The Rookery

The Rookery is a former Rectory. Built around 1710 by Daniel Baudris - a French Huguenot priest, it is a Georgian building which incorporates a much older cob building. Roger Farnworth traced historical records indicating the rectory was derelict in 1215. This suggests a rectory could have stood here for around a thousand years. In 1328 John de Tremur said he could not live in it because it was in a 'ruinous state'. His nephew, the heretic Ralph de Tremur, resigned the living, robbed the new rector, and burnt the rectory down. In the 19th century, Dalston Clements and his wife Katherine planted beech woodlands and the very latest rhododendrons emerging from plant hunting expeditions to China and Japan, as well as the first Cornish rhododendron hybrids. One is the now huge Cornish Red which stand beside the rectory. Katherine Clements became famed worldwide as a strawberry breeder, developing varieties she named Cornish Diamond (1860), Crimson Cluster (1860), King Arthur (1860), Othello (1865), Princess  Dagmar (1865-1867) and many others. In the 1920s, Reverend Leggo and his wife held garden parties on the lawn. Reverend Densham arrived in 1931 and achieved fame as a lonely but kindly eccentric. His story can be found on these pages.

To one side of the Rookery lies a former brewhouse created by Daniel Baudris and developed from much older walls. Today, a camellia, viewed by Queen Mary probably in 1927 according to folklore, grows within, bearing rich red flowers in April and May. The gardens also host two unique apple trees verified by the Ancient Tree Forum as ‘veteran trees’. Roger called one Densham’s Delight and the other the Warleggan Wassai. They even had their own wassailing song.