Godolphin House and the Great Work Mine

The great weather continues as today we headed for Godolphin House. This is a 16th century Tudor/Stuart mansion with 17th century Elizabethan stables and formal gardens that date back to the thirteen-hundreds (that’s enough dates to be getting on with – Ed).

Godolphin House

The mansion is currently undergoing major renovation works by the National Trust and you’ll need to sign up for a ‘hard hat’ tour to take a look inside although Mrs. Extremegroundhopping and I opted for a leisurely stroll through the estate. A considerable amount of work has been put into bringing the 4.5 acres of formal gardens, with their raised walks and carp ponds, back to life, and while this work is still unfinished it’s still all quite splendid.

Godolphin House

The Godolphin’s where a much respected family and were heavily involved in the formative years of the Cornish mining industry, Sir William Godolphin making his fortune from tin and copper mineral deposits. The land between the house and Tregonning Hill, a couple of miles away, was at one time rich in such deposits and the area became known as the Great Work Mine. But more on that in a second.

Godolphin Hill

After our meanderings through the gardens we took a walk to the top of Godolphin Hill and on reaching the top we were rewarded with a quite outstanding view. The Atlantic Ocean to the South (Penzance and St Michael’s Mount easily visible), the Bristol Channel and a smattering of cargo vessels to the North, and the Cornish landscape in between scattered with old mining buildings (my two panoramas just don’t do it all justice).

Godolphin Hill

Our route back took to the car took us past the Leeds Shaft of what was once the Great Work Mine. The original workings of the mine date from the early sixteenth century when it employed as many as 3000 people although the beauty and peacefulness of the area fail to convey any impression that this area was once a major industrial landscape.

Great Work Mine

The shaft and engine house of the Leeds Shaft (pictured) are maintained to a high standard and a metal grille over the shaft allow a glimpse into the subterranean world below although, it should be noted, they are there to allow bats to nest in the old mine workings and not for the benefit of inquisitive souls such as Mrs. Extremegroundhopping and I.


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