A little about ourselves, we are Jan and Paul Neil, I (Jan) am not Cornish but moved here from Richmond with my family when I was eight years old, gradually the rest of my family moved away as they did not settle in Cornwall but I always felt I had found my forever home! I love the lazy pace of life, the relaxed atmosphere, the beaches and the variety of countryside walks. Paul is Cornish through and through and was born in Redruth and has always lived in Cornwall.

 

We moved to Gew Manor abut 2 years ago after 20 years of owning boarding kennels. It has been a labour of love bringing Gew  back to a modern house without losing  its charm and quirks.

 

The property originally a working farm and built in th 1800s and was formerly a fully working farm and known as Gew Farm  but over the years the house fell into disrepair and the majority of th land was gradually sold off. The previous owners to us purchased Gew in 1989 and bravely undertook the massive task of rebuilding  and it was then that  it  became known known as" Gew Manor" but we have yet to find a historical reason for this name change! (but we could be proved wrong....) Below are photos of Gew being rebuilt, we have become friends with the former owner Juliette and she told us that other peole said to her "you will never finish or end up in the divorce courts", Juliette took that as a challenge and they did finish and did not get divorced....

 

Gew Manor is set in the heart of a productive farming area with public footpaths and bridleways criss crossing the farm land.  The soil and climate in this part of Cornwall  are known as valuable "double cropping land". The crops are rotated on a seven year cycle and so far we have seen courgettes, greens, potatoes and corn grown. It is amazing how hard and what long hours the farmers and farm workers put in and makes us feel a little guilty when we would previusly have said "I'm not paying £1.00 for a cauliflower".

 

The Village of Praze is about a five minute walk from Gew, where you will find a post office / general stores, a gastro pub the St Aubyns Arms, Phelps the bakery one Cornwalls finest bakeries renowned for its":Cornish pasties" and a hairdressers.

 

 

History of praze-an- Beeble:

Geographical location

Praze an Beeble is situated on a crossroads of the B 3303, Camborne to Helston Road and the

B3280 Redruth to Marazion Road. The nearest town is Camborne, three miles to the north. The

village, the largest in a wide rural area between Camborne and Helston, is in the parish of

Crowan and the district of Kerrier.

Landscape setting

The village lies on either side of a river valley, a tributary of the Red River, in an area of rolling

Country side. The surrounding land is good quality agricultural land and to the south west lies the

Clowance estate. Further still to the west the land rises to the hills of Tregonning and

Godolphin. To the east the land rises in closer proximity to the anciently enclosed lands, later

smallholdings, mines and ancient monuments on the former moorland around Carwynnen, with

Pendarves park about a mile north-east.

 History and physical development

This section should be read in conjunction with the mapped historical development in Figure 2.

Pre-1809

Economic activity

There was a manor house at Clowance from the 13th

century and around the 1400s it became the

home of the St Aubyn family. From 1426 Geoffrey St Aubyn farmed the tithe of Clowance

under the Abbey of Tewkesbury. The estate itsel fwould have been a provider of employment

for the local people, and the village of Praze an Beeble developed around its north eastern

boundary. The importance to Praze for employment and servicing of the Clowance estate

cannot be underestimated – it was one of the most important estates, houses and parks in

Cornwall, the ancient manor house continuously altered, the grounds extensively planted and

ornamented from the 1720s and again in the 1770s. The surrounding countryside was a

prosperous farming area with a number of medieval settlements.

The village is situated in an area famous for its late eighteenth and early nineteenth century

mining activity. The nearest operation was at Trevoole a mile and a half to the north of the

settlement on land owned by the St Aubyn Estate. Production probably began at the mine in the

late eighteenth century. Another early mine in the district was at Binner Downs, a copper

producing mine first recorded in 1758; although some three miles to the west all the intervening

land was part of the St Aubyn’s Clowance estate. Another mine just to the south of the estate at

Crenver was in production at least by the second half of the eighteenth century, while there was

a suggestive field name recorded on the Tithe map just north-east of the village (Wheal-angogue). Praze stood in a central position to these various mines situated on St Aubyn lands and,

although most were at some distance from the village, it may have had a service and marketing

role.

 Extent of settlement

To the east of the village lies a field recorded in the tithe awards as ‘round meadow’. There are

no visible remains, but this could be the site of a prehistoric defended enclosure; there are many

other surviving rounds and ancient enclosures in the surrounding landscape. The earliest

recorded settlement was not in the village itself but in the surrounding farms – Trerise, first

recorded in 1262 and Trethannas, Borthog and Trefewha all recorded in the early fourteenth

century.

