History, tourist information, and nearby accommodation
HERITAGE HIGHLIGHTS: Long gallery plasterwork
Richard, 1st Lord Robartes, bought Lanhydrock in 1620 and immediately began building the house we se today. Robartes came from a family of wealthy tin traders from Truro, and it is said that he gained his peerage by the expedient means of giving the Duke of Buckingham, James I's favourite, a sum of £10,000.
The 2nd Lord Robartes completed the house just before the outbreak of the Civil War. He fought for Parliament in the Civil War, and Lanhydrock was used by the Parliamentarian general, the Earl of Essex, as his command post. Royalist soldiers under Sir Richard Grenville captured the house, and Lord Robartes escaped by sea, leaving behind his children as captives. The house was forfeited to the crown and granted by Charles I to Sir Richard. Lord Robartes regained the house after the king's execution, but he retired from public life, objecting to Cromwell's policy of making the Church answer to the State. It was while he was in retirement that Lord Robartes completed the wonderfully ornate gatehouse through which visitors approach the house today.
Within the gallery is a superb 17th century plasterwork ceiling, illustrating scenes from the Old Testament mixed with depictions of unusual beasts.
Immediately behind the house is the 15th century church of St Hydroc, where many of the Robartes family lie buried. Outside the south porch stands a pre-Norman Celtic cross, made of granite, with finely carved plaitwork panels and a reworked cross-head.
The oldest memorial inside the church is that of George Carminow (1599) and his wife Jane, while in the north aisle is a marble monument to Lady Essex Speccot (d. 1689). One of the most intriguing historical features inside the church is a carved and painted heraldic crest of the Carminow family. The family crest contains a motto in Cornish; the oldest example of a Cornish motto (most are in Latin or Norman French). The motto 'Cala Rag Whethlow' was adopted around 1390, after a Carminow lost a case concerning his right to use the device of a blue shield with a gold band across it.
Lanhydrock is surrounded by 900 acres of parkland and woods, allowing enjoyable walks on a network of footpaths. Closer to the house you find an mix of formal Victorian parterres and a lovely slope of magnolias, rhododendrons, and camelias leading to the verge of the woodland. At the top of the garden is a small holy well, sheltered by a mid-19th century welhead. A stately avenue of beech and sycamore leads from the gatehouse to the nearby bridge across the Fowey.
Address: Bodmin, Cornwall, England, PL30 5AD
Attraction Type: Historic House
Location: 2 m SE Bodmin, off A38 or B3268
Phone: 01208 265 950
National Trust - see also: National Trust memberships (official website link)
OS: SX085 636
Photo Credit: David Ross and Britain Express
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