Frederick Lobb Hil was a County Councillor, an Alderman, and was Mayor of Helston four times. He was also in partnership with Glynn Grylls at Grylls & Hill Solicitors in the Great Office, Cross Street, Helston.
Frederick married Glynn's sister, Loveday Marshall Grylls, born 1809. They lived in Coinagehall Street. They were married on March 3rd, 1831, at Helston and eventually they had six children(pictured right).
Painted on the steps of Penhellis, with distant views of Porthleven.
1. With fishing basket, Frederick Vivian (1831-1904). 2. In yellow dress, Emily Boriase (1833-1916). 3. In pink dress, Georgina Barclay (1834-1916). 4. With hoop, Humphry Grylls (1836-1912). 5. Stroking dog, Pascoe Grenfell (1837-1881). 6. In white dress, Loveday Marshall (1839-1924).
Loveday died just ten days after the birth of the sixth child, on 18th February, 1839 and was buried at Helston.
During the 1830s Frederick employed Mr. George Wightwick of Plymouth to design a Georgian-style house which was soon to become Penhellis. He also designed Helston Guildhall. He was a pupil of Sir John Soane and a friend of Samuel Taylor Coleridge, the poet, whose son, Derwent Coleridge became head master of Helston Grammar School.
The name Penhellis translated from the Cornish language means "Head of the Town".We believe that Frederick and the six children moved to the new house about 1840.
Helston in earlier days was called "Hellys" or "Henliston". The house was surrounded by farmland which we believe already belonged to Frederick prior to building the house. The old farmhouse is now The Vicarage, the farm buildings now Trehane and the old barn was converted in 1972 to a three-bedroom house with the adjoining field. Immediately behind the house was the orchard and the land extended to what is now Osborne Parc and Grylls Parc.
The house consisted of three ground-floor rooms, a huge kitchen with stone floor, two Cornish ranges, a scullery with open spit, a boot room and a laundry room with copper. The only heating was from coal fires. Water was supplied by four wells. There were three servants. On the death of Frederick Lobb Hill in 1874,
the property went to his eldest son, Frederick Vivian Hill.
Frederick Vivian Hill (pictured right) became a solicitor in the family firm and lived at Penhellis until his death. He never married. There is a small book of his "The Poems of William Cowper Esq."; in it is written "This book was presented to Mr. F. V. Hill on his leaving for Rugby School on the 19th August 1847 by the servants in his Father's house as a mark of their high respect & grateful acknowledgements for the gentlemanly and kind conduct he always evenced towards them". Following in his fathers footsteps, Frederick Hill junior was Mayor of Helston eleven times.
Frederick Vivian Hill
c1890 - Frederick Vivian Hill (before the bow window was added)
Georgina married Richard Phillips of Coventry and died 1916. Humphry married Lavinia Webb and died at Torquay, 1912. Pascoe was a solicitor, died in Plymouth 1881, unmarried. In 1856 Emily was married to John Ratcliffe at Helston, John was Lord Chief Justice of India and had been widowed twice before. He had two sons, Charles and Thomas, both vicars. Together they had 9 children; Albert Edward, born India, 1863, Loveday Rhoda, Emily Georgina, Mary Louise (died in infancy in India), Caroline Lucy, Humphry Grenfell, Ethel, Oliver Prothero and Decima.
Following the death of Frederick Vivian Hill in 1904, the property was left to his sister Emily's eldest son, Albert Edward Ratcliffe with a proviso that Loveday should remain in the house until her death.
Following Loveday's death Albert and Margaret moved from Park Venton (Ratcliffe Lane, Helston) to Penhellis. After their marriage in 1925 Jocelyn and Daphne moved into Parkventon. Jocelyn was now running Grylls, Hill & Hill and opened a second office in Falmouth. Their son Peter (bottom right) was born and in 1929 they moved from Parkventon, Helston to Falmouth where they also named the house Parkventon and had their second child Gillian(bottom right).
Shortly before his death, Albert had sold all the land on the far side of Church Lane, it's believed for £30 per acre. He left Penhellis to his only son, Jocelyn.
Jocelyn Ratcliffe, now the owner of Penhellis and wife Daphne continued to live in Falmouth. His sister Monica and mother Margaret continued to live at Penhellis. Margaret was a keen gardener, a breeder of wire-haired fox terriers. President of the W.I. and quite late in life had two Jersey cows, who grazed the two remaining fields. She made her own cream and butter.
In 1938 Jocelyn's sister Enid married Seymour Schofield of Godolphin. He rowed for Cambridge at Henley in 1922, and wrote a book "Jeffreys of the Bloody Assizes". They had one daughter, Loveday and lived in Suffolk. Monica married Robert Garland in 1941, they lived at Penhellis for some time and later built Robin Hill in Cross Street. Loveday, Monica, Gladys and Joan were given away by Jocelyn and all four were married at Helston.
With the threat of war the evacuation of children was organised. West Ham Secondary School was sent to Helston. Penhellis was a temporary home. One child was Bryan Forbes. He describes the experience in one of his books. We believe he spent most of the war at Porthleven.
On the outbreak of war Mount House School at Plymouth was urgently looking to evacuate. Jocelyn's son Peter was there, and Penhellis was offered as accommodation.
They moved in and "Monica" and her grandmother Margaret moved to a bungalow at Mullion. The paddocks were ploughed up to make football pitches, but due to the unevenness of the land, they played rugby instead. Later, the school found larger premises and moved to Tavistock where they remain to this day. The American Army then took over Penhellis and later Margaret moved back and was well looked after by the remaining troops. For many years after the war she received visits and Christmas cards. A tree was presented and planted at Penhellis, but sadly grew to an enormous size and had to be felled. Margaret died in 1964 and is buried with her husband at Breage.
Jocelyn Ratcliffe(right) and wife Daphne didnt move to Penhellis until 1964 after the death of Jocelyn's grandmother Margaret.
Jocelyn only lived at Penhellis for 10 years and died very unexpectedly at Treliske on New Years Day 1973. Daphne lived alone at Penhellis for two years until moving in with her daughter Gillian where she lived happily for another twenty years and died aged 90.
In the absense of any private buyers Penhellis was then sold to "Keltick" a firm already in the town looking for larger premises, they were exploring Cornish waters for oil. With the house they bought the lower field and the old orchard.Penhellis as it was when Jocelyn and Daphne lived there.