Trewithen House and the Hawkins Family: A Building History

Essay by Rodolfo Acevedo Rodriguez

Trewithen is a two-storey house eight miles east of Truro, and located at the heart of a large estate, connecting pleasure gardens to the south and generous parkland to the north.1 Externally, the house appears aesthetically and architecturally coherent, similar in style and appearance to other mansions built around Cornwall in the early to mid-eighteenth century. Yet behind the relatively discreet Pentewan stone exterior there are elements that represent more than thirty years of building evolution. This morphology of architecture is the product of interrupted alterations by individual members of the Hawkins family. Throughout their occupancy, different owners employed different architects to execute multiple designs, for the purpose of transforming Trewithen into one of the most fashionable houses in the county. The result of this campaign is both effective and impressive, considering that there are scarcely any obvious traces of physical alteration. Yet, close analysis of the building, combined with a review of surviving building records – presented here for the first time – enables us to understand more about the history and development of Trewithen during the eighteenth century, at the very time that the core collection of family portraits was created and displayed under one roof (figs 1–3).

  • North Front

    Figure 1.

    North Front, Trewithen House.

    Digital image courtesy of Rodolfo Acevedo Rodriguez. (All rights reserved)

  • East Front

    Figure 2.

    East Front, Trewithen House.

    Digital image courtesy of Elzbieta Borgosz. (CC BY-SA 4.0)

  • South Front

    Figure 3.

    South Front, Trewithen House.

    Digital image courtesy of Rodolfo Acevedo Rodriguez. (All rights reserved)

The house is aligned on an east–west axis and is accessible through a carriage court to the north. Attached to the house, on either side of the circular court, are two flanking brick-built ancillary buildings. That to the east was built as a brewhouse and dairy, while that to the west served as stables.2 The northern front, facing the parkland, incorporates the principal entrance to the main house. Behind the bay of five windows’ width are the Entrance Hall, the Library and a Study Room, as well as two bedchambers on the first floor. The range to the east is a later reconstruction, built with greater floor-to-ceiling heights, and incorporating the finest rooms in the house. The range to the west represents the original services range, where the kitchen, offices and the servants’ hall were based. This particular wing, together with the rear portion of the northern range, represents a section of the original H-shaped house occupied by the owner Courtney Williams in the early eighteenth century.3 It is said that Williams, who had developed a reputation for employing servants solely for the purpose of ‘ringing bells’, was responsible in part for the construction of this house.4 Williams might have developed this scheme as a variation of an H-shaped hall house, as had been done previously in two other Cornish houses – Trewinnard Manor, St Erth, and Trelowarren on the Lizard peninsula.5 He had evidently invested in the property, and enjoyed the commodities the estate had offered him. None the less, it was precisely Williams’s extravagant way of living, and his indulgence in ‘low pursuits and low company’, which led him to dissipate ‘a handsome fortune’ and ultimately sell the house and estate of Trewithen.6

In 1728 Philip Hawkins II (TN32 and (TN33), second son of Philip Hawkins of Pennans or Pennance, purchased Trewithen estate for the sum of £2500.7 The same year, Philip Hawkins II commissioned the leading architect James Gibbs (1682–1754) to produce a design for a new house in the neo-classical style (fig. 4). Gibbs, who trained in Italy before returning to Britain in 1709 to forge a successful career, had recently published his magnum opus, A Book of Architecture, containing Designs of Buildings and Ornaments (1728).8 He had also worked to maintain a number of parliamentary connections that brought him an abundance of country-house commissions in the late 1720s.9 Among the designs built by Gibbs was ‘A House Design’d for a Gentlemen in the Country’ – a two-storey scheme with flanking office buildings standing proud on either side of a carriage court – which featured in his Book of Architecture and is with little doubt the design for the remodelling of Sir William Carew’s house at Antony, Cornwall.10 Gibbs’s approach at Antony focused mainly on the reconstruction of the Pentewan-stone front and the forecourt wings. However, at Trewithen, Gibbs went much further, proposing to replace entirely Williams’s two-storey scheme with a four-storeyed, seven-bay house with two flanking office buildings connected by curved walls and colonnades.11 Despite the quality and architectural ambition of Gibbs’s scheme, Philip Hawkins II opted for a more conservative approach, choosing to modify the existing scheme by building an extension over the north courtyard. This addition effectively transformed the H shape of the main house, creating a U-shaped plan with a central range, two projecting wings and a ‘piazza’ on the south side. Such alteration was likely to have been motivated by a desire to introduce more space at ground-floor level, without necessarily reconstructing the entire building. The need for additional bedchambers on the first floor may also have driven this development. By 1728 Philip Hawkins II had reached the age of twenty-eight and was making the transition from the life of a ‘man about town’ to that of a married country gentleman of property.12

