Treloyhan Manor occupies a site of unique beauty and charm overlooking the blue waters of St Ives Bay, Cornwall. It was built in 1892 by Sir Edward Hain, the well-known shipping magnate, as his private residence and every feature of the mansion and its magnificent grounds speaks eloquently of the loving care and forethought which he lavished upon its design.
The mansion is constructed of the finest Cornish cut granite quarried from the hillside at Castle-an-Dinas, about 3 miles from Penzance. Though substantially and solidly built, the bold front gable chimneys, steeply-pitched roofs and large bay windows lend it an appearance of lightness and grace not always met with in a domestic building of its period. The main doorway on the western side is a notable feature, the stonework being very finely carved. Within, the rich oak panelled hall, the broad central staircase and, above all, the spacious, airy, well proportioned rooms are the things which immediately impress the visitor on arrival.
Sir Edward Hain was descended from a very old local family of shipmasters and sailors. In 1573, the first volume of the St Ives “Booke of Recorde” mentions a payment of 1s 6d by Harrie Hayne to the Corporation “for bords”. The St Ives Parish Registers (which began in 1651) also contain frequent references to the family. Thus, on 12th April 1668, we find recorded the birth of a daughter, Joan, to Robert Hain. On 27th December 1779 John Hain, “mariner,” was married to Susanna Warren, this being the earliest mention that can be found of the family’s seafaring associations.
In former days, St Ives boasted quite a substantial fleet off little sailing vessels – brigs, schooners, barquentines – which carried copper ore from the adjacent mines to the smelters in Wales, brought in supplies of coal, wood and slate and exported casks of local-caught cured pilchards to Italy. The Hains were interested in sailing ships, both as masters and owners, from the second quarter of the 19th century; before this they had been fishermen. In 1816 a certain Edward Hain was the master and part owner of a little three-mast fishing lugger, the “Dasher”, built at St Ives in that same year. In 1832, the same Edward Hain and his son ‘Edward Hain the Younger’, became, together with Richard Paynter joint owners of the “Camilla”, a 114 ton schooner, built at Stonehouse in 1825. Subsequently, other sailing vessels were acquired by the family – the “Mystery”, “Bohemian Girl”, “Glynn”, “Margaret Hain” and “Arethusa”.
The principal architect of this little sailing fleet was Capt. Edward Hain (1829 – 1899), who was the third member of the family to bear that name. Capt. Hain was a born sailor, one of the old school, who went to sea in command of one of his own vessels at the age of 18. Under his guidance, the small Hain line grew to a position of moderate strength and prosperity, and a number of local people were induced to take up shares in his enterprise. There was nothing, however, in the 1850s and 60s to distinguish it from a number of similar fleets operated by other St Ives families, such as the Mollards, Shorts and Mortons; and it is certain as anything can be that it would never have emerged from this state of comparative obscurity but for the remarkable business ability and organising genius of Capt. Hain’s son, the builder of Treloyhan Manor.
Mr (later Sir) Edward Hain was born at St Ives in December 1851 and received his education locally at Mr James Rowe’s school, at Academy Steps, in Fore Street. As a youth, he was sent to London to acquire experience of business methods by working for a time in a tea-merchants office. This translation from the quite little fishing town of St Ives to the greatest commercial centre in the world opened the young Edward’s eyes to the possibilities of developing a small business, like that of his father’s into something really big and worthwhile.
On his return to St Ives, he declared that he could see no future in continuing to run a line of little sailing vessels, adding that if his father were not prepared to switch immediately to steamships, he would have to leave the family business altogether and seek an new career elsewhere. Capt. Hain heard this declaration with regret and even consternation, for he loved his little schooners almost as if they had been his own children- as in a sense they were – but he nevertheless obliged to accede to young Edward’s demand in order to retain his services.
In 1878, the first Hain steamship was built at South Shields, Co. Durham, by Messrs. John Readhead and Sons, a firm which continued to supply virtually all the vessels for his fleet for many years afterwards. The Company’s records show that the “Trewidden” was an iron-built 1,800 ton vessel, schooner-rigged, 240 feet long, and propelled by a screw. With her, was begun the practice of calling Hain vessels after Cornish place names continuing the prefix “Tre”meaning “town” or “hamlet”. One of them, built in 1882, was actually called “Trelyon” a variant spelling of “Treloyhan”. Other ”Tre” names from the St Ives area which have been borne by the Hain vessels include “Tregenna”, “Trevethoe”, “Trevarrack”, “Trevalgan”, “Tremeadow” and “Treveal”.
