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Timeline

Learn all about the history of Heligan. From 1200 right up until the present day.

Chapter 1

Early History: 1200 - 1766

1200's

Heligan Manor first built.

1569

Sampson Tremayne completed purchase of Heligan.

1603

William Tremayne built Heligan House in the Jacobean style.

1692

Sir John Tremayne rebuilt the house in William and Mary style using Heligan bricks.

Chapter 2

Development of Gardens: 1766 - 1914

1766 - 1829

Henry Hawkins Tremayne - Squire Henry Hawkins constructed the network of rides around the Northern Gardens and throughout the estate.

Shelterbelts against SW gales planted and walls of Flower Garden and Melon Yard built.

1829 – 51

John Hearle Tremayne. - Squire

Fully functioning Pineapple Pit. Heligan competes for biggest pine against other local estates.

Bee Boles constructed.

Home Farm thriving.

1813

Married Caroline Matilda Lemon

Establishing connection with plant hunters.

1832

The new Long Drive to Heligan House planted with Bethamia fragifera (Later Cornus capitata).

1851

Hooker Collection of rhododendrons secured for gardens.

1851 – 1901

John Tremayne - Squire Development of planting of Northern Gardens and Japanese Garden using new, imported exotic species.

1855

Paxton House built

1890's

John’s son John Claude built Ravine

1896

Sundial Garden described as having “The finest herbaceous border in England”

1901-1914

John Claude Tremayne - Squire

Continuation of planting Japanese Garden (now Jungle).

1905 – 07

Davidia involucrata planted in Sundial Garden.

1906/07

Italian Garden Built

Chapter 3

The Lost Years: 1914 - 1990

1914-18

First World War

Shelterbelt trees cut for war effort.

1914

August - Staff signed signatures on the wall of Thunderbox Room

1916-19

Heligan House used as Convalescence Hospital for Officers

1920s – 1930s

House tenanted out

1939 – 1945

American troops use Heligan House as a base

1950s – 1960s

House tenanted out

1973-1974

House converted into flats and sold off

Chapter 4

Garden Restoration -1990 - 2000

1990

Derelict gardens discovered by Tim Smit and John Willis (Tremayne descendant).

John Nelson begins clearance.

Philip McMillan Browse, then County Horticultural Adviser becomes involved in restoration. Clearance of Melon Yard.

BTCV group clears Eastern and Western Rides.

1991

Restoration of Italian Garden.

BBC Gardeners’ World broadcasts from Heligan.

Cornwall County Council planning permission given to open to the public.

The Times quote “The garden restoration of the century”.

1992

Lease signed between Tremayne Estate & Heligan Gardens Limited.

Easter – Garden open to public.

Replanted garden shelter belts.

Restored Northern Summerhouse.

Cleared overgrowth from Vegetable Garden.

1993

Clearance of Top Lake in Jungle & building of the boardwalk.

Restored structures in the Melon Yard.

1994

Restoration of Flower Garden.

First year’s planting in Vegetable Garden and Melon Yard.

1995

Which? Magazine quote “Most recommended garden”.

Country Life award ‘Gardener of the Year’.

1996

The Good Gardens Guide award ‘Outstanding Gardener of the Year’.

1997

Opening of Lost Valley & charcoal burning began.

Six-part Channel 4 TV documentary, (later awarded Garden Programme of the Year).

Private visit from HRH Prince Charles, Duke of Cornwall.

First fruiting of pineapples – one is delivered to the Queen for her 50th wedding anniversary.

1998

Pencalenick Glasshouse acquired & restored.

Gold Medal at Hampton Court Palace Flower Show.

First fruits from new vines in the Vinery.

The Good Guide to Britain award ‘Garden of the Year’.

Ice sculpture exhibition commemorating lost gardeners on 80th Anniversary of armistice.

1999

Second Channel 4 TV series "Return to the Lost Gardens of Heligan".

Chapter 5

The Millennium: 2000 - Present Day

2000

Partner in The Times ‘Grow Good Food Campaign’.

2001

The Eden Project opened.

