Past Remains

A view of yesterday from today

Shute Barton Manor & Shute House, Devon

One of the most important Mediaeval manor houses still existing today, the building of Shute Barton was begun circa 1380 and eventually completed in the late 16th century. It was then partly demolished in the 17th century. Only two wings of the original 14th century building now remain, including the Great Hall with beamed ceiling and the kitchen. The Tudor fireplace in the kitchen has a span of 24ft, being the largest in Britain and taking up an entire wall. Other interesting features include the battlemented turrets and late Gothic windows.

The imposing Gatehouse at the front of Shute Barton Manor (photos above and gate door below) was a Tudor addition to the Mediaeval estate.

The Manor House (below), was owned by the Grey family, Marquesses of Dorset, until 1554 when the failed attempt to install Lady Jane Grey on the English throne caused the entire family to fall out of favour. The home was forfeited to the crown and then leased to the de la Pole family who later bought the property. In the care of the National Trust, it was still the home of the descendants, the Pole-Carew family, until recently when it was bought by the National Trust.   

In the traditional manner of old buildings, there is a ghost story attached to it. A grey lady, who is believed by some to have been a member of the de la Pole family from the Civil War era and was hanged by Parliamentarians who ambushed her whilst walking through a grove near to the house. The property still contains a grove to this day and is called the Lady's Walk in her honour. However, she does not take kindly to strangers apparently! 

Continuing along the drive and further into the park estate can be seen the Georgian built Shute House. Built in 1786 by the sixth baronet Sir John Pole, it comprises a main house with two buildings situated at either side connected by a graceful, curving wall, plus several other estate buildings, all of which are now private residences. At the time it was described thus "the new Shute House is a gem in a completely harmonious setting, perfect in proportion, meticulously correct in every detail and altogether satisfying".

One of the wings (above and below) housed the original kitchen to the main house. The charming bell tower upon the roof was used for calling the estate workers to their meals. However, at the end of the 19th century it was converted into a small theatre complete with a proscenium arch and various backdrops, as well as the delightful stained glass windows. Known as The Old Playhouse, it is now a private residence, but still retains the proscenium arch, a painted top emulating the theatre curtain and two wall-mounted Victorian plaster statues.

A view of the stables from the drive, below.

The Stables echo the design of the main Shute House; the main stable block with two end wing buildings connected by a graceful, curving wall. Now private residences.

Above photo shows the East Lodge, beyond which are the East Gates. As the back entrance, they are just common-or-garden gates, unlike the imposing Tudor Gatehouse at the main entrance. Below is a view looking back over the park from the East Lodge.

Lots more photos, as well as these, can be seen in the Photo Gallery album. There are also some interior photos from a later tour around Shute Manor and I'll be adding some of those along with a more history and information...when I've got a mo!

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