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A Newlyn Retrospect

Newlyn Names



Newlyn Field and Street Names.

In the 1930's Charles Henderson the noted Cornish historian carried out some research into Cornish place and field names. :  

The field and street names of to-day also prove interesting. 


Bowjey means cow-house and is the name of the piece of common land at the south end of the village, originally given to, and used by the local fishermen for net drying.


 Gwaf, winter, and bos, abode. This is the name given to the land adjoining the Bowjey and also to the anchorage off shore known as Gwavas Lake, both land and sea being sheltered from the prevailing southwest winds. It is now also given to the housing estate at the top of Paul hill and also the old roadway running from the back of the village to Paul.


tre war veneth. homestead on a hill. This street led from the harbour to a large farm at the top of the hill. The farm is still there. 


For’oyan, ox road. [Another possibility is far’ ascen, ass road, with s becoming j ]. This is part of Streetanowan, where we naturally look for some mention of oxen. A farm did exist here, close to Gwavas Quay, and was still standing in 1900 before being turned into a  fish store adjacent to Mary Kelynak’s cottage. In the nineteen hundreds the fields behind were known as “ Farmer’s Meadows” and. “the Orchard.” all being links with the past and Newlyn school of artists studios.


 Alexander’s field. This is a part of Tolcarne bordering the river,


Chy Wun, house of the Down. The steep hill from Newlyn leading to Sheffield and also to the house at the top of the hill.


 lyn redin, fern stitch, this field name now names a row of houses on the right of Chywoone Hill.

More recent names perpetuate former port industries and special events.


This lane runs from the top of Trewarveneth Street to join Chywoone Hill at the junction of Tredavoe Lane, and reminds us that an attempt  was made at mining, one shaft being half way up on the left, and another at the bottom of Tredavoe Lane. The workings were known as Wheal Betsy, But did not prove very remunerative.


On the old road running from Gwavas Quay to Newlvn Town, this slip is now at the rear of the present factory and Co-Salt building. It was named after a local head master of the Wesleyan  School which was situated at the top of the slip.


The site, at the bottom of Trewarveneth Street, was one of the last to see Barrels being made in Newlyn. The Barrels or hogs makers were an important part of the fishing industry but with the decline in the Herring industry the industry died. This one closed in 1904.


This is the site in Streetanowan, between  the Fradgan and Jack Lane of another industry that closed down in 1889, about the same time as the Trereife Smelting works at Stable Hobba in Newlyn Coombe. They were engaged in making castings for boat and fireplaces such as the famous Cornish Slab.


This little court, off  "The Narrows in Newlyn Town reminds us that severe cholera epidemics stuck Newlyn in the eighteen hundreds. In one in August 1832 over 100 people died six on Paul Feast day. Another was under way when my grandfather Thomas Ellis Vingoe was born in 1873 in which the popular vicar of Newlyn J.P.Vibert was one of the victims. It is not known when the name was given to the court.


When the new road from Penzance was built and the Tolcarne River bridged the authorities decided to continue the road through to the village of Sheffield and beyond. In order to do this a new piece of road would have to be built to join Jack Lane to Chywoone Hill. This would mean the by-passing of Newlyn. When it was also announced that a special rate was to be set to pay for the road it was ironically pointed out that the NEWLYN BUCCAS, which was the nickname given to people from Newlyn, would be paying for people from Penzance and other places to by-pass their town with the loss this would mean in trade. People in Penzance continued to call New Paul Hill Buccas Pass for some years.

Names given to Newlyn

THE Newlyn that we know today was originally divided into separate small communities, which with the passage of time, and the building of bridges and roads merged into one. When Charles Henderson  carried out his research he came up with  the following names for what has now become Newlyn:

Lulyn 1289, 1328, 1368;

Lulyn juxta Talcarn 1321;

Bethkele juxta Lewelyn 1388;

Jacford juxta Lulyu 1289;

Lulyn and Jaghford 1424; 

Streetonowan (undated).

Let us consider these names with reference to the present construction of the port

LULYN (lew lyn), 1289, 1328, 1321, 1336. 

This later becams known locally as Newlyn Town and extended from the Bowjey at the Mousehole end of the town  to North Corner at the bottom of Trewarveneth Street and Gwavas slip.  In Cornish, Lulyn means Fleet Pool .

STREETANOWAN, (Stret an Ogten), Date Unknown.

The date of origin of this  is unknown However, it means "Street of the Oxen", The area extends from North Corner to the Tolcarne river. Before the construction of a road in 1908, it was separated by the tide from Newlyn Town, and at high water a detour inland was necessary.

JAGHFORD,  (Jay forth, jog way). 1289, 1424.

This became known as  "Jack Lane" which took over from Old Paul the route to Paul from Tolcarne and Streetanowan. The name "Jack Lane" has in turn given way to Paul Hill, however Jack Lane seems to refer to Jaghford, and could indicate the start of the long jog up the hill to Paul. When I was a child my grandfather used to sit with one leg crossed over the other with me sitting astride his foot as if I was riding a pony  then he would sing the following song to me whilst bouncing me up and down:

                                                  To market to market to buy a fat pig

                                                  Home again home again jigity jig.

                                                  To market to market to buy a fat hog,

                                                  Home again home again jigity jog.

TALCARN, (Tat Cain), brow of the carn. 1321.

This is the present Tolcarne district, and takes its name from the rock pile that is known as the Devil’s Rock. It is on the other side of the river from Streetanowan. 

BETHKELE, ( Beth Kel), means hidden Grave 1388

At first this seems a little mystifying, but perhaps it has a connection with a legend that a lancer and his horse were buried in a cave, behind St. Peter’s Church. This cave is mentioned in Langdon’s Old Cornish Crosses (1896), page 212, where it is noted that originally- the cross now on a pillar in the church yard. close to the S.W. of the church, was dug up on Trereife estate c.1870, and given by C.D.M. Le Grice Esq., J.P.  to the Rev. W. S. Lach-Szyrma, who fixed it on a rock over a cave situated by the side of the road, not on the South side of the church, as stated by Langdon, but running along the N.E. side below the Devil’s Rock. With the development of the land the rock forming the cave was removed.  

These then were the separate areas which today make up the  whole of Newlyn. In days gone by and even as late of the last century the people living in the different areas tended to stay in their own communities. This is illustrated in the next piece. 

Newlyn Notes

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Revised: January 31, 2002 .