Hayle, Cornwall

Hayle (Cornish: Heyl) is a small town, civil parish and cargo port situated at the mouth of the Hayle River in west Cornwall, United Kingdom. The name derives from the Cornish heyl, meaning estuary.

Early history

There is a long history of settlement in the Hayle Estuary area dating from the Bronze Age, the modern town of Hayle was built predominantly during the 18th century industrial revolution. Evidence of Iron Age settlement exists at the fort on the hill above Carnsew Pool where the Plantation now stands. It is thought that Hayle, was an important centre for the neolithic tin industry, trading not only Irish and Breton people, but also the Phoenicians of the eastern Mediterranean. Evidence of this comes from finds of imported pottery including Romano/Grecian Amphorae – containers for wine and oil.

Although the Romans never fully conquered Cornwall they did, perhaps, have a presence in the Hayle Estuary, and it is thought that the rectangular churchyard at St. Uny’s Church, Lelant on the western shore of the estuary is built within the outline of a Roman fort.

In those times the estuary looked a lot different from that of today. It appears that estuary was deeper and it was possible for boats to go up the River Hayle as far as where St. Erth Bridge is now situated; the tide used to flow in and out of what is now Foundry Square in the town, and at Gwithian reached inland some considerable distance toward Connor Downs.

The departure of the Romans was followed by an influx of Christian missionaries, most of whom are said to have had Irish origins and after whom many Cornish towns take their present name.

Inscribed stones A number of inscribed stones from this period have been found in the area. Two early stones have been found at Phillack, one bearing a ‘Constantine’ form of a Chi-Rho cross which may date to the 5th Century. The most noteworthy inscribed stone is one uncovered during the construction of a road in the grounds of Carnsew, and is now set into a bank at The Plantation, a public park.

The stone was discovered in December 1843 by workmen, lying in a horizontal position at the depth of four feet. When the stone was moved it broke into three parts. A Mr Harvey had it fixed into the wall of his path on Carnsew cliff, within a few feet of the spot where it was discovered, and added a more recent replica which lies next to it, where it has remained since. The stone bears an inscription in Latin, but it is now unreadable. The version that appears on the replica is translated as “Here Cenui fell asleep who was born in 500. Here in his tomb he lies, he lived 33 years.” However, in her discussion of this inscription Elisabeth Okasha passes over this transcription in silence, and mentions only three early drawings of this inscription and the results of more recent inspections, then tentatively offers her translation: “Here in peace has rested Cunatdo [or Cunaide]. Here he lies in the tomb. He lived for 33 years.”

Conclusion The lives of Saint Samson and Saint Petroc report that both saints arrived in Cornwall at the Hayle Estuary, indicating that it was an established port at least by the 6th century. While physical and documentary evidence indicates that the port continued to be of importance through the Middle Ages, it was the Industrial Revolution that saw the town and port of Hayle grow to resemble the town as seen today.

Since the 1980s, Hayle Harbour has been the focus of several projects and schemes aimed at regenerating the local economy of Penwith. In the 1980s, well-known businessman Peter de Savary fronted an attempt to develop the harbour area but ultimately failed to attract financial support to bring his plans to fruition. Despite several other similar schemes, today the harbour is still not regenerated. In 2004, ING Real Estate, an international property development company, became the owners of Hayle harbour and started to purchase land within the immediate vicinity of their planned project area. In April 2008, ING submitted an outline planning application to the planning department of Penwith District Council. As of November 2009, the granting of outline planning permission still depends on the Section 106 Agreement being agreed, a sticking point to this is finalising traffic and transport improvements. Outside of the harbour area, Hayle has been the site of a number of successful regeneration schemes; including the on-going Harveys Foundry project which has seen the development of business and residential units in the hope of attracting employment to the Hayle area; and projects being progressed through the Hayle Area Plan Partnership.

World Heritage

The townscape of Hayle and its historic harbour were part of the initial submission of the Cornwall and West Devon historic mining landscape World Heritage bid On 13 July 2006 it was announced that the bid had been successful and that the historic mining landscape of Cornwall and West Devon would be added to World Heritage list.

Many thanks to wikipedia.  Here are some links that may be of interest


Hayle History

Hayle Wildlife Park

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