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Fowey Harbour Heritage Society
Views over Fowey harbour


The Remarkable Pinwill Sisters

The Remarkable Pinwill Sisters
A talk by Dr Helen Wilson - Saturday, 8 April 2023
Following our AGM, The Society were treated to a fascinating talk over the Easter weekend by Dr Helen Wilson. Helen has spent the last 10 years researching the Pinwill sisters, Mary, Ethel and Violet, who with the support of their mother, learnt to carve as teenagers during the restoration of their father’s church at Ermington, Devon. With the patronage of architect Edmund H. Sedding, they established a professional woodcarving business, Rashleigh, Pinwill & Co in 1890, which later relocated to Plymouth. After about 1907, Violet ran the business single-handedly, with a workforce of nearly 30 carvers and joiners during the peak years, establishing one of the best wood and stone carving companies in the West Country. By the time Violet died in 1957, there were over 650 pieces of carving work in more than 180 churches in Devon and Cornwall.
Helen has now published a book about these remarkable women which is beautifully illustrated.


Devon and Cornwall Coastal Barges

Stuart's talk on Devon and Cornwall Coastal Barges included slides from the National Trust archives. Many of the vessels shown were
built or operated by relatives of Stuart's and this connection gave a fascinating insight into the lives of the men who operated such vessels.
Local views included a picture of sand being collected at low tide from Golant, where men alongside a boat would pile sand against the side
of the boat so that water would drain from it, before it was loaded into a basket and hauled aboard. It would take two tides to load enough sand
to fill the barge. The shallow draft of these vessels also enabled them to get upriver to Lerryn and Pont.
Some of the barges started their lives as Luggers which were fast vessels and were used for fishing, but as time passed and the fishing industry
could no longer provide a good income; a lot of vessels were converted to barges to carry cargo. In later years the Hunkin family also installed
engines in order to keep competitive, the time for sailing barges had passed.


Polperro- Cornwall's Forgotten Art Centre

David Tovey's talk on 'Polperro - Cornwall's Forgotten Art Centre' was truly fascinating.
The depth of knowledge and ability to convey his enthusiasm was very impressive and held everyone's interest at the November meeting.
David had clearly done a massive amount of research and the slides were evocative of the art scene during the 19th and early 20th centuries.


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