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Archive for February 2012

On a more practical matter…

Posted on: 24th February 2012

You may have admired the curtains in the manor house lounge without realising there was a little story attached. I’m going back a few years now, and the curtains are no longer there as the house has been sold and is being renovated – but it’s a good story so I’ll tell it.

We had decided to refurbish the room which had been used as a public TV room and was rather shabby.

We had chosen a carpet but hadn’t yet purchased it and we went along to a holiday/catering Trade show and casually looked at an interior designer’s stand where we recognised a sample of our carpet on a concept board with fabric samples and colours.

After a brief chat with the designer we established that this was a scheme he had undertaken elsewhere, had over-ordered on the material and had a surplus getting damp in his garage at home! After a bit more chat we agreed that if we bought the carpet through him (and his price was very competitive) he would GIVE us the material. Well – I liked that idea. The only problem was that the material was already cut into lengths and the lengths were too short for our windows.

Not easily put off, I made a join in each curtain, placed at the top where it would be hidden behind swags and tails. All I had to do was dry it out, and buy fringing, lining and lead weights. The very nice man even sketched out a quick design for us on the ‘back of an envelope’! I do like a bargain – don’t you? What a generous supplier he was, and what an amazing provision it was for us.

the finished job

the finished job

Enter Stephen Johns

Posted on: 23rd February 2012

Lake’s “Parochial history of Cornwall” 1868 records that the present manor house at Trewince was erected in 1750 by the grandson or great grandson of a man named Richard Johns. Quoting from the ‘History of Cornwall vol 2 Gilbert 1838’ (based on manuscript histories of Hals and Tonkin), the editor wrote that: “An extremely good house was built here about the year 1750 by the grandson or greatgrandson of the gentleman who made the purchase of Trelegar from Mr Trevanian.”

old Trewince

old Trewince

Trewince was described as “A very pleasant house of 5 bays 2 storeyed with quoins and a door with an alternatingly rusticated surround (ie Gibbs) 1750. ”

There is another reference to Mr Johns here; I don’t think that a ‘squire of Gerrans’, resident at Trewince, could possibly expect such entitlements in the 21st century:

“The Bishop of Exeter  endowed Gerrans church the one half as a rectory, the other as a vicarage. This division was effected in a very unusual manner, although in one not quite without example. Instead of apportioning the tithe of corn to the rector, and all other portions, as small tithes, to the vicar, the whole has here been divided into equal shares; so that Mr Johns of Trewince the lay impropriator is entitled to 1/20th of everything tithable and the incumbent to another twentieth.” This would have been Stephen Johns for we read of a lease of 1753  – ‘Stephen John, on the lives of Stephen 25 Elenor 18 son and daughter of Stephen’. This expression ‘on the lives’ refers to a form of lease which was used in the 17th & 18th centuries, which was based on the lives of three specified people, so the lease would last for the lifetimes of the father Stephen, who could have been about 45, his son Stephen, aged 25 and his daughter Elenor aged 18: for the natural life of the survivor or longest liver of them. The theory was that the property would remain in the family for a substantial amount of time, since every time one of the ‘lives’ died, the lease would be surrendered and raised again on another three lives.

Stephen died soon after this: in his will of 04/11/1761 the ‘remainder of lands’ were left to his son Stephen Johns. I saw a document relating to the administration of his will in 1766, and it was in such a fragile state that I was amazed that viewing was allowed! The will referred to daughters Abigail, Ann and Eleanor and son Stephen; witnesses were Henry Nicholls, Martin Davis, and John Pascoe. He left to his wife ‘meadows in Trewithian’; to daughter Abigail £500 as a marriage settlement to be paid within a year of his death; in the meantime interest on this of £4 per cent per annum; to daughter Ann and daughter Eleanor the same; the remainder of lands and tenements were left to his son Stephen.

Johns Memorial in Gerrans churchyard

Johns Memorial in Gerrans churchyard

It was interesting to read about leases at http://bit.ly/wgZJlG . Apparently, leases sometimes had a wavy edge where two halves of an agreement had been cut apart and could be matched back together at a later date in order  to check that both halves of the agreement were the original documents.

There are accounts books relating to this period, referring to large parcels of land
1760 S Johns – Trewince (80 acres)
Polhaughan
Lanhoose
267 acres
Treluggan and so on….
They show amounts of wheat and  barley and the sale of lump sugar

Location, location, location!

Posted on: 10th February 2012
Trewince Aerial View

Trewince Aerial View

Long ago, all the fields around Trewince had descriptive names, and these can still been seen in the Tithe map of 1841 which can be viewed in the County Records office. The names are even older than this, though. In the Henderson Calendars we read:

“25/5/1648 Sir Peter Courteney leases to Ferdinando Hobbs of Gerrans gent for £60 and a surrender all Trewince and 4 closes called the Well Ground 20 acres, the Pease Meadow 1 1/4 acres, the Westerne grounds 12 lying on the west side of the Highway from Gerrans to St Anthony and being part of Trewynce and lands called the Downes 80 acres and a piece of waste ground called Polkerah (?) – lives said Ferdinando, Elizabeth his wife and Nicholas (son) — to the manor of Trethyn (illegible)”.

