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A short history of Falmouth

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St Mawes Castle
Castle at Falmouth Cornwall

Falmouth has a rich and fascinating history that we can't even begin to do justice to on this web site.

From its very beginnings in 1403, to her famous visitors, the first news of the battle of Trafalgar, or the Rolling Stones video, there is something of interest here for everybody.  Great Sailing voyages started and finished here, including Sir Robin Knox Johnson and Dame Ellen MacArthur.

The evidence of days gone by is everywhere yet Falmouth is one of the Country's most bustling and vibrant sea-side towns, with plenty to do for anyone.

Here however are a few high points from days gone by to whet your appetite, and give you something to look for when you are walking around the town and Harbour.

DateWhat happened?
1403 The Killigrew Family acquire the Falmouth Estate.
1613 Sir John Killigrew created the town of Falmouth on the site of the old Peny-cwm-cuic (Pennycomequick).
1545 Pendennis and St Mawes Castles built on the orders of Henry VIII.
Pendennis Castle withstands a 5 month siege by the Parliamentarians in the English Civil War.
1660 Falmouth Massachusetts (US) named by Bartholomew Gosnold, a native of Falmouth Cornwall.
1661 Falmouth receives its Royal Charter from King Charles II.
1689 The Falmouth Packet Service starts, to carry mail to all corners of the British Empire.
1805 News of the victory at the Battle Trafalgar, and the death of Nelson reaches Falmouth first, and is taken to London by Stagecoach.
1835 King William IV bestows Royal Patronage on the Royal Cornwall Polytechnic Society - the forerunner of the modern University College.
1839 Charles Darwin anchors HMS Beagle at Falmouth at the end of his voyage round the world.
1863 The railway reaches Falmouth.
1858 Development of Falmouth Docks starts.
1865 Falmouth Hotel opens - the largest hotel in the town.
The Falmouth Chamber of Commerce is formed.
1872 Royal Cornwall Yacht Club founded in Falmouth.
1907 Kenneth Graham writes the first part of the Wind in the Willows in Falmouth's Greenbank Hotel.
1912 Queen Mary Gardens created at Gyllyngvase to commemorate the coronation of Queen Mary - wife of George V.
1940 Falmouth bombed during WW2, 31 people killed.
1968 The Rolling Stones filmed "Beggar's Banquet" in Falmouth.
1969 Sir Robin Knox Johnson arrives in Falmouth, the first man to complete a non-stop solo circumnavigation. "Where from?" asks the customs man.  "Falmouth" was the reply.
MRCC (Marine Rescue Control Centre) Falmouth opens to direct worldwide rescue operations.
Seb Coe former Olympic athlete enters parliament as MP for Falmouth and Camborne.
2003 National Maritime Museum completed at Falmouth.
2003 The new Tremough Campus of University College Falmouth opens at Penryn.
2005 Ellen MacArthur arrives in Falmouth after 71 days at sea, breaking the record for the world's fastest sailing circumnavigation.