The Cornish Buildings Group in conjunction with Historic England and the National Trust present a two-day conference to explore and discuss the conference question:
What is unique about Cornish buildings?
Our theme will unite aspects of Cornish architectural design with distinctiveness and exclusivity and will compliment the content of our 2015 and 2017 conferences in which we focused on the county’s rich architectural history and contemporary design philosophies.
Conference date: Friday 22 and Saturday 23 March 2019
Conference venue: John Keay Lecture Theatre, St Austell.
Ticket price: £55 available from Paul Holden, Flat, 20 Queen Street, Lostwithiel, Cornwall, PL22 0AD.
Cheques payable to 'Cornish Buildings Group'. If you would like to pay by BACS please email us and we will provide you with the details.
Tickets are available for just one of the days on request.
What is unique about Cornish buildings?
1. Cornwall’s distinctive architectural style
9.30 Patrick Newberry Welcome and introduction
9.45 Paul Holden 50 years of the Cornish Buildings Group
10.15 Peter Herring & Daniel Radcliffe Courtyard Houses to Cornish Units: how the Cornish Cultural Distinctiveness project relates to buildings
2. Castles and ornament
11.15 Jacky Nowakowski Looking for Early Medieval Buildings in Cornwall: recent work at Tintagel Castle, North Cornwall
11.45 Alex Woodcock Atlantic Gothic: the architectural sculpture of the ‘Master of St Endellion’
12.15 Questions for the morning’s speakers
3. Unfinished and lost structures
13.45 Joanna Mattingly Distinctiveness by Omission: whatever happened to Cornwall's chancel arches?
14.15 Richard Hewlings Mount Edgcumbe: the bigger picture
14.45 Questions and break
4. Enlightened Sensibilities in Cornish architecture
15.15 Nick Cahill ‘When I first took a plan of the ground.....’ John Wood the Younger in Cornwall: a universal Enlightenment vision adapted to Penwith particularities?
15.45 Paul Holden 'Beauty will result from the form and correspondence of the whole': Palladianism in Cornwall
16.15 Questions and close
9.30 Paul Holden Welcome
5. Places of worship
9.40 Rhiannon Rhys Non-conformist Chapels in Cornwall – a declining majesty and what can we do to revive it?
10.10 Patrick Newberry A Cathedral for Cornwall: religious revival and reassertion in the nineteenth-century
6. Architects Who shaped the Cornish landscapes
11.10 Samantha Barnes Beacons of the future – beacons in the townscape: an analysis of Silvanus Trevail’s board schools in Cornwall and their link to the vernacular
11.40 Helen Wilson Edmund H. Sedding
12.10 Michael Drury Philip Tilden
7. Characteristic stones and distinctive design
14.15 Phil Collins and Andy King Cornish Elvans: types, uses and future opportunities
14.45 Colin Bristow Cornish Building Stones – a geological perspective
15.15 Matthew Seaber 4A Dennis Road - a case study of a new house in Pasdstow
14.15 TBC Summing up
Pete Herring and Dan Ratcliffe
Courtyard Houses to Cornish Units: how the Cornish Cultural Distinctiveness project relates to buildings
As part of the Devolution Deal struck between central and local government a study of the cultural distinctiveness of the Cornish historic environment was commissioned by Cornwall Council and Historic England.
The study developed a distinctiveness assessment framework and guidance aimed at those planning change and managing conservation. These will help increase understanding of the contribution of the historic environment in forming existing distinctiveness of places in Cornwall and how best that distinctiveness should inform the design of new development.
The approach recognises that cultural distinctiveness is inherently diverse and unbounded. However it also notices that alongside types of buildings and landscapes peculiar to Cornwall, and often to localities within it, are others that add to its mosaic of distinctiveness through their typicality or the degree of resonance with local cultural themes. It therefore identifies connections between the physical heritage of built forms and materials with the less tangible heritages of economy, language, belief and the arts.
