Godolphin Cross, Helston, TR13 9RE
Tel: (01736) 763194
Three Hundred Years of History
There has been a house here for many centuries. The existing building dates from 1475 with additions in Elizabethan and Carolean times. The unique North Front, supported on massive granite columns, was built about 1635 over the Elizabethan gateway which still retains its original heavy oak doors.
The Godolphin family owned the property up to the latter part of the 18th century. Many famous members of the family lived here. William (1486-1570) was knighted for his valour at the siege of Boulogne in 1544 and presented with an "Achievement of the Royal Arms of Tudor" by Henry VIII which is displayed in the dining room.
The family was prominent in the Royalist cause during the English Civil War. Sir Francis Godolphin (1605-1667) raised a Regiment which was commanded by his cousin, William. His brother, Sydney, the poet, lost his life in battle in 1643.
The Prince of Wales, later King Charles II, probably stayed at Godolphin while awaiting escape to the Isles of Scilly which were under the Command of Sir Francis. After the Restoration the new King rewarded the family by making Sidney Godolphin, the young heir, a page at court. This was the first step in a career which led him to become Queen Anne's High Treasurer. His son married the daughter and heiress of the Duke of Marlborough and was the owner of the famous stallion known as the Godolphin Arabian. A contemporary picture of this horse by John Wooton hangs in the dining room.
Eventually there was no male heir and the estates passed to the descendants of Mary, the youngest daughter of Francis. She married Thomas Osbourne, 4th Duke of Leeds in 1740 and the family moved away from Cornwall and Godolphin.
When the 2nd Earl died in 1766 the estate passed to the Duke of Leeds, through his marriage to the 2nd Earl's daughter. The duke's of Leeds did not live here either. And in 1805 much of the house was demolished, including the 16th century hall which is now just a ruin.
The Duke of Leeds sold the house in 1929 and it was acquired by the present owners, the Schofields, in 1937.
The 550 acre Godolphin Estate (not including the house) came into the ownership of the National Trust in 2000. The house was bought by the trust in 2007. The rooms are furnished with suitable furniture and tapestries. Some of the furniture is original to the house, having been bought back by the Schofields.
The old stable block dating from the early 17th century is being restored. This displays a collection of early horse-drawn farm vehicles and equipment which had lain forgotten for more than 50 years.
In addition, there are exhibits to illustrate life in the 17th century, including the reconstruction of a still-room to illustrate the many pursuits of the household of the times with particular reference to the uses made of herbs for eating, healing, strewing and dying.
A collection of documents and maps shows the development of communications in the south west and there is also a display of arms and armour.
The early gardens, only recently discovered, are undergoing clearance.
About three miles east of Marazion, sign-posted from the B3280 at Townsend.
March - September
National Trust Properties Helston Trevarno Estate and Gardens The Poldark Mine Clowance Estate