Lanhydrock is essentially a Victorian house, that evolved from much earlier beginnings. The name Lanhydrock comes from St Hydroc, believed to be an Irish missionary to Cornwall. The estate was owned by the Priory of St Petroc in Bodmin until the dissolution of the monasteries in the 1530's. After a number of owners, it was purchased by Sir Richard Robartes, a powerful local merchant, the son of a very successful Cornish moneylender, in 1620. Sir Robert and his son John, completed the construction of a new house on the site, a traditional four-sided house around a central courtyard. For the next 335 years, many of the owners of Lanhydrock became MPs.
Only the granite gatehouse survives from their house, which was laid out on the four sides of a central square. John Robartes was in fact the leader of the Parliamentarian faction in Cornwall, but was able to ingratiate himself with Charles II on the restoration, and became Earl of Radnor.
Little change was made to the house over the next two centuries, apart from the demolition of the east range in the 1780s by the first Earl's great-great-grandson, George Hunt. This gave the present U shaped plan for the house. However it gradually lapsed into a state of disrepair. and was unoccupied and almost devoid of furniture for long periods of time.
In the mid-19th century, the 1st Baron Robartes of Lanhydrock and Truro decided to make this his home and commissioned George Gilbert Scott to modernise and remodel Lanhydrock. This Victorian architect attempted to reinstate Lanhydrock as a comfortable country house.
Only 20 years after the restoration work was completed, the south and west wings were destroyed by a great fire in 1881, but luckily the north wing with the Long Gallery survived.
The house was then re-built as the present Victorian house, by Baron Robartes son Thomas. This gave the neo-Jacobean façade, with a traditional Victorian arrangement of rooms internally. A local architect, Richard Coad, a former pupil of Scott did this work. .It was given to the National Trust in 1953, along with 400 acres of grounds.
The most impressive room in the house is the gallery, which is the north wing (it survived the fire of 1881), and the carved plasterwork ceiling is of outstanding. Among the large collection of books is one of the four volumes of the Lanhydrock Atlas, a survey of Charles Bodville Robartes' (the 2nd Earl of Radnor) estates in Cornwall at the end of the 17th century, showing 40,000 acres on 258 manuscript maps
If you visit Lanhydrock, the tour covers 49 rooms and takes around 2 hours.
National Trust in Cornwall
Historic Houses in Cornwall
Lanhydrock National Trust
The hotel to stay at when visiting Cornwall is Corisande Manor Hotel, Cornwall find out more about it