Where it all began: the Arundells
By the 16th century the Arundell family had become well-established and was connected by marriage to nearly all the other landed families in Cornwall.
The status of the family increased through various members gaining good positions at the Royal court.
Their legacy is this grand manor on a Cornish scale.
Absentee landlords: the Aclands
It was the marriage of John, 2nd Baron Arundell to Margaret Acland in 1675 that eventually led to the great Devonian family based at Killerton inheriting Trerice.
Sir Thomas Dyke Acland never lived at Trerice but often stayed on his political forays into Cornwall.
He also used the Great Hall for entertaining.
A family home: the Eltons
Initially arriving at Trerice as tenants of its last private owner, the Eltons took on the tenancy from the National Trust in 1953.
At his own expense John Elton paid for the repair of the remaining parts of Trerice - and went on to rebuild the fallen north wing.
His aim was to create a comfortable family home.
The Arundell family
- The Arundells inherited Trerice through marriage around 700 years ago
- By 1572 John Arundell V had begun building the house we know today
- Ten years earlier his income had been boosted by marrying well
- The family's support for the crown gave them mixed fortunes
- Sadly we know little about how the Arundell family lived at Trerice
- The Arundell line died out in 1768, and Trerice passed to the Aclands
John Arundell V inherited in 1561.
However his father had a son and grandson from his first marriage and an elder brother born before his parents were married.
A good marriage
When John Arundell V married Katherine Hill in 1562 her father gave him his lands and up to £60 a year.
Are these Katherine's initials on the Great Hall ceiling?
After the restoration of Charles II Richard Arundell became Baron Arundell in recognition of the support he and his father had given Charles I.
This patent grants him the title.
When Thomas Dyke Acland visited Trerice he was keen to sketch the place.
Like other men and women of the time he had a fondness for sketching romantic ruins and landscapes.
What he found at Trerice was an ancient place - romantic but also in a perilous state.
By the end of his life he'd overseen much restoration.
In the 1840s Thomas Dyke Acland had the Great Hall and Chamber restored, but at the time if you ventured further you'd find yourself in a farmhouse.
Trerice was let to the Tremaine family who farmed 500 acres, employed twelve men, four women and four boys.
The great barn came into its own as part of the farm.
A great estate
The estate at Trerice extended to 500 acres and included a watermill as well as many other buildings, woodland and orchards.
After the First World War the subsequent owners divided the estate into twelve separate farms, leaving Trerice with a vastly reduced acreage.
A feast in the Great Hall
In 1844 our local newspaper reported that:
On Wednesday, Sir T. D. Acland held his Baronial Court at Trerice…about 150 of his tenantry dined with the worthy Baronet in the noble Hall at Trerice, which has recently been restored to its original condition, and is a very fine specimen of the Elizabethan age.
The Elton family
- The Eltons first came to Trerice in 1944
- They returned in 1953 as the first tenants of the National Trust
- Trerice was in poor condition and needed urgent repairs
- Initially the roof and remaining south wing were repaired
- Then the north wing was rebuilt having fallen down a century earlier
- In 1965 the Eltons left Trerice having ensured its future survival
Taking on Trerice
John Elton negotiated a lease with the National Trust that would give his family the opportunity to remain at Trerice for at least two hundred years from 1953.
He expected to pay £20,000 on restoring and rebuilding Trerice. He ended up paying three times that amount - resulting in very high quality construction standards.
Living at Trerice
Opening to visitors
Soon after the Eltons took on the tenancy the house was opened to visitors.
They could view the front court, the Great Hall and Chamber only, on Wednesdays and Sundays, 2-5pm from April to September. The admission fee was two shillings, or ten pence today. To see more than 25 visitors in a day would be a surprise.