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Pentillie Castle and Gardens

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Pentillie Castle is situated on the banks of the River Tamar in Pillaton, near to St Mellion.

The castle was constructed in 1698 and is surrounded by a 2,000 acre estate, From poor beginnings, James Tillie (16 November 1645 - 15 November 1713) improved his fortunes and became an agent for Sir John Coryton owner of the estate of Newton Ferrers. Soon after the sudden death of Sir John, Tillie improved his fortunes further by marrying his patron's wealthy widow, Elizabeth Coryton. James Tillie commissioned the building of Pentillie Castle, which was completed in 1698. A statue of his likeness stands outside the castle.

When Tillie died in 1713, he left the Pentillie estate to his nephew, James Woolley. On his death the estate was passed to Woolley's daughter Mary Jemima, who married Peter Coryton, the heir of Newton Ferrers, reuniting the two estates. The Corytons were a wealthy family, becoming owners of more than 20,000 acres (81 km2) of land in Cornwall.

In 1809, the family appointed the famous landscape designer Humphry Repton, to remodel the castle and gardens. Pentillie was extensively enlarged in 1810, with the construction of three new wings to the west side of the old structure. The building thus enclosed a central open courtyard. Pentillie remained under the ownership of the Coryton family throughout the ninteenth and twentieth centuries. During the Second World War the south wing of Pentillie Castle was requisitioned, and by the 1960s the house was in a poor state of repair, and the decision was made to demolish most of the 1810 construction.

The American gardens, situated close to the castle, cover about 20 acres and were designed by Lewis Kennedy in 1813,they consist of traditional estate gardens and include vast specimens of rhododendron, azalea and camellia as well as towering oak, chestnut, beech and sequoia trees. The gardens were neglected for about 30 years until the latest generation of the Coryton's took over the estate in 2007. Pentillie Castle and the gardens featured on Channel 4's Country House Rescue in January 2009.

In 2013, archeologists discovered human remains at the mausoleum at Pentillie, assumed to be those of the original owner of Pentillie, James Tillie, despite suggestions in the nineteenth century that all bodies had been removed from the site. In his will, Tillie had instructed that he should not be buried, but dressed in his best clothes, bound to a stout chair and placed with his books, wine and pipe in the vault of the mausoleum. Investigations as to whether these are the remains of James Tillie are in progress.

The Coryton family have now opened the gardens to the public on selected days.

Historic Buildings in Cornwall

Cornish Gardens