A happy family home

Members of the Agar-Robartes family in Lanhydrock's drawing room © National Trust

After the devastation of the 1881 fire, Lanhydrock became a happy family home, lived in by Thomas Charles and Mary Agar-Robartes and their children, until, like so many others, their lives were shattered by the First World War.

A very British gentleman

Bullingdon Club - Tommy is seated on the left of the back row © Lanhydrock archive

Lanhydrock's charismatic heir, Tommy Agar-Robartes, seemed destined for greatness. He was a high-flyer, magazine cover-star and leader of men. So what went wrong?

Five fire facts

  • The fire started in the kitchen chimney
  • High winds caused the fire to spread rapidly
  • All but one of the servants lost all their property in the blaze
  • One female servant had to jump from a window to flee the flames
  • The Gallery escaped the flames & its Jacobean ceiling survived

Like a phoenix from the flames

Artist’s impression of the 1881 fire

Artist’s impression of the 1881 fire

Lanhydrock House is a paragon of Victorian style and design. However, it only appears as it does because it was completely refurbished in the 1880s following a fire which destroyed parts of the building and ended the lives of its current occupants.

Launching the Lion

This newly restored film from August 1910 is the only live footage that exists of the Agar-Robartes family from this period.

The short film shows the Viscountess Clifden launching the warship HMS Lion on her maiden voyage.

HMS Lion was the flagship of the Grand Fleet's battlecruisers and served throughout the First World War, taking part in many battles including that of Dogger Bank.

Big society

Victorian sailors were safer at sea thanks to the deeply religious Agar-Robartes family.

They didn't simply fritter away their wealth on heirlooms and entertainment, they used it to help others.

Life below stairs

Victorian life was luxurious for the privileged Agar-Robartes family, but what was it like for their servants?

Find out more about life for the staff who kept Lanhydrock running smoothly.

Learn more...

Pen and ink drawing of Lanhydrock House

Available for the first time online are a fascinating series of academic essays on the history of Lanhydrock and its people, written by our staff and volunteers.

Read the journals...