Whiteford Temple

Near Callington, Cornwall

Overview

A folly with a fine open view towards the Tamar estuary, with all the delights of Cornwall within easy reach.

  • Bed in Living RoomBed in Living Room
  • Fire or StoveFire or Stove
  • Open SpaceOpen Space
  • Logs availableLogs available
  • Parking AvailableParking Available
  • BathBath
  • Outside Dining FurnitureOutside Dining Furniture

Beds 1 Double

Sleeps
2
4 nights from
£167 equivalent to £20.88 per person, per night

An ornament in the landscape

You live and sleep in the large main chamber, with the good Cornish light streaming all day through the three glazed arches and an open fire for the winter and cooler evenings. It has a fine open view looking towards the estuary of the Tamar in the distance and it is well designed, an ornament in the landscape which it would be sad to lose. Accordingly, we restored it as a single large room with two small wings, which is our best guess at what its unknown architect intended.

Built in 1799 to adorn the landscape of a vanished mansion

The Duchy of Cornwall generously gave us this handsome granite building. It was put up in 1799 for Sir John Call, a military engineer who had made a fortune in India. By 1770, at the age of 38, he was able to retire, marry and build himself a substantial mansion. This, with the estate, was sold to the Duchy in 1879. The house was largely demolished in 1913 and today all that remains are traces of its garden, part of the stables, and this temple, on its own, high above.

A fine building salvaged from use as a cattle shed

It is not clear how Whiteford Temple was reached from the house, how its surroundings were laid out nor how it was used, though its three arches were certainly glazed at one time. Accounts of a party held in it in 1847 make one suppose that it must then have been larger and also that it was nearer to the house, so perhaps it has been moved. It had become a shelter for cattle when we first saw it, with a roof of corrugated iron and a floor of earth.

Floor Plan

‘What a room with a view.’

‘The temple is a pleasure worth waiting for’

From the logbook

Map & local info

Whiteford Temple is close to the small market town of Callington and to the Tamar Valley, an area of outstanding natural beauty, offering lots of opportunities for walks and cycle rides along its many recreational trails. Kit Hill is the highest point in the Tamar Valley and worth the climb, as the best viewing point over southeast Cornwall. 

Experience life in Victorian times first hand during a day out at Morwhellham Quay, a fascinating, award-winning museum. There's a wealth of fun activities for all, such as: exploring the enchanting, historic village; travelling deep underground to venture into a copper mine; dressing up in period costumes. 

Explore the historic treasures, gardens and estate of Buckland Abbey, a former home of Sir Francis Drake and clamber to the top of the round tower at Launceston Castle for breathtaking views of the surrounding area.

Nearby Cotehele is an impressive Tudor mansion set high on the banks of the River Tamar, amidst an extensive estate with gardens and orchards. Take a ramble through the woodlands surrounding Cothele, following planned routes.  You can gain free entry to Cotehele with a National Art Pass, which enables its members to enjoy free entry to over 240 museums, galleries and historic houses throughout the UK as well as 50% off entry to major exhibitions.

The pass is presented by one of Landmark's partners, the Art Fund, the national fundraising charity for art, which has been supporting museums and galleries for over 110 years by helping them to buy and display great works of art for everyone to enjoy. Income raised through the National Art Pass goes straight back into their charitable programme. Find more about it at artfund.org/national-art-pass.

For more information on things to do during your stay at Whiteford Temple, please see our Pinterest page.

Please Note: The Landmark Trust does not take any responsibility and makes no warranties, representations or undertakings about the content of any website accessed by hypertext link. Links should not be taken as an endorsement of any kind. The Landmark Trust has no control over the availability of the linked pages.

Whiteford Temple
Near Callington, Cornwall
Clear directions

‘What a room with a view.’

‘The temple is a pleasure worth waiting for’

From the logbook

FAQs

    What you need to know about this building

  • Does the property allow dogs?

    No.
  • How is the property accessed?

    Via an unmade track from the main road.
  • What is the nearest railway station and how far away is it?

    Gunnislake – 5 miles.
  • Is there car parking specifically for Landmark guests?

    There is a gravel parking area for one car adjacent to the property. 
  • What type of heating does the property have?

    There are electric night storage heaters and an open fire.
  • How can I get fuel for the open fire or stove?

