Haunted Cornwall: Lanhydrock House
If your idea of fun is going on a tour of a huge old mansion, then Lanhydrock House is something you'll really enjoy. Lanhydrock House is said to be the finest large house in Cornwall, with over 49 rooms. The tour, which takes over 2 hours, takes you through the entire house, from the servants' quarters to the Master's private bedroom, and you'll get to hear about the resident ghosts!
Lanhydrock has been owned and managed by the National Trust since 1953, and is a Grade I Listed house set in 400 acres of gardens.
The name Lanhydrock is derived from the local parish church (located on the house's grounds), which is dedicated to St Hydrock. This church pre-dates the house, with parts dating back to the 15th century. It's a small church, with one bell.
Fire at Lanhydrock House
In 1881, a fire started in the kitchen area and spread through most of the house. In fact, it was only the north wing, the entrance porch, and the distant gatehouse that were left standing.
Lady Robartes was at home at the time and had to be rescued, with the aid of a ladder, through the gallery room window. Although she survived the fire, she died a few days later from shock.
Her husband, Lord Robartes, was similarly affected by the devastation of his home and loss of his wife, and he died in the following year.
Thomas Charles Robartes, their only son, then had the huge task of restoring the house. In addition to that, in memory of his parents, he also restored the chapel.
Ghosts of Lanhydrock House
Over the years, many staff, visitors and residents of Lanhydrock House have heard and seen various phenomena, from seeing an old lady dressed in grey who walks the gallery in the North Wing and an old lady in the Long Room, to smelling cigar smoke in the Smoking Room and feeling presences in many of the rooms. Another female ghost has been seen in the the bedroom of the Lady of the house.
Paranormal Society Investigate the Ghosts
In July 2004 the Paranormal Society were invited to spend the night at Lanhydrock House, along with all their ghost monitoring equipment. Their purpose was to find out if the House was haunted, and by whom.
When they compiled their notes, they had identified the following ghosts:
- The Nursery: a young girl giggling
- The Long Gallery: the sound of a heavy table or chair being dragged across the floor
- The Grounds: a figure of a male ghost
The group also made contact with ghosts, including: a maidservant called Elizabeth Hargreaves, who said she'd fallen down the stairs in 1823.
There are infrequent 'Ghost Nights' held at Lanhydrock House.
Film Location & TV Shows
Lanhydrock House has been used as a film location quite a number of times over the years, including:
1995: In 1995, filming took place at Lanhydrock House and it featured in the 1996 film Twelfth Night, directed by Trevor Nunn. Helena Bonham Carter starred in the film as Olivia.
1998: In 1998 the BBC TV series Antiques Roadshow was filmed there as Lanhydrock House hosted an episode, which was then aired as two separate episodes due to the amount of footage taken.
Walks Around the Grounds
With over 400 acres of grounds to explore, there are many fine and interesting walks you can enjoy in the grounds of Lanhydrock House. Take a picnic lunch and settle down by the River Fowey. Take in Respryn Bridge on your walk. This Grade II* listed monument is marked on the map below.
There are many rare and unusual plants to be found in the grounds too. Most of the formal grounds are laid out above the house, so you can look down on the rooftops of the mansion while you're stolling through the flowers. You'll discover roses, bedding plants and over 30 massive topiary yews. There are also rhododendrons and carmellias, magnolias and white pheasant's eye narcissi.
Copper beeches were planted by William Gladstone and Lord Roseberry during the 19th century. Both these men went on to become Prime Ministers.
The gardens were first formally laid out by Scott when the house was remodelled in 1857-1860. The design was modified over the next 50 years, then Lady Clifden laid out various herbaceous borders and a semi-circle yew hedge in 1914. In 1930 Viscount Clifden inherited Lanydrock House - and he imported many shrubs and trees for the gardens.
In 1971, the National Trust modified the semi-circular yew hedge, making it circular.
Lanhydrock House Timeline
The priory at St Petroc, Bodmin owned the land until the dissolution of the monasteries. The locally-based Glynn family then took ownership, it then passed to the Lyttelton family and to Thomas Trenance
Thomas Trenance took ownership of the lands, due to marriage.
Sir Richard Robartes bought the land and started building the house with his son
Sir Richard Robartes died, but his son, John Robartes, continued with the building work
The Gatehouse was built, which is still standing today.
The East section of the house was demolished by George Hunt, giving the House the current U-shape.
The House was remodelled extensively when Baron Robartes decided to make it his home
A great fire destroyed most of the house
Thomas Charles Robartes inherits the house, upon the death of his father. The House and chapel are restored.
7th Viscount Clifden inherited Lanhydrock House.
Evacuees were moved into Lanhydrock House during the War
Lanhydrock House was given to the National Trust, along with 400 acres of land and gardens.
Filming took place at Lanhydrock House for the 1996 version of Twelfth Night
Filming took place for the BBC TV series Antiques Roadshow.
Filming took place for a new film about the war evacuees at Lanhydrock House
Directions to Lanhydrock House
There's plenty of parking at Lanhydrock House, in well manicured grass car parks. It's then a fairly flat walk along tree-lined proper roads up to the gatehouse and entrance.
Opening Hours: Opening hours vary throughout the year, but the house opens at 11am and closes late afternoon. Lanhydrock House is closed on Mondays. The house closes from the beginning of November to the middle of March.
There is a shop and cafe too in the grounds, which are open from 11am and to at least 4pm most days.
Address: Lanhydrock House, Lanhydrock, Bodmin, Cornwall PL30 5AD, United Kingdom
Telephone: 01208 265 952
See the official website for information on hours and admission.