The Music, Art & Architecture of

Secret Cornwall

with Peter Medhurst

6 days from £2,319 • Departing 30th May 2020

Introduction

The 19th century scholar Sabine Baring-Gould once remarked of Cornwall ‘[It] stands and always has stood apart from the rest of England’. He is quite right. The thin slither of water – the Tamar river – not only separates Cornwall from Devon, but has allowed the county to develop its own individual culture, in all areas of the arts. Using the sea facing, art deco Carlyon Bay Hotel as our base, we sample some of Cornwall’s best kept secrets, including medieval wall paintings at Breage, a private boat trip on the Fowey and Lerryn rivers, the 1710 Quaker Meeting House at Come-to-Good, Trewidden Gardens, as well as Godolphin House. And, when all has been visited, sampled and admired, a first class ticket on the Great Western Railway brings us back to London.


Day 1

Our Cornish odyssey begins with a morning departure by coach from Victoria, London and a journey westwards – via the A303 – to Forde Abbey in Dorset with a stop en route for coffee.

Forde Abbey is a privately owned former Cistercian monastery and dates back to the 12th century, although its present appearance owes much to the remodeling that was done in the 1600s. After lunch at the Abbey we have a private tour of the building and then continue our journey to Cornwall, checking into the 4* Carlyon Bay Hotel near St Austell for five nights on a half board basis

Day 2

After Peter’s morning lecture, our day’s excursion begins by visiting nearby Charlestown Harbour, an unspoilt, original Grade II listed port. It was constructed between 1791 and 1801 by Charles Rashleigh, entrepreneur and member of the local landowning family, in response to the growth of the local mining industry. In recent years it has been used as location for the filming of the BBC’s remake of the 1970’s series Poldark. We continue by coach to Padstow, but take in a brief detour to view the ruined chapel of St Michael at Roche.

The chapel was built in the early 15th century on the side and near the top of a massive jagged outcrop of ‘schorl’ and is one of the architectural curiosities of Cornwall. We leave the loneliness of the moors at Roche for Padstow, a vibrant fishing town situated on the North Coast and famous for its quaint and labyrinthine streets.

After lunch, we visit the atmospheric medieval church of St Eval, the sole remaining edifice of a medieval village, and whose churchyard contains the war graves of 23 Commonwealth air force personnel of World War II. We then follow the winding coast road of the B3276 and pay a brief exterior visit to Lanherne House in St Mawgan in Pydar – originally the home of Sir John Arundell, but which is now a Carmelite Convent. However, our last excursion of the day is to the church of Probus which possesses the most spectacular church tower in the whole of Cornwall.

Here Peter will give an organ recital of music from The Fitzwilliam Virginal Book and explain the connection that the book has with the Tregian family, who lived locally at Golden Mill, and who financed the 16th century remodeling of the tower. After a cup of tea, we return to the hotel for dinner.

Day 3

Following our morning lecture, we take the coach and spend the morning at Trerice, an unspoiled Elizabethan house said to date from 1572 and renowned for its plaster ceilings, paintings (see John Montagu below) and furniture.

After morning coffee in the restaurant, we take a private tour of the building with one of the resident guides, and then return to the restaurant for lunch. In the afternoon we make our way westwards to the famous fishing town of St Ives for a guided tour of the iconic Tate St Ives gallery, overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. Afterwards, we walk through the narrow streets to the parish church of St Ives where Peter will play organ music by the Cornish connected Thomas Tomkins. We then return to the hotel for relaxation and dinner.

Day 4

Today we have an early departure for Truro, the county town of Cornwall. Although Truro can trace its history back to the 12th century, it is essentially a Georgian and Victorian city with elegant town houses – especially in Lemon Street – dating from the turn of the 19th century. However, the glory of Truro is its Cathedral, designed by John Loughborough Pearson and built between 1880 and 1910 and after a guided walk through the city centre with Peter, we spend the rest of the morning there.

Following coffee in the chapter house, we have a guided tour of Pearson’s visionary building followed by a private organ recital given by one of the resident cathedral organists. The organ (above) is a Father Willis. Lunch will be in Truro after which we visit the early 18th century Quaker Meeting House at Come-to-Good, about 3 miles to the Southwest of Truro.

With its delightful thatched roof and spiritual atmosphere, the Meeting House is one of the hidden gems of Cornwall. Following that, we head to the harbour at Fowey for a private boat trip on the scenic rivers of Fowey and Lerryn. The coach will then meet us at the village of Lerryn and take us back to the hotel for the evening.

