The Old Rectory, Columb Major

Picturesque rectory filled with unique detail in need of urgent repairs

The Old Rectory is an immensely picturesque house and one of William White’s most important works.

Built on the original foundations of an earlier moated parsonage it was designed as the seat of the new Cornish bishopric. In the event Cornwall’s new cathedral was built in Truro and the parish priest of St Columb was left with rather a grand rectory.

White meticulously designed every detail of the house, right down to the catches for the windows and doors. Incredibly most of these original features still survive, but for how much longer? Holes in the roof mean water is penetrating through all floors, soaking the walls and causing ceilings to collapse. Another winter without repairs could prove disastrous for the structure of the building, not to mention the original paint schemes, the staircases, fireplaces and other features.

The absentee owner has applied to put a glass roof over the courtyard in a scheme opposed by the The Victorian Society for being damaging and visually intrusive. What this house needs is urgent repair works.

‘This is an architecturally important house which has been allowed to fall into a terrible state of disrepair’, said Dr Ian Dungavell, Director of the The Victorian Society. ‘The owner must be persuaded to properly secure the building, or sell up. Future generations won’t forgive us for leaving our heritage to deteriorate beyond repair.’

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