Antony House is the name of an early 18th-century house, which today is in the ownership of the National Trust. It is located between the town of Torpoint and the village of Antony in the county of Cornwall, England, United Kingdom. It is a Grade 1 listed building.
The house is faced in silvery-grey Pentewan stone, flanked by colonnaded wings of mellow brick and overlooks the River Lynher. It was built for Sir William Carew, 5th Baronet between 1718 and 1724, and ever since has continued as the primary residence of the Carew family, who have owned the estate since the mid-16th century. Sir John Carew Pole gave the house and formal gardens into the care of the National Trust in 1961, on the understanding that the family could continue to reside there. Currently Tremayne Carew Pole, lives there with his family.
Antony House hosts a splendid collection of portraits, including a portrait of Charles I of England at his trial, (Charles I granted a baronetcy to the Poles in 1628). The collection contains some of Sir Joshua Reynolds' works, and a portrait of Rachel Carew, believed to have inspired Daphne du Maurier's novel My Cousin Rachel. Rooms are heavily panelled in Dutch Oak and contain fine collections of 18th-century furnishings and textiles
If you are visiting the house you can spend some time unwinding, taking in the personal touches of a grand yet comfortable family home. The upstairs bedrooms have expansive views down to the River Lynher. A great place to relax, chat to friendly guides or simply do your own thing.
The beauty of the house derives not from ornament but from the Pentewan stone which glows a silvery grey on a bright Cornish day and the neat proportions of the house which give a timeless quality. The setting is even more breathtaking. The house sits high above the river Lynher with sweeping views.
Treasures in the house include portraits by Joshua Reynolds, a flag surviving from the English Civil War and a portrait of Charles I painted during his trial, one month before he was executed. The spirit of collecting is kept very much alive at Antony so you can enjoy the novelty of seeing recent acquisitions displayed next to older pieces.
The house is still lived-in by the Carew Poles. You might see toys in the saloon because a litle boy and girl live here. The personal touch is everywhere from bedtime reading laid out in still used rooms to the occasional sighting of Alba, the family dog.
*** – The Gardens – ***
The grounds were landscaped by Georgian garden designer Humphry Repton and include the formal garden with the "National Collection of Day Lilies". In the early 19th century, yew hedges and topiary were added to the formal landscaping. Adorning the gardens are stone carvings from North West India, a Burmese temple bell brought to Antony by General Sir Reginald Pole Carew, statuary and more recently acquired modern sculptures, including the Antony Cone water sculpture by William Pye. This echoes the grand spectacle of the topiary yew cone nearby, which is almost as tall as the house itself. Other sculptures include Jupiter Stone by Peter Randall-Page and Hypercone by Simon Thomas.
Other notable features include a black walnut tree, cork tree, a Japanese ornamental pond and knot garden. The dovecote dates from the 18th century, while a folly has been added recently in the estate grounds.
The surrounding woodland garden (not National Trust, but owned by the Carew Pole Garden Trust) is noted for rhododendrons, azaleas, camellias and magnolias, and surrounding woods provide delightful walks, which extend down to the river Lynher. The Bath Pond House situated in the woodland walks was built in 1789.
As summer begins to warm up, it's the perfect time to get outdoors and spend some time unwinding in the garden. Shake off the woolly layers and remind yourself where you put your sunhat. Celebrated landscape gardener, Humphry Repton, designed expansive 'goosefoot' formation views leading down to the River Lynher, just a few meanders before the river joins the Tamar estuary. The garden at Antony is a world apart, tucked away in a beautiful pocket of south-east Cornwall.
Tim Burton decided to film Disney's, Alice in Wonderland at Antony. With the enchanting views and surprises around corners it's easy to see why. Towering topiary, intriguing sculptures & a cone-shaped fountain can all make for an enchanting walk. You can take a stroll, admire something you've never seen before, stand still for a moment, take in the view, breathe in the Cornish air and relax in this garden.
Roses are an important part of the planting scheme at Antony with diffferent species adorning the formal summer garden and lining the beds on the terraces. Each variety of rose has been carefully selected for its location producing delightful displays throughout the warmer months.