    Logs may be purchased and delivered under a private arrangement. Further details will be provided with your booking confirmation. 
  • What are the kitchen facilities?

    The kitchen is fully equipped with all plates, cutlery, fridge etc. There is also an electric cooker.
  • What are the bathroom facilities?

    There is one bathroom with a bath.
  • Does this Landmark have steep, narrow or spiral stairs?

    There are no internal stairs.
  • Is there a garden or outside space?

    There is a small garden (not enclosed).

    Booking and Payment

  • What happens if I can’t get to the Landmark due to bad weather?

    If the weather is bad, please contact our booking office who will be able to tell you whether the Landmark is accessible. If the housekeeper can safely get to the building to prepare it then we consider that it is open and available for guests. However if we cannot undertake a changeover then we will do our utmost to transfer your stay to another Landmark, depending on what we have available. It may not be of a similar size or in the same part of the country as your original booking. If the building is accessible but the customer cannot travel due to poor weather in his/her local area then please be aware that Landmark will not provide a refund. However the customer may be able to claim on his/her own travel insurance. We recommend that all guests take out travel insurance when they first secure a booking.
  • How can I pay?

    We accept Maestro (if issued in the UK), Visa, MasterCard, direct transfer and sterling cheques drawn on a UK bank. Cheques should be made payable to the Landmark Trust except for Lundy stays and boat/helicopter tickets which should be payable to The Lundy Company Ltd. All payments must be in sterling.
  • How do I create an account?

    If you have not used the Landmark online booking facility before and you wish to register in advance, you can set up an on-line account by following the instructions below:

    Go to the Landmark home page and click on Gift shop (located at the top of the home page in red).

    Select a gift (e.g. Landmark Handbook or Anniversary Mug) and complete the ‘Amount required’ box. There is no need to complete the purchase but this step is necessary in order to bring up the registration page.

    Click ‘Next Step’ at the bottom of the page.

    This will bring you to the ‘Your details’ page.

    Please complete all the fields (name, address, contact details and create an account). Click on the green ‘Create Account’ button once you have finished.

    At the top of the page headed ‘Your details’ there will be a grey box saying ‘Signed in’ and underneath this it will say ‘you are currently signed in as ….

    Here you will also have the option to ‘Sign out’. Please do so and that is your registration completed.

    Please return to the Landmark home page.

    To check your registration or update your account details at any time please ‘Sign in’ using the icon in the top right-hand corner of the home page.

    If you experience any problems in registering or setting up your on-line account please contact webmaster@landmarktrust.org.uk.
  • How do I pick up the key?

    There are various arrangements for picking up keys. To arrange to get into the Landmark, please contact the housekeeper at least two days before your stay
  • Can I pay a deposit?

    If your stay starts more than three months from the date you make the booking, you are required to pay a deposit of one third of the cost of your stay (or £100 per booking, if greater) at the time of booking. Camping on Lundy must be paid for in full at the time of booking.
  • How can I cancel or change my booking?

    If you wish to cancel or change your booking, please contact our Booking Office on 01628 825925
  • Do you accept payment in other currencies?

    At the moment we only accept payment in sterling.
  • What if I arrive late?

    Please let the housekeeper know if you are going to arrive late and s/he will leave a key for you in a suitable place.
  • How far in advance do I need to book?

    It depends. Some of our most popular Landmarks are booked up a long time in advance, but many can be booked at short notice. We will always have Landmarks free for the coming weekend so it’s always worth checking our availability list.
  • Do you have to be a member to book a Landmark?

    No, Landmarks are available to be booked for anyone.
  • Do I need a Handbook to be able to book?

    No, all the information you need can be found on our website, although we’d like you to buy one anyway as it will be a pleasure to own!

    Staying at a Landmark

  • Are Landmarks accessible for people with disabilities or limited mobility?

    Some of our Landmarks are suitable for people with disabilities or limited mobility. However, many Landmarks have steep or narrow staircases, uneven floors and thresholds, changes of level, low ceilings or beams, as well as indistinct colours on steps and in corridors. We recommend that you call Booking Enquiries on 01628 825925 if you would like to find out the suitability of a particular Landmark for anyone with a specific disability.
  • Are Landmarks only available as self-catering accommodation?