This paper will expand on the project’s identification of that which appears to be peculiar to Cornwall, identifying potential dangers in an approach that identifies only what is unique, or attempts to define a fixed palette of distinctive types. It will also introduce some case studies of building types that whilst distributed both within and without Cornwall appear to display particularly distinctive cultural characteristics.
Looking for Early Medieval Buildings in Cornwall: recent work at Tintagel Castle, North Cornwall
Recent excavations funded by English Heritage at Tintagel Castle, North Cornwall, have uncovered a complex of large stone rectangular buildings as well as the surviving walls of an earlier structure. Built upon an artificial terrace, which was partly made up of ‘made ground’ comprising artefact-rich middens, this group of buildings is located on the southern side of the headland – an area on this towering promontory which has not been investigated before. The complex is part of a major settlement at Tintagel dating from the 5th to 9th-11th centuries AD and their investigation contributes new insights into the history and character of settlement at Tintagel at this time of great change ̶ the late Antique world and early medieval period of north-west Europe. The remarkable survival of these stone buildings with their thick masonry walls sheds light into the early medieval building practice in post-Roman and early medieval south western Britain. To date there are no clear parallels for these buildings in the ancient kingdom of Dumnonia. Certain aspects of the architectural build uncovered at Tintagel – coursed masonry walls, stone facing (uprights), rounded internal corners, flagged floors, steps and an annexe add to their distinctive construction, clear investment and substantial impressive build. It will be suggested that some aspects of their building style can be seen in examples of the earlier architecture of roundhouses and oval houses which typically characterise dwelling houses in the later prehistoric and Romano-British periods in Cornwall. Our challenge is to look for the emergence of any distinctive regional architectural style and identify influences which may have formed it and see how these buildings fit into current understanding of settlement in early medieval Cornwall.
Atlantic Gothic: The Architectural Sculpture of the ‘Master of St Endellion’
A number of churches on the north Cornish coast feature late medieval architectural and freestanding sculpture in Catacleuse stone, a distinctive charcoal-black dolerite quarried from Trevose Head near Padstow. These works range from fonts (Padstow, St Merryn) to water stoups (St Endellion, St Issey), to altar-like chest-tombs (St Endellion, St Issey) and an aisle arcade (St Merryn). In Devon the tombs at Hartland and Bampton are likely to belong to this group too. The work is often characterised by a high degree of detail in which repeated geometric motifs (particularly quatrefoils), human and angelic figures, and architectural details such as cusped ogee arches predominate. These sculptural works, which themselves blur the boundaries between sculpture and architecture through their reproduction of architectural detail as decoration, are often attributed to an anonymous stone carver known simply as the ‘Master of St Endellion’.
The sudden appearance of these high-status pieces of stone sculpture has yet to be explained, and we know little about the shadowy ‘Master’ behind them. Here I’d like to make a start at addressing this imbalance. When were they carved? Are they likely to be the work of one person or an entire workshop? Given that the fonts with their angels on top of corner columns reference late Romanesque examples in the county – particularly those of the Bodmin group of the early 1200s – is it possible to discern a distinctive Cornish feel to these works?
'Distinctiveness by omission - whatever happened to Cornwall's chancel arches?'
Cornwall, and parts of West Devon, have a legacy of unfinished churches. The Cornish ideal ̶ the low slung three-hall church with equal-width north and south aisles showing as three gables at the east end and a tower usually two-thirds taller ̶ was rarely achieved. It cost a great deal of money and time and required considerable organisation to expand two-cell, cruciform or narrow-aisled churches in this way. Using a selection of Cornish churches in different stages of unfinishedness (evidence including transeptal pillars, passage squints, lop-sided plans, space left for tower etc.) as well as some completed churches like Altarnun, Bodmin, Camborne, Padstow St Ives and Stratton, this paper will explore the complex, and sometimes erratic evolution of the three-hall church plan and three-stage tower through the removal of almost all chancel arches, most clerestories and many spires. Using dendro-chronology and documentary sources where available, questions will be addressed such as ̶ why was the three-hall plan so popular? When did it begin? And, who paid?. The impact of cheaper, poorer, but now desirable, granite being ‘quarried’ on Bodmin Moor in the first decade of the 16th century, the relative wealth of Cornwall at this time from tin, fish, trade, farming and royal service together with changes brought about by the Reformation will be explored. Throughout the talk reference will be made to other counties, especially Suffolk, where unfinished churches may occur; building work continuing there up to, and even through, the Reformation period.