'The General plan of the house, court and offices' (proposal for the general plan of the house at Trewithen)

Figure 4.
James Gibbs, 'The General plan of the house, court and offices' (proposal for the general plan of the house at Trewithen), circa 1728. Pen and wash on paper, 56.4 × 43.2 cm. Trewithen (CRO J/2/1).

Digital image courtesy of Rodolfo Acevedo Rodriguez. (All rights reserved)

To what extent Trewithen’s interior changed as a result of Philip Hawkins II’s extension can be understood from an early eighteenth-century plan of the house (fig. 5), a scheme probably drawn just before the design was executed.13 Dated to about 1730, this ground-floor plan illustrates how the kitchen and office rooms were distributed on the west side of the house, while the ‘drawing room’, ‘great hall’ and ‘best parlour’ were positioned on the east range. These two projecting wings enclosed the central section of the house, while a south-facing colonnade walk linked the kitchen and the Entrance Hall. Access to the upper floor was provided through an open-well staircase, as well as a separate service staircase, which occupied the northern section that Philip Hawkins II built. The fact that these two sets of stairs were located at the centre of the U-shaped building, and thus restricted access to the adjoining chambers, tells us something about the circulation issues that may have prompted Phillip Hawkins II to reconsider the configuration of the house a decade later.

Sketch plan of the house at Trewithen

Figure 5.
Sketch plan of the house at Trewithen, circa 1730. Pen on paper, 38 × 31.2 cm. Trewithen (CRO J/2/43/6).

Digital image courtesy of Rodolfo Acevedo Rodriguez. (All rights reserved)

In 1738, Philip Hawkins II commissioned Thomas Edwards to produce a design for the remodelling of Trewithen: Edwards’s scheme was presented in the form of a composite drawing, comprising a large plan and a north elevation (fig. 6). Edwards had previously practised as an architect in Greenwich and had earned recognition in Cornwall for the redesign of the mansion at Tehidy, the home of John Pendarves Basset (1713–1739).14 It is possible that Philip Hawkins II, whose niece Anne Prideaux (1718–1782; TN25) had married John Basset in 1737, had seen Edwards’s work at Tehidy and decided to employ his services at Trewithen. As a former apprentice of Gibbs, and as someone who followed the Palladian ‘rule of taste’, Edwards set out to implement some of the architectural principles devised by his mentor earlier in 1728.15 By drawing on the concept of the Anglo-Palladian villa, Edwards proposed to develop the U-shaped scheme into a completely symmetrical, square-planned, mansion with regular fenestration and signature themes of classical orders. The most significant part of the remodelling involved filling in the southern ‘piazza’ with a two-storey block that projected vertically, as well as horizontally, beyond the other sections of the house. The main objective here was to provide for an ample, double-height, ground-floor space that would function as a high-status dining room, rather than as a stair-hall as Gibbs had initially planned.16 To add to the double-height effect of the space, Edwards intended all four sides of the new Dining Room to be treated with double tiers of recessed arches. Of these arches, five remain embedded along the top of the north wall.17

Proposed plan and elevation for the remodelling of the house at Trewithen

Figure 6.
Thomas Edwards, Proposed plan and elevation for the remodelling of the house at Trewithen, circa 1738. Pen and wash, with later pencil additions, on paper, 36.3 × 41.7 cm. Trewithen (CRO J/2/13).

