History - Mounts Bay - medieval trading places

Ref: C3530149

Based loosely on the book 'Cornwall and the Coast - Mousehole and Newlyn' written by the tutor and others and published in 2009 as part of a Victoria County History project, this course will follow and, where necessary, enlarge on the themes of the first five chapters. Origins and Early Settlement, Mount's Bay and its Ports, Living off the Sea, 1600-1800, The Expansion of Newlyn, 1600-1800, and Speaking Cornish in Mount's Bay will each be studied in turn. Penzance and Marazion will be considered as part of the wider story which includes competitive quay building, the fishing industry from hake to pilchards, other trade, the impact of the Reformation, 1595 Spanish Raid from a Spanish as well as Cornish viewpoint, smuggling, and speaking Cornish longer and later than almost any other part of Cornwall.

Course aim

This course will place Mousehole and Newlyn's history in the context of Mount's Bay and its ports - notably Marazion and Penzance from the Medieval period through to 1800. There will be a final session on Cornish language preservation here.

Do I need any particular skills or experience?

  • This course is suitable for beginners and improvers
  • A general interest in local history would be helpful.

By the end of the course I should be able to:

  • Describe the different settlement evolution of Mousehole and Newlyn.
  • Explain basic differences in fishing methods e.g. drift and seine net fishing.
  • Compare the role of Lydia Tonkin and Mousehole and Newlyn fishwives in the local fisheries and their respective lifestyles.
  • Understand why Penzance's rise depended on competing with first Mousehole and then Newlyn, more than Marazion.
  • Assess the relative roles of Mousehole and Newlyn in attempting to keep the Cornish language alive.

How will I be taught?

  • The WEA tutor will use a range of different teaching and learning methods and encourage you and the group to be actively involved in your learning
  • Finding out more about the local area will be encouraged.

What kind of feedback can I expect?

  • A range of informal activities will be used by the tutor to see what you are learning which may include quizzes, question and answer, small projects and discussion
  • You will be encouraged to share your work with the group and discuss your learning

What else do I need to know?

  • Some access to internet would be useful, but not essential. Note taking equipment whether pen and paper or digital.

Pre-course work, reading and information sources

  • Margaret Perry's books on Mousehole and Newlyn are a good introduction to the subject if students are unable to get hold of copies of 'Cornwall and the Coast - Mousehole and Newlyn', though local libraries may well have copies.

What can I do next?

  • Progress to another WEA course
  • Progress to a course with another provider
  • Become involved with the WEA in a range of voluntary work and other activities including campaigning as a WEA member
  • Become involved as a volunteer for a WEA partner or another organisation
  • Join a Victoria County History Research group or local history group.

Download full course information sheet

History - Mounts Bay - medieval trading places


As a registered charity, and to meet our funders’ requirements, we need to check a few things with you before you book. Please could we ask that you check the list below to ensure you meet our basic criteria:

  • You are paying the standard fee (with a credit or debit card) or you are on any of the qualifying benefits
  • You have a valid email address so that you can receive confirmation of your booking
  • You have been resident in the UK, EU or EEA for the last 3 years
  • You are aged 19 years or older on 1st September 2018
  • You have read and accept our standard terms and conditions

Not sure or have further questions? Contact courseenquiries@wea.org.uk

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