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History of the House

Country seat, architectural statement, and family home – Trewithen is a historic house with enduring character.

As one of Cornwall’s finest show homes, Trewithen dates to the early 1700s. Although a dwelling was recorded at Trewithen as far back as the 11th century, it was over 600 years later that the house we now see came to life. Built of Pentewan granite, with classical Palladian symmetry, it was a statement property for a family on the rise. Today, the house is considered one of the most elegant examples of 18th century architecture in Cornwall.

While impressive as ever, Trewithen House has become far more than a show of splendour. Ten generations later, it’s a well-worn and deeply cherished family home.

A statement piece

Like so many Cornish estates, Trewithen has a long memory. This place was first mentioned in the Domesday Survey of 1086, when it was owned by the Count of Mortain. Centuries later, in 1715, the estate was bought by Philip Hawkins, a wealthy local attorney.

The house owes its design to the expertise of two famous London architects: Thomas Edwards, who rebuilt it between 1715 and 1725, and Sir Robert Taylor, who enlarged it and redesigned the interior from 1740.

One of the house’s most unusual features – its blush-pink appearance – is entirely natural. Trewithen House is built on three sides from granite worked from the Pentewan quarries that were owned by the Hawkins family. This granite has the interesting quirk that when exposed to the wind and rain, it produces a small pink lichen. The fourth side of the house, to the north, was brick-faced in 1730 – matching the two elegant flanking buildings that are known as the French Pavilions.

Stepping inside, you’ll find intimate rooms with clear historic character. Probably the most impressive is the Great Saloon. Designed by Robert Taylor, it’s the only one of its kind in the southwest and is considered one of his masterpieces. Running the full length of the five bays of the south front, it was created as a Rococo masterpiece with Ionic columns, arcading, plasterwork and carved and painted wooden candle brackets.

A family home

But, like so much of Trewithen estate, the house shows respect for its heritage without being locked in time. If you visit today, you’ll see that this is very much a home fit for a modern family; one that grows and evolves with each generation.

This was made particularly clear when, in 2022, work finished on an ambitious restoration project led by the house’s current owners, Sam and Kitty Galsworthy. As parents with a young family, they wanted to find a balance between the house’s “public” identity and their desire for a house they could live comfortably in.

By taking a deep dive back into Trewithen’s history, Sam and Kitty were able to sympathetically rewind the clock on years of changes and make sense of the vast house’s layout. This included removing partition walls and linking corridors, returning the kitchen to its original position, and connecting the south-facing saloon with the garden. While restoring Trewithen to its past glory, this has the bonus effect of creating a home with real integrity.

Trewithen's historic house in Cornwall

Take a look

Trewithen House is open for guided tours from Sunday to Tuesday, from 28th April to 2nd July. If you’d like to visit, you can book a tour ticket online. If you're interested in a bespoke private tour, please email

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Sunlight shining through grasses at the Trewithen Estate in Cornwall

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