Under young Edwards skilful management, the new line developed rapidly, and by 1907 the Hain Steamship Co’s. fleet of merchant vessels had grown to a total of 34 with an aggregate deadweight capacity of 179,000 tons. And as the fleet prospered, so did the Hain family rise in wealth and influence. In 1883 - five years after his return from London – young Edward Hain became a member of St Ives Town Council, and was elected Mayor of the Borough only twelve months afterwards, holding that office on six occasion’s altogether. He became a J.P. in 1885, and represented St Ives for many years on the Cornwall County Council. In 1900 Mr Hain was returned unopposed as Liberal Unionist M.P. for the St Ives Division, but retired from politics in 1906 owing to the increasing demands made on his time by business affairs. In 1910 he was elected President of the Chamber of Shipping, and in the same year, the birthday honours list contained his name among thirty other knights. A year later, the Freedom of the Borough of St Ives was bestowed upon him, and in 1912 he was made Sheriff of Cornwall. His career was crowned by several years of arduous and devoted work on behalf of the war-time Government Committee on Shipping and Ship Building, when his wide knowledge and experience were made freely available for the country’s use.
The typical success story of Sir Edwards’s public career was underlain by a deep personal tragedy. In 1882, he married Catherine Seward, daughter of Mr. James Hughes of Whitehaven, Cumberland, by whom he had three children – two girls and a boy. His elder daughter Grace – a much loved and sweet natured child – died whilst at school in 1898. This came as a bitter blow to her parents; but worse was to follow. For in November 1915, their only son Capt. Edward Hain was killed in action in Gallipoli; and the shock occasioned by this great loss was a contributory factor to Sir Edward’s own death, which took place two years later, in 1917, at the age of 65. For not only had Sir Edward hoped to hand on his business responsibilities to this young man at the end of the war, but had also clearly entertained the ambition of founding a new local dynasty to rival the Shephenses and Praeds of former days – the building of Trelohyan Manor itself affords sufficient proof of this.
Only a few months after Sir Edward’s passing, the Hain Shipping line was purchased by the P & O and British India Steam Navigation Companies, at a total cost of nearly £4,000,000 the terms agreed upon being £80 for each existing £10 share. The Hain vessels were desperately needed by the larger concern to make good heavy losses sustained by torpedoing which explains the very high price they were prepared to pay for them.
Despite the merger, the Hain line’s separate identity was preserved, and it has been continued as a distinct fleet within the P & O organisation down to the present day. Its St. Ives offices were closed in 1925, the management being transferred to Cardiff and London. The line suffered grievous casualties during the second World War, losing the whole of the 24 ships it possessed at the outbreak of hostilities, together with four others acquired later. The fleet has been steadily built up since then by a policy of new building, and is today again in a healthy and flourishing condition.
Sir Edward’s family remained in possession of Treloyhan until about 1928, when the property was put onto the market, being acquired by a company formed to develop part of the extensive grounds as a building estate, and to convert the Mansion into a hotel. The latter was opened on July 1st 1930.
This transformation was not effected without some difficulty. The original plans of the building had been lost, and a new set had to be prepared by Mr. T. F. Harvey, formerly Borough Engineer at Merthyr Tydfil, before the necessary alterations could be carried out. The architect responsible for the work was Mr. P. E. Stephens of Falmouth, the contractor being Mr. James H. Daniel, of St. Ives, a relative of Sir Edward Hain.
The extension consisted of a new north wing, which increased the number of bedrooms from 16 to 47. Great care was taken to ensure that the new portion should harmonise completely with the old, both in design and in regard to the materials employed. The new stonework, obtained from Constantine, has already mellowed considerably, and will soon be indistinguishable from the granite of the original mansion.
Treloyhan Manor continued in use as a hotel until the Second World War, when between 1941 and 1945, it was made to serve a purpose that had surely never been envisaged either by its first builder or later adapters. For during that period it housed the pupils of Downs School, evacuated from Seaford Sussex, the distinctive red and blue uniforms of these girls bringing a welcome splash of colour to the town in those drab years.
