About Cyprus Well

Former UK Poet Laureate Sir Andrew Motion, Patron of the Charles Causley Trust, cutting the ribbon to officially open the restored and refurbished Cyprus Well, Charles Causley's former house, as a centre for literary and other arts activities during the 2013 Charles Causley Festival. (Photograph: Steve Tanner)

Cyprus Well was home to Charles Causley for half a century, until his death in a nearby nursing home in 2003. He bought it in 1952 to share with his widowed mother and continued to live there after her death in 1971.

The house is marked by a circular plaque just near the front door, unveiled by Sir Andrew Motion in 2013. It is a small property, the middle one of three in a short terrace, situated down a very steep minor road (Ridgegrove Hill) just outside the centre of Launceston. The road leads towards the River Tamar and the Cornwall-Devon county border, at Polson Bridge about a mile away.

The terrace is old — Causley even suggests that it, and in particular his own house, are named for a nearby spring and its presumed Saxon owner, originally known as Sibard’s Well (see his poem of that title!). Causley therefore suggests that the site itself may date back to over a thousand years ago.

The house fronts directly onto the road and its single-side pavement (parking is therefore very awkward). On the ground floor, there is a combined entrance hall and small lounge area, plus a separate, similarly small room that Causley used as his writing space and library. At its rear, there is a kitchen and dining area with a small glassed-in extension (and nowadays, a combined toilet and shower room). Up the steep and narrow staircase are two bedrooms. Outside and to the side of the kitchen/dining area, there is a small patio area and then a small rear garden arranged in two sections down a slope.

The house was extensively and sensitively restored (with upgrades to appropriate modern standards of safety and comfort) over a number of years, in order to support its continuing use for regular residencies and occasional small open events — as well as for hire as a holiday cottage. (See the next sub-page for further details about such uses of Cyprus Well.)

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