Digital image courtesy of Rodolfo Acevedo Rodriguez. (All rights reserved)

As part of the construction of the Dining Room block, Edwards reconfigured the newly extended south facade into a nine-bay front, which aligned more closely with Gibbs’s scheme of about 1728. Work on this front probably started in 1738, shortly before the death of Philip Hawkins II.18 The job may have well been undertaken by Abel Coode, a mason whose contract is cited in Philip’s will.19 These alterations were probably carried on until the early 1740s, by which point the north facade had also been remodelled. Evidence for the remodelling of the north front is supported by records of regular payments made to Edwards between 1738 and 1740, which refer to work carried out ‘per Potter’.20 These payments are likely to be related to either the purchase or production of bricks. Close study of the plans produced by Edwards reveals that this facade was reconstructed – that is, more windows were added and reconfigured – in order to mirror the Gibbsean window arrangement on the south elevation. A similar facade treatment, albeit with fewer windows, was given to each of the two proposed pavilions. However, of these two flanking blocks, only the west one was built by the time Thomas Hawkins and his wife Anne Heywood had moved into the house in 1756 or 57.21

Writing in 1757, in an account of his travels across the south-west of England, Thomas Hawkins’s father-in-law, James Heywood, described the pavilion to the west of the house as a ‘handsom brick building wth. sash windows . . . with a very handson Turrit and a vane at the Top’.22 The construction of this block had probably taken place around 1755, as indicated by a detailed study drawn in Edwards’s hand (fig. 7). The second pavilion to the west, which was later built so as to be ‘uniform with the other’, incorporated exactly the same architectural features, including a projecting turret and a bell on top. According to Heywood, this pavilion was intended to replace an earlier stable block, which apparently intercepted the west ‘view of the House’.23 From his account, it is clear that Heywood knew as much about the construction of the stable block as he did about the future works planned for the house. Shortly after visiting Trewithen, he wrote to Thomas Hawkins in January 1758, telling him that while the ‘late Mr Bassets Mr Hoblyns, and Mr Vyvyans, are fine seats yet when you have finish’d your house, I would rather chuse live at Trewithen than at either of those three grand edifices’.24 Heywood, it seems, had high hopes for his son-in-law’s building project. Two months later Heywood wrote again to express his interest in the development of the estate, noting how his son-in-law was ‘deeply engaged in stone, bricks and mortar’, although he added, ‘I wish you your health & favourable weather to get rid of them’.25 By this point, Heywood was conscious of the fact that his daughter Anne was once more ‘with child’ and he was evidently keen to see the building works complete.23

Proposal for an office block at Trewithen

Figure 7.
Thomas Edwards, Proposal for an office block at Trewithen, circa 1750. Pen with later pencil additions on paper, 48 × 34.8 cm. Trewithen (CRO J/2/50/5).

Digital image courtesy of Rodolfo Acevedo Rodriguez. (All rights reserved)

The next stage in the development of Trewithen involved the construction of a new east range. Building works on this section took place between 1757, when ‘a great quantity of [Pentewan] stones’ were ‘being ready cut and prepared’, and 1759, when this part of the house had been ‘closed in’.27 The design of the new range, which was envisaged by Heywood as being in the ‘modern taste with bow windows’, echoed the design of the east wing at Werrington Park near Launceston, Devon, which was built in the 1730s.28 As with Werrington Park, the design for Trewithen’s new east wing was produced by Edwards (fig. 8). Shortly after Edwards submitted his drawings, Thomas Hawkins requested William Borlase, his old tutor and family friend, to suggest changes to the design. It appears that after a visit to Trewithen, Hawkins had issued Borlase with a set of ‘Designs’ for the proposed east range, along with a drawing of the ‘South front’, which Borlase presumably needed in order to produce his engraving of the south prospect of the house.29 As a geologist, antiquarian and someone with a natural eye for architecture, Borlase, in considering Edwards’s design for the new front, suggested ‘contracting the underwindows’ and ‘making the Chamber windows square’.30 In his letter to Hawkins, Borlase also commented on the ‘clumsy effect’ of the ‘Rustick’ motifs round the central opening, and at the same time conveyed his personal preference for ample windows and for ‘the Sun’. All these comments were evidently approved by Hawkins, for Edwards subsequently produced a final iteration of the east elevation with generous openings and a simple, square-headed doorway with a keystone on top (fig. 9).31 Perhaps as a consequence of these deliberations, construction on the east front did not begin until the summer of 1758, months later than Thomas Hawkins had intended. Impatient to commence the work, Hawkins blamed the delay on Edwards, and in a reply to Borlase, stated, ‘The architect, as you call him . . . has scarcely begun to build’.32 It comes as no surprise that Edwards’s name disappeared from the account books of Trewithen by the time the remaining works around the house had been completed in 1761.33

