Lanhydrock at Christmas

We spent a fantastic festive day at Lanhydrock today, helping to prepare festive treats in the kitchen, seeing the table laid out for a Christmas meal and following the trail through the gardens. I’ll let the (many) pictures speak for themselves!

We stirred the plum pudding, rolled out Christmas biscuits, ground fragrant spices with the pestle and mortar and studded oranges with cloves. The jellies in the cold room were a sight to behold!

In the dining room the table was set for a lavish meal, see the menu card in the photo. Only the older children would eat with the adults in the dining room. The younger children ate in the nursery with the governess.

We loved the outdoor baubles brightening up the garden, the tree especially looked magical.

And of course, the Christmas Tree. Youngest loved these decorations which she said reminded her of the Nutcracker.

A brief bit of history…

The Lanhydrock Estate was originally owned by the Priory of St Petroc. Following the dissolution of the monasteries under King Henry VIII, it passed into private ownership, eventually being acquired by Richard Robartes in 1620 who began work on the first house. He died soon after and the house was completed by his son, John Robartes.

The house remained in the same family for many years. It was inherited by sons, sisters and nieces along the way. Some considered it an unpleasant place to live and it suffered from neglect, at one stage there were plans to demolish the house. In the early 1800’s Anna Maria Hunt inherited the house. She was a good landlord although she never lived at Lanhydrock. She invested in the house, establishing it as a home for her son, Thomas James to inherit.

Thomas James continued his mother’s work to improve the house. He was a Liberal MP and was considered the ‘poor man’s friend’. Tragedy struck in 1881 when fire ripped through the house. Thomas’ wife Juliana died a week after the fire and he, a year later, reportedly of a broken heart.

Thomas Charles and his wife Mary then took over the house and together they created a happy family home. The house was rebuilt and furnished in the latest Victorian style with the most up to date fire fighting equipment (and even a fire engine). This is the house and style that you now see when you visit.

Tommy, the eldest son died in the first world war. In the inter-war period Thomas Charles and his wife died, as well as three of their children. During the second world war the remaining siblings welcomed 17 evacuees to Lanhydrock. You can read stories from the evacuees, as well as a wealth of information about the house and family here.

The National Trust website has more information. There’s a great summary at Cornwall Forever where you can also find out about Cornwall’s people, places and past, all aimed at younger readers.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s