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Fowey Harbour Heritage Society
Views over Fowey harbour


‘Fascinating People and their Association with Fowey’ by Lynn Goold Saturday 2.30pm 30 January 2021

Members on almost sixty devices tuned in to Lynn’s informative and well-illustrated Zoom talk on three well-known former residents of Fowey.

Lynn’s talk began with Roden Noel, probably the least known of the trio. Born in 1834, he was the son of the first Earl of Gainsborough and became a prominent poet. Whilst living in Fowey he wrote ‘The Merry-go-round at Fowey’. After his death in 1894, one of his poems ‘Sea Slumber Song’ inspired Sir Edward Elgar, who set it to music as the first song in his song-cycle ‘Sea Pictures’ in 1899. His ‘Collected Poems’ were published in 1902.

Born in 1892, Leo Walmsley was a Yorkshireman, but lived in many different parts of the British Isles, including several years in the 1930s by a shore in Pont Pill in a humble army hut. Here, as a struggling author, he wrote some of his most famous works, novels that were mainly autobiographical, and all with a deep love of the area in which they were set. ‘Love in the Sun’ is a beautiful account of his time in Pont Pill, and when published in 1939 was destined to be a best seller until war dashed this hope. After returning to Yorkshire to live off the land, Leo Walmsley finally came back to Cornwall and settled in Passage Street, Fowey, where he died in 1966.

Fred Yates was a personal friend of Lynn’s mother, and they corresponded for many years. Born in Lancashire in 1922, he had been inspired by the artist Lowry to paint the lives of ordinary people, usually in a style that was naïve, colourful, and with a thick textured surface. He was nomadic and lived in various places, including in France and Cornwall - not just in Fowey, but in Lostwithiel, St Just and Marazion - always looking for artistic inspiration. He died in 2008.

Lynn ended with Fred Yates’ colourful painting of the merry-go-round on Fowey Town Quay, echoing Roden Noel’s poem at the beginning of her talk.

Jane Staniland


"What the Tudors did for Fowey" by Alex Lewis

Many FHHS members signed in to Alex Lewis’ recent Zoom talk on the ‘What the Tudors did for Fowey’. She gave us a masterful description of how the dynasty came into being, bringing alive those times in Fowey’s history with many tales of local people of the day.

Such as how three Treffry brothers fought in the Battle of Bosworth for the soon-to-be Henry the 7th and were rewarded for their bravery.

When Henry sent Sir Richard Edgecombe over to Ireland to assert his authority there, his small fleet had to battle a fierce storm on the way home and Sir Richard vowed to extend Polruan’s St Saviour’s chapel as thanksgiving for his safe return.

In Henry the 8th‘s time his hostilities with France and Spain led to the production of the map of the whole of the south coast including Fowey and also to the building of Saint Catherine‘s castle by the harbour mouth.

Alex concluded her talk with discussion of Fowey and the Spanish Armada in Elizabeth the 1st reign. She spoke of the involvement of Philip Rashleigh’s ship the Frances and how a model of this ship was hung outside the door of his house in the Town which led to the building being named The Ship Inn as it still is today.

A very enjoyable and informative talk, many thanks to Alex.


2021 A New Year and a special Number

Covid-19 has had a big impact on so much of everyday life. The Society’s last ‘in person’ lecture was just before lockdown in early March 2020 but what a good one on which to end. Viv Hendra spoke to a full room in Fowey about the Cornish portrait painter, John Opie. A fascinating and lively talk.
The AGM was held on line via Zoom in June and the Society was delighted to see so many members signing in from their living rooms. This gave us hope for our autumn/winter series of talks. The Society took the decision to keep speakers local just in case we could have a normal meeting but that was not to be so all talks have been, and will continue to be, via Zoom.
Helen Doe started off the series and spoke about the wide number of shipowners based in Fowey and Polruan in 19th century, then we had Marcus Lewis talking about the Fowey River class’ 70th anniversary. Then there were four speakers, Marian and Simon Cole, Kathryn Bartlett and Cecil Varcoe taking us on a virtual tour of East and West Looe.
By the end of 2020, when we fully expected to be down in membership, we in fact grew our list and now have 100 paid up members. This is a record number and includes an increasing number who live outside Cornwall. Some good news on which to start 2021.


Blog Archive 2019

Blog Archive 2018

Blog Archive 2017