Back to The Acorn Archive








1597 John Norden Speculi Britanniae Pars Cornwall Published 1728:200 copies + 4 on vellum

"Padstow or ( as Mr. Camden calleth it ) Petrockstowe, of one Petrock a holie Britane. It is an incorporation and a market towne, and a towne of reasonable traffique by Marchantes. At the upper ende of the town dwelleth one Mr Nycolas Prydiauxe, in a howse situate on a loftie hill, healthfull for situation, and pleasant for prospecte, overlooking the towne, haven, and a greate parte of the Countrye and confining sea."


1602 Carews Survey of Cornwall [ largely modelled around Nordenís delayed publication ]

Mr. Nicholas Prideaux, from his new and stately house, thereby taketh a full and large prospect of the towne, haven, and country adjoining, to all which, his wisdome is a stay, his authority and direction."


1699 Joel Gascoyne Survey / Map†††††

[ Note Hitchens - " Gwardandrea" ] The house is "Guadrondrane als Place" and the town is "Padstow".


1717 A Survey of Cornwall by Edmond Prideaux

Based on his own knowledge and the reports of others including Leland,together with letters of eminent people, particular referencesto the Prideaux family history. All bound in with the 1602 edition of Carew's survey...... "Sir Nicholas Prideaux built Padstow house in 1592 after he married the Lady Cheston his 2nd wife he lived almost altogether therehavingresignedSoldonin Devon to his eldest son Humphrey Prideaux....".Sir Nicholas was "one of considerable worth in his time having 2 houses in Devon 2 in Cornwall viz Sol don : It his house at West Put ford call'd Chest on : Over town now call'd Prideaux Place, & Trevorder."


1724 Defoe A Tour through Great Britain

Beyond the discourse on travel between Ireland and Padstow he adds ."a very ancient seat of a family in the name of Prideaux who in Queen Elizabeth's time, built a very noble seat there, which remains to this day, though time made the architect of it a little out of fashion."


1728 Edmond Prideaux : Account of Dr. Humphrey Prideaux

"The head of the family was at Prideaux, Netherton being the only other branch."; "On the marrying of his ( Nicholas ) son Humphrey having settled him at Soldon he built for his own residence, Prideaux Place, at this time commonly called Place, situated at the upper end of the town of Padstow, which house was finished in the year 1597 and was then reckoned to be the best seat both for the house and the situation in all that County."


1750 Pococke Travels through England

Here we are informed that Padstow had a fine trade in Coal from Bristol, slate from Port Isaac ( Denbole slate ) and corn from Ireland. "At the upper end of the town the Prideaux's have a seat... it is a fine situation and well improved."


1758 Borlase The Natural History of Cornwall

Borlase refers to Prideaux as "Place* on his map and includes a fine drawing of the House and Grounds.


1814 Lysons History of Cornwall Magna Britannia

"Whitaker supposed that the monastery of Petrock was at Padstow." Besides all the usual references to Place, Lyson adds that "near Place House at the top of Padstow was St. Sampson's Chapel and at Trethyllie, near Place grounds, was a chapel with a cemetary."


1820 Gilbert's History of Cornwall [ C.S. ]

"Place House and grounds, the ancient seat of the Prideauxes... It is seated on a pleasing elevation, and commands beautiful and extensive prospects of the ocean, and it's rugged boundaries, the gently swelling waters of the Camel, hundreds of fruitful enclosures, deserts of sand and wastes of open, uncultivated common. Place House is a castellated mansion, large and uniform; and in former times capable of making a vigorous defence, being guarded by an adjoining battery, which mounted several pieces of ordnance. It was erected on the site of an old monastery, in the latter part of the sixteenth century... and some valuable additions were made to it in 1810, the architecture of which, happily corresponds with the most ancient part of the buildings., The great hall displays much ancient dignity... other apartments together with a noble staircase... "

"The southern side of the house opens into a shrubbery and many neat walks, on the right of which, stands a beautiful temple, erected with materials brought from Rome. The lower part of this elegant enclosure is formed into a terrace, that terminates on the west, at an ornamental building, and several rare antiquities have lately been collected, for it's further embellishment. A great part of the ground was formerly occupied by the chapel, and burial place, belonging to the monastery. The chapel, which was dedicated to St. Sampson, measured about 30 ft by 20 ft, and was taken down about seventeen years ago, in order to increase the plantation and walks; and in digging up the burial floor, several human skeletons were discovered and taken up, but again carefully deposited in their original situation."


1824 Hitchen's & Drew's History of Cornwall

"Dr. Borlase asserts" that Padstow had "the first religious house in Cornwall of which we have any account. Erected by St. Petroc in 432 called Laffenac." The place on which it stood was called Loderick. Laffenac meaning Church of the monks and Loderick being creek of robbers.

The Chapel of St. Samson was "demolished in 1796 that the grounds might be levelled to facilitate this entrance." Coffins cut into the rock were found, since there was little or no earth on the surface. Place house was originally called Gwardandrea and afterwards Prideaux Castle. It stands on some rising ground at the Western end of town and is encircled with a wall and surrounded with a great variety of lovely objects. The grounds near the mansion are laid out with much taste and ornamented with trees in luxuriant maturity."

"The wall which nearly encircles the house has only been built within the last few years - and at the time when the ground was cleared for it's foundations, many human bones were discovered."


1824 Stockdale Excursions through Cornwall

"Place House, seat of the Rev. Charles Prideaux-Brune, situated a little distance from the church is an antient embattled mansion.... The house has been lately beautified and enlarged at considerable expense,and may be ranked as one of the finest residences in the county.The western front with it's circular tower and Gothic library window has a very handsome effect."


1831 Allom Cornwall Illustrated

"Place House originally called Gwarthandrea afterward Prideaux Castle, is a substantial building of Queen Elizabeth's time, standing on rising ground at the West end of Padstow ( quoting Carew ). It is a spacious embattled edifice; but has been considerably enlarged and improved in it's domestic arrangements by the present proprietor. The contiguous grounds are laid out with much taste and some fine trees give interest to the scenery, in the court before the house is a hedge of myrtle and another of tamarisk."


Back to The Acorn Archive