Trewince Holiday Lodges, Portscatho, Truro, Cornwall TR2 5ET
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Tag: Sam Marsden

Battered eagles


Two battered eagles perch on the gate posts of Trewince – a link with the past to the Hobbs family who had eagles in their coat of arms and had connections here. The ancient manor overlooks both Froe Creek, leading to the Percuil river, and the sea, and stands on a wooded spur with woods of beech and pine leading to a small quay which belongs to the house. A field called Pardon Bank is just below Trewince, and it is here that Henry VIII is said to have pardoned all political offenders in the area.John Collett Thomas was a draper in London who retired to Trewince and he was the next to last squire in residence. The title of squire of Gerrans was generally held by the tenants of Trewince. Local people still remember the last of the squires and the time when people would touch their hats as the coach & horses rode through the village; there is a spot in the woods where the squire would sit and where the servants used to deliver his afternoon tea.

In the early 19th century the squire hunted regularly and Carew, in his “Survey of Cornwall”, describes the Cornish gentry gathering in each others’ houses, feasting and dancing, gambling and drinking. Last century Trewince was the place for the annual Sunday School treat. “They had a carriage and pair and servants in livery. We had splits and Saffron buns, and each took our own mug. We had games on the beach!!” (from “Accounts of the memories and reminiscences of a number of people of the parish of Gerrans”, collected by Sam Marsden, former rector of Gerrans).

The painting of the front gates with their eagles is by Stephen Bradbury from Mullion, Cornwall – known for his book cover illustrations.

Ghosts, buried treasure and a discovery of our own

More anecdotes from Sam Marsden’s little book, and some anecdotes of our own:

“There is a ghost that comes out into the little meadow (corner meadow) at Trewince. She took all the silver from the house in the time of the Civil War – she took it out and buried it. And now she’s supposed to come back and look at it.”

“The ghost at Trewince was supposed to be by the Oak tree hanging over the hill, going down Trewince Road. It was supposed to be seen there and going down Pelyn.”

” When I was a parlour maid at Trewince, I saw someone pass the door. I thought it was the children playing pranks on me again. So I called out but there was no answer. I went out of the door and looked and there was no-one there. The coachman came in and said, ‘That was the grey lady you saw.'”

We used to wonder whether there was a real hoard of silver buried somewhere at Trewince. There had been rumours of a tunnel hidden away somewhere. One day, over 10 years ago, we were grubbing up some bushes in the front lawn with a JCB when suddenly a big hole opened up. The digger driver, a friend of ours who was helping us, leaped out of the cab and jumped down into the hole.

It turned out to be part of a tunnel which had partially collapsed. It led down towards the beach in one direction and back towards the house in the other, travelling under the front driveway. The walls of the tunnel were lined with a dry stone wall, and it was high enough to walk along in a slightly stooped position.

There was a clay pipe running along the floor and when we made enquiries, a local historian suggested that it might have been used for drainage from the house but ‘probably had more sinister usage’ ie. smuggling. It was just too elaborate for drainage.

We looked in the well around the cellar of the house and saw a bricked-up entrance in the wall. We knocked out the bricks and found the entrance to the tunnel.

Archaeologists in Truro were disinterested, but we found the dicovery very exciting. After a while, though, we had no alternative but to cover the hole in the lawn with a big board and leave the secret there for another generation to discover. And the buried treasure….??

Sunday School Treats

I found this book one day in the Truro library. It made fascinating reading. Sam Marsden was a very popular rector of Gerrans  around 1975/6. Here are some quotations from “Accounts of the memories and reminiscences of a number of people of the parish of Gerrans, collected by Sam Marsden, rector of Gerrans 1975 or 6.”

” For Sunday School outings the Congregationalists went to Pendower, so did the Wesleyans. The Bryanites went to Towan.”

“For our Sunday School treat we went to Pendower, or Towan or Trewince; we were allowed to have tea there and walk through the gardens. They had a carriage and pair and servants in livery (just a dark frock coat). We had splits and Saffron buns, and each took our own mug. We had games on the beach!!”

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