The History of Morwenstow
Like much of Cornwall, the area around Morwenstow is a hazard for ships, the coastline littered with jutting, craggy rocks. 'Sharpnose Point' off of the Morwenstow coast has taken down many vessels over the years. Hawker was an incredibly selfless character who spent many an evening walking the coastline by his parish, looking out for ships in distress. If he found a wrecked ship, he brought the victims, dead or alive, back up to his churchyard. Those that unfortunately passed away, were buried in the churchyard. Perhaps the most well known of wrecks was that of The Caledonia. The 200 ton brig had sailed a year long journey from Odessa and Rio, and was only two days away from her destination of Gloucester when her journey ended prematurely. She was wrecked off of Morwenstow and all but one of her crew perished. Hawker painstakingly brought each and every body back up to the church and laid them to rest. The figurehead from the ship was also salvaged and can be found mounted on the wall inside the church (see image). A replica now stands in the graveyard, acting as a mourning figure, marking the site of the buried seamen.
There have been numerous wrecks recorded around Morwenstow dating back to the 1700s.
A few of those are as follows;
• 7 Sept 1842 - The Caledonia - Loss of all crew except one
• 10 Jan 1843 - St. Ives schooner - All crew lost
• 15 Jan 1843 - The Phoenix - St. Ives schooner - All crew lost
• 28 Oct 1843 - The Alonzo - South Wales to Hamburg - All crew lost
• 19 Feb 1868 - Jeune Joseph - France - All 6 crew lost
• 1869 - Avonmore - Cardiff to Montevideo - 7 out of 22 crew lost