Thomas Daniell, formerly of Trelissick, in the County of Cornwall, afterwards of the City of Bath, since of Michaelchurch Court, in the County of Hereford, and subsequently residing at Boulogne, in the Kingdom of France, Copper-Smelter, Dealer, Chapman, and Lord of the Manor of Ewyas Lacy, was declared bankrupt on 16th April 1835 .
He was the grandson of Thomas guinea-a-minute Daniell, a tin and copper mine owner who made a huge fortune and came to be seen as the head of a great Truro merchant dynasty in late eighteenth century Cornwall . Thomas the elder married the heiress to the Allen family of Prior Park, Bath, and their son, Ralph Allen Daniell, inherited substantial interests in the highly profitable Great Towan and Gwennap mines in Cornwall alongside his other business ventures as a prominent Truro merchant. It seems likely that Ralph Allen, like his father, was a ruthless operator since he acquired the extensive family estate at Trelissick following legal action against the former owner who owed him money. His son Thomas Daniell seems in contrast to have lived as a wealthy gentleman of leisure in the society life of Bath and perhaps resided at Prior Park, his grandmothers estate. This was apparently not sufficient for him, however, and he, or perhaps his father on his behalf, seems to have purchased Michaelchurch Court, the associated Estate and the Manor of Ewyas Lacy when it was put up for sale in 1818 . This allowed him the status of a landed gentleman and Lord of the Manor of Ewyas Lacy, though there is no record that he ever took up residence in Michaelchurch.
On the death of Ralph Allen Daniell in 1823 the Cornish estates including Trelissick passed to Thomas, who by 1825 had commissioned an architect to redesign the house, gardens and grounds and thus laid the foundations of a spectacular landscaped estate that remains an attraction to this day. In contrast, his estate in Herefordshire seems to have been let out and largely ignored. However, his extravagant expenditure and the agricultural and mining depressions in the early 19th century left Thomas Daniell's fortune in ruins. He mortgaged both the Michaelchurch and Trelissick Estates heavily in an attempt to shore up his finances, but to no avail. In 1835 he was declared bankrupt with debts that turned out to amount to nearly £40,000, a huge sum in those days, and he fled to Boulogne in France presumably in an attempt to evade his creditors and, perhaps, a Debtors prison.
Trelissick appears to have existed as a farm by the late 13th century; in 1705 this was occupied by the Lawrence family, who had probably been established there since the mid or late 17th century. Edward Lawrence leased part of the manor of Trevilla including Trelissick in 1747 from John Willyams, and was succeeded by his son, John, in 1750. Soon after inheriting, John Lawrence built a mansion at Trelissick to the design of Edmund Davey and laid out a small park. When Lawrence died in 1790, the estate was divided, the larger portion being held by his widow. Trelissick was let to Francis Pender, while another portion of the estate, including King Harry Quay, was let to Ralph Allen Daniell. In 1802 Trelissick was described in the Royal Cornwall Gazette as standing 'much elevated', with grounds including a 'large walled garden well cloathed with fruit trees, a good orchard behind the house and a handsome lawn in front'.
The Lawrence family experienced financial difficulties after 1790, and in 1805 Trelissick was offered for sale as the result of legal action by the family's creditors, including Ralph Allen. Daniell, who now acquired Trelissick, was the son of a wealthy tin and copper mine owner, Thomas 'Guinea-a-Minute' Daniell and his wife, the niece and heiress of Ralph Allen of Prior Park, Bath. R A Daniell expanded and developed the 18th century park, creating rides through woodland to the north and south of the house; these developments are shown on an estate plan of about 1821, which also includes a vignette view of the house and park from the south.
When Daniell died in 1823 the estate passed to his son Thomas, who in 1825 commissioned the architect P F Robinson to enlarge and remodel the existing house. Robinson's design was published as an example of a 'Residence in the Grecian Style' in his Designs for Ornamental Villas (1827). In the same year it was noted that 'the plantations and shrubberies round the mansion are extremely beautiful, especially the latter, which abound with many varieties of choice shrubs' (Ackerman 1827).
Agricultural and mining depressions in the early 19th century left Thomas Daniell's fortune depleted, and in 1831 he was declared bankrupt. Trelissick came into the hands of Viscount Falmouth of Tregothnan who held a mortgage over it; the house remained unoccupied from 1832 to 1844, and Lord Falmouth tried, unsuccessfully, to sell the property in 1837 and 1839. Finally, in 1844, he sold it to John Davies Gilbert (1811-1854) who had inherited the manor of Eastbourne in Sussex, which he began to develop as a fashionable resort.
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