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Land In Trust

Land in Trust

on behalf of

The People of Porthleven

The Recreation Ground at The Moors, Porthleven

The Bowling Green,

Gala Parc Football Ground,

The Cricket Ground

Amenity Area

The information contained within has been gathered from records kept by:

  • Cornwall Records Office
  • Cornish Studies Library
  • Porthleven Town Council
  • Original records kept by the Trustees of the land throughout its history.
  • Personal Experience.

To trace the history of this land we have to start with the wreck of HMS Anson on Loe Bar on the 29th December 1807.

Tobias Roberts, a hero on that day, was so appalled by the loss of life, he decided there should be a harbour of refuge in Mount’s Bay.

After much deliberation it was decided that the harbour should be constructed at Porthleven. An Act for constructing a Harbour at Porthleven was created on the 26th June 1811 and the Porthleven Harbour and Dock Company was formed. Further Acts followed in 1813, 1816, 1821 and 1869. The Acts detailed the terms, conditions and restrictions under which the Harbour and Dock Company had to administer the business throughout its entire existence.

In 1870 (18th July 1870) the Harbour & Dock Company obtained a lease on a piece of land for a term of 60 years (from 29th September 1870) eventually purchasing the said piece of land by a conveyance dated 19th November 1887 between Edward Maitland, Arthur Loius Simons and the Harbour & Dock Company.

Under the above terms the Harbour & Dock Company were not permitted to make such a purchase without Royal Licence and would have had to forfeit the land referred to as ‘that moor or waste plot of ground’ if it were not for the eventual granting of the Royal licence. The final part of this Royal legal document is dated by a statement of time:

‘Witness Ourself at Westminster the twenty second day of October in the twenty third year of Our Reign’ (George 5th Reign was 1910 to 1936).

The 23rd year places this document in 1933. This was the year Miss Emily Thomas applied to purchase the land from The Harbour and Dock Company so that it could be donated to the people of Porthleven as a recreation ground. Apparently this action resulted in the successful granting of the Royal Licence allowing the sale to take place.

It appears Miss Emily Thomas made this purchase allowing Thomas S Williams to donate the moors, as a recreation ground for the people of Porthleven, in memory of his late wife Josephine. A monument commemorating this was later placed in the recreation ground and remains there to this day. The date on the monument is August 14 1936.

On the old tithe map of 1841 the land is indicated as 371 and is divided by the stream. The lower part of 371 has a plot to the right 401. On subsequent maps the lower parts will become known as the timber yard.

The tithe map of 1841 follows:


To continue the lands identity, a copy of a later OS map for Helston Borough Council indicates the change in land Identity numbers. On this map the land now appears as the Timber Yard ( which is no longer any concern to this record), the whole of 233 and 234 which is now the Recreation Ground with the Tennis Courts included.

See the following map:


If one looks closely at the map, it can be seen there are a number of symbols looking like an S elongated and rotated from the vertical to the horizontal (~) indicating the spaces so connected are included in the same reference number and area.

It is clear that no such sign exist from the timber yard to the area indicated as 233.

The triangular area at the bottom of 233 appears to be separated from the Recreation Ground. This is because the Porthleven Moors Recreation Ground Trustees, the administrative body, negotiated with the Porthleven fishermen and net manufactures to permit them to use that land details of which can be seen below:


It can be seen that agreement was reached and the minute clearly shows the order was issued to fence off that particular area. The fence was erected along with the net drying posts and that is why the line across 233 appears on the maps even today. It shows the whole area of 234 and 233 was donated to the people of Porthleven although the triangular shaped land was reserved for fishermen and net drying facilities.

The fence was removed some years ago but the drying posts remain as can be seen in the image below.


We cannot ascertain when the following aerial photograph was taken, but the dotted line clearly outlines the Recreation Ground already in the possession of Porthleven (A). The areas marked with (B) are identifying the areas that would become the bowling green and the Football ground (Gala Parc). The areas marked R and B1 was not achieved but the cricket ground and amenity area further down the valley was.



Below is a more recent image of the same land now developed and in trust for the people of Porthleven. 


