Lanhydrock House was built in the mid-seventeenth century, although parts of it date back to medieval times. It was then largely ignored by a succession of owners, who preferred to live in other properties closer to London.
The on the afternoon of 4 April 1881 a disastrous fire broke out in the south range destroying nearly half the house.
It fell to Thomas Charles Agar-Robartes, 2nd Baron Robarts of Lanhydrock and Truro and 6th Viscount Clifden, who inherited the property shortly after the fire, to oversee the rebuilding.
This was done according to the most modern principles of the day with strictly segregation between public and private rooms, master and servant, young and old, male and female. Every room had its purpose as did every person living or working in the house (over 80 at its height).
The job of having sex fell to Lord and Lady Robarts, and they set about their task with gusto producing ten children, only one of whom died in infancy.
The Formal Garden
For thirty years Lanhydrock was a happy place, by all accounts, and then disaster struck. The First World war broke out and Lord Robarts eldest son Tommy insisted on joining up. He was killed during the Battle of Loos in 1915.
Of the eight remaining children, only two married. From those marriages only one child was born, and she moved to Africa. In 1953 the house and the surrounding 400 acres passed to the National Trust.
At first the trust did not know what to do with the house, and were mainly interested in preserving the landscape. It fell to the then Regional Director, Michael Trinick, to come up with the innovative idea of opening up the servants quarters, and telling the story of an Edwardian House at its height.
It is now one of the most popular historic houses in the country, and deservedly so. For details on opening times, admission prices, etc. please see the National Trust web site.