Trefelix was built by Sir John and Lady Walsham in 1927, on retirement from China.  They had been visiting Trebetherick over many years, as Lady Walsham’s sister Ursula Warren lived at Torquil with Elsie McCorkindale; there are photos of the two Walsham children, Biddy and young John, in the garden of Torquil and on the beach, playing with Miss McCorkindale’s nephews.  These two ladies once visited Sir John and Lady Walsham in China; Miss McCorkindale returned with a large collection of Chinese porcelain, rugs and other treasures.

John Walsham, born in 1910, married Sheila Bannerman, daughter of Commander Bertram (Bertie) Bannerman.  On retirement from the Royal Navy Commander Bannerman went to live in Rock where he built and ran the Dormy House Hotel, now Lowenna Manor, and was a keen member of St Enodoc Golf Club.  The Walshams had three children, Tim in 1939, Susan in 1941 and Jane in 1943.  John rose steadily through the hierarchy of the Royal Navy, ending his career as Admiral Superintendent of Portsmouth Dockyard.

Young John inherited both Trefelix and the baronetcy from his father, but sold the house to the Frys a couple of years later, in 1949.   The house was then sold again during the 1950s to Mr and Mrs Bill Harrison, whose sister owned Grey Gables at the time.  Then in the 1970s Trefelix passed to Sidney Gottlieb, a psychiatrist whose patients included Peter Cook and Dudley Moore. The Harrisons converted the original attic at Trefelix into more rooms with an even better outlook.  They also built Bay View near the top of Worthy Hill for their gardener Mr Jones and his wife, who cooked for them.

In 1983 Trefelix came back to the Walsham family, when Susan and her husband Christopher Harbour bought it and went to live there with their four children: Mark, Caroline, Ben and Matthew.  The Harbours set up a travel company in Wadebridge, building on Chris’ experience in the industry in London where he had founded the British Universities North America Club (BUNAC).  Chris died suddenly in 1986.

Leaving Cornwall to run a hotel in Ireland with her second husband Mike Robertson, Sue entrusted Trefelix to her children, including Ben with his wife and young family. When she was widowed the second time Sue returned to live at Trefelix and is gradually bringing the house back to its former glory.

Similar Posts