TRURO, Cornwall – St Mary’s Rectory. 

George Fellowes Prynne was the architect of a proposed new Vicarage or Rectory in the Trehaverne area of Truro.  However, there were protracted issues relating to the access road, as the following extracts demonstrate.

The first article I found on the issue was in the Royal Cornwall Gazette of 12 February 1903.

A letter was read from Mr. Fellowes Prynne, architect for St. Mary’s Vicarage, Trehaverne, stating that the requisition made by the Council to widen the Kenwyn-road to 36 ft. was a very serious matter, and entailed a considerable loss of valuable land, i.e. no less than 9ft., nearly the whole width of the site.  The special points he was asked by the Ecclesiastical Commissioners to place before the Council were as follows:-

  1. That the average width of Kenwyn-road down to the town is not more than 30 ft., and consequently there is not the same reason for widening the road to the extreme requirements of the bye-laws.
  2. That, if widened, the whole additional width should not be deducted from the owner on one side, and that it is usual to take measurements for such widening of roads from the centre of the road.
  3. That the widening of the road at this point means the removal and rebuilding of a walled hedge, and a large amount of earth, as the level of the site is some 4ft. or 5ft. higher than the road.
  4. If the road is widened, what compensation will be given to the owners.
  5. At whose expense would the necessary alteration be made.

He was authorised to say that although the Ecclesiastical Commissioners would not wish to raise objection to any reasonable scheme for improvement of the road, they would be glad to have the foregoing points considered by the Council, to see if there was any way out of the difficulty.

On 9 April 1903, the West Briton and Cornwall Advertiser described the proposed new St Mary’s Rectory.  It was to be generally

…of late Tudor character, treated to suit modern requirements as to light and ventilation.

It was to have a hood-covered entrance archway, mullioned windows with wooden casements and red tiled roofs with projecting eaves.  It was to be faced externally with rough-faced Marazion granite, and dressed with Bath stone. Inside it was to have a porch with a small room opening from it, then a large hall from which would lead a study, a dining room and a drawing room.  To the back there would be a store room and pantry, and, in a separate part of the house, the kitchen and servants’ wing.  Upstairs were six bedrooms, two dressing rooms, bathroom, lavatories and house linen and drying rooms. On the top floor were designed four further bedrooms, box and cistern rooms.

The fittings from the old Rectory will be used as far as possible.  The object of the architect, while going to no unnecessary extravagance, has been to design a comfortable and compact, and very substantially built, house, which, while being simple in its architectural treatment, will be effective and picturesque.  The total cost will be about £2,800.  The work is being carried out from the designs of Mr. George H. Fellowes Prynne, F.R.I.B.A., architect, of Westminster, by Mr. G. Miners, of Marazion.  The work is under the personal superintendence of a clerk of the works, while Mr. Wm. Honey will be foreman of works.

The last part of this article implies that the work had already started at time of writing.

The Royal Cornwall Gazette of 30 April 1903 reported the issue with the width of the road close to the new Rectory at St Mary’s church, discussed by the Improvement Committee…

…Mr. G. H. Fellowes Prynne had written that the owner of the site would be willing to allow 4ft. 6in. to be taken off the rectory site instead of 9ft., so as to widen Kenwyn-road, subject to the boundary wall and the roadway being made good by the Council.  The committee recommended that the offer be accepted, and that “provided the owners also pay £35 to cover the cost of excavating and rebuilding the hedge the Corporation will relieve them of cost of pavement and carry out the whole of the work.”

…the committee felt in making that offer they would be meeting the owner more than half way…

On 14 May 1903, the Royal Cornwall Gazette reported that

A letter from Mr. Fellowes Prynne, architect for the new rectory, stated that the owner of the site not wishing to stand in the way of local improvement, he was prepared to make the offer named in his last letter.  The letter was referred to the Improvement Committee.

Then a few months later, on 13 August, the West Briton and Cornwall Advertiser reported on a further meeting, where the question of the St Mary’s Rectory frontage was again discussed.  They noted that Mr. Fellowes Prynne, the architect, had written letters to the Town clerk and the Surveyor.   The surveyor summed up part of the issue.

The whole question was whether what was being erected constituted a new street, and, if it did, then, according to their bye-laws, it must be 36 feet wide.

It seems that the Ecclesiastical Commissioners regarded what was presumably the access road to the building as a new street, but the Corporation did not.  The matter of possible legal action was discussed.  I do not know the outcome.