The Count House and Mine Captain's House, Buller Downs, Redruth, Cornwall
An illustrated account of its history and preservation
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Some other properties
Town Place, near Redruth

Bought in 1978 for 'several hundred pounds', Town Place is the property about which the selling agent memorably said to me, "You know you are going to lose your money"!! Although he has been resoundingly proved wrong (and I have always wondered how his career progressed in Estate Agency, LOL!) it did take me around five years to establish the use of these cottages with the local Planning Authority - despite the fact that most of them had 'closing orders'. Originally there was a terrace of five cottages here - two pairs of "1 up, 1 downs" either side of a ten roomed house which was at one time a pub. Regardless of this, planning permission was forthcoming for only two dwellings and they are the same today as shown in the photograph which I took in 1994. They are delightfully located behind old mine workings with extensive rural views towards Wheal Basset and to Carn Brea. However, sometimes residents of the smaller property on the left have been disturbed by strange noises . . . perhaps the sound of a door opening when no-one else was around to either open or shut it . . . but despite occurrences such as these almost everyone who has lived here to my knowledge has been reluctant to leave.

1977 1994
Treen Cottages, Zennor

1986 heralded my move to Treen and the start of my residence in these cottages. Originally purchased with planning permission to redevelop as three dwellings, Penwith Council agreed with my proposal to reinstate them as the five cottages they originally comprised - incorporating the lean-to barn at the rear as kitchen and bathroom extensions to Nos 1-3. My original home here was Treen End Cottage (at the far right-hand end) but I found that the atmosphere in the cottages improved as I moved towards the road, with the best atmosphere of all in Treen Cottage itself (which I lived in very happily for about a year). Without doubt this is one of the oldest surviving properties in this area. It has a huge timber lintel over the fireplace which itself has a bread oven in one side. The small lean-to to the right was known as the "bull's house" - but I have always thought that it must have been a small bull judging by the size of the doorway! During conversion works, we discovered a small wooden safe in one of the walls (sadly it was empty!! LOL) which was probably utilised during the years that this property was in use as a shop serving this hamlet. Today the nearest shop is nearly 5 miles away . . . is this really progress?

1985 1987
Herland Barn, Godolphin Cross

This was part of the classic (I have to relate this as in 1653 one of my ancestors married a Godolphin - actually, one from Treveneage, but who cares!!) and high quality, small range of barns which served this farm (for evidence of this just look at the quality of the granite stonework and the quality of the quoins and lintels) which came into my ownership in 1988. After developing the largest barn in the complex and subsequently selling it, I turned my attention to this which was originally a pig sty. However, at that time planning consent existed only for conversion to workshop premises. Despite this restriction consent was achieved in a matter of months to alter the use to domestic which has preserved the integrity of this unique little building for the benefit of posterity. The later addition of a dining room extension and the rebuilding of the extension at the right hand side (both expertly faced by a local mason - free? with local stone from Herland Farm) have enhanced the unique character of this charming structure. Today the result is a most comfortable imaginatively-designed home in delightful rural surroundings. And, as with nearly all my properties, a pleasure for me to visit even for that most mundane of reasons - the collection of rent!

1988 1992