'Mount Edgcumbe: The Bigger Picture'
Mount Edgcumbe is not very well-known outside Cornwall. Country Life recently helped to sustain this anonymity by refusing to publish an article on it, presumably because its staff do not recognise the national importance of the site. It is true that the house does not fit a national pattern, and is thus perhaps believed to belong only to some local sub-speciality. The superb landscape park is presumably understood as a natural phenomenon, enhanced only by standard, characteristic Georgian buildings.
This lecture will show that Mount Edgcumbe is neither a natural occurrence, nor a provincial curiosity with run-of-the-mill garden ornament, but a major work of art, internationally celebrated in the eighteenth century, and known to connoisseurs like Prince Friedrich Franz of Anhalt-Dessau, and to Enlightened autocrats like the Empress Catherine the Great. The house does not fit a national pattern of Tudor architecture because its unusual features are instead related to the architecture of the French Renaissance court. The garden buildings are far from standard. The English Garden House is not an example of the Egyptian Revival of the early nineteenth century (which would be commonplace); it may predate 1727, and its tapering door may predate the similarly distinctive antique feature at the internationally famous Chiswick House; indeed they may share the same architect. Thompson’s Seat displays a feature prophetic of the international interest in primitive Greek architecture current later in the eighteenth century. And the long demolished Blockhouse Seat illustrates the interest in ‘structural rationalism’ displayed by the more intellectually curious European architects of the Enlightenment.
The partial loss of documentation denies certain attribution of these buildings. But such research as is possible has revealed a few previously unknown facts. The metropolitan architect William Kent designed brass mounts for Lord Edgcumbe’s marble vases. Thomas Edwards ‘of Greenwich’ was certainly paid as ‘the Architect’ by Lord Edgcumbe in 1762, although it is not clear what building he was paid for. The Plymouth architect Thomas Parlby was paid for organising a team of tinners to dig out the rock behind the house in 1766, for improvements on the Edgcumbe estate at Lostwithiel, Mevagissy and Gorran Haven, and, with his partner James Templer, for building Stonehouse Bridge in 1768 and the Home Farm at Empacombe in 1776.
Visual resemblance allows more portentous attributions to be made. There are visual similarities between Queen Adelaide’s Seat on Penlee Point and William Kent’s Praeneste at Rousham; and between the Dripstone at Barn Pool, and Kent’s Hermitage at Richmond.
The Mount Edgcumbe gardener Thomas Hull was the brother of William Hull, gardener at Waldershare Park, Kent, where the most prominent garden building is attributed to the nationally important architect Colen Campbell. And there are resemblances between Thompson’s Seat and the Blockhouse Seat to the work of Campbell’s successor Roger Morris, which are too distinctive to be ignored. This lecture will suggest that these famous architects worked at Mount Edgcumbe, designing buildings that are neither provincial nor anonymous.
‘When I first took a plan of the ground.....’ John Wood the Younger in Cornwall: a universal Enlightenment vision adapted to Penwith particularities?
On the strength of suggestions and recommendations by at least three of the Council of the Cornish Buildings Group, several buildings in west Cornwall previously attributed to John Wood the younger of Bath were re-attributed in the latest edition of Pevsner’s Cornwall to his slightly younger contemporary, William Wood of Truro.
This paper suggests that we were wrong to deny the architect of the masterly Royal Crescent in Bath a place in Cornish history.
Quite apart from a fascinating unravelling of architectural detection, fact and fiction, the process raises interesting questions about what is ‘local distinctiveness’ as against national interest; whether we seek, sometimes, to look too hard for local genius; whether should think again in terms of that sometimes discredited and discarded idea of regionalism - of Bath and Bristol, not London, as at times key to Cornwall’s sources of cultural inspiration?
