This was the first little village-by-the-sea we visited. So lovely! I'm going to include some quotes I found about Polperro in Project Gutenberg_ "The Cornwall Coast" by Arthur L. Salmon, 1910. Quotes are italicized.
But after making all allowance for the beauties and varied associations of the Looes and of Talland, it must candidly be confessed that the great gem of the district is Polperro.
The little port was once much more inaccessible than it is now; passengers literally dropped into it by a path part of which was cut into steps; no wheeled vehicle could possibly get down. The houses cluster at the mouth of a deep ravine that runs up to the village of Crumplehorn.
I had to google this place_
"The Crumplehorn Inn and Mill can trace its routes right back to its role as a counting house during Elizabethan times when privateering was a legal occupation. Back then, it was known as the Killigarth Mill and Crumplehorn Farm, situated in the hamlet of Crumplehorn – an area whose origins are recorded in the Domesday Book" (Source).
Apparently, it was a corn mill! (Photo source)
There was the loveliest stream running by it all the way down to the sea.
Polperro, part of which is in the parish of Talland and part in Lansallos, remains more lonely and primitive than Looe, for it is not touched by the railway, and its site offers little temptation to expansion. But it is becoming more and more sought after; artists have learned to love it and have introduced it to the art galleries; the inevitable sophistication must follow, just as Clovelly and Robin Hood's Bay have become sophisticated.
Trying a Cornish pasty.
Cool name, and probably a cool thing to be queen of.
Approaching the place by road, Mr. Norway says that "just at first one sees nothing of the town, but all at once it bursts upon the sight as the road runs round a bend, a striking huddled group of houses, cast so strangely into a heap as to produce the impression that they must have been built originally upon the hillside at comfortable distances apart; and that by some slipping of the rock foundations the houses have slid and slid until they can slide no further, but are brought to a standstill in the very bottom of the hollow.
In spite of its appearance of having slipped, many of the houses look as if they were carved out of the very rock itself, and in some cases their steps actually are so carved.
But nothing can take from Polperro the loveliness of its position at the mouth of this seaward gorge, the beauty of the hills that surround it, the deep, restful blue of its seas.
Probably not many visitors will trouble to inquire into the derivation of the name of Polperro; they will be content to know that it is Cornish. There would be something to do indeed if tourists were to ask the meaning of every place-name they meet with, and if they depended on local replies their last state would certainly be worse than their first. But an intelligent inquiry into the origin of place-names is always delightful and useful.
Pol, of course, is one of the recognised Cornish prefixes; it is simply pool, the Welsh pwll, a creek or inlet or "pill." The perro is supposed to be a corruption of Peter, and the whole name would thus mean Peter's Pool, so called from a chapel to St. Peter that once stood on Chapel Hill. An earlier name was Porthpeyre, which neither assists nor contradicts such a derivation. That St. Peter should be the patron of an old fishing town is only natural.
These photos are titled "loving [worried] husbands."
There are three piers protecting its safe little harbour, but even these are hardly enough in times of tempest, and heavy baulks of wood are let down into grooves, further to break the force of the waves. The sea has played a deadly part to Polperro folk in the past, and is ready to do so again. Old Jonathan Couch, the forefather of our present "Q," gives a striking picture of what Polperro used to be like in a storm during the days when he was doctor here, a century since_—"The noise of the wind as it roars up the coomb, the hoarse rumbling of the angry sea, the shouts of the fishermen engaged in securing their boats, and the screams of the women and children carrying the tidings of the latest disaster, are a peculiarly melancholy assemblage of sounds, especially when heard at midnight.
All who can render assistance are out of their beds, helping the sailors and fishermen; lifting the boats out of reach of the sea, or taking the furniture of the ground-floors to a place of safety." Every fishing port round the coast knows what such a tempest means, and the horror, the hopeless and helpless desolation it arouses in the minds of the women at home, if it should overtake their men at sea. In these aspects, at least, our shores are still primitive; they still know the primal force of wind and waves_ there is no sophisticating, no taming of these. But days are not all of storm and wreckage; there are many times here when the waves lap peacefully against the old stone piers, when the air is soft and delicious, and when the women at their doors, engaged in their everlasting task of knitting jerseys for their men, can chatter of the happiest subjects without dreaming of storm or shipwreck. This is the calmer mood in which visitors generally find Polperro.
Sundown at the Airbnb.
p.s. when looking for info on the Crumplehorn Inn, I ran across this little village replica!