Prussia Cove, Cornwall

Prussia Cove, Cornwall

Prussia Cove is on Mount's Bay, the cove got its name from John Carter, one of the legendary smugglers and wreckers who lived on this coast. He modeled himself on Frederick the great, King of Prussia, and hence acquired this as his nickname. The cove has continued to bear the name as a reminder. Small scale fishing is carried out from the cove today and it can only be reached on foot, the nearest parking is half a mile away.

The 30, 000 ton Warspite broke its tow off Prussia Cove in 1947 as it was being taken to the breaker's yard. After her guns had been taken out, in April 1947, Warspite was sent under tow from Portsmouth to the breakers on the Clyde. However, she didn't get far and, after breaking her tow in a gale, ran aground here. Her hull was so badly damaged that it was clear she wouldn't make it to the Clyde, so she was towed off and beached near St Michael's Mount. Over the next five years she was broken up for scrap.

John Carter and two brothers, Harry and Charles, ran a profitable smuggling operation that continued for many years.

Prussia Cove was formerly called Porthleah, but gradually became known as 'the King of Prussia's Cove', and later just Prussia Cove. The family used three small inlets for their business: Pisky's Cove on the west side, Bessie's Cove (named after the brewess who kept a beer shop on the cliff above) and King's Cove.

Certainly some of the fame of the family can be put down to the autobiography written by Harry Carter. He wrote it after he had seen The Light, given up smuggling and retired as a preacher. Apparently even before he took up the cause of Methodism, Harry Carter was an upright, honest and godly man, and the rest of the family appear to have been from a similar mould. Swearing and unseemly conversation was banned on their ships

Clashes with the excisemen occur in abundance, naturally enough, but the most spectacular was probably an incident in which the smugglers fired a fusillade of shots at a revenue cutter, from a battery of guns impudently stationed between Bessie's and the King's cove. No damage was done, though the cutter returned fire.

Smuggling continued for some years after the Carters had quit their throne.

Prussia Cove Old Photographs


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