Two proposals for the east range of the house at Trewithen

Figure 8.
Thomas Edwards, Two proposals for the east range of the house at Trewithen, circa 1757. Pen and pencil on paper, 39.2 × 25.2 cm. Trewithen (CRO J/2/41/2).

Digital image courtesy of Rodolfo Acevedo Rodriguez. (All rights reserved)

'East Front' (proposal for the east range of the house at Trewithen)

Figure 9.
Thomas Edwards, 'East Front' (proposal for the east range of the house at Trewithen), circa 1757. Pen and wash on paper, 49 × 37 cm. Trewithen (CRO J/2/34).

Digital image courtesy of Rodolfo Acevedo Rodriguez. (All rights reserved)

Following the departure of Thomas Edwards, Thomas Hawkins reconsidered the design of his country seat once more and commissioned Robert Taylor (1714–1788) and Matthew Brettingham the Elder (1699–1769) to pull together two proposals to modernise Trewithen.34 Thomas may well have been aware that Taylor and Brettingham had their own particular ways of approaching architectural design, and therefore requested separate proposals from them. From Brettingham he received an ambitious scheme to reconstruct the main fronts of the house, as well as plans to relocate the service courtyard and the two office blocks.35 From Taylor, in contrast, Thomas received a set of orthographic drawings focused on the Dining Room (fig. 10), the Drawing Room (fig. 11) and the ‘Best staircase’ (fig. 12). Knowing that alterations to the interior would cause far less disruption, Thomas opted for Taylor’s scheme, and works began in 1763. At first, Taylor filled in the recessed arches that occupied the walls of the Dining Room built by Edwards around 1738. Taylor subsequently introduced arcaded screens to the east and west of the room, which comprised semi-circular arches in the Roman manner and groin-vaulted ceilings behind. These arcades were decorated with stucco and scagliola so as to emphasise the division between the extremities of the room and the principal dining area. To add to his predecessor’s neo-Palladian scheme, Taylor introduced stucco decorations around the fireplace wall and the chimneypiece. These Rococo arabesques, together with the stucco mantelpiece, had featured earlier in some of Taylor’s designs, but were evidently adapted here to fit within the limitations of the space.36 The two recessed panels on either side of the mantelpiece, for example, appear to have been tailored in order to fit a pair of portraits depicting Philip Hawkins II (TN33) and his wife Elizabeth Ludlow (TN31).

Proposal for the remodelling of the dining room at Trewithen

Figure 10.
Sir Robert Taylor, Proposal for the remodelling of the dining room at Trewithen, circa 1760. Pen and wash on paper, 52.5 × 37.3 cm. Trewithen (CRO J/2/29).

Digital image courtesy of Rodolfo Acevedo Rodriguez. (All rights reserved)

Proposal for the remodelling of the drawing room at Trewithen

Figure 11.
Sir Robert Taylor, Proposal for the remodelling of the drawing room at Trewithen, circa 1760. Pen and wash on paper, 48 × 36.4 cm. Trewithen (CRO J/2/37).

Digital image courtesy of Rodolfo Acevedo Rodriguez. (All rights reserved)

Proposal for the remodelling of the staircase at Trewithen

Figure 12.
Sir Robert Taylor, Proposal for the remodelling of the staircase at Trewithen, circa 1760. Pen and wash on paper, 65.7 × 50 cm. Trewithen (CRO J/2/33).

