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HISTORY OF PENPOL HOUSE | Hayle Pump

As reported in The Hayle Pump October 01, 2012

HISTORY OF PENPOL HOUSE

Before the Industrial Revolution Hayle town did not exist, only the village of Phillack with surrounding hamlets, the tide sweeping through the estuary in an uninterrupted stretch of water from St Erth to Phillack, the Celtic “An Hayl” (the estuary), being the name eventually applied to the growing town.

When copper smelting started about 1740, John “Merchant” Curnow, who lived in Penpol House, began building quays on the estuary. The land around the shore was very muddy and a field on the site of The White Heart was called “The Pool”.

The house, with a large amount of land, stood above it, and was called “Penpol” or “Head of the Pool”.

The earliest references recording the estate date back to the 13th century and some parts of the house indicate medieval origins. In the rafters appear to be the remains of an earlier roof, much smaller and steeper, once possibly thatched. In 1394 the property appears to have been owned by the Godolphin family and records show in1639 they sold it to Anthony Honeychurch of St. Erth who later sold it to Peter Pendarves of Bodriggy House.

In 1709 John Curnow of Ludgvan leased some of the estate, probably including the house, from the Arundel family. From his death in 1731 his son John “Merchant” Curnow lived there.

His daughter married Richard Millet of Marazion and they lived there from 1771. In 1778 he bought the property from the Rt. Hon. Lord Arundel.

The Ellis family came from St.Erth in 1745 and from 1748 Harris, Ellis and Co. were involved in the development of copper smelting, before merging with the Cornish Copper Company. John Ellis then his son lived in a house at Carnsew, later demolished to make way for the railway viaduct. One wall remains at the end of the viaduct and a window recess can still be seen.

John’s grandson Christopher Ellis came to Penpol in 1890, his second son Colonel John Ellis buying it in 1921. On his death the property passed to his nephew Major Thomas Ellis who subsequently gave some of the land to the town which became the playing field now used by the Bowling Club and known as Ellis Park. In 1977 the remaining fields of the estate were compulsorily purchased. Penpol Avenue was originally the elm lined private drive to the house.

Rozanne Ellis

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