The beautifully proportioned house at Antony sits high above three terraces on the north west side. The planting scheme on the terraces consists of whites, purples and blues in muted tones designed to complement the silvery glow of the Pentewan stone.
Rugosa Rose or 'Blanc double de Coubert' takes centre stage on the middle terrace. These large plants produce lots of blooms early in the season and repeat flower later in the year. The flowers are pure white, tinged with blush in the bud and have a strong fragrance, which lingers on a warm summer's afternoon. This type of rose is extremely hardy and disease resistant which makes it a reliable as well as attractive addition to the terrace planting.
The top terrace is planted with the Iceberg variety of rose which grows in a rolling, tumbling fashion with a mass of flowers. The profusion of exceptionally snow white blooms planted alongside Nepeta 'Six hills giant' commonly known as catmint form a striking contrast. This rose can flower all the way through to Christmas if the conditions are right.
In the formal summer garden the colours turn bolder and the planting includes Rhapsody in blue. This vibrant plant is famed as the closest example to a blue rose that hasn't undergone any genetic enhancements. The blooms grow in clusters with large amounts of green foliage.
The reason there is a National Collection of Hemerocallis at Antony is because of the great enthusiasm of Lady Cynthia Carew Pole. Lady Cynthia, as she was known, collected over six hundred different varieties of Daylilies. They were one of her great loves. With her many connections in America, she visited there regularly, and from the 1960s until her death, collected avidly.
Initially obtaining her plants from Mrs Nesmith of Missouri and Dr McEwen of Maine, she obtained many more plants from Frank Childs, Mrs Bright Taylor, Gilbert Wild, E J Kraus, W B Flory and others both in America and in this country. The late H J Randall of Woking also supplied some excellent cultivars.
Once a large collection was established, plants were sold through her nursery and were sent not only all over the country but also abroad, back to America and even to the Far East. Her enthusiasm was catching and she waxed lyrical with her descriptions of the blooms. Her card index was filled with artistic phrases.. “the flowers glow with an iridescent light”, “the smooth and exquisitely finished flowers of the early dawn” - ‘Lucky Strike’, “A real joy, is this low growing, completely sunfast, deep gold daylily” - ‘Azor’.
Lady Cynthia died in 1977. She left behind a wonderful collection of ‘Hemerocallis’ and the plants were offered as a National Collection and accepted in 1985. One of each cultivar are planted in borders against walls and alphabetically in the walled garden. Each cultivar is individually labelled, has its own record and photograph, and is marked on a plan.
Humphry Repton, had a significant influence at Antony and produced a “Red Book” for the property. He may not have approved that some plants have been planted in borders from the car park to the house because his concept was that the grounds up to that point should be green. However, though the plants give a magnificent show in June and July, the rest of the year they provide the green background he would have appreciated.
During her life and also after her death, many of Lady Cynthia’s favourite cultivars were sent up to Wisley for trials, where she had great success. Most of the plants were seedlings or plants she had received from her sources, although she did produce one or two excellent seedlings herself. She introduced and sent up cultivars including ‘Aten’, ‘Bright Spangles’, ‘Buried Treasure’, ‘Frans Hals’, ‘Jenny Wren’ ‘Neyron Rose’ and ‘White Coral’, all of which received Awards. An unnamed seedling of her own received awards from the RHS & was registered as ‘Cynthia Mary’, it is a beautiful plant. It joins many other cultivars named to associate with the home Lady Cynthia loved, such as ‘Torpoint’, ‘Sir John’, ‘Lady Cynthia’, and ‘Antony House’.
The garden is full of surprising shapes and hidden gems tucked around corners. The topiary at Antony adds to the garden's magical quality as well as injecting a sense of humour.
*** – Facilities – ***
Location : Antony House, Torpoint, Cornwall, PL11 2QA
Transport: Plymouth (National Rail) 8 miles bus. Bus Routes : No. 70 from Plymouth, alight Trevithick Avenue, 0.8 miles
Opening Times : see above.
Tickets : Adults £8.00; Children £4.00.
Tel: 01752 812191