“It was in 1591 that Sir Thomas Wise “bwilded heere upon an advanced ground, a newe howse for his pleasure, and named it Mount Wise” (Pole). The Wise family had acquired the Stoke Damerel estate through marriage, back in 1428, but for many years chose to remain in the family seat at Sydenham, near Launceston, rather than move here where the manor house then was at Keyham.
Doubtless Sir Thomas Wise was inspired by his neighbours across the water – the Edgcumbes – to move here. Richard Edgcumbe had moved down the river from Cothele and had Edgcumbe House built in 1550, naming it Mount Edgcumbe. Hence Sir Thomas’s decision to name his new loftily-located property “Mount” Wise. There was, however, a significant difference between the two estates, Mount Wise was “deficient in the umbrageous charms which surround Mount Edgcumbe” (Worth). In other words there were very few trees at Mount Wise affording the colours, contrasts and shades that even today make Mount Edgcumbe such a delight.
Incidentally the house at Mount Wise, which survived well into the seventeenth century, went sometime after the estate was sold for the development of the Dockyard.