PZ.61 Maid Marion

Westward FY.229

Maid Marion PZ.61.

Built at Mevagissey by Percy Mitchell, and completed in October 1925, the details of her and her ownership as a Sea Fishing Boat, are recorded in the Custom House Sea Fishing Boat Registers, of the Ports of Fowey and Penzance – currently held by Kresen Kernow. 

Westward then FY.229, at her mooring in Mevagissey Harbour, in the 1930s

Fowey, 1925-35

She was first registered in the Port of Fowey on October 13th 1925, when the Fowey Custom House registrar mistakenly entered her by the name of Windward. This he immediately corrected to Westward. Unfortunately, later ‘Dunkirk’ researchers have mis-identified her as having been the Westward-Ho ~ PZ.105; ex-Penrose PZ.105.

Working out of “Mevagissey, her registered dimensions were then recorded as – Length, 39.0 feet; Breadth, 11.5 feet; Depth, 4.6 feet; on a 37 foot keel. Which dimensions gave her a tonnage measurement of 17.3 tons, Gross, and Net. Making her a 1st Class fishing boat, when she was allocated the fishing number FY.229. The boat was propelled by “Sail & Motor,” and was “Lug” rigged, using “Lug and Mizzen” sails. Her mode of fishing was with “Lines and Nets ~ Drifting,” and she initially had a crew of 4 men; which was increased to 5 men in August 1931.

On registration on October 13th, 1925, she was in the joint ownership of “Herbert Husband & Joseph Husband, of Mevagissey; and “Joseph Husband,” was her registered skipper. 

These remained unchanged throughout the period of her Fowey registration, and her certificate as a Sea Fishing Boat, was presented annually to the Fowey Custom House officers, from 5/11/26, to 28/9/34, for endorsement. These annual checks were used to compile the Annual Returns to Parliament of the numbers of fishing boats, and fishermen, working out of British ports.

On cancellation, Her Fowey register was endorsed: “Reg closed – transferred to Penzance. Boat sold to Mr. Joseph Pascoe, Fore Street, near Post Office, Porthleven, Helston. 30/10/1935.“; together with the registrar’s signature, and reference of advice of cancellation to the Registrar General of Shipping.

Penzance, 1935-1939

On acquisition by Joseph Pascoe, the boat was re-registered in the Port of Penzance, on October 30th, 1935, under the name Maid Marion, “formerly Westward FY 229.” Working out of “Porthleven, her details and dimensions remained unchanged, but her tonnage was re-measured and recorded as 14.81 tons, Gross and Net. Although the boat was of the same physically size as before, this revised tonnage measurement technically made her a 2nd Class fishing boat (under 15 tons) and she was now so classed with the fishing number PZ.61

On registration on October 30th, 1935, her owner was “Joseph Pascoe, Fore St., Porthleven,” and “John L. Orchard,” was her registered skipper. This line of entry being endorsed “Formerly Westward FY 229 Transferred from Fowey & remeasured.”

On February 2nd, 1939, ownership was transferred to John Lukis Orchard, Fore St., Porthleven,” and he continued as her skipper. During this period, she was worked by a crew of 4 men, and her certificate as a working Sea Fishing Boat, was presented annually to the Penzance Custom House officers, from 13/7/39 to 14/7/44, for endorsement. The dates from 23/6/39 being endorsed on this register, even though her details had been transferred to another register book in February 1939.

Maid Marion ~ PZ.61 (central boat), at her moorings in Porthleven, c. Late 1930s.

Penzance, 1939-1962

For administrative convenience, in 1939 the registration details of all current Penzance registered fishing boats were transferred to a new register. For the Maid Marion, this took effect on February 2nd, 1939. Her registered details remained the same, and John Lukies Orchard, Fore St., Porthleven, continued as her owner, and skipper.

On July 5th, 1948, she came under the joint ownership of John Lukies Orchard, Fore St., Porthleven, and Robert Pascoe of 14 Unity Road, Porthleven; J. L. Orchard continuing to be her registered skipper. In this register annual endorsements as a working fishing boat were recorded from 14/7/44 to 5/10/61.

Her Penzance registration as a working sea fishing boat was closed on December 6th, 1962, when her register was endorsed: “REGISTER CANCELLED 6/12/62. BOAT NO LONGER USED FOR FISHING.

Notes and Observations

From her size and date of build, I would suspect that the Westward, was built as a long-liner. As such she could also work drift nets when required. Following the customary practice, during the pilchard season long-liners occasionally shot a few fly-nets, for pilchards for baiting their long-line hooks. If a surplus of pilchards were caught, they may have been sold to other long-lining boats for bait, or on the market for the curing houses and canners.

I have no details of her fishing out of Mevagissey, and during her Mevagissey period there is no record of her venturing down west to Newlyn in the pilchard season – thought from the 1921-22 season until the late 1950s a good many of her Fowey registered contemporaries did make Newlyn their base for a few weeks each pilchard season.

For a description of how the crews of Mevagissey long-liners earned a living in the 1930s & 40s, you can’t go far wrong in reading Ken Shearwood’s Evening Star, Bradford Barton, Truro.

When working out of Porthleven in the late 1930s, she did land a few pilchards at Newlyn:

Season Catch (hundreds)Price made
1937-8408 £23.70

Never enough to be making a living as a regular pilchard driver, the figures suggests these landings were surplus line-bait catches. Most of the long-liners carried a few pieces of pilchard drift nets, for catching fish for baiting their lines of hooks.

Dunkirk: Many of the West Cornwall based fishing boats were summoned to Falmouth in June 1940 but by the time they mustered there they were too late to be used in Operation Dynamo. However some boats took part in Operation Aerial. The part the Maid Marion played in Operation Ariel remains a little obscure, but she allegedly returned from Le Havre full of soldiers. 

Unlike other local fishing boats which were commandeered for war service during 1939-45, there is no such endorsement in the Maid Marion’s registers.

These little boats were rarely mentioned in the press, unless there was a disaster, or something unusual. However, the Maid Marion but did feature in two reports, which show that she did work pilchard drift-nets after the Second World War.

Plymouth Pilchard Hauls

Over 4,000 stone of pilchards were landed by the Cornish fishing fleet yesterday at the Barbican. Top catch was about 1,000 stone by the Nazarene of St. Ives. Renovate, of Penzance, had 300 stone, Maid Marion, Porthleven, 300, and Sheereness, St. Ives, 250. 

Western Morning News, Wednesday, November 24th, 1948


Porthleven boats make Plymouth landings.

Big hauls of pilchards, totalling over 3,000 stone, were landed by 12 boats in Plymouth yesterday.

Among the best catches were those made by the Maid Marion and Bonnie Mary, both of Porthleven, with 300 stone each. Two ring-netters, the Renovate and Mark J. Leach, landed 1,000 stone between them. 

Western Morning News, Thursday, November 10th, 1949

This boat should not be confused with the Falmouth Quay Punt, gaff cutter, of that name, which was offered for sale at £300 in the Western Morning News in October 1950.


This boat should not be confused with the Falmouth Quay Punt. Gaff cutter, of that name, which was offered for sale in the Western Morning News of Monday, October 1950, for £300.


Tony Pawlyn
Created 17/5/201.

Completed, 19/04/2024.