Trevina: A Potted History

Trevina first appears in a Lanhydrock Estate map of circa 1650 and is listed on the Tithe roll of 1840. The bulk of the present house was built in the 1880’s to replace an earlier farmhouse that stood alongside a millrace that once ran down our driveway. Bits of the older structure were liberally incorporated into the present house & cottage. Although not identifiable in the Doomsday book, a study of woody shrubs and tree species in sections of hedgerows around Trevina House gives a date of 1000 AD, give or take a hundred years. The farm on top of the hill on the opposite bank of Trevina brook, Trevenna, was once a monastery and it is probable that Trevina was one of its tied farms. However, as with most Celtic places, the origins of Trevina are shrouded in the mists of time.

Trevina for most of its long existence has been a moorland edge farm. It was used as a weekend retreat in the 1940’s by a Michael Guinness, who according to local legend was a disreputable scion of the Guinness brewing family, though numerous google searches have failed to verify. What we do know is that a housekeeper & odd job man lived here and the house was a venue for ‘arty’ gatherings.

The house & land returned to a farm in the early 1950’s & remained so until we acquired it in 1990. Much of the farmland & buildings had by then been sold off, leaving just half acre house & garden, a 10 acre green desert & 4 acres of overgrazed boggy beechwood. All in a sorry state. The old lady who last had the house ran a ‘goat-hotel’…including putting up her guests in the house bedrooms, with pigs and workshop in the space now taken by  Housekeepers Cottage

The house is surrounded by history and legend. A ley line is reputed to run through the house and many visitors comment on how calm and peaceful the house seem. Others claim to have had experiences of an otherworldly nature whilst walking in the surrounding woods and fields (tales best told late on a winters evening around a blazing log fire).

Trevina brook once fed a series of mediaeval fishponds along the valley bottom, one pond still exists a little further up the valley, overgrown and haunt to otters & herons.

St. Neot had a hermitage in the lower valley beside the Loveney, giving his name to the village. Later his bones were said to have provided miraculous healing to a sickly king Alfred and were thence removed to the King’s Estate in Huntingdonshire where a nearby village also took on the name of St. Neot.

There are indeed wonderful tales to tell. Trevina brook flows into the River Loveney a few hundred yards beyond our lower woods. The Loveney rises from the naturally occurring Dozemary Pool which is reputed to be possessed of mystical qualities not least of which dates back some 1470 years to when Sir Bedivere cast the bloodied Excalibur back into its still waters, and the hand that rose to receive it.

But our little valley was inhabited long before the mythical time of King Arthur. From the  landing window can be seen the crown of Berry Down Castle, hold of some Iron Age chieftain, long dead before the Roman Legions disembarked, or Tristan wooed Iseult in the woods by Tywardreath.

Of even greater antiquity are the quoits or megalithic tombs, stone circles and standing stones, cold fingers pointing skyward and full of meaning long forgotten, forsaken on many a moorland crossroads. Perhaps not for nothing is the hill that rises behind Trevina known as Hobs or Hobbs Hill, A Hob or Hobs being defined by Katherine Briggs in her  “A Dictionary of Fairies” as “…the general name for a tribe of kindly, beneficent and occasionally mischievous spirits …”.

Whilst on a more homely note, we have dug up pieces of flint scrapper and arrowheads from the garden & grounds, shards of Bronze and Iron Age pottery, green glass bottles and Victorian pennies; detritus lost or discarded over 50 centuries.

We love Trevina House and the myths and legends that abound in this part of Cornwall. All this is yours to share.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *