Pentillie work may solve mystery of its original owner

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Media captionThe mausoleum at Pentillie was built 300 years ago

Work being carried out at a stately home in Cornwall could reveal the final resting place of the man who built it.

The owners of Pentillie Castle believe the body of Sir James Tillie is entombed beneath his favourite place on the estate.

The mausoleum was created in 1713, upon the death of Sir James, who had built the castle in 1698.

Faithful staff obeyed his instructions but eventually buried his body, although the whereabouts is a mystery.

'No reference'

Sir James' will demanded that he should not be buried, but dressed in his best clothes, bound to a stout chair and placed with his books, wine and pipe.

Ted Coryton, the owner of Pentillie, said: "We don't know where the body is. We can't find any reference at the local churches."

The mausoleum has seen little maintenance over the last 300 years.

Early accounts held at Pentillie state that Sir James' statue was placed on the first floor of the mausoleum, looking out of the windows.

However today both the statue and the windows are on the ground floor.

Mr Coryton said: "Someone suggested the plinth around the mausoleum was added at a later stage and then another level was built on the mausoleum."

The team working on the restoration dug an exploratory hole in the internal floor of the mausoleum building.

They discovered a brick built roof of a vaulted structure.

Mr Coryton said: "I'm sure we will find the remains of Sir James Tillie. But we don't know if we will find the remains of his wife, Elizabeth too. We have no idea."

The limestone statue of Sir James has been removed for cleaning and repair work.

The restoration work which is being funded by Natural England and the Country Houses Foundation, will begin later this year.

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