Prideaux Place is an Elizabethan house with extensive grounds and a deer park, high above Padstow, Cornwall, with views over the Camel Estuary. The house has been the home of the Prideaux family for 400 years and is filled with the treasures that they have accumulated during this time. 40 acres of landscaped grounds with terraced walks, formal garden, temple, Roman antiquities and 9th Century Cornish Cross.
Built in 1592 by Nicholas Prideaux, the house has been enlarged and modified by succeeding generations. The Elizabethan manor survived unaltered until the eighteenth century when Edmund, Nicholas's great grandson, influenced by his Grand Tour through Italy in 1739, created a formal garden and updated the house by installing sash windows and coal burning grates.
The next period of change for Prideaux Place came in about 1810 when Edmund's grandson, the Reverend Charles Prideaux, altered and extended the house in the Strawberry Hill Gothic style transforming its main rooms and creating the Drawing Rom, Hall and Library.
Prideaux Place is filled with treasures, including both family and royal portraits, fine furniture and the Prideaux Porcelain collection. The ceiling in the Great Chamber, was only re-discovered on the 1980's, and is a masterpiece of the Elizabethan plasterer’s art. An odd relic of the Civil War can be found in the Drawing Room: a miniature with a portrait of Charles I on one side and Oliver Cromwell on the other. The grounds are the home to England's oldest cast iron cannon.
The first exact records of the gardens are drawings by Edmund Prideaux in the 1730s. The gardens were landscaped with hedged walks leading down from the entrance. There are views over the estuary and across to Bodmin Moor. Points of interest were created, including - a classical temple, an obelisk, a grotto and a small stone arbor housing Roman funerary urns whose inscriptions date them back to 50AD. The deer park is believed to be the oldest in Britain and has been dated back to its enclosure by the Romans in 435AD. A massive restoration of the grounds is now underway and to restore this ancient garden to its former glory. Tom Petherick, who worked in the restoration of Heligan garden, is now helping to clear and replant many areas of the garden. Woodland walks have been re-opened after 60 years, a newly planted lime avenue and Formal Garden.
Prideaux Place was the first house in Cornwall to have its own electricity; the generator was installed 1901-02 and the Generator House still stands on the grounds of the House today. The house has 81 rooms, 44 are bedrooms (but only 6 of these bedrooms are habitable today). Many of the other bedrooms are just as Company B of the U.S. Army's 121st Engineer Combat Battalion left them at the end of World War II, after having taken over the house from Oct 12, 1942 until Apr 24, 1944.
The house has been the choice of film directors for period film productions. Rosamunde Pilcher's Cornish connections made it the obvious setting for the movie ‘Coming Home’ and 'Twelfth Night' starring Helena Bonham Carter (Olivia), Nigel Hawthorne (Malvolio), Ben Kingsley (Feste), Richard E. Grant (Sir Andrew Aguecheek), Mel Smith (Sir Toby Belch) and Imogen Stubbs (Viola) was filmed at the house.
The Prideaux family have been noted in Cornwall as Lords of Prideaux Castle at Luxulyan at the time of the Norman Conquest in 1066. Edmund, the first Baronet of Netherton and his son, Edmund of Ford Abbey, who became Attorney General to Oliver Cromwell in 1649, were both lawyers. When Elisabeth and Peter Prideaux came to live here in 1988 they had a massive task to restore the house and grounds. And the present owner’s youngest son, William, is named after his 26 times great grandfather, William the Conqueror.
Prideaux Place, Padstow, Cornwall
Prideaux Place Prideaux Place
Historic House Cornwall Map
The hotel to stay at when visiting Cornwall is Corisande Manor Hotel, Cornwall find out more about it