The National Gazetteer of Great Britain and Ireland - 1868

"FOWEY, a parish, ancient seaport, and market town, in the W. division of the hundred of Powder, but having separate jurisdiction, in the county of Cornwall, 22 miles E. by S. of Plymouth. It is situated on the right bank, and at the mouth of the river Fowey, which here expands its waters into a secure and spacious harbour, sheltered on both sides by lofty rocks, but extremely narrow at its entrance. In the channel and, opposite the town there are 3 fathoms at low water. On the W. side of the harbour stands St. Catherine's Castle, built in the reign of Henry VIII., and on the E. side are the ruins of St. Saviour's, an old church. The former was once a strong fortress, and stands on a pile of rocks of hard bluish slate, intersected by quartz. There are also ruins of two square stone towers erected for the protection of the entrance in the reign of Henry IV., the walls of which are 6 feet in thickness. Between these forts a chain originally extended across the entrance of the harbour as an additional security. The houses are built chiefly of stone, and extend more than a mile along the banks of the river; but the streets are so narrow and full of angles that a carriage of any description passes through them with great difficulty. The whole aspect of the town indicates the decay of trade, which, in the 13th and 14th centuries, rendered it a flourishing seaport, and enabled it to rank with Rye and Winchelsea as a cinque port. In the reign of Edward III. it sent 47 vessels for assisting in the siege of Calais, being a greater number than was furnished by any other port in the kingdom. The pilchard fishery, once the staple industry of this place, is now extinct; the only business at present is in the coasting trade and the shipment of copper ore, china clay, and paving stone. In the decennial period between 1851 and 1861 the population of the parish had decreased from 1,606 to 1,429. The town contains a market-house, over which is the townhall, and is incorporated by charter of James II., before which period the chief magistrate was a portreeve. It returned two members to parliament from the 13th year of the reign of Queen Elizabeth till the passing of the Reform Bill. The living is a vicarage in the diocese of Exeter, value £179. The church is an old structure of the time of Edward IV., having a tower ornamented with rich carvings and strengthened by buttresses. It contains monuments of the Rashleigh and other families. The Wesleyans and Independents have chapels. The principal charitable institutions of this town are two free schools and an almshouse for eight widows. In the vicinity are several old seats. Saturday is market day."

"POLKERRIS, a coastguard station in the parish of Fowey, or Foy, hundred of East Powder, county Cornwall, 2 miles W. by N. of Fowey. It is situated on the coast of the Channel, under Brown Willy Hill, and is a subport to Fowey."