Early C20 gardens in part designed by Edwin Lutyens and Gertrude Jekyll.
The manor of Penheale passed by marriage to the Boterell family in the reign of Henry VI. It was sold in 1572 to George Grenville, whose family had already leased the property. George Grenville's son, also George, sold Penheale to a relation by marriage, Sir John Specott, in the early C17. Sir John built new stables which were completed in 1620, while his second son, Paul, who inherited c 1630, made alterations to the house and built the gatehouse c 1636 (date stone). The estate continued in the Specott family until the early C20, but in the late C18 the house was divided into three separate dwellings, and in the early C19 fell into a near-derelict state (CL 1925). Despite this decline, in 1820 Gilbert commented on the 'noble terrace, with a bowling green, and a fine fish pond' in the gardens, while in the mid C19 it was noted that, 'the adjoining gardens and fish ponds are in good keeping with the mansion; and the main entrance is through an avenue of fine lime trees, whose growth is only excelled by the magnificent chestnuts and oaks of the surrounding groves' (Lake 1867).
In 1920 the estate was sold to Capt Norman Colville, who moved to Cornwall from Scotland for his health (Pett 1998). In the same year Edwin Lutyens (1869-1944) was commissioned to make additions to the house, and to design a new formal garden (Brown 1982). Gertrude Jekyll (1843-1932) provided planting plans which were used as the basis of planting schemes developed during the mid C20 by Mrs Colville and the gardener, Mr J A R Moffat (Pett 1998). Capt Colville's commission to Lutyens is said to have been inspired by a visit to Castle Drogo, Devon (qv) (ibid). In the 1920s Capt Colville himself designed a formal rose garden and a terraced parterre enclosed within yew hedges, which occupied the site of an earlier kitchen garden (CL 1925).
Today (2000) the site remains in private ownership.
LOCATION, AREA, BOUNDARIES, LANDFORM, SETTING
Penheale Manor is situated c 5km north-west of Launceston, and c 1.25km north-west of the village of Egloskerry. The c 13ha site adjoins agricultural land on all sides, from which the gardens are separated to the south, west, and north-west by tracks. The site slopes from south-west to north-east while the River Ottery flows from north-west to south-east through the valley c 0.5km north-east of the house. The buildings of Penheale Barton adjoin the site to the north-west. There are views north and north-east from the gardens.
ENTRANCES AND APPROACHES
Penheale Manor is approached from a minor road to the south-south-west, at a point c 1km north-west of Egloskerry. A lodge (listed grade II) stands immediately to the north-west of the entrance gates (piers listed grade II), beyond which the drive extends north-east and north, passing through shrubbery and an avenue of mature limes. After c 750m a track which forms the south-west boundary of the garden leads off to the east, while the principal drive continues for c 400m north parallel to the western boundary of the garden, before sweeping east to approach the early C17 gatehouse (listed grade I) which stands to the north of a walled forecourt, opposite the house. To the south-west of the house stand the early C17 stables (listed grade I), dovecote (listed grade II), and outbuildings (listed grade II).
Penheale Manor (listed grade I) stands on a level terrace towards the northern boundary of the site. Constructed in stone and principally comprising two storeys, the early and mid C17 house is lit by mullion windows and has crenellated parapets which partially conceal a pitched slate roof. The house stands to the south of a forecourt enclosed to the north by the early C17 gatehouse which has a loggia on its south facade, and to the east and west by stone walls; wrought-iron gates supported by stone piers (listed grade II*) are set in the east and west walls and lead to the gardens. The forecourt is laid to lawn.
The early C20 south range beyond the south court comprises a four-storey tower with a pair of canted oriel windows rising through the three upper storeys and a further range terminating to the east in a gable and canted bay; these were constructed by Lutyens in 1920 (Pevsner and Radcliffe 1970).
GARDENS AND PLEASURE GROUNDS
The formal gardens lie principally to the west of the house, while there are informal woodland gardens to the south and south-east.
To the west of the house a sunken parterre comprises nine square, box-edged beds separated by gravel walks. Herbaceous borders are planted beneath the retaining walls. This sunken garden was designed by Edwin Lutyens for Capt Colville in 1920, with planting plans being provided by Gertrude Jekyll (NMR). Jekyll's schemes provided the basis for planting developed in the mid C20 by Mrs Colville and her gardener, J A R Moffat (Pett 1998). North-west of the house, and immediately west of the forecourt to which it is linked by wrought-iron gates and stone steps, is a formal rose garden with geometric beds set in grass. This was designed and laid out by Capt Colville in the early 1920s (CL 1925).
A garden to the east of the house and forecourt is enclosed by stone walls; it is linked to the forecourt by wrought-iron gates. A further flight of stone steps descends from the forecourt to a terrace which extends along the west side of the garden below the house and forecourt walls. Below the terrace a grass walk extends from north to south, and is flanked to east and west by herbaceous borders. Beyond the long walk is a formal garden which is divided into quarters by yew hedges c 2m high, which thus form four square 'rooms' which are sub-divided into smaller compartments. A mid C20 swimming pool is constructed in one compartment at the north-east corner of this garden. Further herbaceous borders enclose the east side of the garden. The east garden has a series of internal vistas, together with a principal reciprocal east/west vista which extends through the gates in the east and west forecourt walls to the early C20 rose garden. There is a further north/south vista extending through the east garden to a pair of stone piers surmounted by ball finials, which leads to a semicircular flight of stone steps. The piers and steps are aligned with a formal canal which extends c 250m south to the informal woodland gardens.
The east garden was designed and laid out by Capt Colville in the early 1920s, within the walls of an earlier kitchen garden. This, together with the terraces to the east and west of the house, and the canal to the south of the east garden, perhaps relate to C17 formal gardens (Pett 1998).
To the south and south-east of the house and formal gardens an extensive collection of rhododendrons, camellias, and magnolias is planted under the mature trees of The Rookery, and to the east and west of the canal. There are further ponds, possibly of C17 origin, c 275m south of the house, and c 300m east-north-east of the house. This informal woodland garden was begun c 1920 and has been developed in the mid and late C20.
A small area of land is situated on a north-east-facing slope below and to the east of the informal gardens. This area is today (2000) pasture with scattered specimen trees, and is enclosed to the south-east by a mixed plantation. This plantation frames views south-south-east towards Egloskerry, and north-east towards the River Ottery.
The kitchen garden is situated c 300m south-south-west of the house, to the south of the stable court. The garden is enclosed by stone walls.
C S Gilbert, Historical Survey of Cornwall ii, (1820), p 527
E Twycross, The Mansions of England ... Cornwall, (1846), p 56
Lake's Parochial History of Cornwall i, (1867), pp 325-7
Country Life, 57 (28 March 1925), pp 484-91; (4 April 1925), pp 524-31
N Pevsner and E Radcliffe, The Buildings of England: Cornwall (2nd edn 1970), p 135
J Brown, Gardens of a Golden Afternoon (1982), p 173
P Hobhouse, Private Gardens of England (1986), pp 30-5
D E Pett, The Parks and Gardens of Cornwall (1998), pp 207-9
E Twycross, Penheale Manor from the north-east, mid C19 (in Twycross 1846)
G Jekyll, Planting plans, 1920 (NMR, Swindon)
E Lutyens, Plan for Penheale Manor, 1920 (RIBA Drawings Collection, 236)
Photographs, early C20 (in CL 1925)
Description written: September 2000
Amended: October 2000, July 2001
Register Inspector: JML
Edited: October 2001