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History

“Cornwall’s Pride”

Tregenna Castle in Cornish meaning the dwelling at the mouth or entrance. It takes its name from the hill on which it stands.

Samuel Stephens began building Tregenna as his home in 1774, the architect being John Wood of Batheaston, near Bath and the master builder Daniel Freeman of Penryn. The original two storey house, built from local granite, contained 12 bedrooms. The turrets were an afterthought and in about 1884 another ten bedrooms were added.

The Stephens family lived at Tregenna for a short time only. John Stephens, Samuel’s eldest son, sold the estate and died unmarried in London in 1888.

After his death, the Bolitho family of Bankers acquired most of the landed property. In 1887, the branch line from St Erth (on the London mainline) to St Ives was opened and the Directors of the Great Western Railway formed a Limited Liability Company to rent Tregenna Castle as a Hotel.

Sir Daniel Gooch and others to a lease of the castle and grounds from the Bolithos for 42 years from 28th March 1878.

GWR purchased the property on 31st January 1895.

The West Wing, consisting of 49 rooms, was started in 1928 and completed in 1932, bringing the total number of rooms to 90.

In 1983, Mr James Sherwood president of Sea Containers Limited, selected Tregenna Castle Hotel when British Transport Hotels Limited decided to sell some of their hotels.

Crown Hotels took ownership in 1984 and continued to run the hotel until 1992 when a consortium of West Midlands businessmen purchased the hotel.

Since then the hotel has witnessed a complete transformation.

‘It was a very pleasant building, grey, square and creeper-clad, that the Squires Stephens built upon the wooded hill that overlooks St Ives. Far enough removed from the little town to exert a kindly supe­riority over it, and yet near enough to join comfortably in the gossip that was always busy in those narrow, up-and-down streets, and in the bustling harbour strewn with the sails of fishing boats, they found themselves kings of an enviable – and perhaps, even then, profitable – castle.’

Great Western Railway Magazine, August 1926.

‘‘The welcome of an Inn’, in Johnson’s mind,  Is much the warmest anyone can find –Of all such places that I ere have tried, Commend me to Tregenna, Cornwall’s pride!’

A guest who wrote in the visitors’ book in 1890.

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