Caerhays Castle, Cornwall

Caerhays Castle, Cornwall

Caerhays Castle overlooks Porthluney Cove. It is near Mevagissey and it is four miles south east of Tregoney.

The Trevanion family had owned the land since 1390. The house itself was built for John Bettesworth Trevanion, who at the age of 21, inherited the estate in 1801. John Nash, a fashionable architect of the day, was employed to create the mansion in 1808. Profligate living plus the costs of building the mansion ruined the family, and in 1840 the family were so heavily in debt that they fled to Paris, where John Trevanion died.

Caerhays Castle was thus abandoned for 13 years. Eventually in 1853 it was purchased by a Cornish Member of Parliament, Michael Williams, who restored the property. He was also a mine owner. It is said that ducks were found swimming in the round dining room.

There is a good example of a Porte Cochere outside the front door (this is an enclosed area to enable the gentry to alight from their carriages in the dry). An impressive staircase, a grand Front Hall and a Gallery demonstrate the work of Nash. There is a Victorian library with a penchant for books on minerals and travel.

There are 60 acres of woodland and garden and many of the plants and shrubs originate from trips made by John Charles Williams to China for this purpose around 1900. The gardens are particularly proud of their magnolias, camellias, oaks and rhododendrons.

At the turn of the century J C Williams arranged plant gathering trips to China. The gardens are famous for their magnolias, camellias, oaks and rhododendrons. Caerhays is home to the x williams ii camellia hybrids but is perhaps best known for its large Asiatic magnolias which are usually in their best in March and April. They are holders of a NCCPG National Magnolia Collection.

The fifth generation of the Williams family still lives at the castle and there are a number of Trevanion family portraits.

Caerhays Castle

Caerhays Garden

Cornwall Castles Map