A woodland garden created in the C19 and C20, where E J P Magor developed notable rhododendron hybrids in the early C20.
The site of Lamellen was recorded as a house and parcel of smallholdings in the Domesday survey, but detailed records for the site survive only from 1698, when the core of the present house was constructed by Samuel Furnis. Lamellen remained in the Furnis family until 1825, when Samuel's great-granddaughter, Elizabeth Ann Moyle, married John Pemberthy Magor of Penventon, Redruth. Elizabeth and John Magor rebuilt the house at Lamellen in the 1840s, and constructed a greenhouse to house their orchid collection. John Pemberthy Magor is recorded as exhibiting specimens at a meeting of the Cornwall Horticultural Society in July 1838 (Botanical Register 1838; Cornish Garden 1985). John Pemberthy Magor died in 1862, leaving Lamellen to his third son, Edward Auriol, whose elder brothers had predeceased their father. Initial tree planting in the gardens at Lamellen has been attributed to the period 1860 o 1880, developing and expanding existing oak woodland (Cornish Garden 1985). E A Magor died at the age of thirty-four in 1883, leaving three sons and two daughters. The eldest son, Edward John Pemberthy Magor, returned to Lamellen in 1901 and began to develop the gardens, having earlier hoped to inherit Chyverton, Cornwall (qv) from his aunt. E J P Magor particularly planted rhododendrons supplied by leading nurserymen, including James Veitch, Gauntlett, and in 1903, Messrs Regel and Kesselring of St Petersburg, and private Cornish gardens including Penjerrick (qv) and Menabilly (qv). Magor obtained seedlings from material collected for Veitch by E H Wilson in 1899-1902 and 1903-5, and also received material from expeditions led by Reginald Farrer, George Forrest, Joseph Rock, and F Kingdon Ward between 1909 and 1925. Friendship with J C Williams of Caerhays Castle, Cornwall (qv) led to the introduction of further rhododendrons at Lamellen, while other trees and shrubs were received from connections elsewhere, including Glasnevin, Dublin.
From 1911 E J P Magor began to hybridise Himalayan species rhododendrons, producing, among some 100 others, the notable hybrids 'Damaris' and 'Lamellen'. Writing under the name 'Peter the Hermit', Magor contributed to the Rhododendron Society's Notes, and regular articles, 'Notes from a Cornish Garden,' to Gardening Illustrated. In the 1930s material from Lamellen was sent to Exbury, Hampshire (qv), Bodnant, North Wales, Borde Hill, Sussex (qv), and Tremeer, Cornwall. Plants were also sent to the United States, Japan, and Germany. In 1940, Sir Eric Savill obtained large numbers of rhododendrons for the Savill and Valley Gardens, Windsor (qv) from Magor.
E J P Magor died in 1941, and Lamellen was let to tenants until 1957. Magor's son, Major E Walter M Magor and his wife returned to Lamellen from overseas in 1961 and began to clear and restore the early C20 woodland garden, replacing lost specimens and expanding the collection with plants received from the Savill Gardens and other private collections. Mrs. Magor died in 1972, after which Major Magor was assisted in the maintenance and development of the garden by his daughter and son-in-law, who particularly expanded the number of species magnolias and C20 hybrids in the collection. Gales in 1990 caused damage to the C19 and early C20 shelter belts, leaving few of the Pinus radiata for which the garden had been famous. Restoration and extensive clearance of invasive bamboo in the early 1990s was followed by further expansion of the collection of magnolias and rhododendrons, including the introduction of plants raised from seed collected by Keith Rushforth in 1996-9. Major Magor died in 1995, and Lamellen today (1999) remains in private ownership.
LOCATION, AREA, BOUNDARIES, LANDFORM, SETTING
Lamellen is situated some 8km north-east of Wadebridge, and c 1km north-west of the village of St Tudy, to the east of the A39 road which runs from Wadebridge north-east to Bude. The c 7ha site lies in a steep-sided valley which runs from east to west, and which opens to the west into the valley of the River Allen. A tributary stream flows through the garden to join the River Allen c 500m west of the house. The site is bounded on high ground to the north and south by C19 and C20 shelter plantations which are separated from adjoining farmland by stone walls and fences. To the west the boundary is formed by the A39 road, while to the east, the site adjoins a meadow planted with ornamental groups of trees. The site enjoys views west through the valley garden to the wooded valley of the River Allen beyond, and east to the ornamented pasture on high ground c 100m south-east of the house.
ENTRANCES AND APPROACHES
Lamellen is approached from the A39 road to the west, at a point c 2.5km north-east of the hamlet of St Kew Highway. Low drystone wing walls flank the entrance, to the north-east of which stands Lamellen Lodge (listed grade II), a mid C19 two-storey cottage of stone construction with lattice-glazed windows. The Lodge stands in simple late C20 gardens which extend east to the River Allen, and which are screened from the road to the west by a tall laurel hedge. Some 20m south-east of the Lodge the drive passes through a pair of tall, mid C19, square-section, granite ashlar gate piers surmounted by moulded pyramidal caps, which support a single, possibly late C19, timber lattice gate (all listed grade II). The gate piers stand at the western end of a mid C19 stone bridge (listed grade II) with battlemented parapets and a single arch of dressed stone which carries the drive across the River Allen. To the east of the bridge, the gravelled drive is carried for c 50m south-east across a causeway which passes through water meadows on the east bank of the River Allen (excluded from the area here registered). Some 130m south-east of the entrance, the drive ascends gently through mixed ornamental planting. A disused quarry lies to the north of the drive, with a group of mature monkey puzzles growing above to the north-west. The drive turns east-south-east for c 270m, gently ascending the Lamellen valley on the south-facing valley side. To the north the drive is bounded by Moor Plantation, C19 and C20 mixed ornamental woodland, while to the south, grass banks are planted with ornamental trees and shrubs above the stream which runs through the valley. Turning south-east c 100m south-west of the house, the drive sweeps east and north-east around the head of the valley revealing views west down the valley across the gardens; it then ascends to the gravelled carriage court to the east of the house. A service drive approaches the north side of the house from a minor road to the east.