Digital image courtesy of Rodolfo Acevedo Rodriguez. (All rights reserved)

In contrast to his remodelling of the Dining Room, Taylor’s approach to the interior of the Drawing Room respected much of the existing architectural features designed by Edwards. Here Taylor appears to have been less preoccupied about the proportion and arrangement of the doors and windows than about the painting and panelling schemes. Indeed, his proposal for the Drawing Room, besides specifying the colour of the room, served as a visual instruction of where the new architraves, skirtings and cornices should be mounted (J/2/37). The drawing for the stair-hall, in contrast, is a much more radical proposal by the sculptor and master mason. With this drawing, Taylor revealed his taste for oval-shaped details, rounded wall surfaces and decorative plasterwork. He also made clear his intention to replace Edwards’s Chinese Chippendale balustrade on the services side with a shorter corkscrew staircase. This arrangement created a passage that connected the two sets of stairs at mezzanine level. In the end, Edwards’s balustrade was not replaced but the bottom flight of stairs was removed on the services side. At this point it is worth noting that before the Hawkins family arrived at Trewithen, the staircase in the house was not situated near this part of the building. Therefore, Taylor’s attempt to recreate a double set of stairs in this position should be seen as a remarkable example of architectural adaptation. For instance, the measures taken to introduce these sets of stairs are particularly clear at roof level, where there is evidence to infer that the entire service staircase, along with the skylight, was shifted westwards to make space for the more prominent two-flight stair. Building works in this section probably continued until 1766, when Thomas died as a result of an inoculation against smallpox.37

When Thomas’s son Christopher (1758–1829) inherited Trewithen, the internal works on the house were practically complete, as evidenced from the probate inventory of 1768, which suggests that most rooms were fully decorated and furnished by this date.38 Christopher ‘Kit’ Hawkins, although he continued to accumulate property and land, appears to have done little to further enhance Trewithen. Instead, he focused his attention on the garden and the wider estate, commissioning William Blogg (1767–1815) and Joseph Gandy (1771–1843) to produce designs for several cottages, as well as a pair of gate lodges in 1807 (fig. 13).39

Proposal for two gate lodges and a gate at Trewithen

Figure 13.
Joseph Gandy, Proposal for two gate lodges and a gate at Trewithen, 1807. Pen and wash on paper, 31 × 43.8 cm. Trewithen (CRO J/2/14).

Digital image courtesy of Rodolfo Acevedo Rodriguez. (All rights reserved)

After Sir Christopher’s death in 1829, Trewithen passed onto the hands of his brother, John Hawkins, who had previously purchased Bignor Park in Sussex in 1806. When John died in 1841, his son Christopher (C. H. T.) Hawkins (1820–1903) inherited both Bignor Park and Trewithen, but decided to settle in Sussex. Since C. H. T. Hawkins died without issue in 1903, the estate of Trewithen passed briefly to John Heywood Johnstone, who died within a year of his inheritance. For the first half of the twentieth century, Trewithen remained in the hands of his son, George Johnstone (1882–1960), during whose ownership the gardens were restored. The property passed to Johnstone’s daughter, Elizabeth, and remained in her possession until 1966, when her nephew Michael Galsworthy inherited the house and estate.

By looking closely at the exterior and interior of Trewithen we can understand how different sections of the house were constructed to convert the original, late seventeenth-century, H-shaped house into a strictly symmetrical, yet completely functional, Palladian country house (figs 14–16). An examination of the surviving records has corroborated this information, and demonstrated how the work of Edwards, Brettingham and Taylor adhered to the principles of the original scheme devised around 1728. Indeed, the fact that Gibbs’s plans remained in the house until the twentieth century suggests that his designs retained an architectural value in the eyes of Trewithen’s successive owners. From this fact we learn that the development of Trewithen depended just as much on the working practice of individual architects as it did on the personal preferences of building patrons or, as was often the case, on the interests of their friends and relatives. It is for this reason that we can regard Trewithen as a piece of architecture with greater cultural import than its physical structure alone suggests.

  • Dining Room

    Figure 14.

    Dining Room, Trewithen House.

    Digital image courtesy of Rodolfo Acevedo Rodriguez. (All rights reserved)

  • Drawing Room

    Figure 15.

    Drawing Room, Trewithen House.

    Digital image courtesy of Rodolfo Acevedo Rodriguez. (All rights reserved)

  • Best Parlour

    Figure 16.

