Smuggler's sword

Contributed by Cornwall Museums

THIS OBJECT IS PART OF THE PROJECT 'A HISTORY OF CORNWALL IN 100 OBJECTS'.

POLPERRO MUSEUM. Robert Mark, a Polperro smuggler, once owned this sword. The sword dates from 1789 and is on loan from the Royal Armouries. Mark was killed by a cannonball from a Revenue Cutter whilst discharging contraband cargo off Polperro in 1802. His descendants still reside at Polperro. The museum also has an interesting display of modern ways of smuggling.

Smuggling, as we understand it, started in the 1680s when a tax was imposed on salt - essential for preserving Cornish pilchards. Polperro's smuggling history was so bad that Revenue men were stationed there first. Locals refused to billet them so they had to stay on board their vessel. They are shown in an early photograph. Contraband goods came from Roscoff in Brittany and Guernsey in the Channel Islands. Brandy, gin, salt and tea were smuggled into Cornwall over the next 150 years. They could be sold as far away as Bodmin (see Belling's clock).

Photo: Bernie Pettersen

Comments are closed for this object

Most of the content on A History of the World is created by the contributors, who are the museums and members of the public. The views expressed are theirs and unless specifically stated are not those of the BBC or the British Museum. The BBC is not responsible for the content of any external sites referenced. In the event that you consider anything on this page to be in breach of the site’s House Rules please Flag This Object.

About this object

Click a button to explore other objects in the timeline

Location
Culture
Period

1789

Theme
Size
Colour
Material

View more objects from people in Cornwall.

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.