Pencarrow House & Gardens

Pencarrow House & Gardens

Near Bodmin, PL30 3AG
Tel: (01208) 841369


Georgian House belonging to the Molesworth-St. Aubyn Family

Mile long drive through an Ancient British Encampment, flanked by huge rhododendrons, blue hydrangeas and specimen conifers.

Historic Georgian house and grade II listed garden; still owned and lived in by the Molesworth family and houses a superb collection of pictures, furniture, porcelain and some antique dolls.

Pencarrow House was built in 1765, by Sir John Molesworth, the 4th baronet. In 1771 Sir John Molesworth co-founded the Sir John Molesworth & Company banking house, which eventually became part of Lloyds Bank. His descendants, the Molesworth St. Aubyn family, own and live in the house today.

Pencarrow House & Gardens

The Music Room is has a piano at which Sir Arthur Sullivan - of Gilbert and Sullivan fame - composed the music for Iolanthe in 1882. Sullivan was a friend of the St. Aubyn family and visited the house frequently. Gilbert also visited with his wife at the invitation of Lady Andalusia Molesworth, wife of the 8th baronet who had been trained as a classical singer. Costumes used in the first performance of Iolanthe are on display upstairs. The Music Room also has a rococo ceiling, depicting the four seasons, and fine mouldings of birds, fruit and flowers decorating the panelling.

The Dining Room has a number of family portraits by Sir Joshua Reynolds. These include Sir John Molesworth. There are 3 portraits of the 5th baronet, who was Reynold's patron. The suite in the Drawing Room is covered with Chinese silk captured from a Spanish treasure ship in 1762.

The Inner Hall has two large paintings by Samuel Scott of the Tower and Bridge at London signed and dated 1755. Classical statues stand ornamentally in the Hall with a variety of amusing headgear, including a classical Roman bust wearing a gentleman's top hat. Also on display is a large 18th century Chinese porcelain bowl, commissioned to portray a fox hunting scene, but the Chinese artisans knew nothing of European dress nor custom, so the hunters are shown in Chinese dress, and there is no fox to be seen. A picture of King Charles I, at his trial, hangs on the upper staircase wall: the artist, Edward Bower, is said to have attended the trial to make sketches of the King.

The Boudoir, the sitting room of the lady of the house, and looks south over the Italian Garden.

The Pink Bedroom contains a George IV four-poster bed. Of the numerous family portraits in the bedroom, one of particular interest is the self-portrait of Catherine St. Aubyn, a talented pupil of the Cornish artist John Opie.

It was substantially altered one hundred years later by the 8th baronet. Sir William Molesworth was connected with the building of the Wadebridge to Bodmin railway in 1831, built to convey lime rich sea sand from the Padstow to farms further inland.

Imaginative children's play area with family pets and Cornish slate wendy house, where peacocks strut and display.

Dogs and children are very welcome free in the grounds.

Craft centre, cafe, picnic area, plant shop, self-pick soft fruit. Facilities for the disabled.


Peacock Cafe offers light lunches, home-made cakes with gluten-free options and of course the quintessential cream tea. We are passionate about Cornish produce and source locally in our shop and café. Alongside the café, you’ll find the children’s play area with a rather enchanting Wendy house complete with a slate roof.


Four miles north-west of Bodmin, signed off the A389 and B3266 at Washaway.

Opening Times

Easter to 31st October
10.00am - 5.00pm

Admission Charged

Bodmin       Camel Valley Vineyard       The Old Mill Herbary       Wadebridge