Black Rock – Falmouth
St Mawes, the tenth son of an Irish king was going about his business of preaching one day when he was interrupted by the continued barking of a seal. His patience ran dry and so, he hurled a large rock at the creature . The rock missed and to this day, so legend says, the rock remains, wedged on top of a cluster of black rocks halfway across the entrance to Falmouth harbour.
There is an irony to the legend of St Mawes and the seal and that is the pleasure many seals derive from lying on the rocks and basking in the summer sun. If the legend is true then we can assume that the seals may even be gloating.
More tangible evidence of the history of black rock can be seen in the Falmouth Town coat of arms. The water at the base represents the river Fal and the sea. The rock with the flying red pennant represents the warning flag that flew to warn of the dangers of hidden black rocks beneath the surface. The rectors of Falmouth performed this service by rule of an act of Parliment and received six pence for their efforts.
Today many ferry passengers and sailors can see the seals as they come and go. It is also possible to see them from the coastline of Pendennis headland with a good set of field glasses.