Why Us

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.

Albert Edward Ratcliffe (1863- 1934) always known to his friends as Berty Ratcliffe was articled to his uncle Frederick and became a partner. After 1905 he was Principal of Grylls, Hill & Hill. He married Margaret Alice Barnes (inset below). Some alterations were made to Penhellis - the major one being the installation of a large bow window in the largest room, this became the billiard room. The second room was a living room with a dining table and twelve chairs. In the window was "Polly", a grey parrot whose favourite day was May 8th (Flora Day). He would talk and dance for weeks after the Flora had been through the house. The family consisted of one son and four daughters - Jocelyn(son), Gladys, Joan (pictured left), Enid and Monica. Jocelyn Vivian played rugger for Cornwall in his youth and later was an enthusiastic sailor, shot and fisherman. He was educated at Upingham, trained in London and joined the firm of Grylls, Hill & Hill. Gladys married Roger Hales, (he had been at Upingham with Jocelyn) and his parents had a holiday home "Trewoon" at Mullion. Joan played golf for Cornwall and hockey for England. In 1924 Jocelyn wished to marry Daphne Naylor Carne of Falmouth, the daughter of George Carne (left) but before any plans for marriage were made, Great-Aunt Loveday had to be consulted. He drove his motorbike to Falmouth and Daphne rode pillion with him to Penhellis. Great-Aunt Loveday was seated in a large chair in the window, dressed entirely in black with a black lace cap. Daphne walked the length of the room to where Loveday sat. "They tell me you are the daughter of Mr. Carne of Falmouth" said Loveday. Daphne replied that that was correct. There followed two further questions. She struck the floor with her stick and turning to Jocelyn said "She will do Jocelyn, you may go". Great Aunt Loveday died one month later - much to Daphne's relief.

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.

From ancient cobbles to castle walls, through time and tide, St Michael’s Mount is beckoning.

Striding the causeway, or crossing by boat. Treading medieval pathways or exploring sub-tropical gardens. Climbing to the castle or uncovering stories of harbour, legend and family home. Admire the views, hear the islanders’ tales and unearth a history that lives on in every step. Through time and tide the Mount creates moments to remember. What will yours be?

Discover a very different day out… Whether it's a family trip, a holiday highlight, a personal daydream or a group visit, plan your visit today and find the St Michael’s Mount experience to make your own.

Head south on to the Lizard and the scenery changes. The rare geology of the area creates a haven for exceptional plants and flowers. Around the coastline you’ll find little fishing ports with huge granite sea walls to protect from the Atlantic gales, restaurants specialising in freshly caught seafood, and gorgeous sandy bays with jagged black rocks jutting out in to the sea. Stand right on the tip of the Lizard and look out to sea. At 49°57' N, the most southerly point on the UK’s mainland, watch the waves as they hurtle to the shore and imagine the thousands of ships that have passed by this treacherous part of the coast on their way across the Atlantic.

The villages are picture book perfect with tiny thatched cottages clinging together at the ends of the valley in coves where a small fleet of fishing boats catch fresh crab and lobster. In pubs by the shore there’s folk music and traditional Cornish singing.
Penhellis is truly privileged to be able to be part of the amazing flora day celebrations held here in Helston. During this fantastic day our ground are awash with colour and joy as the procession spin an whirl through the gardens Helston, the Cornish market town, where for hundreds of years, the townsfolk have celebrated and enjoyed the wonderful tradition that is FLORA DAY. This ancient festival is usually held on May 8th , unless that date falls on a Sunday or Monday, in which case the previous Saturday is taken. It is a Spring festival to celebrate the end of winter and mark the arrival of the new vitality and fertility with the trees and flowers bursting into life. The houses and shops of the town are decorated with greenery and floral arrangements to express the spirit of renewal.

When the big bass drum strikes the first beat of the dance at seven in the morning, the spirit of the day is stirred and the celebrations commence. Some eighty couples dance through the streets, entering selected houses and shops to drive out the darkness of winter and bring in the light of spring.

The colourful Pageant, known as Hal an Tow, tells the history of Helston with the participating characters singing about the challenge of the Spanish Armada, the English patron saint, St. George and the fight between St Michael and the devil.


Welcome to Helston Farmers’ Market where the very best of locally produced food can be found on the first Saturday of each month (except January) from 9.30am to 1.00pm at the Old Cattle Market, next to Lidl’s and the Boating Lake in Helston.

The market is a project of South Kerrier Alliance Community Interest Company (SKA CIC), a social enterprise, formed by volunteers, to address the needs and aspirations of the people of South Kerrier, Helston and its surrounding parishes.

The market is also organised by a team of dedicated volunteers who work hard to ensure that the market delivers high quality, local food straight from the producer and in doing so, helps to support small growers and enterprises.

Established in 2008 and starting with 13 local producers, the market has grown to be the largest of its kind in the County with over 40 local producers selling the finest quality produce.


The idea behind the market is to:


enable local food producers, farmers to sell their produce direct to the public give customers the opportunity to buy fresh, locally grown, homemade and handmade produce and products, raise public awareness on issues that involve locally produced food, sustainable farming and land management. Almost all of the seasonal produce on offer has been raised, grown or made within a 20 mile radius of Helston with care and attention to quality and provenance.