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The Federation of Old Cornwall Societies

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St Goran Old Cornwall Society



President: Julian Williams




Secretary: Ms Susan Fox  Schovell, Cliff Road, Goran Haven, St Austell  01726 842873




Membership Secretary:  



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Meetings start at 2.00 p.m. and are at the Community Rooms, Bell Hill








Monday 5th December: “A programme of songs and poems of Cornwall by Jenny and Joan with guitar accompaniment”.




Monday 2nd January:


Monday 9th January at 2 p.m: Councillor James Mustoe, “The Work of Cornwall Council”


Monday 6th February: Robert Evans, "My Grandmother’s Childhood in Pentewan 1900".


Monday 6th March: Bill Behenna, “Mevagissey Reminiscences”


Monday 3rd April: Guided walk around Mevagissey starting at 2 p.m.










The vice-chairman, Joy Wilson, gave a talk to St. Goran Old Cornwall Society on Monday 7th December at the Community Rooms on her memories of Gorran in the 1950s. She said she made her first visit to Gorran with her husband, Colin, the writer, in 1955 - “We rode on our bicycles from Plymouth and went across the Torpoint ferry. We went past James’s place at Trelispen and asked help there because one of the bikes had a puncture. We were sent to the local garage at Menagwins then run by Ern Liddicoat and he sorted things out. We cycled down to Gorran Haven past the Triangle, then just a grassy patch, to the village, called in at Cakebreads bakery and a general store run by Mr. Tubb. Went on the beach and admired the little bay.

Two years later we came down to live at Old Walls, in the valley below Bodrugan, previously occupied by the poet Louis Adeane. The cottage belonged to Leo and Phyllis Kendall and we paid them the rent of 30s per week. The place was pretty primitive, without electricity and we used oil lamps for lighting. The walls were of stone and cob, the stone having come from the old castle above Pabyer Point on the cliff – which is how it got its name. The ceiling consisted of the wooden floor above, held up by beams. For cooking there was an iron kitchen stove and we got water from a well and the nearby stream. It was a lovely situation though, with a walk down the valley to Colona beach, the fields occupied by bullocks and cows. On the cliff path to Gorran Haven there was Bodrugan’s Leap, then the site of the old castle which may have had Roman origins, two almost ploughed out Bronze Age barrows and nearer the village Carn Rocks, among which was a tall quartzite boulder which we called the Magic Rock. You could then get down to Great Perhaver beach by a steep and winding path which unfortunately does not exist any more. It was lovely walking on the cliff path with the wildflowers in spring. Going down to the village there were allotments and willow gardens on the landward side where now is Perhaver Park and just a few bungalows on the seaward side.

           For shopping we either went on the cliff path to Gorran Haven or through the farmyard at Bodrugan, down Bodrugan hill to Portmellon and then by Polkirt Hill to Mevagissey. From the farmhouse at Bodrugan we got butter and cream. Portmellon as now could suffer violent storms and once people had to be rescued from a house by breeches buoy. The inn, now the Rising Sun, was then a black-painted cottage which had formerly been a Temperance House. Our conditions at Old Walls were later ameliorated by the acquisition of a generator for electricity which enabled us to play vinyl records on our gramophone among other things. Our transport arrangements were improved when we obtained a baby Austin car.

           We lived at Old Walls for a couple of years but then were fortunate in finding a newly-built house in Gorran Haven on its own ground overlooking  the willow gardens on the east side of the village. Water came from a well in the field behind. Springs on Trelispen farm provided the main supply for the village at this time before mains water arrived around 1960. Houses were then linked to a sewer pipe that went out behind the quay and discharged its contents in the area towards the Pool. There were houses and chapels in Church Street and Canton. Rattle Street was cobbled. The houses in the village had close community occupancy. On the beach old fishermen sat on a bench below the limekiln and working fishermen, crabbers operated by the quay and used the pound and big cellars. Cakebreads was the bakery and there was a café and fisherman’s store but no pub. There were no estates around the village then. There was a regular bus service, green Western National buses, which turned around by the limekiln. Holiday visitors who came down were mostly accommodated in B & Bs.

           At Gorran Churchtown we attended the annual church fete held at the Vicarage on the north side of the village, set in lovely tree embowered grounds – now in private hands, Polgorran. The pub was more simple and basic than today, certainly characterful and was much patronised by local farmers and others.”

Alva Monk, proposing the vote of thanks at the end, said what a fascinating account Joy had provided for the audience, enlightening them about a different time from today. The Society now has a break for Christmas and the New Year. The next event is a talk by James Whetter on the history of the Bodrugan family to be held at the Community Rooms on Monday 1st February, starting at 2 p.m. All welcome.
























St Goran