Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Open Day at Poltimore House, near Exeter

Poltimore House is a historic manor house situated about five miles north-east of Exeter on the edge of Poltimore village. It was built by the Bampfylde family* in the 1550s and remodelled in the mid-18th century with further additions made in the early 1900s. It was here that the Treaty of Exeter was negotiated in 1646 following the Royalist surrender of the city during the English Civil War. In the 20th century it was a school and a hospital, and it is now a derelict ruin.

It was left to rot from 1974 and almost burned to the ground following an arson attack in 1987. As rain dripped through the roof, thieves stole the magnificent ornamental fireplaces, the doorcases, the floorboards, the mahogany doors and the 1st Baron Poltimore's grand staircase. In 2000 the property was taken over by the Poltimore House Trust and with the support of East Devon District Council and English Heritage the group aims to restore the house to a usable condition at a cost of over £5.5 million. Poltimore House was a finalist in the BBC's 'Restoration' series in 2003 and even in its present condition it remains a Grade II* listed building. It is a miracle that the house still survives and shocking that it was ever allowed to fall into such an extreme state of disrepair.

I first visited it ten years ago and recently went again when the house was opened to the public as part of the national Heritage Open Day event. The entire building is now encased in scaffolding and it is hoped that work will soon begin on repairing the roof, a mammoth operation. The following photographs were all taken on 11 September 2011.

* The Bampfyldes also built Bampfylde House in Exeter, a large, late-16th century townhouse that was destroyed by bombing in 1942.

Exterior of Poltimore House

The Entrance Hall

The Salon from c1740

The Red Drawing Room and Stairs in Tower

The Tudor Courtyard and Octagonal Stair Tower

The Garden and Grounds

Poltimore House c1930

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I recall visiting my Mother when she was in Poltimore House Hospital ?? in the 60's ,I was only able to wave to her through a long picture window and then sitting in the grand entrance hall with a "Magic Paint" book, a little cup of water being provided by a kind nurse whilst my Grandmother spent some time with my Mother. Would like to learn what kind of hospital it was if anyone can help.

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