Lamellen (listed grade II*) is a rebuilding of 1849 for J P Magor of a house originally built in 1698 for Samuel Furnis. The two-storey house is built in a picturesque Tudor-gothic style with gables, mullion and transom windows, and high chimney stacks. It is constructed in stone rubble with granite ashlar dressings and stands on a level platform cut into the south-west-facing slope at the head of the Lamellen valley. The principal entrance is in a two-storey porch on the east facade, while a single-storey canted bay window looks south across the valley below the house. The service wing lies to the north and north-west of the house, with a late C20 single-storey wing extending from the north-west corner of the house set into the slope north-west of the house and overlooking an area of lawns.
GARDENS AND PLEASURE GROUNDS
The informal woodland and valley gardens lie to the east, south, and west of the house, and are concentrated in the valley to the west of the house. The gardens include Moor Plantation, a former shelter belt of Pinus radiata to the north of the drive, which was incorporated into the garden in the late C20.
Lawns planted with groups and specimen trees and shrubs including rhododendrons and magnolias slope north-east from the carriage court to a secondary drive which enters the site from the north-east. Beyond the drive, c 90m east of the house, the gardens are separated from ornamented pasture by a fence, while c 80m south-east of the house a tennis court approached by a flight of steps is terraced into the north-west-facing slope. The gravelled carriage court is extended round the south side of the house to form a wide terrace supported by a stone wall, below which a grass slope descends to a pond c 50m south-west of the house. The grass slopes to the north and north-west of the house have been planted in the late C20 with deciduous trees to provide shelter, while the garden is enclosed to the north-west by a bank of mid C20 conifers.
The pond south-west of the house is of irregular shape, with a timber-railed bridge connecting the north bank to an isthmus projecting from the west bank. The slope to the north of the pond is planted with magnolias, while there are further specimen shrubs on the sloping ground adjacent to the drive to the south-east and east of the pond. The stream which flows west through the valley emerges from the grass bank c 30m west of the upper pond, in an area known as The Dell. Descending a series of stone cascades and enclosed by stone banks, the stream is flanked by lawns and ornamental trees and shrubs to the north and south. Some 100m below the upper pond, the stream broadens into a small circular pool before flowing on to enter an informal, elliptical-shaped pond (restored 1998) c 140m west of the upper pond. The lower pond has a level grass walk around it, retained to the north-west and south-east by stone walls. At its eastern end there is an island planted with a specimen Taxodium, while the dam to the west allows views down the valley where a series of informal pools are flanked by specimen rhododendrons, conifers, and deciduous woodland trees. The stream leaves the garden and the registered site c 700m west of the house. The north-facing slope above the stream is laid out with a series of level paths which run from east to west through Lamellen Plantation, and which are connected by sloping paths c 300m and 400m west of the house. Mid and late C19 specimen trees and conifers are underplanted with early C20 rhododendrons, including surviving hybrids raised by E J P Magor from 1911. Mid and late C20 rhododendrons, magnolias, and other woodland garden shrubs have been introduced among the older plants, which were generally planted in groups of three specimens (Cornish Garden 1985). The south-facing slope above the drive to the north of the stream is laid out with a principal east/west walk near the top of the slope, and a further irregular path at a lower level, both of which pass through Moor Plantation. Ornamental trees and shrubs are particularly concentrated adjacent to the drive, with the remains of mid and late C19 shelter planting, including specimens of Pinus radiata and other conifers, near the upper walk. The shelter planting has been expanded and supplemented to the north in the late C20.
The walled kitchen garden lies c 60m north-east of the house, to the north of the service drive. Enclosed by walls c 3.5m high constructed in slate rubble and brick, the garden is roughly trapezium-shaped on plan, with a central wall running across it from east to west (all listed grade II). The garden is entered through a plank door set in the centre of the stone-faced south wall. Today (1999) the garden is no longer in cultivation. A late C20 propagation area and glasshouse lies adjacent to the kitchen garden and to the south of the service drive.
The Botanical Register (1838)
J Maclean, The Deanery of Trigg Minor iii, (1868), p 355
Lake's Parochial History of Cornwall iv, (1872), p 269
Gardeners' Chronicle, i (1911), p 59
Rhododendron Society Notes (1916), p 23
Gardening Illustrated, (1929(38) (articles by 'Peter the Hermit' - E J P Magor)
E Thurston, British and Foreign Trees and Shrubs in Cornwall (1930), pp 56-7
J Roy Horticultural Soc, (1948), p 206
P Synge, The Gardens of Britain I, (1977), pp 105-7
The Cornish Garden, (1985), pp 14-18
D E Pett, The Parks and gardens of Cornwall (1998), pp 187-8
Tithe map for St Tudy parish, nd (Cornwall Record Office)
Description written: September 1999
Amended: November 1999; October 2000; July 2001
Register Inspector: JML
Edited: October 2001