But it also revealing, as I shall suggest, that as early as the 1760s, some great architects may have already recognised the distinctive qualities, materials and histories of the far-west, and were adapting their architectural grammar to the hard syntax of Cornish granite.
'Beauty will result from the form and correspondence of the whole': Palladianism in Cornwall
Princess Anne of Denmark became Queen in 1702 during a time when English Baroque was flourishing. What followed in Cornwall was a period of restrained Classicism, a style favoured by aspiring gentlemen who had tired of the Grand Tour and settled in their libraries drooling over their copies of Palladio and Vitruvius Britannicus.
This paper will explore the popularity of the Palladian movement in Cornwall. It will primarily focus on country house commissions ̶ architectural statements rooted in uniformity and consistency, yet still retaining scope for innovation and uniqueness. Houses like Antony, Pencarrow, and Boconnoc introduced Palladio to the unassuming Cornishman; the architect Thomas Edwards fulfilled the ambitions of the county’s mineral rich of the county while other house owners, such as the Vyvyvan’s at Trelowarren, dabbled in the prevailing styles creating confused additions to their ancestral homes. This paper will also draw on churches and urban architecture to show how the fashion for Palladio extended beyond the gentry’s gates.
Non-conformist Chapels in Cornwall – a declining majesty and what can we do to revive it?
Non-conformist religion and in particular Methodism thrived in Cornwall during the 18th and 19th centuries. This is expressed through the numerous examples of chapels that can be seen throughout the Cornish landscape, rural and urban. Many are listed due to their architectural and historic special interest, and are key structures within conservation areas, while others are non-designated assets but are landmarks within their communities. However, since WWII, the number of people actively worshipping has declined significantly. Many chapels have already closed, more are facing imminent risk of closure and those that are surviving are placed under increasing pressure to adapt to accommodate a range of different uses.
So what can we do to help? This talk will present a range of opportunities that are available to congregations and new owners to understand what is significant about their building and how this can be used to create and adapt their buildings sensitively. It also looks to present positive examples of what can be done with these buildings, including those in active use as well as closed chapels.
A Cathedral for Cornwall: religious revival and reassertion in the 19th century
It is hard to imagine Truro without its cathedral. The soaring spires erupting from the low buildings and ancient streets, more reminiscent of a Continental cathedral than a British one, never fail to delight, acting as the eye-catcher par excellence. The story of the creation of the new diocese of Truro is well known. Cornwall had had its own diocese, based at St German’s in the east of the county until 1050 when it was merged with the diocese of Crediton to form the new bishopric of Exeter. This arrangement continued apparently satisfactorily until the mid-19th century when pressure began to mount for a new, separate diocese for Cornwall.
A new diocese required a new cathedral. This paper will explore the selection of an architect and the early years of building the first new cathedral in Britain since St Paul’s, examining the issues arising as the plans for the cathedral were developed, including examining the relationship between the dynamic new Bishop of Truro, Edward White Benson, and the chosen architect J.P. St Aubyn. He will also explore the attempts to produce a truly Cornish cathedral and the complications caused by the battle to save at least some part of the historic parish church of St Mary’s Truro.
Philip Tilden worked in Cornwall in his early twenties, in the years leading up to the Great War, following time in Chipping Camden with C.R. Ashbee. ‘That fascinating youth Philip Tilden [is here] and of course I lost my heart to him in five minutes’ said Ashbee in 1906. Following an earlier project at Townshend, near Godolphin, he lived on site at Porth-en-alls while directing its construction. ‘That’s the way to do it’ said Ashbee, who visited from St Mawes in 1913. ‘Philip’s arrangement is that he has to give six months of the year to the work and live there superintending it. It will take three years or so building. That’s the way to build. I don’t think we shall get proper building or building conditions unless we devise some system like that to work under.’ Tilden exhibited drawings at the Royal Academy in 1912 (one of which is attached) but the house was never completed, construction being brought to a halt with the outbreak of war.
