Extracted from "Trebartha
- The House By The Stream" by Bryan Latham
chapter - Trebartha in War Time
p145 - " ... September 1940 to September 1941 shows a variety of
problems ... Mr Knowles reports that the ram the military have installed in
the ponds to increase their water supply will cause an overflow, to our
p149 - " ... Meanwhile the question of an adequate water supply to Trebartha Farm, the village and the mill cottages was
exercising the minds of both Mr Knowles and myself ... by industriously
probing the hillside Mr Knowles and myself found the true source of water
to be a spring some distance up the hill above the two existing troughs ...
A working party consisting of the agent, the local surveyor, the plumber,
Mr Knowles and myself was set up to take all necessary steps ... we built a
reservoir to hold 3000 gallons of beautifully clear spring water. (My wife
says it makes the best tea of all!) At the conclusion of the task Mr
Knowles and I felt we had done a good job of work and were justified in
inscribing our initials and the date on the wall."
chapter - Wood For War
p152 - "When we bought Trebartha and its
woodlands we had no definite plans as to how the timber would be worked ...
Mr Knowles, a local timberman, had cruised the woods and plantations with
the result that there was a specification in existence ... Several days
later I met a middle-aged, medium-sized man with a clipped moustache and
the healthy, ruddy complexion of the true countryman. Mr Knowles told me
that he had been employed in home-grown timber in south-west England all
his life. On putting my problems to him, the immediate response was that we
should install our own sawmilling plant on the estate, as he knew the
estate sawmill was centrally placed and he knew the buildings were sound
... After a moment's consideration I asked him if he would install and
manage such a sawmill for us. I could see he was dying to say 'yes' then
and there, and he actually said he would consult his wife and write to us
in a few days. Well, inside a week Mr Knowles did write offering his
services and after settling terms we immediately engaged him. I would like
to say this is a decision we never regretted, he was a very practical man
who knew all about home-grown timber and we worked together harmoniously
for many years."
p154 - "Mr Knowles, who was living at Boyton,
some twenty miles away, was finding the journey onerous on his petrol
allowance ... we managed to install him in one of the converted mill
cottages down the lane by the bridge over the Lynher.
Like all of us, Mr & Mrs Knowles came to love Trebartha
and spent many happy years in their new home."
p156 - " .. [the] Director of Home Grown
Timber Production persuaded the Ministry of Labour to allow a branch of the
WLA [Women's Land Army] to be recruited to work in sawmills ... the girls
soon became popularly known as 'lumberjills' ... Trebartha recruited six of the girls and billeted them
amongst the farms ... as there was a shortage of bathrooms at Trebartha at the time, Mrs Knowles kindly allowed her
bath at Mill Cottage to be leased out to bathers twice weekly!"
p156 - "It was my custom to spend a long week-end every month or so at
Trebartha, staying at a local inn to consult with
Mr Knowles on fellings, sawmill production and
orders. Frequently on Sunday mornings we would go for a tramp through the
woods to see how felling was progressing and plan future operations."
p158 - "The lady commandant in charge of the sawmill girls' section of
the Women's Land Army visited us regularly to supervise the welfare of our
'lumberjills' but ours were a happy lot with good
billets. Mr Knowles was very good at arranging suitable work for them, well
within their capacity, whilst Mrs Knowles was always going out of her way
to provide social amenities."
- p158 - "By the winter of 1944 the
end of the war was in sight, orders for low quality wood became more
difficult to obtain and we concentrated on felling high quality trees ...
there was no question of discharging any men because we were woefully short
of labour. Mr and Mrs Knowles who had fallen in
love with Trebartha, applied for a longer tenancy
on Mill Cottage and lived there for many more years.By
now Mr Knowles had established his daily routine of taking an evening
stroll round the Swan Pool and Gardens. He was always to be seen with his
thumb stick and ready with a story of what he had seen - traces of badger,
or a flight of wild duck."
Trebartha Hall seen from across the Swan Pool
- p158 - "Mr Knowles and I both now
began to take a careful look at the shape of things to come, we neither of
us wanted to spoil beautiful Trebartha by leaving
bare hillsides all too visible, so we began to study the landscape
carefully. We decided that the American Garden be left intact and the fine
Douglas Fir on the terrace above Lemarne Cottage.
Also a fringe of trees on both sides of the Moor Road. Enough trees must be
left around the manor house to give it background. Above all we wanted to
preserve the wooded aspect of the Lynher Valley
- p178 - "About 1950 the Estate
ceased to fell timber for sale ... and we considered closing down the
sawmill ... Mr Knowles, the manager, expressed a wish to rent it and work
it on a limited basis, drawing his trees mainly from windblows
... besides making local sales he produced excellent gates of which a large
agricultural estate requires a considerable number every year."
- p178 - "In the early 1960s Mr
Knowles, owing to anno domini gave up the sawmills although he continued to take a great
interest in the woodlands for the rest of his life. Every evening he took
his walk around the Swan Pool; he and his wife really loved Trebartha. One summer he was taken on a motor tour of
the Scottish Highlands, but it was wasted on Mr Knowles. At every scenic
viewpoint he would say 'very nice, but we can do better at Trebartha'."
William and Ruth Knowles in 1961 - in
this image he was not wearling his customary
(photograph courtesy of John Pitt, great
nephew of William and Ruth)
From John Pitts (ONS GOONS 1743 ) to
North Hill Local History Group, 4
January 2017: “ … my great aunt & uncle Mr & Mrs Knowles … lived
until Ruth's death many years ago at Trebartha
where Ruth's husband worked the woodland below the moor on the local
estate. Ruth was married twice but her husband died in the WW1 and her only
son Maurice died in WW2 . He was a journalist in
Cornwall but joined up into DCLI but transferred to the Marine Artillery.
He was sunk by a German U-boat in November 1942. Mr Knowles used a horse to
work the timber and I have the horse head brass on my wall … They lived in
a tiny cottage near the river … “
Based upon this communication and further
assistance from John Pitts and Nick Deacon the lives of Charles, Ruth and
Maurice have been researched and recorded above; John will supply an image
of the horse brass which will be posted here. William’s home, Mill Cottage,
is shown on this map by the red dot.