    Best Parlour, Trewithen House.

    Digital image courtesy of Rodolfo Acevedo Rodriguez. (All rights reserved)


  • Rodolfo Acevedo Rodriguez

    Rodolfo Acevedo Rodríguez is an artist, architect and architectural historian with an interest in the recording and interpretation of historic buildings. He is a practicing member of The Royal Institute of British Architects, an affiliate member of The Royal Society of Painter-Printmakers and a fellow of The Society of Antiquaries. Between 2016 and 2020, he carried out research on Boughton House, Doddington Hall, Petworth House, Thornton Abbey Gatehouse, Trewithen House, Wentworth Woodhouse and West Wycombe House. A contributor of ‘Art & The Country House’, Rodolfo has written a number of essays and transcriptions of architectural records.


  1. Trewithen estate is situated half a mile east of the village of Probus and just over two miles west of Grampound: Historic England, ‘Trewithen, Probus’, ed. 2001, (accessed 1 March 2018).

  2. Two surviving mid-18th-century drawings depict the plan of the west office block and the location of the stables on the east side of the courtyard: CRO J/2/43/8 and J/2/48/8.

  3. By 1728, Trewithen had long served as the home of the Williams family from Devon: Paul Holden, ‘Trewithen, near Truro in Cornwall’, Country Life, 29 May 2013, p. 80.

  4. According to Thomas Tonkin, Williams went as far as procuring ‘a peal of bells’ for Kenwyn church for the purposes of entertaining the inhabitants of Truro: Davies Gilbert, The Parochial History of Cornwall. Founded on the Manuscript Histories of Mr. Hals and Mr. Tonkin; with Additions and Various Appendices, London: J. B. Nicholas and Son, 1838, p. 367.

  5. R. W. Brunskill, Traditional Buildings of Britain: An Introduction to Vernacular Architecture, London: Gollancz, 1992, p. 43.

  6. This information is based on Tonkin’s account of Courtney Williams: Gilbert, 1838, p. 367.

  7. Based on contextual information, 1728 has been more widely accepted as the actual date of purchase: Gilbert, 1838, p. 356; ‘Abstract of the Title of Trewithen’, CRO J/88. Previous research had ascertained 1715 as the date of purchase: ‘Trewithen, Probus’, (accessed 1 March 2018).

  8. James Gibbs, A Book of Architecture, containing Designs of Buildings and Ornaments, London: 1728; H. M. Colvin, A Biographical Dictionary of British Architects 1600–1840, 4th edn, New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 2008, p. 417.

  9. The Duke of Argyll and Robert Harley, the second Earl of Oxford, were two among Gibbs’s influential patrons: Colvin, 2008, p. 417.

  10. Gibbs’s proposal for Antony House involved alterations to the existing forecourt wings: Terry Friedman, James Gibbs, New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 1984, p. 133; Gibbs, 1728, pl. 57.

  11. The set of eight drawings, endorsed ‘Phillip Hawkins’, have been attributed to James Gibbs on the basis of the hand: Colvin, 2008, p. 425; CRO J/2/1–8.

  12. Despite having written to William Borlase to express his misgivings about entering the ‘Ecclesiastical Trap’, Philip Hawkins II married Elizabeth Ludlow of London in 1724: quoted in Pamela Dodds, ‘The Hawkins of Trewithen and Thomas Edwards of Greenwich’, Journal of the Royal Institution of Cornwall, n.s. 2, vol. 3, part 2,1999, p. 44.

  13. The plan drawing is the earliest visual record of the building: CRO J/2/43/6.

  14. The account book of John Basset’s steward, Samuel Blight, records a payment of £600 made to ‘Mr. Thomas Edwards’ in 1736: CRO AD 894/7/2. The sum paid to Edwards by Basset was probably an advance for his services at Tehidy: Dodds, 1999, p. 47.

  15. It is understood that Gibbs had previously engaged Edwards to work on the enlargement of Bailies House in Buckinghamshire: Dodds, 1999, p. 47.

  16. In his scheme of c.1728, Gibbs had proposed introducing a service and a best staircase on the south-central block of the house: CRO J/2/1.