 1952 Helston Borough Compulsory Purchase Order 16th July for additional land for the playing fields. This was to require three conveyances

Duke of Edinburgh visited Porthleven Recreation ground to open the tennis courts and view plans for the surrounding ground

 1953 It was decided to follow this course of action as it proved necessary to make some compulsory purchases of land to create the space required for Gala Parc and the Borough Council had the power to take the 

necessary action. 

Helston Borough Compulsory Purchase Order 16th July for additional land for the playing fields was confirmed by the Minister 14th April 1953.

1954 The Gala Committee struggled to find sufficient funds for further development. In 1954 the Committee paid to Helston Borough Council the sum of £310 plus the development value of £60. In May the Title Deeds to recreation ground formally handed over for safe keeping. The ground extension was 13.5 acres purchased for about £1,000

1956 September Final conveyance completed for compulsory purchase of playing field land

1958 May - His Royal Highness, Prince Philip visited Porthleven recreation area. Since his last visit land had been acquired to facilitate, football, cricket, bowling and athletics.

1974 The local government reorganisation and Helston Borough Council ceased to exist when the new Kerrier District Council come into being at which time the records relating to the land owned by the people of Porthleven were transferred to Kerrier District Council.

resulting in the Porthleven land held on charitable trust was transferred to the new Helston Council. However the deeds were taken over by Kerrier DC.

1983 Alfie Pascoe retired as Gala Week Committee Secretary. Alfie was the founder secretary in 1947

1985 After the old Borough Council had been succeeded by Kerrier District Council, the local council became known as the Helston and Porthleven Town Council. In 1985 Porthleven split away from Helston and Porthleven Town Council came into existence.

1986 Kerrier District Council approached the Minister of the Environment requesting future administration of the playing fields be vested in the authority of Porthleven Town Council. Communications were sent to the district council reminding them of the work carried out by the people of Porthleven to acquire the land for the people of Porthleven. The request for the transfer of land back to the people of Porthleven was rejected by central government.

During 1990/1/2  I became involved when serving as Vice Chairman of Porthleven Town council when the following course of events took place:

1991 It was brought to my attention Kerriers intention to retain the land without consultation with Porthleven’s Council. This resulted in me telephoning the Chief Executive’s Office demanding the return of the land to its rightful owners or face the consequences which appeared to have had a favourable outcome for Porthleven. 

In July 1991, Geoffrey Cox, Kerrier’s CEO wrote to the Town Council regarding Gala Parc and the Bowling Green stating I write to advise that due to the rather convoluted situation with regard to the Title of the land. The Council has decided to seek opinion of specialist Counsel advice. Unfortunately this will delay in the granting of the Lease but I will keep you informed of further developments once we have Counsel’s opinion.

Unbeknown to me at that time (April) Alfie Pascoe is requested to make a Statutory Declaration for the CEO of Kerrier District Council in relation to Porthleven Gala Parc Recreation Ground and Bowling Green. We now have a copy of this in the museum’s archives.

Kerrier District Council was advised the land should be returned to Helston Town Council as KDC had no rightful claim to the land. 

Helston Town Council wrote to Porthleven Town Council on the 4th June 1992 offering the return of the land to its rightful owners.

My timely intervention did cause Peter Morris, our Town Clerk at the time, to threaten to resign. This I accepted suggesting he formally handed in his notice in writing. He then admitted he had not given the subject the attention it deserved and withdrew his threat of resignation.

I then had to initiate a complaints procedure against the council’s solicitors. The firm’s senior solicitor intervened reprimanding the solicitor concerned resulting in an instant change of attitude.

The next stage was to convince the remaining members of Gala Week to hand the Trusteeship to Porthleven Town Council. I contacted both Mr Pascoe and Mr Gale informally to ascertain whether they would attend a meeting. Mr Gale declined due to some unjustified historic event that had taken place between himself and previous members of the town council. However Mr Pascoe, one of the major influences of the formation of Gala Week Trust agreed to attend the meetings held under the title of Gala Parc Management Committee.

Porthleven Town Council Meeting – Minutes appertaining to Land

1st October 1992

Minute number 150 – Town Clerk’s Report

Charities Commissioners – Gala Parc Conveyance.

10th December 1992

Minute number 170 – Town Clerk’s Report

Gala Parc - Charity Commissioners dealing with it.

18th November 1993

Minute number 279 – Town Clerk’s Report

Gala Parc – Hold up over Charity status – Note and file.

