Sunday, July 17, 2011
One of the locations in the book I'm currently working on is the village of Perranarworthal. During the late C17th and early C18th it was a bustling and important place. Perran Foundry, built by the Fox family and partners was sited beside the river, then deep enough then for ships importing coal, timber and iron ore, to sail right up to jetties just a few yards from the Norway Inn. Built in 1829-30, the inn was an important coaching stop on the Truro - Falmouth road.
A short distance along the road towards Carnon Downs is Tullimaar House. Secluded and invisible from the road it was built in 1828 for Benjamin Sampson who was originally a mine carpenter. Born in 1770 he held the post of Manager at Perran Foundry and became a shareholder. He also founded the gunpowder works at Kennal Vale, and his investment in Tresavean Mine made him a fortune. He lived at Tullimaar until his death in 1840. Since then the house has been the home of many distinguished residents including Sarah Parkin, former mistress to George III, who spent her last years there.
More recently Tullimaar was occupied by American troops during the latter part of World War II and General Dwight D. Eisenhower stayed at the house for two weeks in the run-up to D-Day in 1944.
Princess Marthe Bibesco, the Franco-Romanian writer, bought the house in 1957 and lived there until 1973. From 1985 until his death in 1993 the house was home to Nobel Prize-winning novelist Sir William Golding. If only walls could talk!