Heritage Category: Listed Building

Grade: II*

List Entry Number: 1142177

Date first listed: 10-Jul-1957

Date of most recent amendment: 26-Aug-1987

Statutory Address: TRUTHALL


Ordnance survey map of TRUTHALL
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Statutory Address: TRUTHALL

The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

District: Cornwall (Unitary Authority)

Parish: Sithney

National Grid Reference: SW6545930211


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Reasons for Designation

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Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.



5/267 Truthall (formerly listed as - Truthall Manor House) 10.7.57 GV II*

Manor house built in at least 3 phases. Circa late C15, circa late C16 and 1642, part rebuilt and extended circa late C19 (separate item Truthall House qv.). The C17 part was built for the Arundell family. Granite rubble walls, dressed granite quoins, doorways, windows and other architectural features, the C15 range is lime- washed at the front. The roofs are mostly scantle slate with many C17 or earlier handmade crested clay ridge tiles. Gable ends except where the lower end of the C15 range, right, returns to link with parallel C16 range producing a half hip and an outshut hip behind. C16 granite rubble chimney, right, over gable end of the C16 range and 2 granite ashlar chimneys serving the 1642 range, one over a gabled lateral stack to the right hand wall and one over the rear (south) gable end. There is a lateral external chimney breast at the rear of the C15 hall, left, and another lateral external chimney breast projecting from the left hand wall of the C17 range where it joins the C19 house (Truthall House, qv.). Plan: an overall irregular U-shaped plan including the C19 range (separate item), and the U closed by a courtyard wall with central entrance (also separate item) along the east side. At either side at right angles to the front of the C15 range are farm buildings (2 separate items), the left hand one joins at the front left hand corner of the C15 hall, left, and the other range is detached, but both ranges may be on the site of a former late medieval courtyard complex comprising service ranges and farm buildings. The C15 range is remakable in that it survives with a 4-bay hall still open to the roof with its C15 smoke-blackened timbers; (the rear lateral fireplace is probably late C16 or early C17) there is a wide through passage to the right of the hall with a rubble cross wall at either side, the right hand cross wall thicker (approximately 2' in first floor space where it rises at the apex of the roof) and has a blocked doorway with a pointed arched head; to the right is the lower end room (at lower level) which is unheated: there is an unheated chamber over the entry and partly jettied over the hall (the jetty carried on a cross beam) and a heated chamber over the lower end, its fireplace breast external to first floor only and carried on granite corbels. This room could have been a kind of solar. At the left hand side of the hall the gable end wall is very thick and may be the original outer extent of the building, however the only visible corner (rear right) is not very well bonded and lacks proper quoins so possibly there was an inner room left of the hall and later extended with a service range at the front, now the site of a farm building (separate item). A wide doorway was cut in the gable end, circa late C19. Behind the lower end room, right, is an external stair, partly roofed by an outshut and leading to a 1 room plan 2-storey C16 wing parallel to the C15 range clasping its rear right-hand corner and extending to the right (west); the 'front' of this wing was mostly rebuilt in the C19, but the rear has a 3-light first floor window facing into the courtyard. This first floor room is heated by a gable end fireplace (mostly blocked). In 1642 the house was greatly extended at the right and left on the site of the C19 house enclosing the surviving cobbled courtyard. The intention was clearly to make the left-hand (east) side of the C17 range (with a datestone over the central doorway) the new front and containing the principal rooms and to retain the earlier parts as a service wing, however the function of the 2 ground floor rooms (now 3) seems to have been for a kitchen, front, and buttery, rear (south). There is no stair, perhaps the external stair was the only one, or perhaps there was a stair in the range rebuilt in the C19. The hall/kitchen (now 2 rooms) has a 3-light window on either side of the doorway, left, (the doorway leads straight into the room) on the right (west) is a large fireplace with integral hall window bay projection with remains of a 2 light window, adjoining the hall is an apparently unheated inner room with a 3-light window, now a pantry, and on its left a passage linking the C17 house to the C19 house. There is a later stone lateral stack (now blocked) on the left of what is now a middle room, partly blocking the original 3-light window and strong evidence that the ground floor has been subdivided. The first floor rooms are clearly intended to be the principal rooms: above the hall/kitchen is a large chamber which, like the hall/kitchen has a lateral fireplace (partly blocked) and an integral 'hall' window bay with a 4-light window, and overlooking the courtyard (above the hall/kitchen doorway and datestone) another 4- light window (now divided from the room by a C18 partition to make a passage. The heated room beyond has a 3-light window in the right hand (west) wall and a 2-light window in the gable end on the right of the fireplace, the left hand wall adjoins the C19 part of the house. 1 storey and 2 storey north front of the C15 range: 2 original C15 hall windows left of the doorway and 1 original ground floor/basement window on the right; later or altered first floor windows: 1 over the doorway partly dormered and 1 slightly dormered midway to the wall right of the doorway. The doorway has a wide chamfer with a rebate half way in a 4-centred arched head with sunken spandrels and a square hoodmould possibly slightly later than the front. The door is ledged probably C18. The freestone (possibly Beerstone) hall windows are probably an unique type in a domestic building in Cornwall: each tall window has 2 lights and a transom midway the lights are cinquefoil headed and have grooves for former leaded glazing; over each window is a slender square-headed label. The window to the lower end room has 3 lights with heavy mullions between, holes between the mullions for former stanchions, and rebates possibly for removeable shutters. The window over the doorway is a C19 12-pane horizontal sliding sash and the window to the right is a circa early