Newquay Town History
From Discover Newquay
Newquay began life 1600 years ago as a fortified cliff settlement, through to tiny port to premier resort. Iron ore was smelted here by Iron Age man for weapons and tools, tin and china clay was exported from here. Modern day has seen Newquay become a famous tourist destination, thanks to its wonderful beaches and coastline.
Porth Island on the outskirts of Newquay boasts the great earthworks of Cornwall's finest cliff castle. Numerous finds here and in the neighbourhood point to this being an imporant centre of prehistoric civilisation.
In 1439 a New Quay was built and so began the town's second life as a fishing port. Pilchard fishing became huge in the 18th Century employing many of the townsfolk and its legacy can still be seen on Towan Head by the Huer's Hut.
The Industrial Revolution saw Newquay become a commodity port loading tin, lead and china clay. The Harbour has seen many changes with tram lines once taking china clay and tin directly to the ships. In the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, low wages from fishing and agriculture were supplemented by smuggling and many of Newquay's caves were used for this purpose, notably the Tea Caverns lying in front of The Headland Hotel. More sinisterly, wreckers would gather to collect cargo lost from wrecked ships along the coast.
Cornwall has its own language with close ties to Welsh and Breton. There has been quite a revival with now around 2000 people able to speak the Cornish Language.