Saturday 16 April 2016


I was watching Countryfile just before Easter when I noticed a tweet: "Has anyone else working at the National Trust just seen this week's weather forecast and had to take a big gulp of wine?" 

It made me laugh, but it also made me wonder what the worst case scenario was for NT employees over Easter. Four days of rain and no visitors? Four days of sun and eight million visitors? Or (and this is what probably happened), one day of sun and eight million visitors, followed by three days of rain and no visitors?

Today at Trelissick in Cornwall I realised that all NT employees probably have one eye on the weather at all times, but the ones that really lie awake at night worrying are the ones that are responsible for a newly acquired property.


Properties that have been owned by the NT for years have already been through the worst of the weather - the storms of 1987, torrential downpours, massive snowfall etc. And although I'm sure they all have their ongoing problems, the NT knows them well and is able to prevent things from falling apart.

But a new property like Trelissick House brings all sorts of unknown dangers. All the due diligence in the world can't prepare you for Storm Katie and half the roof blowing off.

In fact, Trelissick has only had a few issues so far: some chunks fell off the portico, so they're hastily raising funds for that. And the solarium was shut due to some panes of glass being blown in, so they're trying to fix that as well. However, it must be like that Whack-a-Mole game, where every time you smack a problem down with your hammer, another one pops up.

Anyway. Here are some facts about Trelissick:
  • People have lived around Trelissick since the Iron Age
  • The current house was built in the 1750s by John Lawrence
  • It was owned by the Daniell family, the Boscowens, and the Davies-Gilberts before Leonard Cunliffe, a wealthy banker and director of Harrods, saw it when he was sailing past on his boat - he rented it and then bought it
  • He passed it on to his step-daughter, Ida Copeland
  • Ida became a Conservative MP in 1931, defeating Oswald Mosley to win her seat. She was also a second cousin of Florence Nightingale and was married to a bigwig at the Spode pottery works.
  • Ida and Richard Copeland gifted the estate, garden and house to the National Trust in 1955 - however the family retained the house as a private home until 2013
  • When Ida's grandson, William, decided to move somewhere with heating that didn't cost tens of thousand of pounds per year, they auctioned off the contents - the Trust bought some but the house is not completely furnished
  • The gardens have been popular with visitors for years - although the house is now open to the public, the Trust is still trying to decide what to do with it
I really liked the house - it's a bit shabby in places and so you get a real sense of what it must have been like to live there.

The main attraction, however, is the view from the house. It's absolutely stunning:

Trelissick view
The Scone Sidekick would like me to point out that the NT provided these binoculars -
he does not carry a pair around with him
The Trelissick scone
And I'll tell you what else was stunning: the scones. Trelissick was the 120th stop on the National Trust Scone Odyssey, and we've seen a lot of cafes and eaten a lot of scones. But the cafe and scone at Trelissick were right up there with the very best - it was a lovely place, and the scone was fresh and light and really tasty.

Trelissick scone

The Scone Sidekick was also very taken with the retractable awning that Trelissick has installed over its outdoor seating area. I think he's now waiting for Storm Keith, or whatever it'll be called, to come and knock down our non-retractable one at home so he has an excuse to copy it.

Trelissick: 5 out of 5
Scones: 5 out of 5
Not being hit by bits of falling masonry: 5 out of 5

It didn't stop there - read about Trengwainton and yet another five-star Cornish scone.

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