This brochure probably dates back to the 1970’s and features the ‘Modern comfortable Bluebird Senator Caravans’ and aspirational sketches of other accommodation: hot water was provided to BOTH floors of the House, and kitchenettes were an important feature in the flatlets!
The aforementioned caravans:- toilet facilities were in the corner of the walled garden, and showers were in the cellar of the house – with slot meters OUTSIDE the shower. A quick dash for the meter was necessary if the money ran out mid-shower. They were still in use in 1985, when visitors could be seen running, dripping, to the shop with soapy hair to complain that the shower had packed up. Low water pressure was quite an issue.
The restaurant was in the Stables where the swimming pool is now positioned. It later became the games room with a laundry beyond the curtain. Table tennis, anyone?
Extract from a piece written by “Wanderer” in the Royal Cornwall Gazette of Thursday 23 June 1892
This charming little watering place, in praise of which so much has been said and written at various times, is again donning its holiday attire.
Visitors are arriving from all parts of the kingdom. The jaded city man is glad to throw aside, with his tall hat and orthodox black coat, the cares of office and counting house.
The parson wearied with parochial worries and anxieties, rejoicing, let us hope, in an efficient “locum tenens” at home, throws care to the winds for a season and joins the genial rush to the sea, The ladies are arriving in force, and the children – bless their jolly little faces ! – go without saying.
For lovers of a thoroughly unconventional holiday, do and dress as you like, go and come as you please, I know of no place like Portscatho, while to the artist, botanist, or lover of aquatic pastimes it is paradise indeed.
Almost every day we are asked about what is happening with the restoration of the house, and we, like you, can’t wait to see what is to come. I am therefore very pleased that this information has now been put at our disposal. Here it is:
A Cornish Architect and a Listed Properties Historical Buildings expert (who worked on the Windsor Castle restoration after the fire) plus other relevant experts have been working on a five phased restoration plan. They are now finalising the fifth and final phase of the restoration plan before submitting the fifth plan to the Planning Authorities and relevant Historical and Listed Buildings Bodies who during the phased restoration process have all been kept fully informed.
All the five phased restoration plans will provide for the certainty, stability and sustainability of retaining both the 1750 period and the Victorian period buildings for the future and removing the past additions/changes that are not in keeping with the relevant periods.
Phase 1 has been the restoration (not replacement) of the windows (keeping all the existing windows including the rare landing window at the rear) and in order to secure the property.
Phase 2 has been the containment and protection of a rare bat colony in the Victorian loft and insertion of a bat entrance in the Victorian apex. This has all had to be managed through relevant experts after careful study, surveys and lengthy approval procedures.
Phase 3 is the works for improved and effective drainage of the internal roof well to prevent internal flooding and consequent damage to ornate plasterwork that has occurred over a lengthy time. The plans have recently been approved subject to relevant conditions. This work will be carried out shortly. The current listed drainage system will remain intact.
Phase 4 will be the carrying out of the roof and parapet renovation now that these plans have also been approved, subject to relevant conditions, after the bat breeding season ends in September this year, hence the hold up on the roof and retention of scaffolding.
Phase 5 is the both the internal and external maintenance, repair and renovation that is subject to the approval of the proposals currently being finalised. The length of time of this process is due to the necessary historical research and the architectural and many other surveys that have had to be carried out in order to manage the whole site responsibly.
With regard to the Cottage, this has recently had plans (prepared by the Architect and Listed Buildings expert) approved, subject to relevant conditions, for an internal and external renovation and the enlargement of the kitchen plus a small porch extension, all in keeping with its historical period. The Cottage is integral to the proposals for the restoration of the Manor as part of the whole site including the drive, the grounds and outside buildings.
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….??
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.
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…..
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.
Trewince was built in 1750 by a man called Stephen Johns, but according to the Henderson Calendars (1919 transcripts of unpublished Cornish manuscripts), records of lands at “Trewynsse or Trewense in the parish of St Gerrans” date back to 1571, and maps from an even earlier date show a dwelling at Trewince. Originally Trewince would have been part of the Tregear estate – written records are in the Domesday Book 1085. From the sixteenth century onwards, the Trewince mansion changed and developed; whilst little is known of an earlier building on the site, there was a coach house and cottage, and also gardens, orchards and plantations. The walled garden, still intact, was filled with flowers and fruit trees; there would have been game preserves and dove-cotes.
Hundreds of years later, the cob walls of the cottage are still intact, rammed into place with a mixture of clay, straw, dung and small stones, solid and rock hard.
There is a broad stairway in the house, “wide enough for two crinolines to pass”. The building has some fine architectural features, with examples of ‘chinoise’ open wooden panelling, beautifully ornate cornices and ceilings, and an intricately carved fireplace in the style of Grinling Gibbons.
The door of the room under the staircase shows the example of ‘chinoise’ wooden panelling. (The Chinese influence which was fashionable at the time). I think the panelling would originally have been open, without the backing board. Like the attic stairs, too.
When we bought Trewince in 1985 there were 16 chalets on the site and our first job was to update them. No verandahs or balconies in those days – but sitting outside was still a pleasure on a sunny day.
I think the scene outside the chalet shows a painting class with Jim, our ‘artist in residence’. He painted the enormous pictures of galleons in the Fal which hung on the staircase in the manor house.
One visitor in 1990 left us some hand crafted wooden flowers and a poem ‘wot he wrote’. I think things are a bit better these days!
Awfulness in the undergrowth
I don’t get nettled very much But here I often do My doorstep’s stingers, weeds and such Where is your gardening crew?
Oh yes, I know he’s cut the grass But not taken it away, Each time into my ‘hut’ I pass I fill the place with hay.
Up market soon, log cabins eh! They won’t cost half a crown, For new splendour I’ve had to pay While the old hut’s falling down.
Leave the cabin as you would wish to find What can I do you fools I don’t quite know what’s on your mind I haven’t brought ‘me’ tools.
The floors aslant. The doors don’t fit It is moving by the hour. The toilet has no lid to it You pull and get a shower.
Oh dash, I think I’ve said too much For extras I must pay A shower and orthopaedic bed A health farm, you will say.
The doorstep moves, I think you’ll find You’re trying to break my neck. I came on holiday to unwind And return a physical wreck.
Take all this all with a pinch of salt I’m really having fun To be too critical is a fault Forget, scenery, walks and sun.
Both self and dog had a very good time We lazed and walked for hours. Really everything just suited us fine And I’ve left a “vawse of flowers.
Trewince Avenue before Dutch Elm disease destroyed the trees. This road is the one leading from the village up to our gates. The photo comes from Arthur Mee (Children’s Encyclopædia, I believe, but unable to verify). Date, anyone?
Below is another photo of Trewince Avenue. When we first arrived at Trewince in January 1985 one of the first things I experienced was skidding on the ice and crashing the car into one of the elm tree trunks buried in the hedgerow. It had been our son’s first day at the Roseland School and we had been misinformed about the time of the school bus, making it necessary to drive him to Tregony. At the time my husband was still working in London and was using our Morris Minor that week, so I had to explain to him that I had dented the company Volvo! In fact, I only just managed to drive it to my new home.
The Elm trees have been replaced by Sycamores planted at the sides of the road (actually on the edges of Trewince Farm fields.) Time will tell whether the appearance of the Avenue will be restored but it’s hard to imagine that it will ever look like this again.