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A Grade II* Listed Building in Sithney, Cornwall

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Latitude: 50.1255 / 50°7'31"N

Longitude: -5.2828 / 5°16'57"W

OS Eastings: 165459

OS Northings: 30211

OS Grid: SW654302

Mapcode National: GBR Z0.Z7C3

Mapcode Global: VH133.D32L

Entry Name: Truthall

Listing Date: 10 July 1957

Last Amended: 26 August 1987

Grade: II*

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1142177

English Heritage Legacy ID: 65945

Location: Sithney, Cornwall, TR13

County: Cornwall

Civil Parish: Sithney

Traditional County: Cornwall

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Cornwall

Church of England Parish: Sithney

Church of England Diocese: Truro

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Listing Text


5/267 Truthall (formerly listed as
- Truthall Manor House)

Manor house built in at least 3 phases. Circa late C15, circa late C16 and 1642,
part rebuilt and extended circa late C19 (separate item Truthall House qv.). The C17
part was built for the Arundell family. Granite rubble walls, dressed granite
quoins, doorways, windows and other architectural features, the C15 range is lime-
washed at the front. The roofs are mostly scantle slate with many C17 or earlier
handmade crested clay ridge tiles. Gable ends except where the lower end of the C15
range, right, returns to link with parallel C16 range producing a half hip and an
outshut hip behind. C16 granite rubble chimney, right, over gable end of the C16
range and 2 granite ashlar chimneys serving the 1642 range, one over a gabled lateral
stack to the right hand wall and one over the rear (south) gable end. There is a
lateral external chimney breast at the rear of the C15 hall, left, and another
lateral external chimney breast projecting from the left hand wall of the C17 range
where it joins the C19 house (Truthall House, qv.).
Plan: an overall irregular U-shaped plan including the C19 range (separate item), and
the U closed by a courtyard wall with central entrance (also separate item) along the
east side. At either side at right angles to the front of the C15 range are farm
buildings (2 separate items), the left hand one joins at the front left hand corner
of the C15 hall, left, and the other range is detached, but both ranges may be on the
site of a former late medieval courtyard complex comprising service ranges and farm
buildings. The C15 range is remakable in that it survives with a 4-bay hall still
open to the roof with its C15 smoke-blackened timbers; (the rear lateral fireplace is
probably late C16 or early C17) there is a wide through passage to the right of the
hall with a rubble cross wall at either side, the right hand cross wall thicker
(approximately 2' in first floor space where it rises at the apex of the roof) and
has a blocked doorway with a pointed arched head; to the right is the lower end room
(at lower level) which is unheated: there is an unheated chamber over the entry and
partly jettied over the hall (the jetty carried on a cross beam) and a heated chamber
over the lower end, its fireplace breast external to first floor only and carried on
granite corbels. This room could have been a kind of solar. At the left hand side
of the hall the gable end wall is very thick and may be the original outer extent of
the building, however the only visible corner (rear right) is not very well bonded
and lacks proper quoins so possibly there was an inner room left of the hall and
later extended with a service range at the front, now the site of a farm building
(separate item). A wide doorway was cut in the gable end, circa late C19. Behind
the lower end room, right, is an external stair, partly roofed by an outshut and
leading to a 1 room plan 2-storey C16 wing parallel to the C15 range clasping its
rear right-hand corner and extending to the right (west); the 'front' of this wing
was mostly rebuilt in the C19, but the rear has a 3-light first floor window facing
into the courtyard. This first floor room is heated by a gable end fireplace (mostly
blocked). In 1642 the house was greatly extended at the right and left on the site
of the C19 house enclosing the surviving cobbled courtyard. The intention was
clearly to make the left-hand (east) side of the C17 range (with a datestone over the
central doorway) the new front and containing the principal rooms and to retain the
earlier parts as a service wing, however the function of the 2 ground floor rooms
(now 3) seems to have been for a kitchen, front, and buttery, rear (south). There is
no stair, perhaps the external stair was the only one, or perhaps there was a stair
in the range rebuilt in the C19. The hall/kitchen (now 2 rooms) has a 3-light window
on either side of the doorway, left, (the doorway leads straight into the room) on
the right (west) is a large fireplace with integral hall window bay projection with
remains of a 2 light window, adjoining the hall is an apparently unheated inner room
with a 3-light window, now a pantry, and on its left a passage linking the C17 house
to the C19 house. There is a later stone lateral stack (now blocked) on the left of
what is now a middle room, partly blocking the original 3-light window and strong
evidence that the ground floor has been subdivided.
The first floor rooms are clearly intended to be the principal rooms: above the
hall/kitchen is a large chamber which, like the hall/kitchen has a lateral fireplace
(partly blocked) and an integral 'hall' window bay with a 4-light window, and
overlooking the courtyard (above the hall/kitchen doorway and datestone) another 4-
light window (now divided from the room by a C18 partition to make a passage. The
heated room beyond has a 3-light window in the right hand (west) wall and a 2-light
window in the gable end on the right of the fireplace, the left hand wall adjoins the
C19 part of the house.
1 storey and 2 storey north front of the C15 range: 2 original C15 hall windows left
of the doorway and 1 original ground floor/basement window on the right; later or
altered first floor windows: 1 over the doorway partly dormered and 1 slightly
dormered midway to the wall right of the doorway. The doorway has a wide chamfer
with a rebate half way in a 4-centred arched head with sunken spandrels and a square
hoodmould possibly slightly later than the front. The door is ledged probably C18.
The freestone (possibly Beerstone) hall windows are probably an unique type in a
domestic building in Cornwall: each tall window has 2 lights and a transom midway the
lights are cinquefoil headed and have grooves for former leaded glazing; over each
window is a slender square-headed label. The window to the lower end room has 3
lights with heavy mullions between, holes between the mullions for former stanchions,
