Brayfield was built in 1978 by the Gerrish family, who came from near Reading where Mr Gerrish was a coal merchant. The first entry in the Land Registry appeared in 1923 when the land was acquired by Mr Francis Mably from Viscount Clifden of Lanhydrock, and it subsequently passed into the hands of Alanmain (Properties) Limited from whom it was purchased by Mr. and Mrs. Gerrish. The original name of the house was Tregerrish. Mr & Mrs. Gerrish moved into the house with their three children, all of whom went to school locally. But in 1984 the house was put on the market.
Bill and Mary Nimmo were on holiday in Cornwall that summer: a week in Polruan and a week at Mawgan Porth. Mary’s grandfather came from Padstow – though he went to London and became a policeman – so there was a strong family feeling for Cornwall. The Nimmos were beginning to think about retirement, and by pure chance spotted the details of Tregerrish in an estate agent’s window in Wadebridge. They knew Trebetherick as friends used to take Sanderlings for summer holidays. They drove past Tregerrish that same day, liked the look of it, made an appointment with the agents to view it, and moved in on 4th January 1985.
The Nimmos renamed the house in honour of its spectacular view of Brea Hill across the fields. They decided on the more conventional spelling of Bray, considered by many – including John Betjeman – to be a perfectly acceptable alternative, to make life easier for their correspondents. The garden was then mostly laid to lawn, but now like so many in Trebetherick transformed into a beautiful, sheltering setting for the house, and the view.
Bill Nimmo went to sea in the Merchant Navy first in 1944; he qualified as a Master Mariner in 1953 and then as an Extra Master Mariner. Later he taught navigation at the King Edward VII Nautical College in Stepney, London, which in 1971 became absorbed into the City of London Polytechnic – now London Metropolitan University. While studying for his final qualification he met Mary, who was working at the College as a secretary, and they were married in 1956.
Bill took over from Adrian Sharpe as Chapel Warden of St Enodoc in 1991. He was ably assisted in greeting worshippers at the church door with books and a warm smile by Mary, until her untimely death in 2007.