Home > Europa > Grossbritannien > Lanhydrock

Lanhydrock House Library

Address. Lanhydrock House, nr. Bodmin, Cornwall PL30 5AD
Telephone. (01208) 7 33 20
Fax. (01208) 7 40 84

Governing body or responsible institution. The National Trust, 36 Queen Anne's Gate, London SW1H 9AS
Function. Formerly a private house, now in the possession of the National Trust.
Subjects. Primarily a collection of English and continental 16th- and 17th-century theological material of both Protestant and Catholic persuasions. Very little new acquisition takes place, although material which has previously been sold from the collection is reacquired when possible.

Access. Open to bona fide scholars, after the provision of suitable references, via written appointment with the Libraries Adviser, The National Trust, 36 Queen Anne's Gate, London SW1H 9AS. The house is open to the public during the months of April to October. Scholars are able to have access to the collection, by appointment and prior arrangement with the house, on closed days and during the winter months.
Special facilities. In exceptional cases, researchers will be permitted to employ a photographer to reproduce unique material for research purposes.
Travel directions. Car: Approximately 5-6 hours drive from London, 2.5 miles SE of Bodmin. Follow signposts from either the A30 (Exeter to Redruth), A38 (Bodmin to Liskeard) or B3268 (Bodmin to Lostwithiel) roads. - Train: Approximately 4 hours from London Paddington. The nearest station is Bodmin Parkway which is 1.75 miles walk by original carriage-drive to the house (signposted in the station5 car park), or 3 miles by road. Bus: First Western National 55, from Bodmin Parkway Station (tel: 01209-71 99 88). - Please consult the current National Trust handbook for the opening times of the restaurant.


1.1 Lanhydrock takes its name from St. Hydrock, who is said to have come to Cornwall as a missionary from Ireland. Until the Dissolution of the monasteries in the 1530s, the estate belonged to the great Priory of St. Petroc at Bodmin. It passed through several hands, until 1620 when it was sold to Sir Richard Robartes (1580-1634), a powerful local merchant. He began building a new house at Lanhydrock in 1630, but died four years later, leaving the work to be completed by his son, John, in 1642. John Robartes was eventually made Earl of Radnor under Charles II. The granite gatehouse is the most significant surviving reminder of their house, which was laid out around four sides of a central courtyard.

1.2 The 1st Earl's descendants did little to the house until 1780, when his great grandson George Hunt removed the east wing to leave the present U-shaped plan. In 1857, George Gilbert Scott was called in to enlarge the house, and the completed remodelling appears in Morris's Seats of the Noblemen and Gentlemen (c. 1860). In 1881 the house suffered a disastrous fire which destroyed all but the north wing, where, luckily the Long Gallery with its superb Jacobean plasterwork ceiling survived. The son of Lord and Lady Robartes, the 6th Viscount Clifden from 1889, rebuilt the house, the work taking just over four years. He introduced a great many Victorian conveniences. The Music Room had been planned as a library during the rebuilding, but the old library was installed in the Long Gallery in new cases, where it remains to this day.

1.3 In 1953 the house and some 400 acres of surrounding park were given to the National Trust by the 7th Viscount Clifden, who continued to live in the house until 1966. His successor gifted to the National Trust much of the woodland in the valley at the foot of the park. On his death in 1974 the title became extinct.

1.4 The greater part of the collection, comprising the old library, is housed in the Long Gallery. In dating the collection, one has the impression that it was put together during the first three quarters of the 17th century, with few later additions by subsequent generations of the family. The library reflects Richard Robartes's high-minded, deeply religious turn of mind, which was inherited by his son, John (1605-1685). It also suggests that the family were more learned and broad-minded in their reading than their puritanism might perhaps suggest.


2.1 The old library comprises c. 3,000 vols, including 25 incunables. Both English and continental imprints are well represented. There are around 450 titles bearing German imprints, though the exact number will become clearer as the cataloguing is completed. There are 4 incunables printed in Germany. All of the German imprints seen to date have Latin texts.

2.2 The majority of the library comprises 16th and 17th-century theological material. It also includes around 150 vols of various 18th-century titles including nine vols of booksale catalogues. Other items of note are the collections of 17th-century English almanacs, political tracts, and religious sermons.

