Mount Edgcumbe House
Mount Edgcumbe House is a stately home in south-east Cornwall. It is a Grade II listed building and the gardens are listed as Grade I in the Register of Parks and Gardens of Special Historic Interest in England.
It is situated within Mount Edgcumbe Country Park, in the parish of Maker on the Rame Peninsula, overlooking Plymouth Sound. The main entrance to the park is in the village of Cremyll. The house was formerly the seat of the Earls of Mount Edgcumbe.
The house was built between 1547 and 1553. It was gutted by German bombs in 1941, and restored from 1958 onwards by the 6th Earl. In 1971, the 7th Earl sold the house and park to Cornwall County Council and Plymouth City Council, and it has been open to the public since 1988. Its interiors have been restored to 18th century styles. It is currently run by Ian Berry, the park manager, and Nicholas Butcher, the Head ranger, assisted by Gary Fry and Craig Penwill. Gary Fry runs "Bushcraft" courses throughout the year, which are overnight camp-outs and crash courses in living from the wild.
The Mount Edgcumbe House property is now jointly owned by Cornwall Council and Plymouth City Council and is one of the region's most popular historic tourist destinations. The country park, on the Rame Peninsula, is the earliest landscaped park in Cornwall and is very popular with walkers. One can walk from the Cremyll Ferry through the property to the villages of Kingsand and Cawsand. The park, open to visitors every day all through the year from 8 am to dusk, houses the National Camellia Collection. A classic car show is held annually in the park grounds, hosted by the Friends of Mount Edgcumbe, and a variety of other events, which include art classes with Louise Courtnell, theatre performances, and a forestry school, are also held there.
However, the House and the adjoining Earl's Garden are only open to visitors during the summer months, from the beginning of April until the end of September.
Historical features of interest
Barn Pool, a sheltered deep water anchorage used by the Vikings in 997. Offshore is the wreck of the ship Catharina von Flensburg, which went down in 1786.
Barrow - a Bronze Age burial mound, dating from about 1200 BC, re-used as a "Prospect Mound" in the 18th century. A prospect mound is an artificial mound, generally conical, placed within a garden or park to provide a viewing point to overlook the garden or park.
Blockhouse, c. 1545 - a small fort built on the shoreline during King Henry VIII's reign, to defend the mouth of the Tamar and the Edgcumbe's town of Stonehouse opposite.
Coastguard Station at Rame, originally a Lloyds Signal Station, where signalling was done from passing ships to the station by flags during the day and by lights at night; it became a radio station in 1905, then transferred to the Coastguards c.1925. Now run by Coastwatch.
The Deer Wall, c. 1695 - a stone wall with outer ditch protecting the amphitheatre from deer, now incomplete.
Folly, c. 1747 - an artificial ruin which replaced a navigation obelisk. The folly was built from medieval stone taken from the ruined churches of St George and St Lawrence, at Stonehouse.
Formal Gardens, c. 1750 to 1820 - Italian, English and French style gardens. Recent additions to the grounds include the New Zealand and American gardens (1989) and the Jubilee Gardens (2003).
Maker Church, first mentioned in 1186, enlarged in the 15th century. Maker is the family church of the Edgcumbe family.
Milton's Temple, c. 1755 - a circular Ionian temple, with a plaque inscribed with lines from the poem Paradise Lost, "overhead up grew, Insuperable heights of loftiest shade....." John Milton, (1608–1674).
Stables c. 1850 - The stables, dairy, smithy, sawmill and stores, all essential to the running of the Mount Edgcumbe estate. This area is now open to visitors.
Deer on Rame Peninsula, In 1515 Sir Piers Edgcumbe was given permission by King Henry VIII to empark deer. Their descendents still roam freely on the Peninsula.
- Official website
- Mount Edgcumbe photo gallery
- English Heritage: Images of England, architectural description of listed building
- Plymouth City Council: Mount Edgcumbe Website
- Visit Cornwall: Images of the house and park
- The Friends of Mount Edgcumbe
- Events taking place at Mount Edgcumbe Country Park