Between Fowey and Par,
Tel: (01726) 808150
Famous house of a famous family and a famous author
Menabilly is a historic estate on the south coast of Cornwall, situated within the parish of Tywardreath on the Gribbin peninsula about two miles west of Fowey.
It has been the home of the Rashleigh family from the 16th century to the present day. The mansion house, which received a Grade II listing on 13th March 1951, is early Georgian in style, having been re-built on the site of an earlier Elizabethan house, parts of which were possibly incorporated into the present structure. The house is surrounded by woodland and nearby is the farmhouse Menabilly Barton.
The first house at Menabilly was built by John I Rashleigh (1554–1624), shipowner and MP for Fowey. The house was completed in 1624 by his son Jonathan Rashleigh I (1591–1675) and was re-built between 1710 to 1715 by Jonathan Rashleigh III (1693–1764).
The present house is of two storeys built around a central courtyard with a six-bay front on which the central three bays break forward.
Philip Rashleigh (1729–1811) landscaped the gardens and planted the woodland around the house and estate. William Rashleigh, his nephew, succeeded after Philip's death in 1811, and following a fire in 1822, re-built the house in a greatly extended size.
Jonathan Rashleigh (1820–1905), the cricketer, improved and extended the gardens and grounds and planted many trees including pine, cedar, eucalyptus and beech. He also planted rhododendron, bamboo and hydrangea.
John Rashleigh (1872–1961), grandson of Jonathan, succeeded in 1905 but rarely lived at Menabilly which thus fell into serious decay. In 1943 it was discovered in a dilapidated state by the new tenant Daphne du Maurier the author, who set about restoring it and made it her home before returning it to the Rashleigh family in 1969.
The house was the inspiration for "Manderley", the house in Daphne du Maurier's novel Rebecca. Like Menabilly, the fictional Manderley was hidden in woods and could not be seen from the shore. Du Maurier's novel The King's General is also set here and features the skeleton found in the cellar.
Today Menabilly and most of the grounds remain private and not open to the public although two cottages on the estate are rented as holiday lets.
Tucked away amongst trees on the Gribbin Peninsula.
Fowey Castle Dore Gribbin Head Par Golant Daphne du Maurier Polkerris Tywardreath