Tremayne House St Austell

Fore Street from the early 20th century, with the Dower House on the left.
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Fore Street from the early 20th century, with the Dower House on the left.

This house dates from Tudor times and was once a Dower House for the Tremayne family of Heligan. A dower house is usually a moderately large house available for use by the widow of the estate-owner. The widow, often known as the “dowager”, usually moves into the dower house from the larger family house on the death of her husband if the heir is married, and upon his marriage if he was single at his succession. The new heir would occupy the now vacated principal house.

The Dowerhouse, St Austell
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The Dowerhouse, St Austell

]The Tremayne family bought the Heligan estate over 400 years ago. This estate was at its height at the end of the nineteenth century, but after decades of neglect, the devastating hurricane of 1990 nearly consigned them to a footnote in history. However, re-discovered by Tim Smit, the Lost Gardens of Heligan are a well known attraction in the area.
In 1847 there were Bread Riots in St Austell, when the cost of bread rose well beyond the reach of local people. They marched into town, forcing their way into flour mills and bakers; including the bakeshop of Mrs. Hannah Rowe, threatening to ‘scat her brains out’ if she didn’t give them ‘some crib’. This may have been her Bakery shop.