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HISTORY OF THE HOUSE AND GARDEN

Trist House was built as the vicarage in the 1830’s by the Rev Samuel Trist, who was at that time vicar of Veryan. His father and grandfather had been vicars of Veryan before him. The oldest structure in the garden (now the Folly) was probably built as a grotto, by Jonathan, his grandfather, from the stones of a previous 17th century vicarage (destroyed by fire in 1683).

Jonathan’s son, Jeremiah, married Charlotte Fincher of the Thomas family of Tregamenna, and through that connection inherited a substantial amount of property in Veryan. To this he added – by purchase – much more property, thus becoming squire as well as vicar. In about 1815 he built his own home, Parc Behan, on the other side of the valley. He also built the five famous round houses in Veryan as homes for elderly workers, but also to add to the charm of ‘his’ village. He was a good vicar and did much for the parish.

In 1829, when Samuel, Jeremiah’s younger son, succeeded his father as vicar, the vicarage was dilapidated and he rebuilt the present house on the original site at a cost of £3000. Evidently intent on creating a fashionable setting for his new home, he then spent a further £1000 on the garden, creating a small lake and building around twelve impressive rockeries. For the largest of these, which is 25-30 feet high, he probably used as his inspiration an illustration of a rockery at Hoole House just outside Chester, published in 1838 in “The Villa Gardener”; the similarity is striking. The quartz-veined rock for the rockeries was brought from Carne Quarry on Nare Head, two miles away, and then manoeuvred into place by block and tackle, crowbars and sheer muscle. The whole garden at that time would probably have been open parkland right up to the lowest Italian terrace, perhaps with sheep still grazing round the rockeries.

At this time, we believe, Samuel also filled in his grandfather’s grotto, topping it off with Carne stone to create what we call the Folly. The area between the Folly and the house was probably a Pleasure Garden with a Victorian Rose Arch which still survives. He also probably planted the principal trees – the copper beeches, and evergreen oaks, as well as the Monkey Puzzle Tree, which we believe was among the first to be planted in Cornwall. Samuel Trist remained a bachelor until his death in 1869.