On 2nd August 1595, as part of the Anglo-Spanish War of 1585-1604, four galleys containing somewhere between 200 and 400 Spanish soldiers landed at Mount's Bay on the coast of western Cornwall. The fleet was commanded by Captain Carlos de Amésquita and it had left Port Louis, Brittany, France, on 26th July to raid the south-west of England.
The local English militia fled, allowing the Spanish troops to land, move on and burn Mousehole, Paul, Penzance and Newlyn, and also sink the ships in Penzance harbour. The Spanish forces raided local forts, stealing cannons and taking them back to their ships. It is said that before the Spaniards left on 4th August they celebrated a Catholic mass and Captain Amésquita promised to come back when Spain had invaded England and build a Catholic church on the site. The Spaniards then left, managing to avoid the fleet of Francis Drake and John Hawkins.
Paul Parish Church was mostly destroyed by the fire set by the Spanish forces, but then rebuilt in 1600. Pillars in the church still bear the marks of the fire.