In 1947 the building was acquired by the Wesley Guild for use as a guest house, the official opening ceremony taking place on 31st March 1948. This ceremony was performed by Mrs T. S. Strike, wife of the Chairman of the Directors, and the Rev. J. K. Whitehead, B A (General Secretary, Methodist Youth Department, London). Also present were Mr T. S. Starkie, the Mayor of St. Ives (Mr. Gerald J. Cock); and the Rev E. Marshall Moyle. Since that time many thousands of people have spent a most enjoyable holiday in this pleasant and charming mansion. The object for which M. G. H. was established have been indeed been most completely and satisfying realised at Treloyhan Manor.
The name “Treloyhan” has been variously interpreted as “the habitation of the grove” (of Welsh “trewellyn”), and “place of calves” (from the Cornish tre-lughyon”), and originates from a small hamlet situated on the main road just north of Carbis Bay. The Borough Accounts for 1597 contain the curious entry: “Pd. Two poore men of the parrishe ijd”. This village lies actually a mile distant form St. Ives, and the road which now connects them – Treloyhan Avenue – is a most beautiful one, passing between the lovely wooded Tregenna and Treloyhan Estates.
When Sir Edward Hain was building the Manor, he laid out a fine, tree-lined carriage drive through the grounds, which ran from the lodge gate at the northern end of the estate, around the front of the mansion, and so out to the main road again near the outskirts of Carbis Bay. The carriage house and stables – now the Tallard Riding School – were situated near the opening of Love Lane. A familiar sight in the 1890’s was that of the dark-bearded Sir Edward Hain being driven from Treloyhan in a four-wheeled open carriage and pair to his shipping office at St. Ives, a pleasant, tree-shaded old manor-house which stood on the site of the Post Office in Tregenna Place, by Mitchell, the coachman, wearing a livery of green coat, white breeches, gaiters, fawn topcoat and box hat.
The present Treloyhan grounds cover an area of about 12 acres. The trees which Sir Edward planted to beautify his mansion have grown to full maturity and afford it full protection from all the winds that blow. They include oaks, horse chestnut, beeches, pines and evergreens. The mild winter climate experienced in this district has made possible the growth of many exotic sub-tropical shrubs and rare ferns, whilst the carefully tended flower beds are also well worthy of remark. The mansion is surrounded by smooth green lawns, the turf for which came originally from Beagle Rose on Amalveor Downs, in the moorland parish of Towednack.
Winding footpaths lead down to the Hain Walk, specially constructed for the public’s enjoyment by Sir Edward Hain across the lower parts of the estate. Here, above Porthminster Point, may be seen and old baulking house, where the ‘huers’ used to keep watch for shoals of pilchards entering St Ives Bay in the days of the seineing industry, it now serves as a very pleasant shelter for holidaymakers.
It is interesting to note that, around the middle of the last century an old tin mine and copper mine was worked very near the present Treloyhan Manor. Known as ‘Wheal Margery’, a writer described it in 1861 as one of the few ‘progressive’ mines in the district. It was then divided into 1,024 shares, the purser being S.Higgs of Penzance, and the manager R.James.
The workings extended some 120 fathoms under the sea, and the salt water seeping through the roof made the mine a very damp and unpleasant one to work in. The miners were often in danger of being drowned when the sea, under the influence of an easterly wind, broke into the adit and threatened to flood the levels. More than once, the men only escaped by racing up the ladders in pitch darkness whilst the water rose almost faster behind them in the shaft than they could climb. Mr Hamilton Jenkin has also given the story (in “The Cornish Miner”, 1927) of how, about 100 years ago, the boiler of the great pumping engine on Wheal Margery burst, nearly killing a number of workmen who, warned by a sagging tube, got clear just in the nick of time. All the old buildings and surface remains of the mine were laid out, and practically nothing can be seen of Wheal Margery today except the old drainage adit in one of the small coves just south of Porthminster Point.
The pleasing design of Treloyhan is said to have so impressed one Mr.Parker, an Irishman, that he commissioned a near replica of it for his private residence which was erected at Shrewsbury Road, Ballsbridge, Dublin. This building is now occupied by the Pharmaceutical Society of Ireland.