HANOVER COVE ST AGNES CORNWALL
Breathtaking Hanover Cove between St Agnes and Perranporth on the ruggedly beautiful and remote North Cornwall Coast, SW England, UK looking towards Cligga Head in the distance. The cove, previously known as Vugga Hayle, is named after a 100ft two-mast square rigger brigantine ship that was wrecked here on 9 December 1763. 'The Hanover', a Falmouth Packet ship built in 1757, was sailing from Lisbon, Portugal to Falmouth, Cornwall on a return voyage that started on 20 November 1763. A fierce storm blew up on 8 December and it is believed the Hanover ran before the wind as it approached Falmouth and either by accident or design was swept around Lands End ending up off the coast near St Agnes. At sometime the gale veered NNW and drove the ship onto rocks at the base of 300 ft cliffs. Only three of the 27 crew and three passengers survived. It appears most perished being thrown against the rocky coast rather than by drowning. The ship was carrying £60,000 in gold and valuables (worth £50 million today) including a large quantity of gold coins. A quote from listing site notes 'The Collector of Customs at St. Ives and the agent for paquets, enrolled a body of 60 men, making an agreement with them for salvage. One very singular instance of the fidelity of the salvors ought to be recorded to their honour: At the time of low water, when neither Collector nor agent was present, some gold coin were found on the sands and immediate notice was sent to the Collector, who was 3 miles distant. Upon arrival, he found 59 of the 60 men scattered over the sand, and as a piece of gold was found, the finder dropt it into a hat held by the 60th man. The pieces of gold coin were from the value of 36s each to 2s 6d each and it is verily believed not one piece was concealed by any of the 60 men.' Documentary evidence suggests that in April 1765 an iron trunk containing gold was recovered which, with the recovery of other valuables, satisfied the insurers. In 1834 a cannon was found in the cove which 'excited much curiosity' and local legend says that many coins were found in later years. The wreck was rediscovered in 1994 and according to the site official listing the wreck was identified by a brass bell inscribed 'The Hanover Paquet 1757'. From 1997 it is now a designated protected wreck site with a 250m exclusion zone. The site which is normally covered by 2-3 metres of sand was designated after a salvage operation removed 50 guns destabilising the site. Officially it is believed that the Post Office owns the Hanover, being the organisation to succeed the packet service whose ships carried freight and mail between 1688 and 1852. The unusual geology of the area contains many minerals and it has been mined heavily in previous centuries. For example Wheal Prudence mined copper and tin at various shafts including Island Shaft on a rock pillar here which was connected by a wooden bridge to the mainland. Erosion has caused cliffs to collapse and old mine workings to be exposed. Tungsten (wolframite) was also mined at nearby Cligga Head. The area also falls under the UNESCO World Heritage Mining Landscape of Cornwall and West Devon number 1215. Just inland from the site is a small airfield which is one of the best preserved examples of a World War Two Spitfire airfield left in the UK. It is still used for small aircraft.
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