  17. The orthographic drawing of the Dining Room, dated c.1740, appears to be in Edwards’s hand: CRO J/2/36; I am grateful to Michael Galsworthy for pointing out the remains of the arches inside the house.

  18. Philip Hawkins II died on 30 August 1738: Dodds, 1999, p. 48.

  19. ‘And whereas I have contracted with Abel Coode mason for or concerning the Building of a new front to Trewithen I direct and impower my executor to carry the said Contract into execution’, Will of Phil. Hawkins, Trewithen, esq. (copy): CRO CY/872, (accessed 1 March 2018).

  20. The records may relate to payments made to the brick mason: ‘Account book 1738–1746 For the Building at Trewithen’: CRO J/460.

  21. Several account books and receipts indicate renewed building activity at Trewithen between 1755 and 1758: CRO J/774, 775, 777 and 778; Dodds, 1999, p. 55.

  22. James Heywood, ‘A Diary of my Journey to the West of England 1757’, Trewithen, MS, ff. 19–20.

  23. Ibid.

  24. James Heywood to Thomas Hawkins, 21 January 1758, ‘Extracts from Letters written by James Heywood Esq to his correspondents’, Trewithen, MS transcription. The Basset seat was Tehidy; Robert Hoblyn’s house, which he had recently erected, was Nanswhyden at St Columb; the Vyvyan seat was Trelowarren.

  25. James Heywood to Thomas Hawkins, 21 March 1758, ibid.

  26. Ibid.

  27. Demolition of the existing east range had already been planned by 1757: Heywood, 1757, f. 19; writing on 3 March 1759, Heywood congratulated Thomas Hawkins on the near completion of the construction: ibid.

  28. Werrington Park was the seat of William Borlase’s friend Sir William Morice: Dodds, 1999, p. 56; Nikolaus Pevsner and Bridget Cherry, The Buildings of England: Devon, London: Penguin Books, 1991, p. 896.

  29. The ‘South elevation’ of Trewithen was published by William Borlase in his The Natural History of Cornwall, Oxford: W. Jackson, 1758, pl. 23.

  30. Letter from William Borlase to Thomas Hawkins, inscribed ‘Ludgvan, 8ber 27, 1756’: CRO J/T/14/169.

  31. Drawing of the east elevation has been attributed to Thomas Edwards on the basis of the hand: Dodds, 1999, p. 60; CRO J/2/34.

  32. Thomas Hawkins to William Borlase, 30 January 1758: ‘The architect as you call him is I know in good health . . . but you certainly jest when you talk about fine sherry to a person who has scarcely begun to build’: quoted in Dodds, 1999, p. 56; Morrab Library, Letters to William Borlase, vol. 5, f. 228.

  33. Final payment to Thomas Edwards was made on 6 October 1761: CRO J/454; Holden, 2013, p. 82.

  34. The sequential numbering of Brettingham’s and Taylor’s drawings suggests that both architects worked on the project at the same time; Brettingham’s son, Matthew Brettingham the Younger (1725–1803), may also have been involved on the commission or Trewithen; Holden, 2013, pp. 82–3.

  35. For a more in-depth interpretation of Brettingham’s plans see Paul Holden, ‘Trewithen and the Brettingham Plans’, The Georgian Group Journal, vol. 21, 2011, pp. 58–72. Drawings which are presently attributed to Brettingham take the form of initial sketches as well as final renditions: CRO J/2/9, 11 and 12, J/2/35 and J/2/39/1–4.

  36. Taylor Institution, Oxford: Sir R. Taylor’s Designs’, 1750s? Bound MS, ARCH.TAY.2.

  37. Holden, 2013, p. 84.

  38. Inventory of household goods and furniture, Trewithen, Probus, 31 December 1768: CRO J/1/1691.

  39. William Blogg’s designs for some cottages are dated 1785, while Joseph Gandy’s drawings for a pair of gate lodges are dated 1807: Holden, 2011, p. 69.



by Rodolfo Acevedo Rodriguez
20 November 2020
House Essay
CC BY-NC International 4.0
Cite as
Rodolfo Acevedo Rodriguez, "Trewithen House and the Hawkins Family: A Building History", Art and the Country House,