One field  below Trewince is called Pardon Bank, and it is where Henry VIII allegedly pardoned all political offenders in the area. In his “Accounts of the memories and reminiscences of a number of people of the parish of Gerrans”, Sam Marsden, rector of Gerrans 1975 or 6, wrote:

” The field on the left hand side of the road down to Trewince was where Henry viii held court, at which he pardoned all political offenders in the area. It is known as the Pardon Bank.”

Laurence O’Toole in his book  “Roseland between river and sea” wrote that Henry VIII was credited with staying at the Royal Standard in Gerrans during the time he was building St Mawes Castle but there is actually no evidence that he ever came to Cornwall. A bit like those other legends about Joseph of Arimathea…..

Minack Theatre on the cliffs wins Gold SW Tourism award

Posted on: 8th February 2012

 

 

Minack Gold award

Minack Gold Award

The Minack Theatre won the Gold award at the SW Tourism Awards finals in Torquay, in the category “Tourism Activity, Sport & Experience of the Year”. The West Cornwall winners were Team Minack, Penlee Gallery (gold in small attraction), Boskerris Hotel (bronze in small hotel) and Visit Cornwall. Geevor Tin Mine won bronze in the  small attraction category.

Who could think of a better ‘shelf’ on which to display their trophy? Quote from the Minack: “We were thinking about asking the builders to cement it in!!”.

Royal Cornwall Gazette, 29th October 1929

Posted on: 8th February 2012
apple
Extract from the Royal Cornwall Gazette, 29th October 1929 “Growers’ Outstanding Success at Birmingham”     Cornish growers have once again been successful at the Imperial Fruit Show at Birmingham. For top fruit growing Cornwall is one of the best, if not the most, severely handicapped of the counties in Great Britain, although fully compensated by the favourable climate for producing top fruit and… other out-of-season crops.     The Cornish growers were in competition with growers from all parts of England and Wales, including such fruit areas as Kent and Norfolk. In the light of this fact, the success of Maj. E. N. Willyams, Carnanton, St. Columb, and Maj. A. L. Thomas, Trewince, Portscatho, in taking the second and third prizes respectively in the class for box dessert apples is most creditable…..     The whole of the Cornish exhibits were packed as a result of instruction given by the Cornwall Education Committee Horticulture Department.

Cornwall gears up for the arrival of the Olympic torch

Posted on: 2nd February 2012
London2012

London2012

Organisers of the London Olympics have revealed the route which will be followed by torchbearers in the Olympic Torch Relay. They will begin at Land’s End on May 19 this year  and Cornwall will have an opportunity to enjoy the spotlight for a brief moment as the eyes of the world focus on our beautiful landscape.

David Fursdon, chairman of the South West England Board for the Games which heads the regional partnership Team South West, said: “We’re pleased that the Olympic flame will pass through all the counties in South West England. The route should mean that the maximum number of people will be able to reach a vantage point without travelling for too long.

“The torch relay will be a unique opportunity for people across the region to experience their own Olympic moment and to be part of the excitement and enthusiasm as they see the Olympic flame pass through their counties, towns and villages.”

The torch will be carried for sections of the journey on different modes of transport including the Rainforest Balloon as it ascends at The Eden Project, near St Austell, Cornwall. Gaynor Coley, Managing Director of the Eden Project, said: “The Olympic flame is designed to spread the message of peace, unity and friendship so it will be a very special day for all of us in our beautiful county.”

However…………. there has already been quite a hoo-ha because the route is avoiding towns such as Camborne and Redruth.

St Ives, Hayle, St Agnes, Perranporth are also “excluded”. No-one seems to be commenting that Portscatho will be missing the flame as well!! The route through Cornwall will be: Land’s End, Sennen,  Newlyn, Penzance, Marazion, Rosudgeon, Ashton, Breage, Helston, Falmouth, Truro, Newquay, St Stephen, St Austell, Stenalees, Bugle, Lanivet, Bodmin, Liskeard, Saltash, Plymouth.

You can read more and see a map of the route here.

Olympic status for ambitious play on tin mining

Posted on: 2nd February 2012
Tin set

Tin set

A large-scale theatre production that aims to combine the talents of professional actors, opera singers and local choirs for a celebration of Cornwall’s mining heritage has been given a prestigious award as part of the 2012 Cultural Olympiad programme.

Tin, a play based on the 19th novel by Edward Bosanketh, is being produced by Miracle Theatre and English National Opera, which have enlisted the talents of internationally acclaimed Cornish opera star Ben Luxon. The team putting together the ambitious show, which will be staged at five venues in Cornwall and Devon at Easter, were yesterday presented with an “Inspire” mark by the London 2012 Inspire programme.

Commissioned by the Cornish Mining World Heritage Site and directed by Miracle’s Bill Scott, Tin revives the story of a Victorian banking swindle in the St Just mining area. Each of the five venues are enlisting the talents of specially-convened community choirs. Ben Luxon, who has Cornish mining ancestry, will be joining the acting cast, while schoolchildren and community groups from across Cornwall and West Devon will make up a “village chorus”.

Speaking from his home in America, Mr Luxon said: “It’s a very exciting project.  It’s important to celebrate our Cornish heritage and I’m looking forward to working on this. My great-grandfather worked in the mines so  it is deep in my own roots.”

As well as the theatre show, Bill Scott and his team plan to use innovative cinematic techniques to produce a film.

Western Morning News