The Edgcumbe's play-house

View of the east range of the house and East Terraces garden in autumn at Cotehele, Cornwall

Built in medieval times, the current house is mostly Tudor. Make your way through four floors of history to view the collection and learn stories about the Edgcumbe family who owned it for 600 years.

Cotehele house is closed through the winter months for conservation cleaning. You can visit the Great Hall and Breakfast room, which house the Commemoration Garland and First World War exhibition. We're remembering the Armistic this year with special artwork and new colours for the traditional Cotehele Garland.

More about Cotehele

This fortified manor house is set on a high bluff on the Cornish bank of the river Tamar, which gave natural protection from skirmishing armies approaching from the east.

Inside the rambling stone walls you'll find a fascinating collection that reflects the antiquarian taste of the Georgian Edgcumbes. The family developed the interiors between about 1750 and 1860 in a deliberate attempt to evoke a sense of nostalgia and recreate the atmosphere of the 'good old days'.

Granite and slatestone

The house is an architectural hotchpotch, mainly re-built in Tudor times. The chapel was first consecrated in 1411, and was re-modelled in the early 1500s. At a similar time the Great Hall was widened, and the south wall was moved forward, ‘squashing’ the chapel into a corner.

A pair of jawbones flank the door in the Great Hall at Cotehele in Cornwall

The whale’s tale: the puzzle of Cotehele's giant jawbones 

For nearly 150 years, a mysterious pair of whale jawbones have flanked the doorway in the Great Hall at Cotehele in Cornwall. Cutting edge DNA analysis and a recent housekeeping discovery have shed new light on the bones and how they came to Cotehele.

First World War exhibition

See 100s of personal family treasures and items loaned from the local community in Home and Away, year four of the First World War exhibition in the Breakfast Room.

Stanley Breen on his horse during the First World War
Man on a horse during the First World War at Cotehele, Cornwall
Stanley Breen on his horse during the First World War

Tapestry cut-and-paste job

When you look closely, the house has many quirky furnishings and curious features. It was a play-house for the Edgcumbes, and they made it a masterpiece of improvisation. This photo shows two completely different tapestries that were neatly adjoined to fit the wall space. It is only one of many examples of artistic compromise found in the house.

The Edgcumbes cut and pasted tapestries to suit their needs
Detail of a tapestry cut and paste job at Cotehele, Cornwall
The Edgcumbes cut and pasted tapestries to suit their needs

Photography

You are welcome to take photographs inside Cotehele House; the use of a flash or a tripod is not permitted please. Thank you for your cooperation.

View of the north west corner Cotehele House from Hall Court
150922 Cotehele north west corner Cotehele House from Hall Court
View of the north west corner Cotehele House from Hall Court