Loe Pool Drownings & Odyssey


Adapted from the papers & photographs of my late Grandfather

William Frederick IVEY


There is a tradition that the Loe Pool claims a victim every seven years. It is a morbid assumption but one that appears to be accompanied with a certain amount of truth.

LOE POOL around 1914
LOE POOL around 1914

I can remember deaths by drowning (accidental), suicides which included a Helston Grocers wife, girl bathers, a boy attempting to retrieve a ball, but the saddest of all to my knowledge was the tragic end of a son of a well known local farmer.

The West Briton in February 1935 reported in great length details of the tragedy.

The facts briefly are that William Archibald Bray, aged 27, the twin son of Mr. & Mrs. William Bray of Nansloe Farm was drowned in sight of his father in the Carminowe section of the Loe Pool.

Archie, as he was known by his large circle of friends, was a keen huntsman, a supporter of the Cury Harriers, a local pack of fox-hounds. The meet was at Helston & District Cottage Hospital on the morning of February 8th 1935. It was a beautifully fine day but cold.

The West Briton states: Mr. Bray was riding in a narrow path, and when a short distance from a stone gap, which he had intended the horse to jump, the animal was apparently frightened by something and bolted straight for the pool, which it entered with its rider….

The horse getting out of its depth, commenced swimming across the pool with Mr. Bray on its back, but after it had gone some distance, the animal and rider were seen to part, and Mr. Bray disappeared in the water …..

The body was recovered about 4 1/2 hours later at 4.30 p.m. on the same day. This drowning accident cast a gloom over the district. The funeral was one of the largest seen in the district for many years

There have been misfortunes, including recent incidents, but in deference to families I shall refrain from mentioning names or details.

I knew Archie Bray, he was a very pleasant, jovial and sociable young man.


adapted from the papers & photographs of my late Grandfather

William Frederick IVEY


I heard this story which I though was rather funny, and I sent the story to the `Helston Packet’.

It appeared in their issue of August 18, 1976. The `Packet’ allowed me to include it in my publication. Here it is:

I have just been told a story about the Penrose Estate which is so beautiful it cannot possible be true, however my source insists it is. There was this middle-aged gentleman on holiday in Helston who went for a stroll in the lovely property which was given to the National Trust by Lt. Cdr. J.P. Rogers.

For peace and quiet it seemed a place out of this sordid bustling world. Glorious stretches of rolling parkland flanked by huge trees in the gloomy woodland stretching in places to the lapping waters of the largest natural lake in Cornwall.

It was a very hot day, one of the real scorchers of last month, and by the time the pedestrian had plodded for a mile or so he had worked up a respectable thirst.

A signpost loomed up at a three-way junction, directing the traveler to Helston (he had just come from there), to Porthleven (that was too far) and the third – ah, the third! – Set at an obtuse angle catching the eye, said clearly; ‘To the Bar’.

Quickening his step, a more cheerful glint in the eye, he pressed on …. and on…. and on. Finally he turned a corner in the path and saw before him the vast sand and tiny flinty coloured pebbles that is Loe Bar.

He is said to have been later tapping impatiently on the front door of Penrose House demanding to be served a refreshment.

Now that last bit is too much even for me to believe, but from what I have heard of the Squire – and always supposing there’s a word of truth in this story – I would not be surprised if the thirsty man got a drink after all.