© Port Eliot Estate
- Port Eliot has the rare distinction of being a Grade 1 listed house with a Grade 1 listed park and garden. Like most houses, Port Eliot has a front door and about there the similarity ends. There are 11 staircases, 15 back doors and 82 chimneys. The roof covers half an acre and not once in living memory has it been completely watertight. The House is called Port Eliot because it was formally known as Port Priory. In the Middle Ages it was a flourishing monastic port. For many centuries the house was approached by water across what is now the park. Until the 1890s an old oak tree in the park in which a large iron ring - to which boats were once tied up - was still seen. The building is of a multitude of different ages. The foundations in places are 9th century, there are 10th-century walls set with 13th-century lancet windows. The House received a major refit in the 18th century by Sir John Soane. By the beginning of the 18th century, the Eliots had become rich and felt it appropriate to aggrandise their surroundings. Being dependent on the state of the tide as to when it was possible to reach the House was much too much of an inconvenience. So they diverted the course of the estuary by building a dam and creating the park. They constructed a new drive starting two miles north of the House at Tideford that wound its way along the estuary. This was, and still is, a very picturesque and extremely impressive route by which to arrive at the House. The drive wends its way along the estuary and finally, as you enter the park, a majestic view unfurls in front of you, with the House displayed right in the centre of your gaze.