Why Trelissick is special

Aerial view of Trelissick, Cornwall

Trelissick is surrounded by the Fal estuary and overlooks Carrick Roads, one of the world’s deepest natural harbours. The house, garden and parkland sit together on their own peninsula, whilst the wider estate stretches across others. It is this significant setting that shapes Trelissick’s dynamic character.

The peninsulas have been valued locations since prehistory, as witnessed by the Iron Age hillfort at Roundwood, a Scheduled Ancient Monument. A rich history of habitation culminated in a Medieval farmstead where in the 1750s John Lawrance established the Grade II*-registered designed landscape and Grade II*-listed house.

Carrick Roads viewed from Trelissick
A view of Carrick Roads leading to Falmouth from Trelissick, Cornwall
Carrick Roads viewed from Trelissick

From Tahiti to Trelissick

Over time Trelissick has seen many dwellers, owners and visitors come and go, including people of politics and trade. Due to its maritime location and presence of a quay, some were naval men. Samuel Wallis, the Pacific explorer who discovered Tahiti for the western world in 1767, is believed to shortly have lived in the house in the 1770s.

Wave of war

During the Second World War, the foreshores saw off soldiers partaking in the D-Day landings. Some of the wartime structures are still visible in the landscape at Turnaware point.

Meandering garden

In 1955, Trelissick’s designed landscape was bequeathed to the National Trust by Ida Copeland, who had inherited the estate from her stepfather Leonard D. Cunliffe. Until the house came to the Trust in 2013 it was known as Trelissick Garden.

Walking Trelissick's garden paths
A visitor walks through the garden at Trelissick, Cornwall
Walking Trelissick's garden paths

The plant collection includes plants directly associated with Trelissick, like the rhododendrons, as well as exotic species collected by Carew Davies Gilbert in the 1800s. You can enjoy these by walking the meandering paths, taking in the plants and views. At Carcaddon, you will find the orchard.

The orchard preserves local apple varieties
Apples and press in Trelissick orchard
The orchard preserves local apple varieties

The hanging woods above the creeks are particularly striking. They are surrounded by the ancient parkland and woodland, part of an internationally important Special Area of Conservation.

The woods on the banks of the Fal
The woods surrounding the River Fal at Trelissick, Cornwall
The woods on the banks of the Fal

Copeland Spode

Trelissick houses fine objects from the now dispersed Copeland China Collection, including items from Spode-Copeland factory the Copelands owned. Notable are the wedding present dessert service, enamel painted saltglaze stoneware and the ‘rhododendron service’, decorated with illustrations of the Trelissick plant collection.

Spode Copeland china
Spode Copeland china on display at Trelissick, Cornwall
Spode Copeland china

Dynamic structures

The house itself is an element of the designed landscape, capturing views. In 1825 Peter Frederick Robinson was commissioned to redesign the 1750s’ house as a villa. Today the building is a rare survival of the Greek Revival, to which later generations have added two floors and a conservatory. Other historic estate structures include the Water Tower, Home Farm, Walled Garden and Stables.

Illustration of Trelissick house from 1831
Illustration of Trelissick house from 1831
Illustration of Trelissick house from 1831

Future

The passing of many people continues today, with visitors from nearby Truro and far away. Work goes on to shape the dynamics of Trelissick’s future.