Mount Edgcumbe, Cornwall

Mount Edgcumbe, Cornwall

Mount Edgcumbe House, a Tudor mansion, is the former home of the Earls of Mount Edgcumbe. The house and its surrounding 865 acre Country Park is on the Rame Peninsula, looking across Plymouth sound to the city of Plymouth on the other side. In 1971 Mount Edgcumbe House and grounds was sold to Cornwall County & Plymouth City Councils. It has been open to the general public on a regular basis since 1988.

Sir Piers Edgcumbe, acquired the estate through marriage in the 16th century. Sir Piers home was located ten miles away at Cotehele. Sir Piers built a deer park at Mount Edgcumbe in 1539. His son Richard Edgcumbe commissioned Roger Palmer, a local mason, to build a new house in 1547, overlooking Plymouth Sound and the River Tamar. This was the first time in England a mansion had been built to take advantage of the wonderful situation and views rather than as a defensive house built around a courtyard.

It was apparently so admired that the Admiral of the Spanish Armada wanted Mount Edgcumbe for his own residence after he defeated the British fleet.

The Banqueting Hall adjoining the House was however damaged in the Civil War. In the Civil War Maker Church tower was fortified by the Royalist garrison of Mount Edgcumbe and was captured by the Plymouth Parliamentary forces in May 1644.

The Edgcumbe family continued with Cotehele as their main residence until moving to Mount Edgcumbe during the 17th century. Once in residence, the Edgcumbe's remodeled the interior decor of house and carried out some external rebuilding.

The current octagonal corner towers were added by Richard, 1st Lord Edgcumbe, in 1749. Richard's son, an admiral in the fleet, became 1st Earl of Mount Edgcumbe in 1789, and he commenced the work landscaping the gardens. The Grade I listed gardens have remained largely unchanged ever since.

German bombing during the 1941, Blitz on Plymouth, destroyed much of the house. Many American soldiers left from Barn Pool, a beach below the House to take part in the Normandy Invasion of France in World War II.

It was an abandoned ruin until 1958, the 6th Earl commissioned Adrian Gilbert Scott to rebuild the house using modern methods of construction. The house was sold to the councils in 1971, with a lease for the family to live there, that lease appears to have been given up in 1987.

The red sandstone walls with granite dressings, were revealed when the rendering was removed. The exterior of the house is mainly 19th century but the entrance on the north front has its original mid-16th century doorway surrounded by late-17th century Doric pilasters and a pediment.

The interior is decorated in neo-Georgian style. The wartime fire destroyed most Edgcumbe family's paintings and furniture, which is slowly having to be replaced. The impress Hall was rebuilt by Scott with a magnificent staircase at the east end and a gallery on the first-floor. The Drawing Room, overlooking the garden, has a portrait of the 2nd Lord Edgcumbe by Reynolds, Van de Velde seascapes, and two 16th century Flemish tapestries with hunting scenes brought from Cotehele. On the first floor, as well as bedrooms, is a tiny chapel commemorating the 6th Earl's only son who was killed in at Dunkirk.

Mount Edgcumbe House, Cornwall


Historic House Cornwall Map