Ince Castle sits perched on a peninsula on the River Lynher. It is a 17th Century brick manor house with some unusual defensive features. Today it is still in use as a private residence and its gardens are open to the public.
The castle was probably built in the 1630s by Henry Kilgrew. As a manor house it has a couple of unusual defensive features. The entrance is at first floor level – a feature normally seen in tower houses and castle keeps. The parapet on the roof has battlements.
The castle is laid out as a rectangle with four square corner towers each four storeys high. The walls are over a metre thick and made out of brick. Ince Castle may be the oldest brick house in Cornwall.
During the English Civil War the castle was held for the Royalists. In August 1646 the castle was besieged by Parliamentary forces under Colonel Ralph Welden. No doubt due to its light fortification it was surrendered in just a few hours.
After the Civil War the castle was sold to Edward Nosworthy. Upon his death his estates were disputed in the courts until the early 18th Century when it passed to John Hobart, 1st Earl of Buckinghamshire.
From the Hobart family it passed through a number of hands until it was eventually let out as a farm during the late 19th Century.
In 1918 Sir Montague Eliot, 8th Earl of St Germains, bought Ince Castle. By this time the castle was in a poor state of repair. Montague undertook a programme of renovation and extension at the castle. The south facade was rebuilt and another storey was added to the building.
Viscountess Patricia Boyd bought Ince in 1960. She also altered the castle adding French windows on the ground floor and an extension to the service wing.
In 1988 Ince Castle suffered a devastating fire. The roof and parts ofhte castle were subsequently rebuilt and a second kitchen was added.
The gardens were created in the 1960s by Lady Patricia Boyd. She added the formal gardens on the south side of the castle along with an area of woodland.
Today Ince Castle is owned by Simon Lennox-Boyd, 2nd Viscount Boyd of Merton, and his wife Alice.
Lady Boyd is also a keen and notable gardener. She is a former president of Cornwall Garden Society and has been awarded the Royal Horticultural Society's Victoria Medal of Honour – the highest accolade the Society bestows.
The castle itself is a private house and is not ordinarily open to visitors. However the 5 acres of gardens in the castle's grounds are occasionally open to the public in support of the RHS's National Gardens Scheme. For detailed opening times see the castle's website at www.incecastle.co.uk.
The gardens comprise mature woodland, an orchard and formal mixed beds and borders close to the house. There are no tourist facilities at the castle, however light refreshments are sometimes served on the garden open days.
South front of Ince Castle
West face of Ince Castle