Trevalga: unspoilt haven or development opportunity?

Unlike Cornwall’s other tiny tre– parishes, Trevalga is on the north coast, wedged between the small settlements of Boscastle and Tintagel. The farms of this parish had been neatly distributed across the hills and valleys leading inland by Cornwall’s early medieval inhabitants. Meanwhile, its small church and churchtown are hunched down nearer the forbidding cliffs of this district.

The manor of Trevalga is currently for sale. If you have a spare £15.5 million, four farms, 16 houses and 1,200 acres with unspecified ‘development opportunities’ can be yours

Trevalga only contributed two children to our database. Fittingly, one hailed from a farming family although he hadn’t himself been born in Trevalga. Francis Inch’s father Richard was a cattle dealer living near Camelford at mid-century. Around 1860 Francis was sent to work as a young servant at a farm in Trevalga. His description in the 1861 census as a carter tells us that his main work was driving the horses or oxen used to haul the farm carts around.

But Francis was to spend only a short part of his life at Trevalga. In 1868 his parents took the family off for a new life at a farm in Middlesex, Ontario. There, Francis helped his father until his marriage in 1877, after which he was farming on his own account.

Also unlike Cornwall’s other tre– parishes, Trevalga wasn’t entirely a farming parish in the mid-Victorian period. A minority, around one in five, of the men worked in the slate quarries of the north coast. Joshua Runnalls was one, living at the churchtown in 1861, having moved there from neighbouring Forrabury. His son Joshua John had already joined him at the slate quarry by the time he was 11. He didn’t enjoy a long life cutting slates however, as he died in 1869.

Three workers split slate at an unidentified Cornish slate quarry in the early 1900s