Main photo for The Estate - The History of Caerhays Castle Book

The Book

The Caerhays Book

Additional Options

Caerhays Castle Book  £10.00 + £7.95 p&p (UK only)

PLEASE NOTE there will be extra postage costs when sending books abroad, please email before purchasing.

An Introduction to its History, Owners & Gardens

by Charles Williams, Peter Herring, Jaimie Parsons, Courtenay Smale and Stephen Tyrrell
edited by Stephen Tyrrell

Caerhays is a romantic castle, historic estate and family home. It is also one of the country’s most important gardens and a centre for botanic research. A new book describes the history of the house, gardens and families that have lived there.

The book examines the history of the area from early times, goes into some quirky by-ways, and includes detailed tours of both house and garden, together with encyclopaedic informa­tion on some plant species. The church, the coast, the countryside, even the sparkling mineral collection, receive attention. In addi­tion to specialist sections and records for gardeners, botanists and plant collectors there are chapters on history, architecture, early settlements, John Nash, paper roofs, Plant hunters, the medieval house, the house, the gardens, and even one which includes a cake recipe from 1700.

The chapters detail some of the personal tragedies and successes at Caerhays which includes the story of the Trevanions, once one of Cornwall ’s great dynasties, before dramatic bank­ruptcy. The work of John Nash and the history of the buildings is examined in detail. It is also the story of the Williams family, who achieved wealth in business and mining activities and then spent it on houses, gardens and their tenants. Caerhays has had, in that family, some of the country’s greatest gardeners and plant breeders. Specialists for 120 years in the plants of SW China , they have created the glory that draws thousands to the gardens each spring: the finest collection of magnolias in Britain and possibly the world.

Caerhays Castle used to be known only as a private and mysterious house. Caerhays was important in the early recording and breeding of plants and seed bought to England by the early plant hunters and adventurers. The collections of camellias, rhodo­denrdrons, magnolia hybrids, oaks, podocarpus and champions trees all set in 120 acres of garden are the astonishing result of 100 years of garden work by one family.

This book is intended to celebrate the life, times, disaster and amusements of Caerhays. It is a wide ranging introduction to a thousand years of history and a century of botanic gardens. It is also an enjoyable read with sufficient variety of content to satisfy any reader. Around 630 colour illustrations include not only plants but also portraits, plans, family trees, and of course lots of magnolias, and camellias, together with the sort of detailed information, in the appendices, which no gardener can be without.

Buy the caerhays book


Preface: Professor Charles Thomas
Foreword: Jim Gardiner
Introduction: Charles Williams

The Landscape and Setting for Caerhays

1 The Settlements around Caerhays
2 The Origin of the name Caerhays
3 Deer Parks and Parkland
4 The Coast at Caerhays
5 The Church

The History of the Building at Caerhays Castle

6 Castle History: Building Phases and Plans
7 A Castle Tour
8 John Nash, The Architect of Caerhays
9 The Curious Case of the Paper Roof

The Families that have owned Caerhays

10 The Trevanion family
11 Trevanion Disaster and Sale
12 The Williams Family
13 John Charles Williams 1861-1939
14 The Williams Mineral Collection
15 George Forrest & Ernest H Wilson, plant hunters
16 Charles Williams and his successors
17 Recipes from Caerhays
18 Caerhays Today

The Gardens of Caerhays

19 The Gardens
20 Garden Walks
21 Appendices (The appendices alone amount to 50 pages)
1-8 Plant Schedules:
9, 10 Historic Schedules:
11 Sources and references
12 Activities and Contacts at Caerhays