My paper would set Porth-en-alls in its Arts and Crafts context, describing Tilden’s connection with Ashbee and other key figures. It would mark the project as the key starting point in his dazzling but episodic career and make reference to his return to the west country (unfortunately over the Tamar in Devon) and his wife, an extraordinary woman who ran a mine at Gurnards Head before the Great War and ended her days in Penzance in 1964.
The Architect Edmund H. Sedding
Edmund H. Sedding (1863-1921) lived in Penzance until he was about seven years old. This early exposure seems to have engendered a love of Cornwall that endured for the rest of his life. Although based in London while articled to his uncle John Dando Sedding, the renowned Arts & Crafts architect, Edmund spent a considerable amount of time working in Devon and Cornwall. Two important, yet seemingly disparate, elements of his life developed during this period. First, he indulged an interest in the Norman architecture of Cornwall and began to build up a portfolio of drawings, descriptions, measurements and musings. Second, he became patron of the emerging woodcarving talent of the Pinwill sisters. These twin interests, one for ancient architecture and the other springing from the new and exciting Arts & Crafts Movement, were to become integral to his adult life. After his uncle died in 1891, Edmund chose not to take on a successful London practice, but to set up in Plymouth. From there he was able to undertake work across the region and where possible he engaged the Pinwills for woodcarving commissions. Although Cornwall was within relatively easy reach of Plymouth, it was not long before Edmund decided to move there with his young family, becoming architect to the Diocese of Truro and carrying out numerous church restorations, most notably at Crantock. In 1907 he published Norman Architecture of Cornwall, a seminal work that is still cited today.
‘Beacons of the future – beacons in the townscape’: An analysis of Silvanus Trevail’s board schools in Cornwall and their link to the vernacular
‘Lighthouses! Beacons of the future! Capsules, with hundreds of bright little seeds in each, out of which will spring the wiser, better England of the future’.
Sherlock Holmes when looking out over London from a train, in Arthur Conan Doyle’s ‘The Naval Treaty’ published in The Strand in 1893.
This paper will primarily focus on the design and materials used by Silvanus Trevail for board schools across Cornwall, following the 1870 Education Act. The analysis will also focus on his work in the context of the board school building programme nationwide, using examples from the cities of Manchester, Sheffield, Birmingham and London, alongside more rural examples. Many of the cities employed one architectural practice who worked to its Board and its committees, creating a distinctive style for the school built in the period up until 1902. Trevail, however, worked on a county-wide scale and answered to many different small boards; how different (or difficult) was this for Trevail compared to the architects working to a single board? Across the country, the schools were often built using local materials, and even reflected the public and industrial architecture of the place (for example, warehouses and mills in Manchester). As in the cities, here in Cornwall the schools were often built on difficult sites, but here fitting them around existing historic street patterns on virgin sites. What were the challenges faced by this, and also the infrastructure to transport materials to site? The paper will also consider the social and industrial changes in Cornwall in the mid nineteenth century as populations grew and fell. Was there any link between the board schools and ‘education for all’ with Trevail’s involvement in the design of the Passmore Edwards Institutes in Cornwall?
Ultimately – did Trevail create a school board style for Cornwall and can they be said to be distinctive? Do they create a sense of place? What lessons can be learnt from his designs and materials? What inspired him – or was his hand forced or guided by the Education Department’s rules and Acts?
Andy King and Phil Collins
Cornish Elvans: types, uses and future opportunities
Elvans are some of Cornwall’s most distinctive and attractive building stones. They resemble granites in composition but are typically much finer-grained and vary from pale grey to buff in colour - although secondary alteration including impregnation by iron oxides can cause local variants to have an attractive pinkish hue. Some elvan varieties contain large crystals of feldspar (‘porphyritic’). Elvans occur in association with granite intrusions, usually as dykes that range from a few centimetres to tens of metres in thickness and may extend laterally over distances ranging up to 24km.
