Valency Fields, Boscastle

Mystery surrounds the National Trust car park in Boscastle.  The car park came to my attention when I was told that the original land – Valency Fields (a green and unspoiled area of grass), had been donated to the National Trust by Nancy Sherwood, longstanding member of the Ginner-Mawer family.


However, having perused the village magazine, I found two references to the car park and the matter is clear – clearly confusing, that is.


That Nancy Sherwood did donate something, be it land or money, to the National Trust is not in question.  However, that she donated the actual area previously known as Valency Fields is in question.  


Sadly, my search skills are not enabling me to find out the details or the final outcome just at the moment.  Hopefully one day I will find out Nancy Sherwood’s connection with the National Trust, other than that the building previously used by the Ginner-Mawer School is now the Boscastle National Trust Visitor Centre.


According to the Boscastle Blowhole magazine (2005) two ladies (names had been forgotten) bought the land to prevent it from being developed.  After one of the ladies died, the land was given to the National Trust as a memorial to those lost in WW2.  It is believed that one of the women was Nancy Sherwood.


The plot thickens in that National Trust records show that in 1968 Nancy Sherwood and her husband Harry donated 2.8 hectares of land to the National Trust together with Harbour View Cottage.  This was in memory of Nancy’s friend Barbara Rawling – another stalwart of the Ginner-Mawer family, a pianist.  So perhaps the two un-named ladies were Nancy Sherwood and Barbara Rawling, with Barbara dying earlier than Nancy?From memory (and I can’t check due to computer problems), I think that Barbara had lived in Harbour View Cottage.


Confusion is rife, with the possibility of the Valency Fields war memorial being in the vicinity, but actually a bit further away from the fields that have been tarmacked over for the car park.


Whatever the outcome, it puts the National Trust in a very bad light, in that they have no idea of the history of land donated to them.  This chimes badly with the fact that Irene Mawer donated a figurehead (carved wooden sculpture from a ship) to the National Trust, which they failed to care for, allowed it to rot and it was thrown away.  Very sad.

Author: Janet Fizz Curtis

Janet Fizz Curtis is trained in the Irene Mawer Method of Mime and Movement and is now writing a book about the life of Irene Mawer.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *