By Frank Baron
While Mevagissey stalwarts toiled
When George-the-Third was king
They needed oft refreshment
And constant strengthening.
Ten inns provided stimulant,
Termed taverns at the first,
And home-brewed beer flowed copiously
To slake perpetual thirst.
Five of the inns were spacious,
The other five were small,
THE FOUNTAIN by ` Shill-alley-opp `
Was father of them all;
By old Porthilly fishermen
Its threshold was well worn
When Mevagissey's straggling streets
Had not, as yet, been born.
Long years before the harbour changed
From creek into a port
THE CUTTER Inn stood on the cliff,
The jowters' chief resort.
Each hooker, on the cliff-side's edge
Spread out his fish for sale,
And sold his catch ere he lifted the latch
For a pint of the Cutters sale.
Then, later,as the little town
Sprang from its mud-flat bed,
The KING'S ARMS hung its swinging sign
Close to the jetty head.
This tavern by the water side
Was, by unhappy fate,
Burnt down one Monday afternoon
It lay in ruin, bleak and black,
Some few short years until
A new Kings Arms served patrons
At the foot of Polkirt Hill.
The SHIP INN laid her moorings down
On limpet-shells and slime,
Cob-walled, straw-thatched and whitewashed
In Oliver Cromwell's time.
The ship, rebuilt in later years,
Acquired new dignity,
Front parlour for the gentlemen,
Ship captains home from sea,
And men of rank who proudly drank
Brandy, not common beer,
The lesser fry could occupy
The kitchen at the rear.
The LION INN adjoined the ship,
And oft the lion's roar
Disturbed the peaceful atmosphere
Of the genteel inn next door,
When, from the Lion's dim-let den,
Piercing the party wall,
The seiners sang with the smuggling gang,
Coopers and cobblers all.
Fish-jowters bellowed loud and long,
The fishwives sharp and shrill,
From lungs of leather rose and song
Louder and louder still.
When ` The Farmer Boy ` was ended
The crowd struck up anew
` Health to the Barley Moo,' me lads,
Health to the barley moo.
Amanda Snell's thatched Kiddlywink
Has long since passed away,
Lloyd's bank now occupies the site,
And right across the way
The LONDON INN displayed its sign,
Welcoming travellers in
To sample good old Roscoff Rum
Or noggin of smuggled in.
Further along the cobbled street
( Post-office afterward )
The GLOBE INN'S ever open door
Led to Its wide back-yard,
Where frequent auction sales were held
In pipe-smoke thick as fog,
With many a bickering over bids
And many a glass of grog.
The RING-O-BELLS was in Jetty Street,
By the slip to the western quay,
Next door, the CROWD AND ANCHOR Inn
Was famed for minstrelsy.
Each Feasten Week its jovial bar
Kept humming like a hive
When ` Emmidy' the fiddler came
To keep the dance alive.
The HOPE INN, next door to the Crown,
Took in the overflow,
Three pubs in Jetty Street alone,
While stragglers had to go
To find their frothing pewter pints
In yet two thirst-quellers.
One kiddlywink by the old mill wheel
Another near Gould's cellars.
LOW TIDE WOULD LEAVE THE HARBOUR DRY,
FLOOD TIDE SURGED UP ` BACK REVVER,'
IF MILL-POOL DROPPED, THE MILL-WHEEL STOPPED,
BUT THE BEER FLOWED CONSTANT EVER.