Horsemoor Hide receives first “Live” images from bird boxes.

Propagation from old camellias started.

Rebuilding of Ravine rockery.

2002

Queen's Jubilee visit to Heligan stand at CGS Spring Flower Show at Trelissick.

First barn owl chicks viewed on camera from Horsemoor Hide.

BBC Gardeners’ World vote Heligan ‘The Nation’s Favourite Garden’.

2003

2003 Radio Times “Britain's finest garden”. Heligan voted second only to Kew.

2004

Jungle boardwalk totally re-built and extended.

Carved Tree Ferns donated from Chelsea Flower Show for New Zealand garden.

2005

3 millionth visitor arrived.

2006

Heligan Wild Land Management practices implemented.

The Giant children’s book by Sandra Horn and Karen Popham published.

Heligan Wildlife Project featured on BBC TV’s Springwatch programme with Bill Oddie.

2007

2007 - Creators of The Mud Maid and The Giant, Sue and Pete Hill install a new woodland sculpture – The Grey Lady – on the Woodland Walk.

Hannibal the Heligan Barn Owl eats his siblings alive on BBC Springwatch.

2008

2008 Heligan is granted National Collection Holder Status by Plant Heritage for collection: “Camellias and Rhododendrons Introduced to Heligan pre-1920”

BBC Springwatch & Autumnwatch return for an update on Hannibal the Barn Owl.

2009

Pineapple Pits produce first fruit in 3 years.

Heligan is awarded a Gold Medal at the RHS Hampton Court Flower Show.

2010

2010 Philippa Forrester and Charlie Hamilton James filming for 1-hour BBC Natural World programme, Heligan: Secrets of The Lost Garden.

First written archive regarding Cornish Pasty relates to Heligan.

Autumn visit by rare Green Heron from USA.

4 Millionth visitor.

2011

2011 Visit by HRH Countess of Wessex.

Countryfile Magazine Awards – ‘Britain's Finest Garden’.

New Lost Valley sculpture revealed – Growth & Decay.

2012

Fern Gulley opened in the Jungle.

Noble Isle, Summer Rising body lotion and bath & shower gel launches incorporating Heligan elderflower and gooseberries.

2013

Cornwall Today Garden of the Year.

Cornwall Tourism Awards – Garden of the Year – Silver Award.

Father Christmas visits the gardens for the first time.

2014

5000 people attend ‘100; The Day Our World Changed’.

Live location for BBC Winterwatch – Big Garden Birdwatch.

BBC Countryfile Magazine ‘Best Heritage Site’.

European Garden Network Award for ‘Restoration, enhancement or development of an historic park or garden’.

Cornwall Today Garden of the Year.

5 millionth visitor.

Cornwall Tourism Awards – ‘Winner of Winners’, ‘Garden & Country House of the Year’ & Silver in the Wildlife Friendly Business category.

2015

Awarded Bronze at the Visit England Awards.

Awarded Silver Gilt at RHS Hampton Court Flower Show.

Private Visit from HRH Duke and Duchess of Cornwall.

2016

Renewal and extension of Jungle Boardwalk.

‘Remembering The Somme’ in partnership with RBL; a ceremony to mark the centenary with an exhibition on West Lawn ‘Seven Local Men Lost on the Somme’ Battlefield research by Lord John Hutton donated back to Mevagissey, Gorran and St Ewe parishes.

Unveiling of Memorial Plaque in memory of John Nelson on 25th Anniversary of restoration of Italian Garden in front of Gardeners’ World cameras.

Rebuilding the Ravine with improved access and new water feature (supplied by water from new bore hole near old Reservoir) – new planting due in 201.

Winner Best UK Leisure Attraction at British Travel Awards.

2017

25th Anniversary of Heligan opening to the public to be marked by opening of rare breeds animal barn.

Winner Best UK Leisure Attraction at British Travel Awards for the second year running.

2018

Winner Best UK Leisure Attraction at British Travel Awards for third year in a row.

Large Visitor Attraction of the Year - Cornwall Tourism Awards

2019

New Jungle Path - Treseder Steps opens in the Jungle

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