    Yes, Landmarks are only available as self-catering accommodation. We do not offer bed and breakfast.
  • Do you provide catering?

    Landmark does not provide catering, but we can recommend Greycoat Lumleys who can arrange for expert and well-trained staff to cater for one evening or for your entire holiday. Their cooks and chefs are able to work with you to meet your specific requirements
  • Do you allow dogs?

    You may bring up to two dogs to properties where dogs are allowed (please see specific property details for exemptions however dogs are not permitted on Lundy except assistance dogs). They must be kept off the furniture and under proper control.
  • Can I bring a pet?

    Apart from two dogs (see above) no other pets are permitted.
  • Am I insured if I break something?

    We do not carry insurance for breakages. However we appreciate that accidents do sometimes happen. If you have a breakage during your stay, please let the housekeeper know and if appropriate we reserve the right to invoice you accordingly.
  • Are Landmarks suitable for children?

    Yes, most of our Landmarks are perfect for children, with gardens to play in and secret places to discover. Our furniture is surprisingly robust and we positively encourage families to stay. However, some of our buildings may not be suitable for small children; for example, some of them have steep or uneven spiral staircases. We recommend that you call the Booking Enquiries team if you would like to find out the suitability of any of our Landmarks for young children.
  • Can I get married in a Landmark?

    Unfortunately, most of our Landmarks are not licensed for weddings. However, you may get married on Lundy.
  • Can I hold a big party in a Landmark?

    All our larger Landmarks are perfect for gatherings of family or friends. You may invite an additional two guests to visit you during your stay, however they must not stay overnight. This is very important because our fire regulations specifically note the maximum number of people in any one building. In addition our properties are prepared, furnished and equipped for the number of people specified and greater numbers cause damage and excessive wear and tear to vulnerable buildings. Should this condition be ignored we shall make a retrospective charge per person per day (whether or not they stay overnight) for each guest over the permitted limit, the charge being pro-rated on the total cost of your booking.
  • Are there televisions in the buildings?

    We deliberately do not provide televisions and find that most people appreciate this.
  • Why are your access tracks sometimes difficult?

    One of the challenges of restoring unloved buildings is gaining access to them. We frequently have to negotiate rights with our neighbours and share tracks with them. In many cases tracks do not belong to us and we have no right to maintain them. Wherever possible we work with our neighbours to provide you with a good quality surface, but where this is a problem then you will be warned at the time of booking.
  • Will there be sockets for my electrical appliances?

    Yes, we have standard electricity sockets for UK appliances. If you are coming from outside the UK, you will need to bring your own adaptor plug(s). If you are visiting one of our European properties we have standard European electricity sockets. If you are visting from the UK, you will need to bring your own adapter plug (s).

    Facilities

  • Are the kitchens and bathrooms restored to a modern standard?

    Sometimes our kitchens and bathrooms have to be imaginatively fitted into the available space in buildings where before there were none, but they are all planned and equipped to a high and modern standard.
  • Is linen provided?

    Yes, Landmarks are fully equipped with sheets and towels. All the beds are fully made up for your arrival.
  • Are the kitchens fully equipped?

    Yes, our kitchens are well equipped with cookers and fridges. There are freezers and dishwashers (in larger buildings) and, where space allows, microwaves as well as a wide and standard range of utensils. A full equipment list is available at time of booking.
  • Do you provide logs for the open fire/stove?

    Logs are provided at many of our Landmarks for an additional cost.
  • Will there be a mobile signal in the Landmark I book?

    Mobile coverage varies. Some Landmarks have an excellent signal, but others have none at all. If you are concerned, you can check with the housekeeper before your arrival.
  • Is there Wi-Fi in your buildings?

    No. At the moment, we have decided not to implement Wi-Fi in our buildings following a consultation with our customers. Many said that they would find it useful, but many also felt that it would somehow damage the experience of staying in a Landmark. As the responses were so split, and as we have so many other initiatives requiring funding, we have decided to put this on hold for the time being.
  • What should I bring with me? Are there lavatory rolls, soap, shampoo, milk, teabags, coffee, hairdryer?

