Cornwall's Godolphin House & Gardens Reunited With Historic Estate

By Graham Spicer | 08 August 2007
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photo of a large country house surrounded by gardens and woodland

Buildings have stood on the site of Godolphin House since the 14th century. Photo National Trust/Aerial Cam

The National Trust has announced its acquisition of Godolphin House and Garden in Cornwall, reuniting the property with its historic estate.

Godolphin House, which was started in the early 14th century, and its gardens, an almost unique survival from the 14th and 16th centuries, are set within a 550-acre countryside estate which has been owned by the Trust since 2000.

The National Trust has now taken ownership of the house and gardens from the Schofield family, who have managed and maintained them since the 1930s.

“Godolphin is an unrivalled treasure with a special atmosphere all of its own,” said Fiona Reynolds, the National Trust’s Director-General.

photo of an open wooden arched doorway leading to a courtyard with an ionic column in it

The entrance gate leading the house's courtyard. Photo National Trust/Graeme Norways

“The house, gardens and wider estate are a near-miraculous survival dating back over 600 years and together form one of Cornwall’s great gems. We are delighted to be able to reunite the estate with the house and garden and to begin work on ensuring the continued future of this magnificent place.”

The Trust is also launching a major fundraising appeal to help raise £500,000 for the conservation and access work at Godolphin. It plans to show more of the house to the public, extend opening times and increase interpretation. It also intends to discover the full significance of the gardens through expert study and care.

Godolphin House is Grade I listed. A fortified house was built on the site by the early 14th century while a new house to the north of it was added in the late 15th or early 16th century by the Godolphins.

The Godolphins were minor Cornish gentry who would rise to prominence through their involvement with the tin mining industry and the estate forms part of the Corwall and West Devon Mining Landscape UNESCO World Heritage Site.

photo of a wing of a long two-storey country house with all the window panes missing

The North Range of the house, which will be restored by the Trust. Photo National Trust/Aerial Cam

By 1664 Godolphin House was recorded as the largest country house in Cornwall but in the 18th and 19th centuries it fell into disrepair, with particular work needed on the North Range.

Its formal gardens are Grade II* listed and were laid out at the end of the 16th century and its early formal garden structure is unusual and one of the most important examples of its kind in Europe.

The Schofield family will continue to open the house and gardens to the public until it closes as usual in the autumn and will stay at the house for a transitional period, while the National Trust will reopen the gardens during the 2008 season and allow limited access to the house, restoration work permitting.

Donations to the Godolphin Appeal can be made by calling 0870 458 400, visiting the National Trust website or posting a donation to The National Trust, Godolphin Appeal NT070028A8, Freepost NAT11386, Warrington, WA5 7BR.

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