History of Burshill manor Poughill Cornwall

   Burshill Manor - Poughill in North Cornwall 

Poughill's Historical Listed Buildings







 Poughill, north Cornwall has two existing manor houses, the oldest and most intriguing though has to be Burshill Manor. An ancient Grade II listed medieval building that is recorded as being built around the same time as another large building to the north of Poughill at Crabbe in 1378.

Though the current property is described as being from the early part of the 16th. century, it is clearly raised on much older foundations and has an intriguing history. Not least, its exceptionally close proximity to the recorded site of the Battle of Stamford hill, (Or battle of Stratton as it is also known) being physically a matter of a few hundred yards away as the crow flies with access to the site direct;y  along the private lane leading from Poughill itself and to Stamford hill Lane.


 In the Book of Cornwall (1906) by S. Baring Gould, he tells us that;

"In Poughill, close to Bude, old Broom Hill, now turned into cottages, has a good Elizabethan ceiling. It was here that Sir Bevil Grenville slept the night before the battle of Stamford Hill."


  I am not sure about the reliability of this account however, claiming that this exceptionally famous and moreso, valuable Royalist commander would risk his life in this way? After all, five thousand of the enemy, armed to the teath Parliamentarians were camped on the top of the hill only a little way down the private driveway that leads from the manor to Stamford Hill itself. As the crow flies about 350 yards ?


 However it is a good tale to dine out on and as there are similar stories told of Grenville sleeping at Pudners Cottage that night in Poughill as well and that other accounts claim he was at Ebbingford Manor in Bude, where it would be far, far safer for him where his own troops were camped the night before battle, I suspect the stories have gone down well with visitors who have in actual fact, slept within the walls of Burshill manor over the centries.


Burshill Manor

It is also recorded that;

"At Burshill House are preserved several articles of costly furniture that once enriched the mansion at Stowe,

among which is a Golden bed in which Charles I slept during his stay at the place and an armchair."



 The complex of buildings at Burshill Manor lies at the eastern end of the village of Poughill, tucked away down the long private footpath and roadway. It's an ancient lane which cuts all the way over to Stamford Hill from the village of Poughill itself. Starting where it joins Poughill Road, opposite the Pub and continues past the manor house to the old battlefield road and continues on, giving access to Poughills old mill. It is still an unmade track from the manor house and beyond to Stamford Hill today.

Successively inherited, Burshill was the property of 16 members of one family called John Bryant before being sold into other ownerships.


 If you read any of the histories of Poughill, they say much the same about Burshill Manor;
“Burshill Manor, an open hall house of cob and stone rubble, dating to the late medieval era,” So at this point it would be useful to understand exactly what the term 'open hall' meant.






 An Open Hall House is a hand hewn timber framed house, open from floor to ceiling rafters and from wall to wall with no second story. It was traditionally made up of three separate parts, with stone in filled between the beams as in the illustrations above. The hall was the communal area, within which people met, ate and socialised. There was then the addition of two compartments either side of the open hall house to accommodate the service rooms, kitchens and sculeries and living quarters, forming a three part design,

 Following on building trends from Saxon times, where are to be found the roots of the village of Poughill, Burshill would have once had a very large single storey 'hall' at its own heart. In other words the main living-room, which was open right up to the roof with a big open fire and chimney. The floor, would have been made of traditionally compacted earth, but by the time this newer improved house was built, it would have had large slate flagstones.

Though these photographs above, are not of Burshill Manor, they serve well to illustrate how the building structure was made.



 Burshill manor over time was developed, new wings attached built of stone and cob and it had a ceiling added, splitting the original single story open hall room. Then domestic ranges of buildings, each two storeys high were attached to either one, or both ends of the hall.   One called the solar, or the private room for the lord and his family, was usually on the first floor. The buttery, or food storage area, appeared between the kitchens and the main hall and above the buttery were guest rooms.


The old map of Poughill from about 1880, shows an extensive array of outbuildings around Burshill Manot, all built for purpose.

If you follow the private lane from the manor to the bottom right on the map, you will see it joins Stamford Hill Lane and just over the road is a marked foot path, straigt onto the battlefield site itself


Outbuilding at Burshill manor  
Outbuilding at Burshill manor

Cob and stone slate roofed outbuilding at Burshill manor

Burshill Manor outbuilding, a medieval open hall manor house
Rear entrance to garden of Burshill manor  

The adjacent property to Burshill manor, once the gardeners

cottage, has the Manors now refurbished original laundry in its garden


Burshill Manor - Aerial photographs



 The extensive array of functional outbuildings surrounding the medieval property at Burshill as seen above, suggests a large degree of self provision and certainly agriculture. A Piggery, cowsheds, stables, coach house and barns still exist, at least two of which allowed for the much later development of separate properties on the private lane which are homes today. One, the cowsheds and another the gardeners cottage and laundery.

 Three large attached thatched houses, now grade I I listed buildings, Burshill Cottage, Easterly Cottage and Mandalay, all built in the early 18th century on Poughill road, to the right of Burshill Manors entrance road, were erected and owned by the Burshill estate to house its servants.


Easterly - Mandalay and Burshill cottage today

  ^ This is a very early photo of Burshill Cottages on Poughill Road known as Mandalay, Easterly and Burshill Cottage today. Immediately in front of the old stable block with the arched windows is the entrance way to Burshill manor itself.




Next Page - Broomhill Medieval Manor-

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