We are The Elfords (Andy, Hannah, Nicholas & Tegen) and we moved to Degembris in February 2009. We took over the business from Hannah’s parents, Roger and Kathy Woodley. We are continuing to provide high quality accommodation and maintaining the friendly, family atmosphere that makes Degembris ‘absolutely first class in every way.’
Degembris has had an eventful life and seen many changes.
The parish of St Newlyn East originally boasted 11 manors of which Degembris was one. It encompassed the village of Mitchell but this too became a manor in its own right in 1301.
The Degembris name has evolved from Tikenbret in 1241 through Tygambret, Tykenbrede, Tycambred, Tygembres to Degembrys in 1461. It is believed that there is nothing left of the original manor house although it was the chief mansion in the parish. The present farmhouse was built in the 16th to early 17th century of Killas and Elvan, with additions in the late 18th century.
In 1261 Degembris was held by Henry de Bretton and included the town of Mitchell. In 1284 it was purchased by the Beaupre family and in 1319 Isabella de Beaupre had a licence to have mass in a chapel there but attended the parish church on the greater festivals. The reason for having a chapel at Degembris was said to be on account of the distance from the parish church and the flooded state of the roads to the church in winter.Isabella’s son, Sir John Beaupre, was one of the leading men in Cornwall but was a terrible ruffian. A list of charges of atrocious conduct was brought against him in 1353.
In 1509 Sir Thomas Leyghton sold his share of Degembris to Thomas Tregian. Thomas’ son, Francis, took over the Tregian estates and in 1607 purchased the remainder of Degembris and other land with the help of a loan from Ezekiel Grosse, a wealthy lawyer and moneylender. By 1608 Francis Tregian had amassed debts he could not repay and , in 1611, was ordered by Royal Command to surrender his lands to Ezekiel Grosse who then became Lord of the Manor of Degembris. In 1616 Grosse sold it to John Arundell and it became part of the Trerice Estate.
In 1840 land within the Manor of Degembris was owned by Sir Thomas Dyke Acland, the Rev Edward Trevenan and Truro Corporation.
(From St Newlyn East – A History Of The Parish)
James Matthew Woodley purchased the Manor of Degembris from Trerice Manor Estate on 29th June 1915. His family were tenants at Degembris from 1893 and upon ownership Uncle Matthie (as he was known) farmed the land until 1945 when he retired. The Lutey family then became tenants followed by the Pryors in 1953. Upon his death in 1957 Degembris passed to Francis Oates Woodley, his nephew, as Uncle Matthie and Auntie Grace (pictured above left) had no children of their own.
Francis Oates Woodley (Frank) was farming at the nearby family farm of Trenance having taken over in 1940 from his father Thomas John Woodley (Uncle Matthie’s brother). Degembris was inherited by him with the wishes that one of his four children take over the property in the future. The Pryor family continued their tenancy until 1970 when Frank and Beryl’s (pictured second from the left) eldest son John Roger Woodley took over the reins.
John Roger Woodley (known as Roger) and his wife Kathy (both pictured center) took on the challenge of running Degembris. Initially being a mixed farm with pigs, beef cattle, sheep and crops, it developed into all arable in 1982. The farm went from strength to strength along with the Bed & Breakfast, started in 1972. Complete diversification took place in 2003 with the farm buildings transformed into stunning self-catering cottages whilst the farmhouse B & B continued it’s success. They have been at Degembris for 45 years and still counting!
Roger and Kathy’s daughter Hannah, who enjoyed an idyllic childhood growing up at Degembris, returned home in 2009 with her husband Andy (pictured second from the right) and their son Nicholas. Their family grew in 2014 with the addition of Tegen. In partnership with Mum and Dad they are now continuing the family tradition by running the Bed & Breakfast and managing the cottages. All 3 generations still reside at Degembris.
The 5th generation is now growing up at Degembris, Nicholas and Tegen (pictured right.) The diversification into accommodation provision has enabled the family to remain at Degembris, hopefully for many years to come.
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