Trevince, Gwennap

1843 tithe map of Trevince

1843 tithe map of Trevince

On May 20th, some 24 members had the opportunity to visit the home of and to meet our Chairman, Richard Stone, on his estate at Trevince. We met outside the house and were introduced to his wife Trish, his parents, Mike and Vanessa Stone and the gardener, Darren Bedser. We were given a brief history of the estate and were told that the house had been owned by the Beauchamp family since the 16th century. We learned that the Williams family leased the estate for about a couple of generations, leading to speculation that some of the planting may have been done by this family, famous for its involvement in plant hunting. Later we were to see the Tithe Maps of 1843, 1845 and 1871, showing the location and changes to the layout of the estate. It is known that during the war, the house was taken over by the ‘Save the Children’ organisation and the lawn was taken up to plant vegetables. This lawn area has now been restored, levelled differently and granite steps reinstated as shown in an 1870 photograph.

We were led on to view the stable block dating from the mid 19th century, complete with clock showing the correct time. This block was also the estate laundry. The main house and stable are listed buildings and, together with the outbuildings, gardens and parkland, form part of the World Heritage Site. Not included in the World Heritage Site, however, are 100 acres of adjacent land containing 50 mineshafts.

From here we went down, via newly installed steps, to the area known as the wilderness. Much of the area has been cleared of Rhododendron ponticum which was infected by Phytophthora kernoviae; this however opened up the area causing wind damage on the other plants. Now new planting is taking place, including conifers identified as endangered by the International Conifer Conservation Programme. (211 (34%) of the world’s 615 conifer species are currently listed by the World Conservation Union as being of conservation concern.)

Moving up another set of newly installed steps, we walked along a level pathway parallel to a ditch which is identified as an industrial feature – the leat from Lanner to Bissoe, feeding the Bissoe tin stamps. Although Trevince means ‘the place of the spring’, there are no natural water features on the estate.

The next place of interest was the walled garden where we saw a range of fruit and vegetable crops growing for use in the house. In former days, when there were 8 gardeners working here, the garden was run commercially. The flowers grown, including pittosporum foliage, were sent to Covent Garden market. The brick walls of this area are shown on the tithe maps but not the curved section in the earliest map. On the south facing wall was a vinery until 1970 with one of the vines still in existence.

We moved onto the so called pond garden now containing a small water feature; this area was once the rose garden but today it is an area of herbaceous plants. Here we saw a magnificent specimen of Davidia involucrata in full ‘flower’, a Paulownia, a multi-stemmed myrtle and a Fitzroyia tasmaniensis – one of the endangered conifer species. The former tennis court area may, in the future, be used to stage plays.

Weather records are kept daily and sent to the Meteorological Office. An 1870 photograph shows the Stevenson Screen in existence. We then went indoors to be shown a series of photographs of Trevince over the years which revealed the changes to the building and surrounds. A cream tea and cake was enjoyed by everyone after the most enlightening and educational visit to Trevince, home of our Chairman.

David Pearce