Morgawr – Sea Serpent of Cornwall
by Daniel Couzins
Posted: 12:50 October 25, 2007
The Cornish coast is a place of rugged beauty and great diversity. Ranging from sleepy golden bays to wave ravaged cliffs and traitorous waters that have claimed countless ships throughout the ages. What better a place than to set a century old tale about a giant sea beast? However; Morgawr is no story.
Morgawr means ‘sea giant’ in the ancient, but still used, dialect of the Cornish people. The first documented time this creature was reported was a very close encounter indeed. It occurred in 1876, way before the boom in the tourism industry. This was a time when hardy men set to sea in small sailing ships to make a living, but on one particular day two fishermen caught more than they were bargaining for. They had cast their nets into the salty waters of Gerran’s bay only to discover that they had caught a giant long necked beast. That fateful day Morgawr earned its status as more than just a legend.
It was in 1926, a full fifty years later, that the next recorded contact with Morgawr was made. Again, Morgawr had become tangled in the nets of fishermen, who described it as twenty feet long with a tail measuring about eight feet. It was reported to have scaly legs and a beak like head.
It is possible that both of these catches could have just been the mangled remains of basking sharks, as decomposition in the water often greatly distorts the body. This theory would go little way to explain the next time Morgawr was sighted.
It was a sunny September evening in 1975, and a Mrs Scott was out for a sea-side walk with her friend Mr Riley. This was to be an evening neither of them would ever forget. They reported seeing a hideous hump-backed creature off Pendennis Point. The creature had “stumpy horns” and bristles running along the back of its long neck. Shortly after being spotted, the animal dived and stayed briefly submerged before returning with a conger eel clamped firmly between its jaws.
The next significant sighting took place in February 1976. The Falmouth Packet, a local newspaper, received two photographs from a lady known as Mary F. The photographs, published on the front page, revealed a long necked animal in the water with two sloping humps on its back. Mary F included a note with a description of what she had seen: