Melvill Road Falmouth – The history of a name
Many of Falmouth’s guest houses and hotels are situated along Melvill Road. Next time you come to visit or pass along this road take a moment to reflect on the roads name sake.
Captain Phillip Melvill(1762 – 1811), served in the 73rd regiment as a lieutenant. Wounded in battle and left for dead Melvill lay naked in the basking Indian sun for three days. Dehydrated, injured and burnt he was then captured and held prisoner for four years during which time he suffered torture and deprivation.
In 1786 he returned to England where he married, became Commander of an invalid company and set-up a school for children of soldiers.
When he arrived in Falmouth for the first time he admired the castle from the sea and wished that one day he could settle there. In 1796 he was appointed to the post of Lieutenant –Governor of Pendennis Castle where he served his wish until his death in 1811 aged just 51 years.
His short life was a productive one not only did he father nine children, his eldest son died in a boating accident in 1801, fought wars, became a prisoner, set up schools, govern Pendennis Castle, but also helped to establish the, ‘Pendennis Voluntary Artillery’, and founded the, ‘Misericordia Society’, that offered relief and support to the vunerable and poor in the town.
Rather than becoming bitter and resentful toward the hostilities and challenges life threw at him Melvill remained a positive and much respected member of the then village. His involvement in establishing societies to help the poor and vulnerable is a clear reflection on his compassion for those less fortunate in society.
At his funeral the streets were lined with soldiers, locals and members of the Misercordia Society wishing to pay their final respects as the open topped cart drawn by four horses passed through the town.
‘Fifty minute guns were fired from Pendennis Castle, and when they were finished, an ordnance Jack was shewn at the flagstaff as a signal to St. Maur’s Castle to fire fifty minute guns from thence. The body was not deposited in the Killigrew vault, but in a new grave dug in the aisle of the church ; nor is it true that the vault has not been opened for nearly a century, it having been opened a few years since to receive the body of one of the Governor’s sons.’ –
extract taken from, ‘The Melvill Family – Roll of Honour 1914 – 1918.
Take a look at the many hotels and guest houses along Melvill Road here.