    A welcome tray with tea and sugar awaits your arrival and you will find a pint of milk in the fridge. We also provide lavatory rolls and a bar of soap, per basin but no other toiletries. We do not provide hairdryers.
History

Given to us by The Duchy of Cornwall

The Duchy of Cornwall very generously gave the Whiteford Temple to the Landmark Trust in 1984. It was originally a summer-house for Sir John Call's Whiteford House at the foot of the hill, which was built in 1775 after his return from India as a wealthy man. We do not know the date of the Temple itself; on one of the Coade-stone panels on the front is the date 1799, but Baring-Gould in his biography of Sir John in 'Cornish Characters and Strange Events' says that Sir John lost his sight in 1795 and he would have been unlikely, after that, to put up a building the main point of which is the view to be enjoyed from it.

It is possible that the Temple was built some years before and the panels were added to it. That on the left, which has India and America inscribed on it, clearly refers in some way to Sir John's career, depicting a goddess of conquest or exploration, perhaps.

Tradition says that the Temple was built to celebrate the coming of age of Sir John's eldest surviving son, William; a fete was held, and there was dancing. The panel on the right, with its harvest goddess, refers to the season of William's birthday at the end of August, but in 1799 he was only eighteen. It may be that a tradition of celebrating his birthday had grown up before that and it certainly lasted into his old age: in 1847 Sir William's neice (he succeeded his father as 2nd Baronet in 1801) recorded in her diary that they spent the evening dancing there.

There are other unanswered questions concerning the Temple. There is no record of the architect but Alastair Forsyth, who has researched the history of Whiteford House, thinks that the most likely candidate is Philip Stowey, a gentleman architect from Devon who with his partner Thomas Jones drew up designs for Bodmin Gaol under Sir John Call's patronage. It was probably Stowey, too, who enlarged the Manor House at Launcells, paid for by Sir John, and who also, therefore, designed the new reredos in the church there, recorded as being given in gratitude for completing the building work without accident.

Restoration

Extensive rebuilding needed

As so often with small and simple buildings, a great deal more work was needed to restore it than was originally envisaged. The back and sides of the building had not been built with the same care as the ashlared masonry front and needed extensive rebuilding and reinforcement. A ring beam round the wall-head was also needed to hold the front to the side walls. New granite coping stones were needed round the sides and back of the building, which were obtained from a local quarry.

A main consideration in the repair of the Temple had of course to be the weather - in a strong wind it can seem as though the whole building is going to take off. Especially large Burlington slates were chosen as less likely to be lifted by wind, and the lead flashings were more generous than usual to increase their strength and durability. The frames for the windows in the arched openings are all hardwood, rather than softwood as is usual, and painted to withstand the driving rain.

It would not have been appropriate to enlarge the building but by fitting the kitchen and bathroom into the side wings it was possible to leave the main room uncluttered to live in. There was no need for the rear entrance arch, it would only create drafts, and it was better to make a new back door leading into the kitchen, so it was blocked up and a fireplace inserted in its place. A new floor of oak boards was laid.

All the interior detail is, of course, entirely new. No drawings survived to show how it originally was, but all the new work has been designed in a manner suitable for, and sympathetic to, a provincial architect of the late 18th century.

Sadly, although rumours about its whereabouts have been heard and followed up, the missing head of the Coade-stone figure has never been found. Both panels are rather broken and in need of repair but since so little is known about the composition of the material, it was decided to leave them alone for the time being rather than attempt a restoration which might damage them.

The surroundings of the Temple have all the romance of a place which was once great, but which is so no more. Trees which belong in parkland and not in farmland hint at other and different landscapes, as do buildings too grand for their present occupation; the stables and outbuildings of the main house survive, converted to farm use. Beyond them are intriguing remains of the garden layout and of the house itself. Bits of the house have been rebuilt into other houses round about, such as the Duchy Home Farm. But as so often when a house such as Whiteford has disappeared and anything which could be useful has been made use of, the buildings that were put up purely for pleasure and festivity are left and, if they are caught in time, can continue indefinitely to serve the purpose for which they were intended.

Availability & booking

Select a changeover day to start your booking...

What's a changeover day? and Why can't I select other dates?Explain MoreQuestion

A changeover day is a particular day of the week when holidays start and end at our properties. These tend to be on a Friday or a Monday but can sometimes vary. All stays run from one changeover day until another changeover day.