The fishing village of Mevagissey and the still smaller haven of Gorran are the very essence of a Cornwall which has remained true to its roots and embraced change only slowly. Both names belong to 6th Century Irish missionaries. Mevagissey's labyrinth of tiny streets twist and turn past ancient dwarf dwellings of cob and slate but head inexorably for the twin harbours which are its nerve centre - a place to watch the fishermen land their catch and mend their nets as they have since John Trewollas built the first pier in 1430.
Meva-ag-issey, means "Meva and Issey". The town of St Meva and St Issey was first recorded as a hamlet in 1313, however there were settlements in the locality long before that date as is shown by the uncovering of two Bronze Age burial urns at Portmellon.
Mevagissey is the largest fishing village in St Austell Bay. Its working harbour has an unbroken tradition of boat building since 1745. Fishermen still repair nets on the quayside, using ancient skills and modern materials. The fishermen are happy to take visitors out on angling or pleasure trips, and small motor boats can be hired for self-drive. In the narrow streets leading off the harbour, craft workshops sit side by side with shops, art galleries, cafes, restaurants and pubs which were once the haunts of Cornish smugglers! Mevagissey is the home of the World of Model Railways Exhibition, an impressive collection of 2,000 models and a layout alive with 50 working trains, while across on the quayside there's the aquarium (in the old lifeboat house) and our treasured Mevagissey Museum.
Climbing up through the backdrop of Mevagissey's terraced houses and away from the activity of the quayside the pastoral peace of Cornwall takes over.
Many people visit Mevagissey outside the normal holiday season in order to enjoy the heritage and natural wildlife of Cornwall without the usual crowds, and to capture the awesome beauty of the precipitous cliffs and the sea in all its moods.
Mevagissey is renowned for the soaring, switchback walks that whet the appetite for its seafood or help to work it off. From Polkirt Hill you can look out over the higgledy-piggledy mediaeval street plan, the fishing boats in the harbour and the yachts in the pool, to the golden sweep of Polstreath Beach and St Austell Bay, or south to the inlet that shelters Portmellon Beach and the scenic coast path over Chapel Point to Gorran Haven.
At the end of June, Mevagissey celebrates Feast Week, a Cornish tradition based upon the celebrations of St. Peter’s Day (St. Peter is the Patron Saint of fishermen). The week-long festival features local events, choral concerts, flora dances and processions.
During the pre-Christmas period Mevagissey has a wonderful display of Christmas Lights. New Year is celebrated in a Cornish tradition in which almost everybody wears fancy dress.