A Short History of Sailors Creek

Historically known as Sely's Creek, Ceeley's Creek and indeed Trevissam Cove, this estuary inlet we assume has been utilised for beaching and berthing boats since at least the 16th Century when a Pilchard Cellar or Palace was in commission at Little Falmouth processing fish for trade abroad.

Thomas Ceeley lived at Trevissome from about 1649.  He was a rich Puritan merchant from Plymouth who bought the Bishop of Exeter's manors of Penryn, of which Trevissome was a part, after they had been sequestrated by Parliament under Oliver Cromwell.  The fields at Trevissome became known as Ceeley’s Crofts and the creek as Ceeley’s Creek.  Nicholas Trefusis tells us the name 'Sailors' Creek may have also originated from the nearby 'cellar' at what became the Pilchard processing 'palace' at Little Falmouth.   He pointed out to us that on the 16th Century Baptista Boazio’s map it is shown as Trevissam Cove with the “Pilcher Sellar” nearby; Boazio was an Italian cartographer whose mapwork geographically could be described as reasonably impressionistic but is useful for the description and names shown of the land at that time. 

 

The deed of sale from the Parliamentary commissioners in 1649 is at Kresen Kernow (The County Record Office), Catalogue ref B/Penryn 867 (kresenkernow.org), detailing manors Ceeley acquired, stretching from Mylor to Manaccan, and including Trevissome.  Further history of the area can be found in 'Trefusis Territory' by Ursula Redwood, copies of which can be bought in Flushing Church.

And so Sailors Creek is now part of the lands at Trefusis, which were originally granted to Richard de Trefusis in the second half of the 13th Century.  The family's association with the area can be traced back to about the 1170s. (TrefusisEstate.co.uk, 2021)

A fluctuating community of individuals and families living aboard sailing boats and floating homes has been in existence for a long time at Sailors Creek.  In more recent years the liveaboard community of Sailors Creek has been in decline, which is evident in the accumulated flotsam and jetsam; we are told there was a time when the community went to great effort to contain belongings and keep the beach clear or they would be encouraged to leave by the other liveaboards.  The creek has continued to be a final resting place for boats, which in the days of wood and steel boat fabrication was maybe more acceptable, erring on notions of the romantic. 

 

A Community Interest Company has been formed - Sailors Creek CIC - which aims, in partnership with local landowners and the river community, to support the regeneration of the Creek and adjacent fields.

The seafaring and river communities of the Fal Estuary and beyond have a responsibility to address the pollution we create in the waters we love and rely on.  Sailors Creek CIC wants to start tackling these pressing environmental issues and have the conversations that need to happen now.  

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