Cottage and Village History

Waterlily Holiday Cottage is a traditional Cornish cottage in the heart of the conservation area of the ancient village of Probus (which is in the Domesday Survey of 1086). The Cottage was built about 220 years ago, principally of granite and cob. The terrace of 3 cottages, of which Waterlily is the middle, were once owned by (and probably built by) the local Trewithen Estate. It was probably a tied cottage, i.e. given to an employee on the Trewithian Estate to use for the duration of their employment. The name ‘Waterlily Cottage’ originates from an old orchard which used to be situated at the rear of the cottages. The orchard contained a large pond with waterlilys, which sat directly in view of the rear cottage windows.

The most recent claim to fame Waterlily Holiday Cottage enjoys is….[♫ drum roll]…winner of the Probus Village ‘Best Dressed House’ competition during HRH Queen Elizabeth’s Golden Jubilee Celebrations in 2002; thanks to the magnificent efforts of Jane & Gilbert’s nieces Rianna and Chloe Clayton-Pike.

The Cottage deeds provide occupiers with a right to take water from the village pump, but sadly the water pump is now long gone so we provide guests with mains water and a tap!! The old water pump was located opposite the nearby ‘Old Bakehouse Cottage’ (which was the old bakery, closed long ago). The only evidence which can be seen today of the old pump is the arched brickwork within the granite stone wall to the side of Cobble Cottage, next door to Waterlily Cottage.

Waterlily Holiday Cottage is in Chapel Street, which has a fascinating mix of old cottages and church buildings with quaint gothic windows, hinting at their various ecclesiastical functions over the centuries. The building opposite Waterlily was originally the old Sunday School. Next door to this, the old Methodist Chapel (originally an old Malt-house back in the early 1800’s) closed its doors in the 1970’s to re-open latterly as an antique emporium,


If you browse around Junk and Disorderly you can see that much of the old Chapel is still intact, and many of the villagers’ still reminisce about their wedding day there! Next door to Junk and Disorderly, now used as a domestic garage, this building was the Vestry for the Chapel.

Cottages at the top of Chapel Street were part of the old Dairy, again long ago closed down, and further ecclesiastical buildings on the corner of Chapel Street were linked to Probus Church opposite. The parish of Probus, mentioned in the Domesday Survey, is named after St Probus, to whom the church is dedicated and about whom sadly nothing is known. The parish church, constructed of Cornish granite, dominates the village. The 125 ft tower is the highest in the county; it is built entirely of St Stephen’s porcelain stone.

At the head of Chapel Street, across the road, the Old Blacksmiths Forge was located, again, long since closed! The main road between Truro and St Austell used to come through Probus, this provided the Blacksmith with plenty of passing trade. The village has now been by-passed and enjoys a gentler pace of life!