Quay Street, Lostwithiel, PL22 0BN
One of Cornwall's oldest buildings
The Old Duchy Palace stands proud among the new and old buildings of Lostwithiel. The £1m project to preserve it has taken four years to complete.
The palace was built in 1292 by Edmund, Earl of Cornwall, reputedly as a replica of the Great Hall of Westminster and was once the administrative centre for The Duchy of Cornwall. All Cornish affairs and the tin industry were controlled from here, including the Courts, Treasury, Maritime offices, the Stannary Parliament, smelting, coinage and assaying of tin and the Stannary prison.
The Dukes of Cornwall had their residence at Restormel Castle so the original name would have been the Stannary Hall or the Great Hall of Lostwithiel. After 1337 it was referred to as the Duchy Palace. The complex was badly damaged by Parliamentary soldiers during the Siege of Lostwithiel in 1644, during the Civil War. The Convocation Hall at the corner of Quay Street is the best preserved part of the complex and carries the emblem of the Black Prince (the first Duke of Cornwall) at the apex of the northern gable. The last Tinners Parliament was held in the Hall in 1752 and in 1874 the Duchy Offices were removed elsewhere. The whole building was sold to tradesmen of the town. The Convocation Hall became a Drill Hall. This is now owned by the Freemasons. Within the building in the upper ante room, traces remain of a Medieval Rose window which was over the original South entrance, and the original oak supports and timbers still exist. A perpetual reminder of the Hall's association with the Duchy is the Prince of Wales plume of three feathers on the point of the roof.
The Duke of Cornwall's Palace was regarded as the finest and grandest building in the county but the Palace fell into ruin after the 17th century and surviving parts of the large building were divided up into separate properties. In 1878 it became a Freemasons' temple and remained as such until 2008.
The preservation work has been carried out jointly by the Cornwall Buildings Preservation Trust and The Prince's Regeneration Trust, who acquired the property in 2009 and it was opened in July 2013 by The Duke and Duchess of Cornwall.
It will be used as a retail and business space, but will also include a permanent heritage exhibition about the palace and its restoration. The display will be present in the basement, where work has included laying a new slate floor, removing modern paint and conserving the historic plaster and stonework.
A short walk from the town centre.
All Year: Daily, 9.00am - 5.00pm
Lostwithiel Lostwithiel Museum Restormel Castle The Duchy of Cornwall