Past Remains

A view of yesterday from today

Colcombe Castle, Colyton, Devon

Built on the site of, and possibly incorporating some of the remains of Colcombe Castle, this was one of the seats of the Courtenays, Earls of Devon. Built by Hugh de Courtenay in the late 13th century, it began its life as a moated and fortified homestead. By 1539 it was in ruins, and then partly rebuilt by Henry Courtenay, Marquis of Exeter, but after his execution in 1540 it was confiscated by the Crown and returned to Edward Marquis of Exeter, who died in 1556.

It was rebuilt in the early 17th century and was later altered and added to. The metal frame casements replaced the former stone mullion windows and the door has a modern gabled porch, but there are still remains which have been incorporated into the buildings; now a farmstead. 

Above is the rebuilt house, which is now a farmhouse, and the wonderful plank and studded door can be seen below. I did knock on the door to ask permission to take photos, and had a quick look around, but unfortunately I couldn't find anyone so I just took a few exterior photos of the essential buildings as I left. 

A  view of the main building from the other side, below. Taken into the sun, the photo is a bit fogged, but it does show the lovely sweep of the roof as it continues down over the annexe. Interestingly, I've seen this style of building locally before, albeit on a much smaller scale; a building belonging to the mill complex, also in Colyton, and the blacksmith's in Branscombe. The annexes, or lower parts, of those buildings were storerooms, especially for wood in the case of the smithy.

Another old plank door in the courtyard wall, together with an old millstone. I believe that this was part of the original buildings. Fabulous ridge tiles on the top of the wall.

Part of an old cider apple orchard, below. Apple trees aren't long-living enough for these to have been the original ones, but doubtless there was an orchard here back in the day to supply the household with their own cider. Larger houses such as this also supplied cider to their workers and other households.

And finally below, a public house in the centre of Colyton named after Colcombe Castle, with the sign displaying its name.

The complete set of photos can be seen in the Photo Gallery album.

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