 

The settlement of Praze-an-Beeble is not mentioned until 1697; its name means the pipe

meadow or drained area, and the village, such as it was, followed the course of the east-west

flowing Beeble stream as it ran alongside the ancient cross-county route to St Michael’s Mount

(now the B3280).

By 1779 the vicar of Crowan reported 500 families living in the parish, but we do not know how

many were in Praze an Beeble itself. It seems likely the village initially developed as a staging

post on the major historic cross-county route. This suggest that from the outset the village was

different from its farming neighbours– a creation of the St Aubyn’s aspart of their estate assets,

conveniently close to their estate, the mines, the farms and a major crossroads; this is a theme

that recurs in Praze’s history. Whether the settlement was an ‘industrial’ or agricultural service

centre or a sort of estate village attached to Clowance is a moot point.

The early development took place mainly around the crossroads and the village’s earliest

buildings - the inn, smithy and two coach houses - would all appear to confirm this. There was

mention as late as 1939 of a medieval wayside cross in the village, but its exact location is not

known.

By 1801 the population of the parish of Crowan, one of the major industrial parishes of 18th

century Cornwall, stood at 2,587.

1809-1840

Economic activity

During 1824 and 1829 the mine at Trevoole experienced a boom producing 1,408 tons of

copper ore. In 1829 the slump in copper prices led to a period of depression but the mine

reopened between 1837 and 1841, albeit far less profitably. This was also a great period for the

mine at Binner Downs which between 1819 and 1839 showed profits of £100,000 and at the

time of its closure in 1839 was employing 390 workers. The other major employer in the area

was the mine at Crenver, one of Cornwall’s most important copper mines, which by 1822 was

the deepest mine in Cornwall and employed 560 men and boys underground and around the

same number for surface dressing. On a smaller scale Rosewarne United mine, a mile to the

north-west of Praze an Beeble, was producing copper.

Clowance continued to develop as one of the most celebrated parks and gardens in Cornwall

though this period – despite a serious fire in 1836.

Extent of settlement

During this period the village expanded almost to its fullest extent until the late 20th

century developments. The overall population of the parish continued to grow - in 1811 the census

return listed 3,021, which had risen to 4,638 by 1841.

Rows of stone cottages fringed the road leading north to Camborne, and to the mine at

Trevoole. These were set in an orderly pattern with regular plot sizes suggesting a planned

development, while the road itself was straightened and diverted from its ancient course to the

north west via Trefewha, and given a marked elongated funnel shape opening out into the small

square at the main crossroads. This was a planned extension, undertaken in a very short space of

time (there was nothing there in 1809, the Chapel, more than halfway along the street, was built

by 1828), and can only have been undertaken under the auspices of the St Aubyn estate for both

estate workers and miners. One interesting aspect o fthe growth of Praze was that it happened at

the same time as the disappearance of a number of small cottage groups along Cathebedron

Road, probably squatters on the edge of commons west and north-west of the village (Howe

Downs/Penhale Moor); clearly marked in some density on the 1809 OS map, they had all gone

by mid century - a consequence of enclosure and agricultural improvement. The relocation of

 

much of that population may account for some of the growth in Praze, and suggests it was not a

simple industrial settlement.

The uniformly good quality of the buildings further suggests estate cottages, and the long strip of

gardens to the rear, large enough to grow vegetables, were typical of mine workers’ cottages

throughout the county, but also of agricultural workers. Another feature, more typical in this

part of Cornwall of industrial settlements, was the Nonconformist chapel - a Wesleyan

Methodist chapel built around 1828.

The earlier Inn and coach houses were integrated into the development, and it was clearly more

than just a miners’ village – with inns, commercial stabling/carriage housing, smithies and so-on,

it appears to have been an important local transport and service centre, responding to the

demand from the surrounding mines, the still prosperous farming community, and the busy

roads through the village.

 

‘Praze an Beeble, a respectable, compact, and well-built village’ -Polsue, J, 1872.

3.3.1 Economic activity

By 1861 the mine at Trevoole employed 75 men, 6 boys and 25 girls, but was running at a loss

and was forced to close in September of that year. Between 1864 and 1876the mine at Crenver

reopened and the mine at Rosewarne United continued to operate until 1873. Although the

boom years were over, the Post Office Directory of1856 still described mining as the chief

pursuit of the parish of Crowan and it clearly still dominated the landscape, Polsue noting ‘the

rich and highly interesting pleasure grounds and thriving plantations of Clowance form a gladdening contrast with

the surrounding desolation’.

