A picturesque fishing village on the south coast of Cornwall. The name is pronounced MOUZ-el, and may be derived from a large cave nearby, or quite as likely round this neck of the woods might be a native Cornish name mysteriously assimilated to English (like the peninsula called The Lizard).

In a churchyard just outside Mousehole (in a hamlet called Paul) is the grave of Dolly Pentreath, traditionally (and according to the inscription) the last native speaker of Cornish. She died in 1777. However, it is now widely believed that several other people who knew Cornish survived her, into the early 1800s.

The village has its own holiday, Tom Bawcock's Eve, commemorating the time when it faced starvation because storms kept the fishing fleet confined to harbour. One Tom Bawcock was brave enough to sail out on 23 December and catch enough to feed the villagers. This fish was baked into a pie called star gazzy pie (variant spellings possible), and this is still done on the anniversary. The pie is depicted in the festive lights strung around the quay, which Mousehole is also famous for.

Along with other Cornish towns, it was sacked by the Spanish in 1595. A hermit once occupied the rock called St Clement's Isle just outside the town.

Mouse"hole` (?), n.

A hole made by a mouse, for passage or abode, as in a wall; hence, a very small hole like that gnawed by a mouse.


© Webster 1913.

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