The Cleave - Mr H G Winchester
The Cleave - Kingsand

(Taken from a diary c1959 kept by Mr H G Winchester (deceased)  a local historian of this Parish)

Until the end of the 18th century there was no Cleave as we know it today.  The oldest house is occupied by Mrs Lentill, Dr Hoskins says this house was built in about 1620 or a little later.

The wall at the back of the houses on the Cleave was the old sea wall for Kingsand beach.  Mr Burlace told the study group in 1959 that his grandfather had the workshop built in 1818 and it was used mainly for boatbuilding.  This is now the Chip Shop owned by Mr Charlie Acton.  In 1826 the Burlace family have a dwelling house built next door- which is now owned by Mr and Mrs Jack Downs.

The beach at that time came up to the first wall which Mr Burlace said had been built in 1780 - this first wall was about 10 foot high and when the present wall was built in 1845 the height of the wall was increased to 25 foot. The deepest part of the wall being in front of the Gray House and Mr Branton's house.  Mr Burlace also said that in 1846 the wall at the front of the Cleave was built.  This wall was about 3-11 foot in thickness and 12 foot high.  The space behind this wall was then filled with sand and stones from the beach.  An older print of Kingsand Beach owned by Mr Wilcox dated 1796, shows the beach with only two houses which had been built - Beach House 1784 and Melrose House 1796.  There was no Islet House at that date.

From 1826 to 1860 more houses were built - this completed the length of the Cleave as we know it today.  The oldest house in the Nor Rock section was 18th century.  Islet House was built on reclaimed land and the walls built around the foundations in 1852.  The first building was nearly washed away in 1865 and another storm in 1887 almost washed the foundation and house away again.

The three cottages where the Institute stands are all mid 18th century and two were dismantled when the Institute was built in 1911.

All this information was given by Mr Tom Wilcox, Mr Fred Carne and Mr Burlace.

Mr H G Winchester

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