and rebates possibly for removeable shutters. The window over the doorway is a C19
12-pane horizontal sliding sash and the window to the right is a circa early C20 9-
pane horned sash.
At the rear of the through passage is a chamfered doorway with a 4-centred arched
head, probably circa late C16 and evidence of rebuilt rubble masonry around it.
Above the doorway and to the right is a C15 chamfered granite wall plate or eaves
cornice; under the cornice some pigeon holes; right of the doorway is a probably C17
chimney breast with evidence of rebuilt masonry at either side; right of the chimney
breast above head level is a projecting landing stone for pigeons and 2 more pigeon
holes above under the eaves, and right of this is a later window opening, probably
C19 with a 4-pane horned sash. The lower end room, left, is obscured by the C16 wing
and a flight of granite steps partly roofed in. At the far left, adjoining the C17
range, is a doorway with a reused chamfered lintel over and from within this doorway
with a reused chamfered lintel over and from within this doorway, which forms a porch
under the first floor room, can be seen another doorway leading into the rear of the
lower end room. This doorway is probably a former window and has a moulded jambstone
on its right. Above the outer doorway is a C16 3-light mullioned window with hollow
chamfers and rebates for glazing and a square hoodmould over.
At the left-hand gable end of the C15 hall is a wide doorway, right, and mounting
block left. The doorway is probably C19 or a C19 widening of an older, possibly
original, doorway. High up to the left is a squint window opening, piercing the wall
at an angle, perhaps even a device for looking into the hall from the chamber over
an inner room, if such a room ever existed.
At the right hand end of the hall range is a ground floor window, left, probably
later cut with a C19 12-pane 2-light casement; above, partly in the gable is a
blocked window, possibly original or C16 contemporary with the corbelled out chimney
breast towards the angle with the C16 wing.
The front of this C16 wing was mostly rebuilt in the C19 and has a doorway, middle,
and window over. The right hand gable end has a window at ground floor right and to
the first floor above, both with the original outer frames and stooling for 1 central
mullion, and at ground floor left a small single light chamfered window. The line of
the C17 range projects slightly from towards the right of this gable end (see plan
description) the windows on this side (west) of the C17 range are complete with their
mullions except for the kitchen window, originally a 2-light window now with a circa
early C19 16-pane hornless sash. On the left of the chimney breast is a small
blocked window perhaps serving a former stair.
The east wall (entrance front) of the C17 range (see plan description) has a mid-
floor continuous hoodmould string. The chamfered doorway is square-headed and
rebated internally for a door (now a 4-panel door). Over the doorway carved in
relief on a granite plaque is the inscription: 1642 and IA over MA. The windows are
complete with chamfered mullions and are fitted with C19 or later casements.
Originally probably a symmetrical front; a chimney breast, left obscures the left
hand light of the ground floor left-hand window.
There is a 2-light mullioned window in the rear (south) gable end (see plan
Interior : the C15 hall has a remarkable arch-braced roof structure with reduced
principals over the arched collars. The lower bracing is really in the form of a
jointed cruck slip-tenoned to the under side of the principal rafter and side pegged.
The upper bracing is jointed in a similar way both to the principal rafter and to the
underside of the collar. The centre of the arch is another piece fo timber. All the
bracing is chamfered. The original lower purlins do not survive but the mortices
just below collar level indicate former threaded purlins. The square-set purlins
above the collars are clasped between 3 pieces of timber on each truss: a bird's-
mouth joint at the top of the principal rafter, the reduced upper principal rafter
and a fat inner vertical strut. The ridge purlin does not survive, nor do 2 of the
apices but 1 apex appears to be morticed together. All the original oak is smoke-
blackened, proving that there was originally an open hearth; the deposit of soot from
the wood fire is heavier at the middle and lower end of the hall (right). The floor
has been raised but still follows the slope of the land. The large granite fireplace
is square headed and hollow chamfered. The screen wall at the lower end of the hall
and the associated timberwork of the floors, jetty and partition above are clearly
very old, but not original. There is now no access from the through passage to the
lower end but there are 2 blocked oepnings including a doorway with a pointed arch
(perhaps in situ or reused from the front of the passage). The lower end room has a
plain plaster ceiling. The roof structure of the chamber above is mostly hidden and
the parts that can be seen are possibly C18.
In the C17 part of the house the features are fairly simple or hidden. The large
hall fireplace is chamfered. In the chamber above is the most interesting surviving
feature : a deeply coved C17 plaster ceiling with moulded upper and lower cornices.
The room now has a passage at one side but the ceiling continues over. The doors are
mostly C18 with fielded panels and HL hinges. Between the C16 wing and the C17 range
on the first floor is a chamfered granite doorway. The roof structures over the C16
wing and the C17 range were not accessible at the time of the survey but are probably
Truthall is mentioned in the Domesday book. John de Truthall represented Helston in
parliament in 1326. After the Reformation Truthall was occupied by the Nance family
one of whom also represented Helston in parliament 1553, in 1557 transferred to Sir
John Arundel.
Truthall is one of the most interesting early houses in Cornwall, remarkable for its
survival still with an open hall, and extended in a most interesting way in both the
C16 and the C17. Arguably the very best features are the C15 hall windows and the
original hall roof, a remarkable structure using only short lengths of timber. This
is a house which deserves further study, preferably including carefully drawn plan,
elevations and sections. A comparison can be made to Methrose in Luxulyan parish,
also still with an open hall, a similar roof structure and extended in the C16 in a
similar way to how Truthall was extended in the C17.
Sources : The Cornishman's House, by V.M. and F.J. Chesher. Michell and Nicholls
sale document, circa 1984.

Listing NGR: SW6545930211

This text is from the original listing, and may not necessarily reflect the current setting of the building.

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