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I’m always pleased to hear from you on mikesagar-fenton@hotmail.co.uk with comments, suggestions or potential commissions.

I currently have nine books in print, on very different aspects of life in West Cornwall. Scroll down for more details and links to buy online.

  •  Most recent is Penzance – The Biography, a full-length history of my home town, from its earliest origins to the 400th anniversary of its charter in 2014, published by Amberley Books in May 2015.
  • The best-known is Penlee – The Loss of a Lifeboat, the dramatic and inspiring story of the last mission of the Penlee Lifeboat “Solomon Browne” which was wrecked during a rescue attempt in a ferocious storm in 1981 with the loss of all eight crew. This is now in its fourth edition with a new foreword by Pete Goss.
  • Summer 2016 sees the publication of the new guide to the Godolphin estate, my first commission from the National Trust.
  • I have also written the full history of the Penlee Lifeboat from its beginnings, Penlee Lifeboat – the first 200 years, all proceeds of which go to the RNLI.
  • The Rosebud and the Newlyn Clearances is the story of the local Council’s ham-fisted plan to upgrade Newlyn and Mousehole in the 1930s by destroying most of the original cottages and replacing them with flats, which led to a mission of mercy, taking a local fishing boat, the “Rosebud” up the Thames to the Houses of Parliament to beg for the villages’ survival.
  • Serpentine is the formerly untold story of the unique coloured stone which forms part of The Lizard peninsula, whose products found favour with Queen Victoria and went from a cottage craft to a thriving industry – and back again.
  • Two small publications Around St Michaels Mount, a pocket history of this iconic structure, and Around Penzance, Newlyn and Mousehole, a tourist’s primer.
  • Finally True Colours, a page-turner novel set in West Cornwall’s odd mixture of traditional inhabitants, artists, hippies and others who fall under Cornwall’s spell, no romantic fiction but a modern tale told by an insider.

Penzance – The Biography

Price: £16.99

Penzance sits in the heart of beautiful Mount’s Bay – the centre of Cornwall’s most westerly region.  Penzance: The Biography tells the story of the town, from its earliest times to the 400th anniversary in 2014 of its borough status. It tells of its growth from two small neighbouring villages to its thriving industrial Victorian heyday and beyond, a tale of disaster and success, drama and survival. Penzance has survived attacks from Celts, Vikings, Saxons, Normans, African corsairs, Spanish galleys, English Parliamentary troops and Second World War bombing. Its fortunes have rested upon tin mining, shipping and tourism among a wealth of other industries, including, of course, smuggling.

Famous characters’ stories are revealed: its first ‘founder’, Alice de Lisle; the Pretender, Perkin Warbeck; the pioneer of modern chemistry, Humphry Davy; the father of Methodism, John Wesley; and others from all strands of society who have trodden Penzance’s streets. Find out about the rich pageant of history that created the town, and its ongoing story.

 

True ColoursTrue Colours, a book by Michael Sagar-Fenton

Price: £6.99

“True Colours” is a novel cutting a slice through contemporary Cornwall, from the airy world of artists to the fading world of farming and fishing, through affluence and poverty, age and youth. Simon, a rising star in the art world, falls into an old tin mine shaft. What he finds there starts a chain of events with unpredictable and devastating consequences for himself and all those around him. It is a gripping story and an unflinching view of Cornwall’s reality, told with an insider’s eye. It was awarded the Holyer An Gof prize in 2008 as “Best Cornish Novel”.

Published 2007 by Truran, Croft Prince, Mount Hawke, Truro, TR4 8EE

Read an extract

Penlee Lifeboat – The First 200 Years

Penlee Lifeboat - The first 200 years, a book written by Michael Sagar-Fenton

Price: £5.00

Following the publication of “Penlee – The Loss of a Lifeboat” I became closely involved with the Penlee Lifeboat Station, and have written the story of its first two hundred years. This covers its uncertain beginnings, the heroic era of rescues in open rowing-boats, the development of motor lifeboats and slipway launching, the loss of the lifeboat with all hands in 1981, the recovery of the station as an effective unit, right up to the present day with its two state-of-the-art lifeboats and superb record of achievement.

It is a story of courage, heroism and tragedy but also of humour and the everyday miracles which keep the RNLI going as a world leader in sea rescue supported entirely by voluntary funds.

All profits from this absorbing and well-illustrated book will be donated to the RNLI.

Read an extract



Penlee – The Loss of a LifeboatPenlee - The Loss of a Lifeboat

Price: £7.99

First published in 1991 this book was immediately acclaimed as a classic of lifeboat literature

NB: Now back in stock, a fourth edition with a foreword by Pete Goss

 Read an extract

 


SerpentineSerpentine

Price: £6.99

The rocks which form the Lizard Peninsula are some of the oldest and most complex in the world. A large part of the peninsula is made up of deposits of serpentine, a volcanic rock which, after its formation, was squeezed and compressed to form a unique, marble-like rock with an extraordinary variety of colours and texture.

The beauty of these rocks led to a craft in fashioning of ornaments, on a small and local scale at first. After coming to the notice and approval of Queen Victoria, a growing industry emerged based on The Lizard and Penzance. The rise and fall of this sizeable industry, the survival of the serpentine craft through to a new mass-market as holiday souvenirs, and the prospects of its further re-invention as fine art, make up a fascinating and so far untold story.

Published by Truran Books

Read an extract

 About Penzance, Newlyn & MouseholeAbout Penzance, Newlyn & Mousehole

Price: £2.99

A brief but ideal primer for anyone interested in the much-loved towns and villages on the shores of Mounts Bay, how they came to be, and how they developed over the years.

As an introduction to the area, or a memento to those who have visited it, it is a perfect gift.

Bossiney Books

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About St Michaels MountSt Michaels Mount - a book by Michael Sagar - Fenton

Price: £3.99

This book explores the remarkable history of this magical island, as a monastery, as a fortress and as a country house, administered by The National Trust but still very much the home of Lord St Levan whose family have lived here since the time of Cromwell

Bossiney Books

Read an extract 



Rosebud & The Newlyn ClearancesThe Rosebud and the Newlyn Clearances

Price: £7.99

‘ARMADA OF ONE TO INVADE LONDON’

So proclaimed the Sunday Graphic in the autumn of 1937. The story of the Rosebud caught the nation’s imagination, and her voyage was the culmination of a battle to save the fishing village of Newlyn from wanton destruction

Truran Books
Published 2003

 Read an extract

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