2.3 Among the German imprints are 4 incunables: Two were printed in Nuremberg (Vincentius Ferrerius, Sermones de tempore et de sanctis, Anton Koberger 1492; Johannes Reuchlin, Vocabularius breviloquus, [Anton Koberger] 1494), one in Cologne (Ludolphus de Saxonia, Vita Christi, [Ludwig von Renchen] 1487) and one in Speyer (Petrus de Aquila, Quaestiones super libros Sententiarium, Peter Drach 1480). A number of works of the Zürich Reformers are also represented, e.g. Heinrich Bullinger, Centuria memorabilium in Apocalypsin (Zürich 1599), Rudolph Gwalther, In divi Pauli apostoli Epistolam ad Romanos (Heidelberg 1614), Peter Martyr Vermigli, In epistolam S. Pauli apostoli ad Romanos (Zürich 1599) and Melachim id est; regum libri duo (Heidelberg 1599) as well as works of Jean Calvin, e.g. Quinque libros Mosis ([Heidelberg] 1595).

2.4 The great classical authors, Homer, Livy, Cicero (e.g. Wittenberg 1568) and Pliny, are also present, often in many editions. There is evidence of a revival of interest in the writers of the Middle Ages, the study of many of whom Henry VIII had banned in the 1530s. There are numbers of commentaries on the Sentences of Peter Lombard, by scholars such as John Major and Denis the Carthusian (e.g. Septem psalmorum poenitentialum, Cologne 1532). The works of William of Ockham, Duns Scotus, Thomas Aquinas (e.g. Summa contra Gentiles, Cologne 1501), Theodore de Beza (e.g. Confessio Christianae fidei, Geneva 1595) and Brawardine appear, often in editions of the late 15th and early 16th centuries. The Greek and Latin Fathers are represented comprehensively: Basil and Bernard, Cyprian and Cyril, Clement and Chrysostom (e.g. Tomus primus operum, Basel [1517]), Gregory of Nyssa (e.g. Opera de Graeco in Latinum sermonem conversa, Basel 1571) and Gregory Nazianzen (e.g. Operum tomi tres, Basel 1571).

2.5 The owners also read Bacon, Jan Amos Comenius, Hugo Grotius and Thomas Browne. They were fond of Henry More, the Cambridge Platonist and had a smattering of history: Joannes Magnus's study of the Goths (Gothorum, Suenumque historia, Basel 1558), James Howell on Louis XIII, Strada on the Low Countries. Apart from William Camden (Anglica Normannica, Frankfurt 1603) and Matthew of Westminster (Flores historiarum, London 1570), the library contains travel books, such as a Hakluyt (The principle navigations, London 1598) and Thomas Gage's New survey of the West Indies amongst others. Curiously, there is however, no imaginative literature in this 17th-century collection: no Shakespeare, no Jonson, nor Spenser.

2.6 There are approximately another 1,500-2,000 vols scattered in various locations throughout the rest of the house. These are primarily 19th-century novels, though they also include a small number of volumes of classics which came from the collection at Wimpole Hall, a house which the Robartes have owned for two periods in its history.


The National Trust is currently in the process of computerising the records of all of its library holdings in an electronic national union catalogue. Holdings of ESTC material are being added to the ESTC database on RLIN.

The incunables are recorded in the Incunabula Short Title Catalogue (ISTC).

Card index of printed volumes to 1700

Manuscript catalogue prepared for the Agar-Robartes family, after the fire of 1881, by Mr. Allnutt, Assistant Keeper at Bodleian Library


The National Trust has deposited the archives for the house, which include accounts, with the Cornwall Record Office at County Hall, Station Road, Truro, Cornwall.


Fuggles, John F.: [a section on the library]. In: National Trust guidebook to Lanhydrock House. London 1980 (revised 1988, 1991), pp. 36-38


Keep, David: Works by Zurich reformers in the library at Lanhydrock. In: National Trust year book, 1976/77. London 1977, pp. 73-80

Spencer, Robert: A lute music discovery at Lanhydrock. In: National Trust year book, 1975/76. London 1976, pp. 88-90

See also: A directory of rare book and special collections ... 2nd ed. London 1997, p. 45

October 1999

Yvonne Lewis

Quelle: Handbuch der historischen Buchbestände in Deutschland. Digitalisiert von Günter Kükenshöner.
Hrsg. von Bernhard Fabian. Hildesheim: Olms Neue Medien 2003.