Their attractive appearance and durability made elvans much favoured and sought-after stones; they feature in a range of impressive vernacular buildings in Cornwall, including 18th and 19th century offices along Lemon Street in Truro. Their fine-grain size also enabled elvans to be easily worked; they were often intricately carved and were employed for fine decorative external and internal stonework, such as carvings on the 15th century tower of Holy Trinity church in St. Austell.
Many elvan stone varieties were named from the area where historically they were quarried, such as Pentewan, Newham, Penrice and Tremore stones. Elvans are not presently quarried in Cornwall. This presentation will examine the occurrence and types of Cornish elvans and review their use in Cornwall’s rich architectural history. Drawing on experience gained from working on the Strategic Stone Study and related projects in south west England, we will explore opportunities for safeguarding elvans through the planning system and the feasibility of securing future resources for conservation.
Cornish Building Stones – a geological perspective
Arising mainly from its unique geology, Cornwall has a rich variety of building and decorative stones, including several which do not occur outside Cornwall, which have been extensively exploited, both for local use and for export.
Granites were worked in all the main granite areas. A significant trade in granite developed in the 19th and early 20th centuries, finished granite being exported all over the world; many iconic buildings in London and other major cities use Cornish granite. Most pre-19th century granite buildings used ‘moorstone’ obtained from boulders lying on the surface of the granite uplands. Much ‘minestone’ has been used in vernacular buildings, sourced from the waste tips of mining operations. A tourmalinized granite, luxullianite, was an important decorative stone much favoured by the Victorians.
Allied to the granites are the fine-grained elvans of granitic composition, which have been extensively used in some of the finest stone buildings in Cornwall, such as St Austell church tower, Antony House (National Trust), Trelowarren, Place (Fowey) and the Georgian buildings of Lemon Street in Truro. The best known elvan quarries were at Pentewan, which yielded a freestone capable of fine carving. Another important elvan was Newham Stone, widely used in the older buildings in Truro. Tremore elvan was mainly used as a polished decorative stone.
Basic igneous rocks include the extremely durable Cataclews Stone, used from Norman times for fonts and church carvings in the area around the Camel estuary. Polyphant is a softer more unusual stone, mainly used for interior use and by sculptors. The Lizard complex provided a source of serpentine for building and the manufacture of polished slabs and ornaments.
Slaty mudstones and sandstones of Devonian and Carboniferous age have been extensively used for traditional buildings throughout Cornwall; much slaty mudstone is still used for building and for Cornish hedge building. The Upper Devonian Delabole slate quarry has yielded high quality roofing slate from Tudor times. Devonian sandstones were widely used in south Cornwall, and Carboniferous sandstones in north Cornwall. The geologically youngest building stone, seen in the Newquay and Padstow areas, is a weakly cemented beach sand known locally as ‘sandrock’, as used in St Carantoc’s church at Crantock and St Piran’s Church on Perran sands.
4A Dennis Road - A Case Study of a New House in Padstow
This paper will present a case study of a purpose-designed new-build family home in Padstow. As a local of the town as well as an architectural practitioner, I approached this project faced with various direct problems of how to bring about a scheme fulfilling three factors in the requirements of the brief: First, to create a low-impact and low-maintenance working family home; second, to enhance the local environment and reclaim the pre-existing micro-vernacular and third, to develop and engage with personal and theoretical architectural themes. I shall discuss the trials of negotiating the statutory process that has become rooted in a perceived, cover-all, Cornish vernacular that has resulted from ‘retrofitted’ buildings: over-clad in stone to the first floor and slate hung above, in direct conflict with the truth of the historical frontier towns that ports were, incorporating both fashion and influence for status and necessity. Following on from this, we shall explore how the design was developed from precedents either lived or learnt, building with one’s own hands; collaborating with local skills and artisans, and creating a genuine and honest new structure in the town that subverts the generic, pastiche, developments that have become the norm and proves the value, and need, for design-driven projects that deliver place, sustainability and joy. This project raises the question of how to integrate ‘modern’ design into pre-existing context, and provides a rather unique insight into how this kind of intervention is perceived by the inhabitants of the town, as I am able to provide a bridge between the roles of designer and client while also being embedded within the local community. It also raises the question of how to integrate ‘modern’ design into pre-existing context, and provides a unique insight into how this kind of intervention is perceived by the inhabitants of the town, as I am able to provide a bridge between the roles of designer and client whilst also being deeply part of the local community.
