Tintagel Old Post Office
OS Grid ref:- SX0890
Sitting squarely on the busy high strret of the north Cornwall village of Tintagel the quaint and characterful Old Post Office is tumble-roofed and weathered by the centuries.
The six hundred year old traditional Cornish longhouse is set in enchanting cottage gardens and contains a carefully restored Victorian post office. It is furnished with local oak furniture, some pieces dating from as early as the sixteenth century.
The building was previously a medieval yeoman farmhouse and is a rare survival of a medieval domestic building in this area. It was constructed in the late fourteenth or fifteenth century. It is typical of such late medieval manor houses with a central single-storey hall open to the roof, flanked by smaller service rooms and a kitchen with bedrooms above.
The building was used as the village post office from 1844 to 1892, when it briefly held a licence to be the letter receiving station for the district.
Inspired by the legend of King Arthur and such poets as Lord Tennyson and Swinburne, Victorian tourists flocked to Tintagel. As a result most of Tintagel's old buildings were demolished and replaced with tourist accommodation. At around the same time, the introduction of the penny stamp led to an influx of mail and Tintagel acquired its own Post Office for the first time. Set in the outside wall at the front of the building is a Victorian letter collection box dating back to 1857. It is one of only fourteen such boxes, which still remain, mostly in the south and west of England. This particular box is characterised by having no hood over the aperture and its door sited in the middle.
In 1895 when most of the old vilage was being pulled down to meet the needs of the influx of new visitors, the Old Post Office was rescued from destruction by a team of people lead by Catherine Johns.. Miss Johns carried out improvements to the building. The Old Post Office is now in the care of the National Trust, who acquired the building from Miss Johns in 1903, it was the Trust's first built property in Cornwall.
When acquired by the National Trust the bulding was devoid of contents, with the exception of a late medieval kitchen table situated in the hall. The rooms have since been filled with oak furniture obtained from farmhouses and cottages in the area. One of the rooms has now been preserved as the Victorian post office that it became in its latter years. Items on display include Victorian postal equipment, a unique collection of historic needlework samplers dating from the mid seventeenth century and furniture dating back to the sixteenth century.