Rosteague is tucked away secretly at the end of a long drive, and about thirty fortunate members found their way there on Wednesday 28th April. It was a perfect spring morning, as members were welcomed in the old cider barn by the owners Mr and Mrs Howard Milton. Sue Pring provided interesting background history to the house, parts of which date from the 15th century, and the surrounding gardens and estate. Mrs Jay Milton then described the restoration work that has lovingly and enthusiastically been carried out over the past five years.

The scale of the project was only revealed when we walked round cottages and outbuildings to the front of the house. Here we were stopped in our tracks by the handsome classical front and amazing views over Gerrans Bay. Mrs Milton then took us round the varied gardens, covering several acres.

Two highlights stand out:

Walking through the unique series of 17th century parterre gardens close to the house, safely enclosed by handsome stone and ‘clunch’ walls, we saw paths covered with neatly raked gravel, and in one corner a picturesque old thatched summer house. The hedges were hugely overgrown when the new owners took over, but now the intricately patterned box is neatly clipped and the interior areas planted by Mrs Milton in colours representing the four seasons. It takes two weeks to cut all the hedges, and one wonders what the total yardage is!

The walk down through bluebell woodland was past a small deer park for 12 deer – surely an 18th century status symbol! Next we saw the remains of an old culver house, a granite well head and the stream with a newly cleared pond. An old mill stone has been uncovered here, and this begs the question what use was made of the pond and streams? This handsome old house and gardens have thrown up lots of unanswered questions, and will surely continue to do so, which must be one of the many reasons that the magic of the place has so obviously captured the owners.

References: Parks and Gardens of Cornwall, by Douglas Ellory Pett, pub. Alison Hodge, 1998

Report by Lucie Nottingham
Pictures by David Pearce
28th April 2010