13th October 1994

Town Clerk’s Report - attachment

Gala Parc – Trusteeship by Town Council is now proceeding with Kerrier District Council, Helston Town Council and Charity Commissioners.

10th November 1994

Clerk to write to football club reference lease or purchase of freehold. Clerk advised nothing could be decided until the Charity Commissioners had handed over the Trust to the council.

Minute 380 – Town Clerk’s Report

Council informed Charity Commission that Town Council is prepared to act as Trustees

12th January 1995

Minute 397 – Matters Arising

Gala Parc – Charity Commissioners had accepted Town Council as future trustees – awaiting documentation.

11th May 1995

Minute 440 – attachment

Gala Parc – Have received Trust Deed from Charity Commissioners – KDC have query re land schedules and have written to commissioners re this. – awaiting outcome.

8th June 1995

Minute 459

Gala Parc – Cllr Carter produced paper on origin of Purchase of part of Gala Parc under dispute with KDC. it was unanimously agreed that we should vigorously resist all efforts by Kerrier to withhold any land relating to the original Gal Parc and to use all means at our disposal to ensure the complete return of all lands to its rightful administrative home.

After discussion resolved.

14th September 1995

Minute 469 – Matters Arising

Gala Parc – still in the hands of the solicitor.

12th October 1995

Minute 482

Gala Parc – Still negotiating through solicitors with Kerrier District Council.  KDC evidently awaiting consent from the Department of the Environment to transfer.

12th October 1995 – issue 12 Porthleven community news produced by Porthleven Town Council ran an article informing the people of Porthleven the current situation relating to Gala Parc.

9th November 1995

Minute 492 – Clerks report

Gala Parc – Still waiting – Cllr Bradbury had informed clerk that Kerrier District Council were awaiting authority from the Dept of Environment for transfer. Cllr Carter requested clerk to enquire cause of delay.

14th December 1995

Minute 502 – Town clerk’s report & attachment

Gala Parc – Solicitor still pursuing with kerrier District Council who would have to value the amenities area and then wait clearance from the Dept of Environment - Solicitor is chasing Kerrier DC and Charity Commissioners for quick solution.

January 1996 

Porthleven Community News informed the people that the recovery of Gala Parc continues progressing slowly. Kerrier DC agreed to return the land to Porthleven for a nominal fee once this has been sanctioned by the D of E. Meanwhile the Charity Commissioners continue to monitor the progress ensuring the safe return of the land to its rightful owners, the people of Porthleven.

13th January 1996

Minute 519 – Matters arising

Gala Parc – Clerk was awaiting information from solicitor, who was sick. RE: Charity Commissioner’s letter.

Minute 522 – Clerk’s report – attachment

Gala Parc – Still waiting – football club Clubhouse has planning consent.

14th March 1996

Minute 531 – Clerk’s report and attachment

Gala Parc – awaiting – attachment – Kerrier DC awaiting for D of E consent to sell amenities area for nominal value.

11th April 1996

Minute 540 – Town clerk’s report and attachment

Gala Parc – Progressing slowly. – attachment – Have requested solicitor for an update – awaiting.  

(Cllr Carter requests our solicitor write direct to the D of E regarding the hold up)

16th May 1996

Minute 549 – Town clerk’s report and attachment

Gala Parc – awaiting update – attachment – Solicitor enclosed copy of letter from Kerrier DC to D of E asking their urgent agreement to sale of Amenities area to this council.

13th June 1996

Minute 559 – Town clerk’s report - attachment

Gala Parc – Kerrier DC pressing D of E for decision – attachment – Copy of letter receive by Helston Town Council from Charity Commissioners saying hold up is due to Kerrier DC/ D of E

11th July 1996

Minute 568 – Town Clerks report and attachment

Gala Parc – awaiting D of E confirmation to Kerrier DC – attachment – D of E have now granted consent for Kerrier DC to sell amenities area to us, so am hoping the transfer of all areas of Charitable Trust will now proceed (I wrote alongside this entry This had taken 4 years)

12th September 1996

Minute 577 – Town Clerk’s report - attachment

Gala Parc – D of E has now granted consent for Kerrier DC to sell amenities area to Town Council – attachment – discussions with Charity Commissioners continuing

10th October 1996

Minute 586 – Town Clerk’s report - attachment

Gala Parc - discussions with Charity Commissioners was continuing – attachment – Solicitors awaiting title deeds from Kerrier DC

14th November 1996

Minute 595 – Town Clerk’s report – attachment

Gala Parc – Solicitor was near finalising with Kerrier DC – attachment – In last stages of transfer

Unfortunately Peter Morris, the Town Clerk, died and never experienced the successful return of the land to Porthleven. However Elsie Balme replaced Peter as Town Clerk on Saturday 15th February 1997 and had the dubious pleasure of resolving the administrative problems that arose.

