An early and mid C19 town garden laid out in a landscape style.
Lismore House was built c 1820 for Glynn Grylls, the third son of Thomas Grylls of Bosahan, who was a solicitor in Helston (Pett 1998). A map of 1792 shows that the creation of this property involved the demolition of existing houses on the south side of Cross Street, and the amalgamation of a number of existing gardens between this road and Back Lane. The property was sold in 1910, when it was reduced by the development of a detached walled garden, stable, and coach house to the north of Cross Street; this area was described in the sale particulars (1910) as 'a fine building plot'. In 1937 Lismore was purchased by Dr and Mrs Michael. The property has changed hands in the late C20, and today (2000) remains in private ownership.
LOCATION, AREA, BOUNDARIES, LANDFORM, SETTING
Lismore occupies an irregular plot between Cross Street to the north, and Five Wells Lane to the south, with a private house and its grounds to the west, and the gardens to a row of houses on Church Street to the east. The boundaries are enclosed by stone walls (all listed grade II). The site comprises c 1ha and falls sharply to the south below the house, before rising again towards the southern boundary. A circular pool in this declivity drains south-west into a larger pond at the south-west corner of the site which is formed by damming a watercourse which flows from east to west across the site.
ENTRANCES AND APPROACHES
A cast-iron arch carrying a lamp spans an entrance set in the low ashlar wall which runs along the Cross Street frontage of the property. Two pairs of open wrought-iron piers with clusters of fir cones as finials, one to the west and one to the east of the central entrance, provide alternative entrances through this boundary wall. A cast-iron water-pump, dated 1844, is set into the road side of the wall (all structures listed grade II). There is also a back entrance through a door in the south boundary wall of the garden leading from Five Wells Lane. A flight of granite steps descends from this door to the east of the mid C19 stables (listed grade II).
Lismore House (listed grade II) was built c 1820 and extended c 1839, probably to the designs of George Wightwick (1802-72). A conservatory was added on the south front c 1890.
GARDENS AND PLEASURE GROUNDS
Between Cross Street and the north or entrance front of the house is a band of evergreen shrubbery with specimen trees. A path leads round to the garden door in the east facade. A terrace extends along the south facade of the house, below which a south-facing lawn falls steeply to a small circular pool. Serpentine walks through shrubberies provide a circuit round the garden. A path parallel to the eastern boundary wall leads south-east to a small shed or privy with gothic windows. From the privy the walk passes along the north face of the kitchen garden wall to reach the larger of the two ponds at the south-west corner of the garden; a side walk encircles the smaller, circular pool. At the west end of the kitchen garden wall the walk passes beneath a rustic arch constructed of irregular blocks of granite and quartz crystals.
The walk continues south along the west face of the west wall of the kitchen garden to reach the southern end of the site, passing in front of a timber summerhouse which was restored in 1994. The original structure, dating from 1845, was bark-covered with a thatch roof, and would have had views back, northwards, to the house. The walk continues along the west side of the garden to return to the south terrace. A number of fine specimen trees survive from the early and mid C19.
The kitchen garden is situated at the south-east corner of the site; it is principally enclosed by stone walls (listed grade II), and to the south by the early C19 stables. A door in the north wall provides access to the kitchen garden, which is fed by water from Five Wells, a natural spring which lies just outside its south-east corner. The early C19 coach house and stables (all listed grade II) comprise a three-bay granite ashlar block with a parapet which carries the date 1839; the design of these buildings is attributed to George Wightwick. The eastern section has gothic windows and occupies the site of a building marked as stables on the 1792 survey, and on a Plan of the Manor of Helston belonging to Francis, Duke of Leeds, surveyed in 1788.
A second walled garden is situated to the west of the house (walls listed grade II). The remains of lean-to glasshouses stand against the south face of an internal east/west dividing wall which incorporates heating flues. This garden is said to have been a rose garden, although more recently has been cultivated as a kitchen garden (Pett 1998).
In the C19 and early C20 there was a further walled garden and vinery, together with stables and a coach house, to the north of Cross Street (Sale particulars 1910); this was sold in the early C20 as 'a fine building plot', and is today (2000) outside the site here registered.
D E Pett, The Parks and Gardens of Cornwall (1998), pp 65-6
Plan of the Manor of Helston belonging to Francis, Duke of Leeds, 1788 (Cornwall Record Office)
Map of Several lands near the Cross Street in Helston taken to preserve the respective boundaries, 1792 (Cornwall Record Office)
Sale particulars, 1910 (Helston Folk Museum)
Cornwall Gardens Trust survey, 1992 (Cornwall Record Office)
Description written: September 2000
Amended: July 2001
Register Inspector: JML
Edited: October 2001