Day 5

After Peter’s morning lecture, once again we head westwards, this time in the direction of Godolphin House – seat of the Dukes of Leeds and the Earls of Godolphin – to view the gardens. Although only a portion of the original 16th / 17th century house survives, this little visited property possesses original early formal gardens, dating from around 1500. The house nestles in lush countryside not far from Helston. We will also visit the wonderful medieval wall paintings of St Ambrose, St Christopher, St Corentine and St Hilary in nearby Breage Church.

Lunch today will be at a restaurant in Penzance before attending the permanent and temporary exhibitions (theme of temporary exhibition yet to be announced) at the Penlee Gallery, famous for possessing the finest collection of paintings of the Newlwyn School. There will also be time to view the exterior of the wonderfully bizarre Egyptian House. The afternoon ends with a visit to the privately owned Trewidden Gardens, situated to the southwest of Penzance. Our guide will be Peter Morton, head gardener. We return to the hotel for some relaxation and dinner.

Day 6

After checking out of our hotel, we make our way up country towards Plymouth, but en route call in at St Neot’s Church to view the 16 spectacular stained glass windows dating from the 15th and 16th centuries. The glass is among the best-preserved in England of that early period and includes the ‘Creation’, the ‘St George’, and the ‘Noah’ windows. We then go directly to Saltram House, Plympton, the original home of the Earls of Morley for a guided tour. The 18th century house is famous for its Robert Adam designed saloon and dining room, as well as for its extensive collection of paintings by Sir Joshua Reynolds, Angelica Kaufmann, and George Stubbs. Lunch will be enjoyed at nearby Borringdon Hall, original home of the Parkers of Saltram. We return from Plymouth to London, 1st class, on the Great Western Railway and the tour ends with our arrival in Paddington in the early evening.


The Hotel

We stay at the 4* Carlyon Bay Hotel (www.carlyonbay.com) for five nights on a half board basis (dinner, bed and breakfast – drinks not included). Set in 250 acres of private grounds and reputedly the finest luxury hotel in Cornwall, it boasts an amazing cliff top setting with spectacular sea views across St Austell Bay. Facilities at the hotel include indoor and outdoor heated swimming pools, tennis courts, spa, snooker room, private beach and fitness suite. All rooms have free WiFi, telephones, luxury toiletries, tea & coffee making facilities and hair dryers

NB: Our allocated rooms are inland facing. Sea facing rooms are available at a supplement – see below.


Features

Tour limited to 24 passengers
Lectures by Peter Medhurst on Day 2, 3 & 5
2 private organ recitals by Peter in Cornish churches
Private organ recital by resident organist at Truro Cathedral
All excursions, guided tours & entrance fees to non-National Trust properties included
Gratuities for hotel & restaurant staff included
4* hotel
All meals included (breakfast, lunch & dinner)
Private drinks reception on Day 1
First Class train travel from Plymouth to London Paddington
Listening headsets


Highlights

Forde Abbey, Dorset – private tour
Chapel of St Michael at Roche
Charlestown Harbour
Padstow
Medieval church of St Eval
Lanherne House in St Mawgan in Pydar
Church of Probus with organ recital by Peter
Trerice – private tour
St Ives
Tate St Ives gallery – guided tour
Parish church of St Ives with organ recital by Peter
Truro – guided tour
Truro Cathedral – organ recital by resident cathedral organist
Quaker Meeting House at Come-to-Good
Private boat trip on the rivers of Fowey & Lerryn
Village of Lerryn
Godolphin
Medieval wall paintings in Breage Church
Penzance
Egyptian House
The Penlee Gallery
Trewidden Gardens – private tour by the head gardener
St Neot’s Church
Saltram House, Plympton – a guided tour
Borringdon Hall


EXTRAS TO YOUR TOUR

Insurance £29

Sea facing twin/double room supplement £130

Single room supplement:- inland facing room £59

– sea facing room £149

Entrance fees to National Trust properties (free to National Trust members)

Gratuities for driver


Peter Medhurst

Peter Medhurst – scholar and presenter – has been visiting Cornwall for the last 40 years and consequently has got to know it very well.  He first experienced the county as an 18 year old guest attending the Duchey Ball, held at Lanhydrock House. It was love at first sight.  His passion for Cornwall was further fuelled by reading Pevner’s Buildings of England: Cornwall, which over the years has lured him westwards to visit every building and location mentioned in the book.  Professionally, he has given recitals in Truro, Falmouth, Penzance, and in numerous churches throughout the county as well.  He has presented lecture-recitals for the Royal Cornwall Polytechnic Society, Truro College, and the Art Fund, as well as for all the Arts Societies in the region – Bodmin, Liskeard, Truro, Penzance and Falmouth (he actually inaugurated the Falmouth branch in the year 2000).  Peter recently presented a history of Cornish music and musicians as part of the Arts Society’s Golden Jubilee celebrations at Dartington Hall.