C20 9- pane horned sash. At the rear of the through passage is a chamfered doorway with a 4-centred arched head, probably circa late C16 and evidence of rebuilt rubble masonry around it. Above the doorway and to the right is a C15 chamfered granite wall plate or eaves cornice; under the cornice some pigeon holes; right of the doorway is a probably C17 chimney breast with evidence of rebuilt masonry at either side; right of the chimney breast above head level is a projecting landing stone for pigeons and 2 more pigeon holes above under the eaves, and right of this is a later window opening, probably C19 with a 4-pane horned sash. The lower end room, left, is obscured by the C16 wing and a flight of granite steps partly roofed in. At the far left, adjoining the C17 range, is a doorway with a reused chamfered lintel over and from within this doorway with a reused chamfered lintel over and from within this doorway, which forms a porch under the first floor room, can be seen another doorway leading into the rear of the lower end room. This doorway is probably a former window and has a moulded jambstone on its right. Above the outer doorway is a C16 3-light mullioned window with hollow chamfers and rebates for glazing and a square hoodmould over. At the left-hand gable end of the C15 hall is a wide doorway, right, and mounting block left. The doorway is probably C19 or a C19 widening of an older, possibly original, doorway. High up to the left is a squint window opening, piercing the wall at an angle, perhaps even a device for looking into the hall from the chamber over an inner room, if such a room ever existed. At the right hand end of the hall range is a ground floor window, left, probably later cut with a C19 12-pane 2-light casement; above, partly in the gable is a blocked window, possibly original or C16 contemporary with the corbelled out chimney breast towards the angle with the C16 wing. The front of this C16 wing was mostly rebuilt in the C19 and has a doorway, middle, and window over. The right hand gable end has a window at ground floor right and to the first floor above, both with the original outer frames and stooling for 1 central mullion, and at ground floor left a small single light chamfered window. The line of the C17 range projects slightly from towards the right of this gable end (see plan description) the windows on this side (west) of the C17 range are complete with their mullions except for the kitchen window, originally a 2-light window now with a circa early C19 16-pane hornless sash. On the left of the chimney breast is a small blocked window perhaps serving a former stair. The east wall (entrance front) of the C17 range (see plan description) has a mid- floor continuous hoodmould string. The chamfered doorway is square-headed and rebated internally for a door (now a 4-panel door). Over the doorway carved in relief on a granite plaque is the inscription: 1642 and IA over MA. The windows are complete with chamfered mullions and are fitted with C19 or later casements. Originally probably a symmetrical front; a chimney breast, left obscures the left hand light of the ground floor left-hand window. There is a 2-light mullioned window in the rear (south) gable end (see plan description). Interior : the C15 hall has a remarkable arch-braced roof structure with reduced principals over the arched collars. The lower bracing is really in the form of a jointed cruck slip-tenoned to the under side of the principal rafter and side pegged. The upper bracing is jointed in a similar way both to the principal rafter and to the underside of the collar. The centre of the arch is another piece fo timber. All the bracing is chamfered. The original lower purlins do not survive but the mortices just below collar level indicate former threaded purlins. The square-set purlins above the collars are clasped between 3 pieces of timber on each truss: a bird's- mouth joint at the top of the principal rafter, the reduced upper principal rafter and a fat inner vertical strut. The ridge purlin does not survive, nor do 2 of the apices but 1 apex appears to be morticed together. All the original oak is smoke- blackened, proving that there was originally an open hearth; the deposit of soot from the wood fire is heavier at the middle and lower end of the hall (right). The floor has been raised but still follows the slope of the land. The large granite fireplace is square headed and hollow chamfered. The screen wall at the lower end of the hall and the associated timberwork of the floors, jetty and partition above are clearly very old, but not original. There is now no access from the through passage to the lower end but there are 2 blocked oepnings including a doorway with a pointed arch (perhaps in situ or reused from the front of the passage). The lower end room has a plain plaster ceiling. The roof structure of the chamber above is mostly hidden and the parts that can be seen are possibly C18. In the C17 part of the house the features are fairly simple or hidden. The large hall fireplace is chamfered. In the chamber above is the most interesting surviving feature : a deeply coved C17 plaster ceiling with moulded upper and lower cornices. The room now has a passage at one side but the ceiling continues over. The doors are mostly C18 with fielded panels and HL hinges. Between the C16 wing and the C17 range on the first floor is a chamfered granite doorway. The roof structures over the C16 wing and the C17 range were not accessible at the time of the survey but are probably original. Truthall is mentioned in the Domesday book. John de Truthall represented Helston in parliament in 1326. After the Reformation Truthall was occupied by the Nance family one of whom also represented Helston in parliament 1553, in 1557 transferred to Sir John Arundel. Truthall is one of the most interesting early houses in Cornwall, remarkable for its survival still with an open hall, and extended in a most interesting way in both the C16 and the C17. Arguably the very best features are the C15 hall windows and the original hall roof, a remarkable structure using only short lengths of timber. This is a house which deserves further study, preferably including carefully drawn plan, elevations and sections. A comparison can be made to Methrose in Luxulyan parish, also still with an open hall, a similar roof structure and extended in the C16 in a similar way to how Truthall was extended in the C17. Sources : The Cornishman's House, by V.M. and F.J. Chesher. Michell and Nicholls sale document, circa 1984.

Listing NGR: SW6545930211


The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

Legacy System number: 65945

Legacy System: LBS


Books and journals
Chesher, V M, F J , , The Cornishmans House, (1968)

End of official listing