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Parish prepares to reveal the long-buried history and mystery of medieval manor

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: October 30, 2012

A dated stone from Rillaton Manor – one of only a few remaining relics from the Manor of Rillaton

A dated stone from Rillaton Manor – one of only a few remaining relics from the Manor of Rillaton

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A Cornish parish heritage group has been awarded a grant of £9,400 by the Heritage Lottery Fund to enable its members to locate the exact position of an ancient manor house and carry out a detailed investigation of the site.

Linkinhorne History and Community Archive will use the funding to research the Manor of Rillaton, close to the village of Rilla Mill in East Cornwall.

Acknowledged as one of the most important medieval settlements in the region, the first record of Rillaton Manor is in the 881AD will of Alfred the Great, who left the property to his youngest son.

Although there are a number of documents relating to the manor in the Cornwall Record Office at Truro, the grant will enable project volunteers to visit the National Archives at Kew and the Duchy of Cornwall Archive in London for further research.

Linkinhorne History and Community Archive chairman Mike Todd, who leads an enthusiastic team of local volunteers, explained that the project aims to locate the exact site of the manor house and associated buildings, including an apothecary's garden, by using geophysics and test pits if required.

"A full dig is unlikely to be necessary because the house was robbed out and the stone used elsewhere in the village," said Mr Todd.

"Pieces of this stone have been located and identified and confirm the belief locally that the house may have been of a style and size comparable to Cotehele on the banks of the River Tamar.

"It was clearly an incredibly important property hereabouts because without the manor the whole community of Rillaton and Rilla Mill would not have existed.

"This project is of enormous interest to people locally and is also important to understanding the medieval history of Cornwall as a whole. As part of the initiative we intend to produce a mobile exhibition which can be taken to other history groups, local shows and schools."

The parish of Linkinhorne covers an area of East Cornwall north of Liskeard and includes the communities of Rilla Mill, Upton Cross, Plushabridge, Henwood and Minions, as well as Linkinhorne itself.

Linkinhorne History and Community Archive group provides assistance to people with an interest in local and family history. Collections held by members are currently being digitised and catalogued to enable them to be published on the group's website in order to make them available worldwide. Monthly meetings are held to discuss members' findings and to gain knowledge from visiting speakers.

"We are thrilled to have received this support from the Heritage Lottery Fund," added Mr Todd. "By undertaking thorough research of this important site we will be better able to understand the history of our area and to pass this knowledge on to later generations."

Richard Bellamy, head of HLF South West, said: "South East Cornwall is perhaps best known for its maritime and industrial heritage, but it also has a rich history stretching back to the Iron Age and beyond. We are delighted to be supporting the volunteers of Linkinhorne History and Community Archive with their work to uncover an important part of that history, revealing and helping other people to understand the origins of their local community"

For more details, contact project manager Kathy Wallis on 01579-363505 or kathy.wallis@nasuwt.net

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