Samantha F Barnes is a Listing Adviser for Historic England in the west team. In 2007 she was awarded a research scholarship from the Alan Baxter Foundation to research board schools in Manchester, resulting in the publication of Manchester Board Schools 1870-1902 (2009) in collaboration with the Victorian Society. The publication went on to inspire other publications in various cities and also was timely with an English Heritage strategic project which resulted in the listing of many board schools across England. Sam is on the Cornish Buildings Group Council, and is also secretary for the South West Regional Group of the Twentieth Century Society.
Colin Bristow worked for English China Clays for nearly 30 years and retired as Chief Geologist in 1990. He was Visiting Professor at Camborne School of Mines and a past-President of the Institute of Geologists. Colin has published many books and papers in the scientific and technical press, mostly concerned with the geology of south-west England, china clay, the building stones of Cornwall and industrial clays − and was awarded the Hal Williams Hardinge Award by the American Institute of Mining Engineers in 1993, twice recipient of the Bolitho Gold Medal from the Royal Geological Society of Cornwall and was awarded the Career Achievement Award by the south west regional group of the Geological Society of London in 2002. Moreover, he is a much respected local historian, his works include the history of Carclaze tin mine and the rediscovery of the Carclaze-Scredda canal and is a member of the China Clay History Society, the Cornwall Geoconservation Group and the Cornwall Buildings Group.
Nick Cahill studied history at Oxford and Leicester, and although specialising then in early medieval history, moved into a career cantered always on the physical evidence of the historic environments around us - landscape, archaeology and buildings. Nick worked on the national Accelerated Listing survey in the 1980s, then for the National Trust, and latterly for various local authorities and in private practice as a heritage and conservation professional. He is currently Historic Environment Strategy officer for Cornwall Council and serves on the Council of the Cornish Buildings Group.
Phil Collins BA (Arch), BSc, PGDip Building Cons (RICS), MLI, MIEEM - Phil Collins Associates – Historic Building specialist; co-author of several County Atlases forming part of Historic England’s Strategic Stone Study. Phil is based in Devon.
Michael Drury is an architect specialising in the conservation of historic buildings. His practice, St Ann’s Gate Architects, acts for the National Trust, cathedrals and churches and private clients. They are based in Salisbury where Michael lives although he now spends longer in Falmouth and on the north Cornish coast. As an architectural historian, his publications include Wandering Architects which explores the itinerant careers of Arts and Crafts architects whose involvement in work on site took them to all corners of the country, including Cornwall.
Richard Hewlings was an Inspector of Ancient Monuments and Historic Buildings for English Heritage from 1972 to 2015. He edited The Georgian Group Journal from 1995 to 2007 and English Heritage Historical Review from 2006 to 2015. He is the author of about 180 articles on 17th and 18th-century architecture. He gave the keynote lecture on Mount Edgcumbe for the annual conference of the Society of Architectural Historians of Great Britain in 2016, and led a study-tour of East Cornwall country houses, for which he researched the building of Antony House in particular. He has a house in Kingsand, and has sailed the Sound and walked every inch of Mount Edgcumbe Park over the last 43 years.
Paul Holden, FSA, is a freelance architectural historian, lecturer and writer. He was Chairman of the Cornish Buildings Group between 2010 and 2018 and editor of Celebrating Pevsner: the proceedings of the 2015 Cornish Buildings Group conference (2017). Other notable works include The Lanhydrock Atlas (2010) and The London Letters of Samuel Molyneux (2011). Paul is an editor for Architectural Historian, a member of the Faculty Advisory Group of Truro Cathedral, a Council member of the Cornish Buildings Group and reviewer for the Royal Society, the Society of Architectural Historians of Great Britain and the Society of Antiquaries of London.
