Trelawne Manor and Barton

On Saturday July 7th despite amber warnings of floods to come, an intrepid band of CGT members mustered at Trelawne Barton to be met by the owner, Carole Vivian. Carole was to bring to life what remained of Trelawne Manor c.1450 and its estate. The Trelawney family had moved from Pelynt in 1600 to this grand manor house but in the 18th century, being avid followers of fashion, swept away the formal Elizabethan gardens in favour of open parkland and carefully sited clumps of trees. Sir Harry Trelawney planted 1000 chestnuts in 1779 and developed collections of species trees including hornbeam, birch, scarlet oaks – mainly to shelter the deer or build up the Warren – and much of this planting can still be seen from the Barton. Carole pointed out a remarkable illusion that had been created by the excavation of a deep lane running from the farmyard towards the manor so livestock could be moved invisibly – to pasture without contaminating Trelawne’s sylvan vistas.

After identifying the 18th century landscape in context from the Barton, Carole warned us that we were now in for a cultural shock as we approached the manor….and she was right! Trelawne and its chapel still stand proudly but are surrounded by a flourishing holiday park with chalets, mobile homes, crazy golf, and a swimming pool on what was once the bowling green. Little remains of the structure of the garden or its planting but there are the modest vestiges of a former herbaceous border and a line of 10 yew trees probably planted by Sir Harry Trelawney though I could find no trace of the three magnolias he had planted by the house in 1780. It is sad to see the noble manor no longer surrounded by gardens, Elizabethan, ‘Brownian’ or Victorian, but the property is being well maintained and the holiday makers we encountered seemed to be relaxed and happy despite the blustery showers.

Our tour ended up at the delightful Barton (built c.1690 as Bishop Trelawney’s Home Farm) with a delicious cream tea and the opportunity to admire Carole’s prolific and colourful garden. There is an outstanding and mouth-watering collection of soft fruit in sturdy cages, a large pond with superb water lilies and lots to admire round each corner as the area has been artfully divided up to create interesting spaces.

I am not sure how Carole finds time to attend to everything despite her ‘retirement’ but I know that we benefited from her extensive knowledge of the Trelawney family and were able to enjoy her 21stcentury garden which she modestly calls ‘work in progress’.

Angela Stubbs