National Trust Godolphin

Godolphin House, a National Trust property at Godolphin Cross, near Helston

Image: © CAST (Cornubian Arts and Science Trust)



Just over four miles north west of Helston, National Trust Godolphin is part of the Cornwall and West Devon Mining Landscape World Heritage Site. Mining flourished here in the late 18th century, much earlier than in other areas of Cornwall, and continued into the early 20th century. The 600 acre Godolphin estate includes early sites of both tin and copper mining.

Standing near the foundations of a former castle, Godolphin House was built incrementally over the 15th, 16th and 17th centuries. The house is Grade I listed and its medieval garden is reputed to be one of the most important historic gardens in Europe. The north front is a unique double loggia, its upper floor carried on sixteen Tuscan-style columns.

The house once had 100 rooms and 40 chimneys, but it was let for many years to tenant farmers with few resources to maintain the structure and only one third of the building has survived intact. In 1937 the artist Sydney Schofield and his wife Mary Schofield – sister of painter Peter Lanyon – bought the estate and spent years restoring it. The couple sought out lost doors in neighbouring farms and portraits of the Godolphin family in auction houses and sale rooms.

Groundwork will present an exhibition in the King’s Room, an elegant space with a vaulted ceiling and large fireplace. Part of the main house, the room is so named after the future Charles II reputedly stayed the night there, en route to the Isles of Scilly to escape Oliver Cromwell’s New Model Army in 1646.

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