On the eastern side of Godolphin Hill, sits the ancient Godolphin estate and gardens.
The first house was built here in the 13th century for Alexander Godolghan, a man made rich through land and mine ownership. This was then demolished in 1475 by then owner John Godolphin and a new house was erected; this had two courtyards and part of this build included the now mostly gone Great Hall. The entrance for this would have been on the western side of the house.
In 1537 under Sir William Godolphin building works continued, with the main entrance being moved onto the northern side of the house, a feature that can still be seen from one of the courtyards. Two new towers were erected with a gatehouse in between. Over the years, more was added bit by bit to the estate until 1785 when it passed to Thomas Osborne, the 4th Duke of Leeds, who married into the family. Running costs were high and significant parts of the house, including the Great Hall and Range, were demolished and the stone repurposed while parcels of land were sold off.
The family seldom visited the estate, but kept it as it featured promising mining land, and in the meantime it was used primarily by farming tenants. In May 1909 the 10th Duke of Leeds came to visit, making this only the second time a member of the family had stopped here since their ownership. The tenants pooled their money to buy a Silver Greyhound to present to him, however when the main Duke of Leeds seat Hornby Castle was sold to help pay off substantial debts, it went missing and was never seen again.
The substantial north range with its imposing columns.
In 1920 the estate was put up for sale, and the current tenant Mr Treloar, a mining engineer, bought it. However, he died two years later and his wife put it all up for sale the following year. A family of farmers named Penna, who then sold it again in 1935.
The Undercroft and Kings Room.
Again, this ownership didn’t last long and by 1937 it was now in the hands of Sydney Schofield. It was under his care that significant restoration began on the house and gardens, with the family working hard for 70 years. Following his death, his widow Mary (nee Lanyon), sold the estate to the National Trust in 1999, and then in 2007 at age 91 sold the house and garden as well.
The Kings Garden with the former house door blocked out on the right.
The house and gardens are owned by the National Trust and require a ticket to enter.
There is a small paid car park near the house.
National Trust (2018) ‘Signs at Godolphin’.
National Trust (2020) A special visit to Godolphin. Available at: https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/godolphin/features/a-special-visit-to-godolphin (Accessed: 8 July 2020).