Padstow, PL28 8RP
Tel: (01841) 532411
Historic House & Garden
For over 400 years, Prideaux Place has been the home of the Prideaux-Brune family. This ancient Cornish clan's origins go back even further - to the 11th century - and the present owner's youngest son, William, is named after his 26 times great grandfather, William the Conqueror.
Completed in 1592, the house has been enlarged and modified by successive generations. Today it combines the traditional E-shape of Elizabethan architecture with the 18th century exuberance of Horace Walpole's Strawberry Hill Gothic. Of its 81 rooms, 44 are bedrooms - only six of which are habitable! Many of the other bedrooms are just as the American Army left them at the end of the Second World War in 1945. All the rooms that are open to the public are in daily use by Peter Prideaux-Brune and his family.
The Elizabethan oak front door still has its original lock, and a key so large that it was given to the present owner by his parents on his 21st birthday on the assumption that even he would not be able to lose it!
The house is filled with treasures, including royal and family portraits, fine furniture and the Prideaux Porcelain Collection. In the Dining Room, there is a striking carving - to the left of the fireplace - of Queen Elizabeth I standing on a pig. This reputedly represents her stamping out vice.
The Morning Room, which today is used as the family's sitting room, contains a pastel of Humphrey Prideaux by the celebrated 18th century Italian artist, Rosalba Carriera. When this picture was cleaned in 1914, a letter was found behind the frame in which Rosalba declared her love for Humphrey - far too late, unfortunately, for him to acknowledge her affections! Among the many treasures in the Drawing Room, there's a fascinating relic of the Civil War: a miniature which has a portrait of Charles I on one side and a portrait of Oliver Cromwell on the reverse - demonstrating that it's always been wise to keep one's options open!
Prideaux Place was the first house in Cornwall to have its own electricity; the generator was installed 1901 and the Generator House still stands on the grounds of the House today.
The recently uncovered hidden ceiling in the Great chamber is a masterpiece of the Elizabethan plaster's art. The present owner remembers crawling among the rafters as a boy and finding it. The house has something for everyone - from ghost stories to England's oldest cast iron cannon; a house with a living history. In the landscaped grounds you can stroll on the terraced walks, view the deer in their ancient park overlooking the Camel estuary, visit the formal garden, the temple, Roman antiquities, the 9th century Cornish cross and, open for the first time this year, the magnificent stables with their plaster coats of arms and two new exhibitions, one of old farm equipment used here in days gone by and one of past film location work in the house. For a unique insight into a 400 year old house that's a treasure-trove of Cornish life, and is still occupied by the family that built it, be sure to come and visit glorious Prideaux Place.
When Elizabeth and Peter Prideaux came to live here in 1988 they had a massive task to restore the house and grounds.
Just off the B3276 on the north side of Padstow.
Tours of the house. * Terrace tearoom. * Stable courtyard. * Woodland walk. *
Ancient deer park. * Restored formal garden. * Opera, Concerts and exhibitions. *
Free parking in the grounds.
Easter Sunday to Mid October
The Camel Estuary Padstow Padstow Museum Trevone Trevose Head Trevibban Mill
Padstow Visitor Centre