Tuesday, 13 August 2019

Boscastle Harbour, Cornwall and Very Old Harbour Walls

The old harbor wall at Boscastle, Cornwall

This is Boscastle harbour, Cornwall and also its old harbour walls - built way back in 1584 by Sir Richard Grenville.

The old harbour at Boscastle, Cornwall

Sir Richard (1542-1591) seems an interesting character. He was a lord of several manors in the west country and held various official positions. This included being the Member of Parliament for Cornwall. He was a cousin of Sir Walter Raleigh.

Looking down on the old castle wall at Boscastle, Cornwall

Grenville was perhaps most known for his military service and died in battle. To quote Encyclopaedia Britannica :

In 1591, Grenville was made second in command (under Lord Thomas Howard) of a squadron of about 15 vessels sent to intercept a Spanish treasure fleet off the Azores. When 53 Spanish vessels approached to protect their treasure ships, the English retreated, but Grenville was delayed and cut off. Undaunted, he attempted to run his ship, the Revenge, through the Spanish line. After 15 hours of hand-to-hand combat against 15 Spanish galleons and a force of 5,000 men, the Revenge with her 190-man crew was captured (Sept. 9/10, 1591). A few days later the wounded Grenville died on board the Spanish flagship.

The almost hidden inlet to Boscastle harbour, Cornwall

As for Boscastle itself, the harbour is a natural inlet (as above) and is the only place where a harbour could be built on this stretch of Cornwall's intimidating north coast. 

The white building high on the cliff top (top left above) is a lookout built in the early 1800s. It's possible to follow a path from the harbour to the lookout - great views, of course, from the top.

The previous photos and the one below were snapped from the east side of the harbour.

The small, old harbour wall at Boscastle, Cornwall

We now move over to the west side of the harbour. On my visit the tide was returning. Both harbour walls can be seen in the photo below.

The harbour filling with water at Boscastle, Cornwall

Looking at the photo below I always think the cliffs to the right of the inlet look like some sort of an animal waiting to gobble up any unwanted visitors.

The old harbour walls at Boscastle, Cornwall

Another look at the smaller harbour wall.

Boscastle harbour

And finally looking inland from the harbour - the height of the water will soon increase.

Looking from the harbour inland from Boscastle harbour, Cornwall

P.S. Boscastle was where I had quite a remarkable coincidence, see The Coincidence Meeting At Boscastle, Cornwall


  1. I am always in awe over the wonderful and ancient stonework of the harbor walls. I think they are beautiful! I grew up being told that I was a descendant of Sir Walter Raleigh. But even as one of the family genealogists I’ve not researched the supposed connection and can’t imagine how my grandmother’s tale came to be! And as for the coincidence story, I remember the post!

    tale came to be.

  2. Thank you Ann, I love seeing the old stonework and to think of all of the people who have stood on those walls over so many years.

    Fascinating that Sir Walter Raleigh may be a descendant - though I believe he never actually visited North America - that doesn't rule out any connection, of course. As a child he lived in south Devon, which joins Cornwall.



Seeking the Winter Colours of Cornwall

Brrrrr! It was freezing at Pentewan, even if there were shades of blue in the sky. As I returned home I wondered if there was any colour...