Feock Regatta today, typically known as Loe Beach Regatta
Possibly the first Feock regatta on the Roads was held on Tues 7th Sept in 1858. The Royal Cornwall Gazette reported that: “It had previously been held at Devoran but as the Hon Mrs Gilbert of Trelissick had kindly thrown open her grounds for the Exhibition of the Royal Horticultural Society it was decided by the committee to hold the regatta on the same day in connection with the fete. The horticultural society had for some time held its exhibitions in Truro and Falmouth, but for several years it had seemed to be wanting to some extent in attractiveness. They were popular with subscribers but the public generally did not appear to take much interest in them and attendances lessened year by year. The committee felt that the society which was the parent of all horticultural and cottage gardening societies in the county, should not fail. To the attractions of the show were added the excitement of the regatta which took place in sight of Trelissick lawn. Some thousands of people attended not only from Truro, Falmouth, Penzance, Camborne, Redruth and intermediate parishes but from distant parts of the county.”
Horticultural societies were the epitome of the Victorian age, reflecting the twin strands of the betterment of society and the advancement of science and industry. They fitted with Victorian ideals on many levels. The moneyed classes vied with each other in showing off the fruits of their estates, they were a showcase for plant hunters in aspects of new science and discovery, and also catered for the philanthropic aim of bettering the working classes through improvements to cottage gardening. The prizes for “cottagers” represented over one third of all classes and whilst overall winners from Feock and Kea Parishes were few in number, nevertheless, they swept the board for best honey on the comb: 1st Eleanor Scoble of Kea, 2nd Thomas Stephens of Feock and 3rd John Allen of Kea and also for the best collection of apples; 1st S Burley of Feock, 2nd John Ford of Feock and 3rd E Scoble of Kea.
The stalwarts of the Cornwall society were the Rev Canon Phillpotts of Porthgwidden and Mr W M Tweedy of Truro, both prolific exhibitors, and supported by the local gentry including Sir Charles Lemon of Carclew, William Daubez of Killiow, James Vivian of Pencalenick, J S Enys of Enys, and J P Major of Penventon. Canon Phillpotts and Mr Tweedy together with Mr Gilbert of Trelissick were also enthusiastic yachtsman and stalwarts of regattas in the river.
The regatta was greatly anticipated as demonstrated by; “ the fact that on the morning not a single boat, and scarcely any mode of conveyance could be procured in the neighbourhood for love nor money, all having been engaged a fortnight previously. A barge for the accommodation of the committee was moored in Trelissick Creek commanding a good view of the course though frequent showers of misty rain at times entirely hid the competing boats from view.”
The venue allowed larger sailing yachts to compete without the dangers presented by narrow fairways and drying mud which bedevilled the upriver venues. Rev Phillpotts himself came in second this year within the class for yachts exceeding 8 tons with his own yacht Ariel.
The Feock Regattas
In 1876 another regatta was held, again at Loe, and proposed this time to be “the old Truro Royal Regatta revived”. Mr W Tweedy of Truro was treasurer and the Rev Phillpotts was again chairman, this time opening his grounds at Porthgwidden to the public for the occasion. The principle match on this occasion was for yachts not exceeding 20 tons and was won by the Rev Phillpotts, this time with his 16 tonne yawl Georgiana.
The following year the status of the regatta was further consolidated this time combining the Feock Regatta with that of Truro under the title of the Port of Truro Regatta. The Gazette reported; “ The position is one of the most lovely that can be imagined. Loe Beach is fringed by wooded heights and sloping green swards and from these, which on Friday were covered with spectators, a splendid view of the whole proceedings could be had. It was the opinion of the oldest inhabitants that so many people were never seen in the district before.”
The premier race this year was again a rather local affair:
1st Squirrel schooner 10 tons – Mr W M Tweedy of Truro
2nd Lamorna cutter 16 tons – Mr W Barrett of Truro
3rd Georgiana yawl 16 tons – Rev Phillpotts of Porthgwidden
4th Pixie – Mr C D Gilbert of Trelissick
The people of Truro never truly accepted the usurping of their name and after civic pride received a boost at the opening of the new Cathedral and the confirmation of City status, the Truro Royal regatta returned to Sunny Corner in 1884.
Feock regatta also carried on in strength to the end of the century, recording one of the most successful regattas at Loe in 1884. It was the home venue for sailing dredging boats which had from the early 70s, become a popular class and the results in this year were:
Sailing Dredging Boats any length, handicap one minute per foot:
1st Lily of the Valley – G Vinnicombe Restronguet
2nd Zedora – J Johns Flushing
3rd Twins – E Thomas Restronguet
Sailing Dredging Boats not exceeding 22'
1st Swift – T Ferris Pill
2nd Dolly - T S Ferris Pill
3rd Pandora – J Thomas Point
Rowing Dredging Boats not exceeding 14'
1st Florence – Wm Ferris Pill
2nd Nellie – A Bersey Point
3rd Saucy Emma - F Gunn Coombe
Written by Phil Allen