The Battle of Cornwall was part of the wars between England and Spain in the late 1500’s. On 26th July 1595 a fleet led by Pedro de Zubiaur set sail from Port Louis, Brittany with four galleys and three companies of arquebusiers (gunmen) commanded by Carlos de Amesquita. Their destination was England.
On the way to England the fleet sank a French barque ship that was manned by an English crew that was transporting cargo to England. The Spanish fleet landed at Mount’s Bay, Cornwall on 2nd August 1595 where Carlos de Amesquita was greeted by Richard Burley of Weymouth, a Catholic. Burley was to be their guide in England as they attempted to invade.
Upon the Spanish landing the local army who were acting as the anti invasion force fled in panic at the size of the Spanish army only Francis Godolphin, Deputy Lord Lieutenant of Cornwall and a band of 12 men remained to defend the land.
Over the next two days the Spanish travelled through Cornwall burning towns and villages like Penzance, Mousehole and Newlyn they also stole whatever they could including cannons from the local forts and placed them upon their own ships. At the height of the invasion Penzance saw 400 houses burned to the ground and three ships sunk.
The Spanish departed two days later on 4th August 1595 after they held a traditional Catholic mass on land along with a promise to return and build a new Catholic church once the Spanish conquered the rest of England. The Spanish set sail and managed to evade an English fleet that had been sent to capture the Spanish led by Sir Francis Drake and John Hawkins.
The Spanish landed back in Port Louis on 10th August after sinking two Dutch ships and damaging many others.