Delve into the history of Lanhydrock

Artist's impression of the fire at Lanhydrock in 1881

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 occupants.

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

A happy family home

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

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?

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...

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.