Cornwall is perhaps best known for its beautiful beaches and breathtaking scenery as well as its historic mining past. But there are also a large number of beautiful manor houses scattered across the county and many of these have a haunted past. Here we look at some of the most famous haunted manors of Cornwall.
Bodmin – Lanhydrock House
Lanhydrock House was originally built in the 1630s by the Robarts family, who continued to occupy it for the next 300 years. The house suffered a terrible fire in 1881 that destroyed all but the north wing, the entrance porch and the gatehouse. Lady Robarts was saved from the fire but died several days later with her husband following her the year after, said to have died from a broken heart. Their only son Thomas Charles took over the rebuilding of the house and added a church to the memory of his parents next door. The property is now owned by the National Trust.
The ghost of the house is said to be a little old lady wearing grey clothes who is seen most often in the Long Gallery and the Drawing Room. Most people don’t realise she is a ghost, so realistic is her appearance and only her sudden disappearance makes her nature known. Nor is she the only ghost of the house with the Nursery Quite, Servants Quarters, Prayer room and the adjoining corridor all said to have spirit residents.
Cury – Bochym Manor
Bochym Manor is around five miles to the north of Lizard Point, the most southerly spot in the UK. The house was there at the time of the Domesday Book in 1086 and was owned by Robert, Count of Mortein who was the half-brother of William the Conqueror. It changed hands a number of times over the century and was burnt during the Civil War as a Royalist stronghold. The house had a period of disrepair before being restored by Stephen Davey who restored it and allegedly added the smugglers tunnel to Mullion.
There are two ghosts in the manor, a short lady dressed in pink and an unnamed ghost who is seen at one of the bedroom windows. The pink lady is thought to be the daughter of a past owner who lost her father in a duel on the driveway of the manor and cannot leave the house until his loss is righted.
Helston – Godolphin Estate
The Godolphin Estate is a National Trust property 4 miles north-west of Helston, formerly the seat of the Dukes of Leeds and the Earls of Godolphin. The mansion dates to the Tudor times with formal gardens from the 1500s and stables from the 1600s.
The ghost of the estate is a White Lady who walks from the house to the chapel. Her funeral procession is also seen walking along the same path, often referred to as Ghost Path. She is believed to be the spirit of Lady Margaret Godolphin, wife of the 1st Earl, who died in childbirth and appears on the anniversary of her funeral.
Morwenstow – Stanbury Manor
Stanbury Manor is a 16th century house and the birthplace of John Stanberry, Bishop of Hereford who was made first Provost at Eton College by Henry VI as well as the occultist Sir William Adams. It is said to be home to a cursed chest that has an evil presence that is said to be responsible for furniture moving around. Two women who owned it before it arrival at Stanbury were said to be struck deaf when they opened it.
Newquay – Trerice Manor
Trerice Manor was built in 1573 by Sir John Arundell and stands in a sheltered valley near Newquay. The family remained at the house for some 400 years before the Acland family took over and restored the house.
One ghost in the manor was said to be a serving girl who fell pregnant to one of the lords and committed suicide. She is never seen but her presence is detected by the smell of lilacs and the rustling of her skirts. A grey lady is also seen, possibly the same spirit, usually in the gallery of the house. A stable boy also appears in the courtyard and staples area who was stampeded to death by horses while working at the manor.
Poundstock – Penfound Manor
Penfound Manor has its origins in Saxon times when it was given to Robert, Count of Mortain by his half-brother William the Conqueror, though he didn’t live there himself. The manor was named for the family that moved there in the 12th century and remained there until the crown took the property during the Jacobite Rebellion.
The ghost of Penfound is said to be Kate Penfound, the daughter of Arthur Penfound, who owned the house during the Civil War and was a prominent Royalist. She fell in love with one John Trebarfoot, a member of a staunch Parliamentarian family and, knowing their families would not agree to a match, they planned to flee. On the 26th April, Kate climbed from her bedroom window to the courtyard to meet John but her father caught them. John was killed and Kate injured, later dying from her wounds, as did her father. Kate’s ghost is seen going from her bedroom window and sometimes wandering around the house, perhaps looking for her lost loved ones.
St Dominic – Cotehele
Cotehele is an ancient house near St Dominic that parts of which dates to the 1300s. It was owned by Sir Richard Edcumbe from 185-89 and his some Piers until 1520. It remains one of the least altered Tudor houses in the country and also had a stone dovecot that is extremely well preserved. It is now owned by the National Trust and is grade II listed.
There are various paranormal residents of the house, unsurprising due to its great age. Among them is a hazy figure on horseback, a strange smell of herbs coinciding with ghostly music and a girl in a white dress who is so real that people seeing her don’t realise she is a ghost until she vanishes.