Pencarrow House and Gardens
Historic Pencarrow House is located in the curiously named village of Washaway, which lies between the towns of Bodmin and Wadebridge. An imposing Georgian house, Pencarrow is still in the ownership of the Molesworth-St. Aubyn family.
The house dates to 1765 when it was begun by Sir John Molesworth, the 4th baronet, a century later it was greatly altered by his successor, the 8th baronet.
Pencarrow House is reached via a mile long drive shaded with conifers and shrubs, which passes through an ancient British encampment, known as 'the Rounds', several of the house's rooms are open to the general public.
The Inner Hall has a collection of classical statues, adorned with a variety of amusing headwear and a portrait of King Charles I at his trial, hangs on the upper staircase wall, the artist, Edward Bower, is said to have attended the trial where he made sketches of the King. Also displayed in the room are two outstanding atmospheric paintings by the artist Samuel Scott, which date to 1755, they depict London Bridge and the Tower of London.
The Collard and Collard grand piano used by Sir Arthur Sullivan in composing Gilbert and Sullivan's Iolanthe in 1882 stands in the Music Room, Gilbert was also a visitor to Pencarrow House, on the invitation of Lady Andalusia Molesworth, wife of the 8th baronet. The Music Room also boasts an impressive rococo ceiling illustrating the four seasons. The Dining Room contains an impressive collection of family portraits by Sir Joshua Reynolds, including one of the house's founder, Sir John Molesworth. The Pink Bedroom boasts a George IV four-poster bed and a self portrait of Catherine St. Aubyn, who was a pupil of the Cornish artist John Opie.
Pencarrow is surrounded by five hundred acres of parkland, woods and formal gardens. The Grade II Listed gardens were designed in the nineteenth century by the radical politician, Sir William Molesworth and were extensively restored by Lt. Col. Sir Arscott Molesworth-St. Aubyn when they become derelict during and after the Second World War.
The beautifully proportioned sunken Italian Garden is situated immediately to the south of the house, the main fountain is modelled on the one in Piazza Navona in Rome. The adjacent great rockery was built using large blocks of granite carried from nearby Bodmin Moor. There is also a wishing well and grotto. The famous Carriage Drive, which is over a mile long, is edged with a variety of specimen conifers, Rhododendrons and Camellias, the drive was first laid out and planted in 1842.
The gardens contain an amazing seven hundred different varieties of rhododendron, as well as a stunning collection of azaleas, camellias and hydrangeas. There is an Italian Garden, a lake, an ice house and lawns with specimen trees. The monkey puzzle tree acquired its name at Pencarrow House, which was bestowed on it by a guest, Charles Austin, who on seeing a specimen of Araucaria imbricata stated, "That tree would puzzle a monkey", the name stuck.
Peacock Cafe, gift and plant shop.