Eagle House

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Eagle House, Launceston.
Eagle House, Launceston.

The Eagle House Hotel, built as a town house for Coryndon Carpenter, Esq., attorney-at-law, Constable of the Castle and Mayor of Launceston in 1755, and again in 1763. It must have been around this time he purchased a lottery ticket which he handed to his intended wife. This ticket was a winner making the couple £10,000 better off, a not inconsiderable sum for that period and the couple then wed and began to build the mansion house just outside the north gate of the castle; this building was completed around 1764. Coryndon again became mayor in 1767, to be followed by John in 1768 and Joseph in 1769. Coryndon Carpenter was again given the honour of office becoming mayor once more in 1774 being the last mayor of that name for the town.
The house was the home of several important families from that time, including lawyer Mr Christopher Lethbridge, when it was known as ‘Lower Madford’, then by Mr J Darke; Mrs Horwood (grandmother of Edward Archer, esq.), also lived in this grand old house before the Dingley family who lived here into the 1960’s
In 1962, after the death of widow Mrs Enid Dingley, the house was put up for sale and was purchased by Mr Gillbard, Trevozah Barton, South Petherwin, who stated he intended to retain what he could of the beautiful decoration in the building.

Post & News, 16th June, 1962 SOUTH PETHERWIN PURCHASER SALE OF EAGLE HOUSE.
Decorative Magnificence To Be Restored: Mr Colin Gillbard, of Trevozah Barton, South Petherwin, confirmed to the “Post & Weekly News” yesterday [Thursday] that he had purchased Eagle House, Castle Street, Launceston, home for many years of the Dingley family. There had been speculation in the town about the purchase of this fine Georgian house and the use to which it might be put. Mr Gillbard, however, declined to comment at this stage on his exact plans for Eagle House other than to say: “It will be turned into something which, we hope, will be an asset to the town.”
Regarding some of the outstanding features of the property, Mr Gillbard said there were some rather magnificent ornate mouldings, part of the decorative structure, which were in good repair and merely needed re-decorating. “This will be done so that they are brought back to their original magnificence.”
Eagle House is officially listed as a building of historic interest.

In 1963 Mr Gillbard applied for a residential and restaurant licence for the renamed ‘Eagle House Hotel’ and the licence was granted by the Launceston Borough Magistrates on Monday, 27 May, 1963. Mr Gilbard sold the Hotel as a going business in 1981. Mrs Pam Gillbard (widow of the late Colin Gillbard of Trevozah Barton) retired from Eagle House Hotel in January, 1988.
The business was sold to Mr & Mrs Statton of Egloskerry in 1991, and in whose stewardship the hotel had flourished into one of the town’s flagship hostelries. In August 2013 the Statton family sold the hotel to the Dunlavy family who in turn wanted to close the hotel business down and turn the house into a series of flats. Alexander Dunlavey, a director of the company, said in a statement to the council that the use of Eagle House as a hotel with a function room did not conform to the locality, led to increased noise and traffic issues, and had a detrimental effect on the surrounding residential properties. However this was subsequently turned down by Cornwall Council planning and the business was put up for sale again through licensed property specialists Stonesmith of Exeter. It has now been purchased and again running as a hotel and event business.

A local story regarding the two front gate ornaments, a fine pair of eagles, is that, at midnight the pair fly off to the River Kensey in the valley below to drink of its water before returning to their perch on guard before the grand old house. One of the eagles had its leg broken circa. 1938/9 and this was repaired by soldering a piece of lead wrapped around the break. The work was carried out by Messrs. Kinsman, plumbers, of Launceston

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                       Above staff of Eagle House with Colin Gillbard in 1965.                                                                Eagle House in 2014.

 

Above Eagle House staff in 1981. Photo courtesy of Kirsty Hamley.
Above Eagle House staff in 1981. Photo courtesy of Kirsty Hamley.

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