Dr Andy King FGS, MCIEEM - Geckoella Ltd - Building Stone specialist and Geological Consultant to Historic England’s national Strategic Stone Study; author of Historic England’s A Building Stone Atlas of Cornwall & Isles of Scilly (and other County Atlases across England). Andy is based in Somerset.
Patrick Newberry has, for many years, researched, written about and lectured on historical architecture, particularly country houses and the architecture of Cornwall. He is presently undertaking a PhD at the University of Buckingham, researching the life and works of J.P. St Aubyn. He is Chairman of the Cornish Buildings Group and has been Coordinator of the Cornish Building Group’s Awards Scheme for a number of years. He is a Historic England Commissioner, a Trustee of the Georgian Group, a member of the Faculty Advisory Group of Truro Cathedral and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.
Joanna Mattingly, PhD, FSA. Jo came down to Cornwall to teach local history and Cornish church architecture in 1985, before switching to museum work. It took ten years before she had anything new to say on church building and is still learning. She is currently a freelance lecturer, museum consultant and serves on the Council of the Cornish Buildings Group.
Jacky Nowakowski BA, MCIFA, FSA. Jacky is a professional archaeologist with 40 years field experience in Cornwall, Britain and Europe. She is currently Principal Archaeologist with Cornwall Archaeological Unit, Cornwall Council, and project director for the Tintagel Castle Archaeological Research Project. A pre-historian with research interests in later prehistory and the post Roman south-west, Jacky has excavated extensively in Cornwall and published and lectured widely in the United Kingdom and abroad. She has directed award winning archaeology projects such as the 1990 British Archaeological Award for Tintagel Churchyard and the CBA Marsh Award 2014 for research and communication relating to Carwynnen Quoit.
Rhiannon Rhys worked in Cornwall from 2013 to 2017, firstly as an Assistant Inspector and then as a full Inspector of Historic Buildings and Areas dealing with planning and listed building casework on behalf of Historic England. Chapels formed a key part of that casework as an asset type at risk and she has been actively engaged with a number of cases to consider the future of chapels on the verge of closure, working with congregations and key stakeholders to identify constructive re-uses or working with new owners to sensitively adapt their building for alternative uses. An outcome of this work is that she recently revised Historic England’s Guidance for Methodist and Non-Conformist Chapels in Cornwall: An Assessment Framework to understand significance and inform change, a practical tool to help congregations and new owners understand the significance of their buildings.
Matthew Seaber has worked for many years as an architect at Kilburn Nightingale Architects, an award-winning practice that delivers sustainable and contextual buildings across the world, ranging from small-scale private house extensions to a low-impact sculpture foundry in Africa and new British Embassies. He is a director at Seaber Kain Architects, a small design-driven practice based in both London and Cornwall.
Helen Wilson PhD, was born and bred in Plymouth, on the boundary between the two counties, and has developed a deep interest in both Cornwall and Devon. After a degree and doctorate in Environmental Science at Plymouth University, she taught for some time before finding an enthusiasm for church history and architecture. Helen has worked on a number of projects, primarily researching the life and work of the woodcarver Violet Pinwill, for whom the architect Edmund H. Sedding created many designs. She sits on the Executive Committee of the Devonshire Association and acts as Chair of its Buildings Section.
Alex Woodcock PhD, FSA, has published widely on Romanesque and Gothic stone sculpture, particularly that of the south west of England. His books include Gargoyles and Grotesques (Bloomsbury, 2011), Of Sirens and Centaurs (Impress, 2013) and King of Dust (Little Toller, 2019). His essay ‘Reconsidering the Romanesque Sculpture of Cornwall’ won the 2015 Cardew-Rendle Prize and in 2018 he won the Hugh Miller Prize for poetry. Between 2008 and 2014 he worked at Exeter Cathedral as a stonemason, playing a key role in the conservation of its internationally significant west front. He is @beakheads on Twitter