13th February 1997

Minute 633 – Agenda items

Gala Parc – A meeting was being arranged between the Gala Parc trustees, members of the Council and representatives of various organisations. Councillor Carter reported that the Gala Parc land was at the present time in process of being registered at the Land registry.

Elsie Balme would take over as Town Clerk on Saturday 15th February 1997.

Mr Taylor informed the Council that bridging the pond in the amenities area would cost around £400.

Porthleven AFC Lease – for 30 years from the 21st March 1997 (expires March 20th 2027)

Porthleven Cricket Club Lease – 28 years from the 15th March 1974 at an annual rent of £1 the premises known as Porthleven Cricket Club (Expires 14th March 2002)

10th July 1997

Minute 671

Gala Parc bank Account - Councillor Carter pointed out the advisability of opening a separate bank account for Gala Parc. It was proposed by Councillor Bradbury, seconded by Councillor Edwards and agreed that this be done.

11th December 1997

Minute 720 – Town clerk’s report

(b)  Bridge Over Pond – Councillor Budd proposed accepting the quote for a timber bridge. Councillor Carter requested a delay on the grounds that Mr Buxton had previously been instructed to quote for steel girders to underpin the bridge (Note Mr Buxton finally designed and built the bridge in such a manner that it could be taken apart for maintenance or repair).

14th May 1998

Minute 774 – Matters arising from Minutes

(b) The Bridge over the pond. It was reported that this was now complete and in use.

Minute 777 – Town Clerk’s report

(g) A letter from J.A.S. Pascoe, former secretary of the Porthleven Gala Week committee, was circulated, showing that a sum of £3,439.17 had been handed over to be used for the benefit of the community. After some discussion it was proposed by Councillor Carter, seconded by Councillor Gautry and agreed that the council would like to give £1,500 to the harbour Christmas Lights, with a meeting being held with the Gala Parc Management Committee to discuss the uses to which the rest of the money might be put.

(h) The Clerk drew the attention of the meeting to a letter from the Charity Commission, in which various problems relating to registering Gala Parc as a charity were outlined.

14th July 1998

Gala Parc management Committee

Met and recommended that the money received from the former Gala Week be distributed as to £1,000 to the Christmas Lights Committee and as to the balance to the Public Hall. (The said balance amounts to £2,439.17). The council are asked by the committee to ratify this suggestion: however I have to report since the committee met I have received a letter from the chairman of Porthleven AFC expressing their dissent from the Gala Parc Committee’s decision and challenging the donation to the Public Hall on the grounds that Gala Week was initiated for the purpose of providing sporting facilities for the village and that the money ought, therefore, to be shared by the sporting organisations.

The Clerk, from personal knowledge, advised the Council that the Chairman of Porthleven AFC was correct in what he said, but the council, after careful discussion, took the view that the aims of the Gala Week had long since been achieved and that it was up to the surviving members of the Gala week Committee to recommend how the remaining funds be used. They had suggested the arrangement agreed by the Gala Parc Management Committee and the council were quite happy to comply with their wishes. It was therefore proposed by Councillor Lovell, seconded by Councillor Budd and agreed that the decision of the gala Parc management Committee be ratified.

10th December 1998

Minute 829 – Town Clerk’s report 

(f) The plaque commemorating Gala Week would be unveiled in the Public Hall on Saturday 23rd January 1999 Official invitations were being sent out by the Public Hall Committee

Minute 832 – Bowling club lease – The Trustees of the Bowling Club had now executed the counterpart lease. It was agreed the original be sealed on behalf of the Council.

Porthleven Community News January 1999

Reported that “We recovered the areas of land relating to Gala Parc from KDC and registered the title with the land registry. The land is now safely returned to the people of Porthleven.


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