Bude Castle is not a ‘castle’ as such, but a modest stately home situated in Bude – north Cornwall – that was once the home of Goldsworthy Gurney (1793-1875). Goldsworthy Gurney was born in Padstow (Cornwall) and was something of a genius. He was educated at Truro Grammar School, and despite not going to university, he apprenticed with a local medical doctor, learning how to be a general practitioner, and eventually inheriting the practice as a surgeon before he was 20 years old. However, he longed to experience life in London – one of the most progressive cities in the world – and in 1820 he and his family relocated to the city.
Although only the foundations exist dating to 13th century renovations, (the home was eventually abandoned in the early 15th century), they reveal expert stone-masonry, architectural design, and building craftsmanship, as well as over-all expertise in positioning of the stricture and the good use of natural terrain, (the local river, for instance, was diverted to form the water in the encircling moat). The area of Penhallam was awarded to the de Cardinham family from France, and Penhallam Manor apparently served as one of their stately homes – such was the family’s importance in the new Norman social order in Britain. English Heritage maintain the site – which is free to enter for the general public. The ruins lie in a forest clearing that is about a 15 minute walk from the small car park (which is designed for 5 cars). It is a beautiful place to visit.