The buildings resonate with Tudor history and it’s still possible to visit on select days or take a tour, booked in advance.
The Carews moved into the manor in the 14th century when the building was a moated medieval mansion. The family rose to prominence in Tudor times. It is said that Elizabeth I and Sir Walter Raleigh used to walk together in the grounds.
Sir Nicholas Carew was one of Henry VIII’s favourites – until executed for treason in 1539.
Henry VIII, while still married to Catherine of Aragon, visited Carew Manor in order to spend time with Anne Boleyn. In later years, it was also a place for Henry’s secret assignations with Jane Seymour.
The house was rebuilt in 1709 but the banqueting hall, with hammerbeam roof, survives from medieval times. In the grounds there’s an orangery with what are claimed to be the first orange trees planted in England, and an 18th century dovecote. A Tudor garden and grotto have recently been discovered though the location is a closely-guarded secret to prevent looting.
By 1850, Carew Manor was lost to the Carew family through bad debts. From 1866 – 1968, it housed the Royal Female Orphanage.