Godolphin House

Godolphin House

  • Important medieval garden with remains of walkways and compartments
  • Estate with more than 400 recorded archaeological features
  • Wonderful views over West Cornwall from the top of Godolphin Hill
  • Free Parking & dogs on leads only on estate

The house is 5 miles north-west of Helston, between Townshend and Godolphin Cross not far from St Michaels Mount, in a quiet and remote part of ancient Cornwall. The House at Godolphin is Grade I Listed and is one of Cornwall’s most architecturally important houses that is built in a very romantic and quiet setting. Hidden in ancient woodlands, remote yet only 20 minutes from Penzance, Godolphin provides a wonderful day out.

For places to stay in Cornwall, as a base from which to visit Godolphin House and the surrounding area, please see: Country House Hotels in Cornwall , Coastal Hotels in Cornwall , Spa Hotels in Cornwall , Bed & Breakfasts in Cornwall or Self-Catering Cottages in Cornwall

The Godolphin family lived here from the early Middle Ages. Their original small, fortified house or castle was replaced in the 15th century with a grander design that was added to in subsequent years to become, by 1664, the largest and most fashionable house in Cornwall. Large parts of the 17th-century house still survive today: the impressive Hall with its fine linen-furled panelling, elaborate carved beams and mullioned windows and the North Range and its distinctive colonnade of granite pillars. The house seen today is a remnant of a far larger building that was the home of the Godolphin family until the middle of the 18th century. The Godolphins, who made their wealth from the local tin-mining industry, were one of the leading families of West Cornwall.

By the mid-16th century the house consisted of three ranges of buildings with the courtyard closed off by a crenellated wall on the north side. Sir William Godolphin, a soldier in the service of Henry VIII, made some alterations to the house and further work was carried out at the end of the 16th century by Sir Francis Godolphin, Governor of the Scilly Isles.

Then there are the ancient formal gardens, possibly the oldest surviving in Europe. This is very far from the idea of a typical Cornish garden: it is not about plants and flowers but about the rare remains of a medieval pattern of compartments, terraces and walkways. Here the fragments of the past are exposed making it a haunting place to explore.

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