OS Grid ref:-SW 9980
The charming and historic Cornish fishing village of Port Isaac is situated between Tintagel and Padstow and boasts a history dating back to the early fourteenth century.
Narrow streets, lined with characterful, whitewashed granite cottages and traditional slate fronted Cornish houses, weave their way down to the harbour. These are interlaced with narrow passages known as 'drangs', one of which is referred to as 'Squeeze-Belly Alley'.. The village has a plethora of shops selling a variety of souvenirs, galleries and tea rooms.
A stream runs through the village, wending its way down to the harbour. Long stone fish cellars line the old harbour and close by it stands the Golden Lion Inn, which serves excellent meals. The local fleet still fish for crab and lobster and fishing and scenic trips can be taken from the harbour during the summer months. Classical Music Festivals are held at Easter and mid summer in the parish church at nearby St. Endellion.
The origins of the name 'Port Isaac', (Cornish: Porthusek), have been obscured by the mists of time, but is it known to have originally been known as Port Izzard; in early times it was called Portissyk.
Port Isaac was the location for the popular TV series 'Poldark' and the BBC drama series 'The Nightmare Man'.
The cliff scenery around Port Isaac is superb, with two further picturesque villages just along the coast, Port Quin, a small hamlet now owned by the National Trust, lies to the west and Port Gaverne about half a mile to the east.
Port Gaverne has a shingle beach with rock pools and caves with sand at low tide, but has no lifeguard. The beach is maintained by the National Trust and the Port Gaverne Fishermen's Association.
The village developed in the nineteenth century as a slate, coal and limestone port. Slate from the Delabole Quarry was loaded onto the sailing ships there. The quarry, which is the deepest in England is five hundred feet deep and has a circumference of one and a half miles.
The small village has two hotels, a camp site and a beach shop. The Port Gaverne Inn specialises in seafood dishes. The village's name is a corruption of the old Cornish "Carn", meaning a pile of rocks and "Awn" which translates as a haven.
The church of St. Endellion
The nearby collegiate church of St. Endellion is dedicated to St. Endelienta, possibly the daughter of King Brychan of Brycheiniog in South Wales.
The building dates mainly to the fifteenth century but occupies the site of a far older church. The tower was built of stone from Lundy Island, forty miles to the north and visible from the churchyard on a clear day. The church interior contains a superb barrel roof, ornately carved bench ends and a fine slate memorial to the Roscarrocks. The base of what was once the shrine of St. Endellienta also remains. The font dates back to Norman times, although the oak cover was added in 1918 as a memorial to the dead of the First World War.
The Roscarrock Chapel contains the sixteenth century tombstone of John Roscarrock, the father of Nicholas Roscarrock, who composed the hymn of St Endelienta. Nicholas studied at Exeter College where he befriended the Blessed Cuthbert Mayne (1544 - 1577), a Catholic priest martyred at Launceston on 30th November 1575. A gold rosary which is believed to have once belonged to Nicholas Roscarrock may be seen in the Victoria and Albert Museum, one of the beads of the rosary depicts St Endelienta.
The poet laureate Sir John Betjeman, a frequent worshipper wrote: "Inside, the church gives the impression that it goes on praying night and day, whether there are people in it or not"