 years.!

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