During this period a quarry was in operation to the south of the settlement, set up most

probably to meet local needs – perhaps as much for the Clowance estate as for the village – the

house was completely rebuilt in 1843 following another fire to the designs of James Piers St

Aubyn. The large farms established in the medieval period continued to work the land

surrounding the village.

Extent of settlement

The Post Office Directory of 1856 illustrates the extent to which the village had become a

centre of local commerce. Listed were two shop keepers, two grocers, and two publicans at the

St Aubyn’s Arms and the Royal Standard Inn. The Directory also gives an insight into the

importance of the mines to the local economy as the village accommodated three carpenters,

two boot makers, a wheelwright and a blacksmith– all trades associated with mining.

The village expanded physically to the east and to the north (along the new course of the main

road beyond its old turning point to the north-west), with much of the new development in the

form of cottage rows. There were seventeen new residences built at this time including

Trethannas House, a sizeable building set in its own grounds. Unlike many other industrial

Settlements. Praze an Beeble housed a number of professional people including a mine agent, a

vet, a County engine reporter, and a registrar.

A formal open space at the southern end of the village was created, possibly the venue for the

yearly cattle fair.

Despite the village’s thriving economy the overall population of the parish began to fall during

this period as the mines began to close down. In 1851 the population stood at 3,984, but had

fallen to 3,464 by 1871.

 

1880-1906

Economic activity

In 1886 the mine at Trevoole reopened under a new name, West Wheal Grenville. This new

speculation was based entirely on a rumour that just before the mine closed in 1861 the miners

had cut through to the Great Flat Lode. The new company had London directors who financed

a number of new engine houses and poured money into the mine. However, by May 1891 the

Lode remained undiscovered and work ceased by August. The enterprise proved to be one of

the most expensive failures in the Camborne-Redruth district. All the other surrounding mines

had ceased production by this time.

Farming once again became the major employer in the area and a new stud farm was set up in

the village.

In 1887 the Helston Railway Company opened a branch line from Gwinear Road to Helston

with a station at Praze an Beeble; the historic role of the village as an important local transport

interchange developed on a new level. The line was worked from the outset by the Great

Western Railway and linked the village with the town of Helston and the mainline, providing

access to Camborne, Redruth and beyond.

 Extent of settlement

Despite the drop in population of the parish of Crowan, 2,603 in 1881 falling to 2,243 by 1901,

Praze an Beeble remained an important commercial centre. Praze shared some typical

churchtown functions with the actual churchtown at Crowan (less than a mile away). The village

could still support two pubs, four shops, a butcher and a shoemaker. There was also now a new

school just outside the village on the eastern side(actually the Crowan Board School rather than

simply Praze School), a new Free United Methodist Chapel, a Sunday school, a post office and a

village hall. The thriving nature of the community in contrast to the decline and collapse of the

local industry reflected the influence of the new railway providing access to other centres of

employment for the villagers. Indeed the village continued to expand at this time with many of

the new houses located at the southern end of the village near the new station. The influence of

Clowance perhaps still counted for much – the grounds were still famed in gardening and

horticultural circles until 1921 when the Clowance branch of the Molesworth-St Aubyn finally

sold the estate after 640 years.

 1907- 1946

Economic activity

All industrial activity in the area was now at an end. Local people found employment either in

the commercial enterprises within the village itself, on the local farms and estate or in Helston,

Camborne and Redruth, easily accessible by rail or car.

 Extent of settlement

The population of the parish continued to fall with 2,066 persons recorded in 1911 and 1,838 in

1931. The continuing presence of the railway, however, resulted in a small growth in the physical

size of the village. Ten further detached and semi-detached houses were built on the road to the

station, and a new garage. The chapels, school, post office, shops and pubs continued to

flourish.

 Post 1946

The roads which first encouraged development in Praze an Beeble have continued to ensure the

community’s viability. Its close proximity to the conurbation of Camborne and Redruth and the

town of Helston has ensured that, even after the closure of the railway in 1963, the village

continues to thrive. Although the chapels and one of the pubs have closed there are still a

number of shops, a garage, a village hall and a post office. There is also a branch of Cornwall

Farmers Ltd serving the needs of the local agricultural community. On the eastern side of the

village two large housing developments have taken place with both public and private housing.

In recent years there has been further building to the south of the village on land leading down

to the disused railway. As always, the Clowance estate remains an important factor in the local

economy, now as a thriving time-share and leisure facility