Godolphin House - History and Facts | History Hit

Godolphin House

Godolphin Cross, England, United Kingdom

Godolphin House is a Cornish stately home built by Godolphin family, who were prominent in the reign of Queen Anne.

Lily Johnson

04 May 2021

About Godolphin House

Godolphin House is a Grade I listed stately home in Cornwall, with both Tudor and Stuart elements and more modern 1930s renovations. Set amongst the larger Godolphin Estate, the site has a rich history perfect for those looking to learn more about Cornwall’s fascinating past.

Godolphin House history

The Godolphin estate originally dates back to the 12th century when the wealthy ‘Godolgun’ family purchased land in the area, building a fortified home in the late 13th or early 14th century. This was expanded in the following centuries, when the Godolguns changed their name to Godolphin to better suit the high class circles they had begun to run in.

As such, the Godolphin House that exists today was largely the work of the family in the early 18th century after they had risen to prominence at the court of Queen Anne. The building of the house was funded by tin and copper mining activities which were carried out on the estate that helped to increase family’s wealth.

In 1646, Godolphin House played a role in the nation’s history as a shelter for the future King Charles II. The young king was fleeing to the Scilly Isles as the English Civil War raged, and the staunchly Royalist Sir Francis Godolphin accompanied him into exile. In 1786, the house came into the possession of the Dukes of Leeds, however they never lived there.

It was eventually allowed to fall into disrepair, however in the 1930s Godolphin House was bought by the Schofield family who restored and used as a family home, after which it was sold to the National Trust in 2007.

Godolphin House today

Today Godolphin House is managed by the National Trust and is open to visitors. Aspects from both the house’s role as a 1930s family home and 17th century manor house remain, creating a pleasant mixture of the old and the new. One room of the 16th century manor also remains, featuring ornate linenfold panelling, while the original Elizabethan stables circa 1600 may also be explored.

The historic gardens have been restored to their original Elizabethan layout, and visitors can see some evidence of a castle that preceded Godolphin House, built in circa 1300 by Sir Alexander Godolghan.

Getting to Godolphin House

Godolphin House is located in Helston in Cornwall, and can be accessed from the town by taking the A394 to Sithney Common, followed by the B3302 to Leedstown and following the signs towards the site. The nearest train station is 9 miles away at Camborne, from which the 39 bus service may be taken to the Godolphin Arms, a 5-minute walk to the site.