Mount Edgcumbe is the third of the great houses in our part of Cornwall, and as it was such a nice sunny day we thought a drive along the coast to somewhere we hadn’t visited before would be a good idea. So it proved. Samuel Pepys no less said of Mount Edgcumbe “A most beautiful place as ever was seen”. I couldn’t agree more. What a revelation. There were lots of folk about but it is only a short hop on the passenger ferry from Plymouth, so that was to be expected.
The setting is immense from the church at the top of the hill to the formal gardens to the landscaped deer parkland to the huge vistas of Plymouth Sound. The house now covers the footprint of the old Tudor house having been bombed to smithereens in the Second World War and rebuilt on a much smaller scale than previously. It is interesting to see pictures of the magnificent pile pre-war….
and compare with the present house rebuilt by the Edgcumbes
But as to the magnificence of the house, now owned by Cornwall County Council and Plymouth City Council we were not to be disappointed. It still contains treasures accumulated by the Edgcumbes over centuries and the structure of the house and its contents were full of interest. I particularly enjoyed the dining room with its naval table and crest of King Charles I…
and the octagonal rooms at the four corners were some of the most beautiful imaginable, the boudoir being particularly enchanting
The magnificent settee in the library was one of the objects hurriedly rescued during the bombing and thrown into bushes where it lay for several years before being rescued and sent to France for restoration….a great story.
Absolutely fascinating were the pair of hunting horns recovered locally and reckoned to be from about 1000 BC. They could have been made yesterday…..I think they are astounding
The toby jug on display was one of the very first. I used to have quite a collection myself, until being forced to get rid of them during our continual downsizing.
And the two vases in the dining room were also amongst the very first to be made in this country from china clay, a local man William Cookworthy discovering the secret of making porcelain and then setting up his factory in Plymouth and then Bristol from where these vases originated. His factory was only in existence for a few years, so these are very rare survivors indeed. It is astonishing to think that this man was responsible for Cornwall’s china clay industry which is still going strong and indeed at St Austell the mines are the largest in the world. Looking at the satellite view of St Austell on Google Maps is very instructive!
Having enjoyed the house we then went out into the formal gardens after which we took a useful buggy service to the Orangery
where we enjoyed a very good lunch and looking out onto the Italian gardens
The walk back up the hill was rewarded with marvellous views of Plymouth Sound….a lovely place for a picnic, which we duly noted….