Federation of Old Cornwall Societies

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St Gerrans & Portscatho O C S




President: Mrs Hilary Thompson   01872 580573


Chairman: Mr Ralph German  01326 270558


Membership Secretary: Mrs Jean Rigley


Treasurer: Mrs Margaret George


Recorder:  Neville Meek   01872 581817.




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JUNE 13TH 2018 – Afternoon PILGRIMAGE






We have undertaken studies of the stiles of various parishes

in Roseland


Volume I. Cornish Stiles in the Roseland - St Gerrans, 1997   SOLD OUT


Volume II. Cornish Stiles in the Roseland - Philleigh and St Just in Roseland 1999-2000

Price £3 + p&p






Meeting Reports


March 2018


Christine Edwards - The Longest Grave in the Country

Gerrans and Portscatho Old Cornwall Society’s March meeting was addressed by Mrs. Christine Edwards whose subject was the Longest Grave, possibly in the country. Christine informed us that on the night of the 31st January 1914 the Hera was wrecked on the outer stones of the Gull Rock just off Nare Head in the Parish of Veryan,  and only five of her crew of 24 survived, which led to the longest grave being dug in Veryan Church Yard.

Hera started her life in 1886 as the Richard Wagner, an iron-hulled four-mast ship, built in Geestemunde by the shipping company J C Tecklenborg. She was 276 feet long, 41feet broad with a 24 feet deep hull, and was the first sailing ship built by Tecklenborg’s shipyard to be made from steel rather than traditional wood. In 1889 the 2000 ton vessel was purchased by the German shipping company B Wenke & Sohne  of Hamburg, re-registered there, re-rigged as a four-masted barque and re named Hera. Initially she voyaged to India, then in the 1890’s turned to the saltpetre trade with Chile taking British coal on her outward cargo. In 1906 she was again sold, to Rhederei Atkien of Hamburg and was transporting cargoes between Americas and Cornwall, she called regularly  at Falmouth “for orders”. Journeys varied from under 70 days to over 140.

At the time of the tragedy she had left Pisagua in Chile loaded with nitrates and was heading for Falmouth for orders and it was the captain’s first voyage in command of the Hera, taking 91 days but ran into ‘thick and dirty weather. Following navigation errors she hit the rocks off Gull Head, Christine told us some of the wonderful efforts made by the local doctor and all the volunteers to save them – for example the Portscatho rocket apparatus taken by road to Nare Head pulled by men and borrowed horses to fire three distress rockets across to the sunken ship, the Falmouth lifeboat rowing against the tide for more than 3 hours to help save the men off the sunken ships masts. The effort that people went too, to try and save them was unbelievable. The “solemn and Impressive” funeral of the twelve seamen took place at Veryan church on the 4th February, the coffins were taken from Portholland to Veryan by wagons, and they were carried into church by Portloe fisherman and coastguards. Pictures of the day where taken , one shows a babe in arms who was present at this tragic event, the babe was Kathleen Frost (now Mrs Kathleen Benny) now 104 and believed to be the only survivor of the day. Three more bodies were recovered on the 13th February and added to the grave. This tragic story was told in great detail by Christine Edwards and everyone greatly appreciated the time and effort put into the presentation.















Founded: 1976


Saffron, Black & White

St Gerrans Portscatho 1895 (Clive Cudmore)