Jeremy Rowett Johns is the author of several books on smuggling and Cornish history – he established the Polperro Heritage Press in 2000, specialising in non-fiction Cornish stories.
He’ll be talking about his latest book Smuggling in Cornwall: An Illustrated History which tells the story of the eighteenth and nineteenth century boom in smuggling and focuses on the fishing village of Polperro on the south coast of Cornwall, and the notorious Zephaniah Job, known as the ‘Smugglers’ Banker’. Cornwall’s extensive coastline and isolated location made it possible for large quantities of rum, brandy, gin, tea and tobacco to be shipped across from Guernsey and brought ashore in secluded coves but repeated attempts by Revenue officers to seize contraband goods were invariably thwarted; even when a smuggler was caught red-handed, it was rare for a Cornish jury to convict him. But in 1798, the murder of a Customs officer by one of the crew of a smuggling vessel named the Lottery led to the establishment of the coastguard service and the eventual decline of the smuggling trade.
In an engaging talk, Jeremy Rowett Johns brings to life this fascinating slice of Cornish maritime history.