A visit to the Cornwall Garden Society Spring Flower Show at Boconnoc. A beautiful day, a beautiful location and an excellent flower show where we bought rather more plants than perhaps we should for our two new borders. Boconnoc was surprisingly near to where we live, and as the satnav sent us down back ways all the way there it was a very enjoyable drive. When we entered the grounds there were plenty of other cars taking the winding and long drive through the grounds, past the obelisk, to the field where we parked. Boconnoc is the usual story of a beautiful house run down somewhat, handed over to the Americans during the War and then not lived in for 30 years. The pictures of the interior as it then was are to me distressing. It was actually rescued by the heroic efforts of the Fortescue family, but why had the authorities let it and so many other priceless pieces of our heritage get like this. They have plenty of powers to serve enforcement orders and take various routes to saving things, but they very rarely use them. Why? Thank God for the Fortescues and their like. The restoration is immaculate. We will visit when we can see inside but we managed to go inside the chapel and saw the historic copy of Charles 1’s letter to the people of Cornwall thanking them for their support during the Civil War.
The history of the house is fascinating. Do see the Historic England site. It was actually bought at one point by Thomas Pitt (1653-1726), the former Governor of Madras, who had sold the Pitt Diamond, a gem he had acquired in India, to Philippe, Duc d’Orleans and Regent of France, for £125,000. It was the proceeds of the diamond sale that enabled him to buy and improve the house. The diamond itself is on display in the Louvre. And of course the house then became associated with three Prime Ministers. And everyone except the new owners the Fortescues were happy to see it fall to rack and ruin…unblelievable!