Nutwell in the parish of Woodbury on the south coast of Devon is a historic manor and the site of a Georgian neo-classical Grade II* listedmansion house known as Nutwell Court. The house is situated on the east bank of the estuary of the River Exe, on low-lying ground nearly contiguous to the water, and almost facing Powderham Castle similarly sited on the west bank. The manor was long held by the powerful Dynham family, which also held adjacent Lympstone, and was according to Risdon the site of their castle until John Dynham, 1st Baron Dynham (1433–1501), the last in the male line, converted it into "a fair and stately dwelling house".
In the Domesday Book of 1086 Noteswille was held in chief by one of King William II's thanes named Donne (or "Dunn"), who also held from the king the manor of Newton St Cyres.
The manor of Nutwell, together with nearby Harpford, were granted by King Henry I (1100-1135) to Geoffrey I, Sire de Dinan, km SE of Dinan) the son and heir of Geoffrey I's younger son Alan de Dinan (died 1159). Nutwell was described as "land of Rolland de Dinan" in 1168, but had been taken into the king's hands and produced revenue for the royal exchequer of 14s, accounted for by the Sheriff of Devon.near St Malo in Brittany. In 1122 Geoffrey granted Nutwell and Harpwell to the Abbey of Marmoutier at Tours for the benefit of the dependent priory of St Malo at Dinan. The grant was jointly made with his sons, including his eldest son Oliver I de Dinan (died 1150) and was confirmed by his wife Orieldis. Oliver I's eldest two sons Geoffrey II and Oliver II, co-founded Hartland Abbey in 1168/9. Nutwell descended to Geoffrey I's grandson Rolland de Dinan, lord of Bécherel Castle, (about 20
Nutwell was purchased by John Prideaux (1520-1558), MP for Devon in 1554 and a Serjeant-at-law.He married (as her 2nd husband) Mary Stucley, a daughter of Sir Hugh Stucley (1496-1559) of Affeton, Devon, Sheriff of Devon in 1545. A monument thought to date from the late 16th century survives in Woodbury Church showing on a tomb chest two recumbent figures said to be of a Prideaux and his wife.
His son and heir was Thomas Prideaux (1549–1605) of Nutwell, buried at Woodbury. He married Margaret Cooper, daughter of Richard Cooper of Winscombe, Somerset.
Sir Thomas Prideaux (1575–1641), son and heir, of Nutwell, also buried at Woodbury. He married Joane Cole (1579–1631), daughter and co-heiress of John Cole (1552–1582) of Buckland Tout Saints, Devon.
Amias Prideaux (died 1667), son and heir, who married Sarah Ford, whose father's name is not known. He died without issue, having sold Nutwell.
Nutwell was purchased in 1649 for £6,050 by Sir Henry Ford (1617-1684), four times MP for Tiverton between 1664 and 1685 and twice Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, 1669–1670 and 1672–1673.His great uncle was the playwright John Ford (1586 – c. 1639). His great-great-grandfather was John Ford (died 1538) of Ashburton (the son and heir of William Ford of Chagford, ) who purchased the estate of Bagtor in the parish of Ilsington, which his male heirs successively made their seat. The Elizabethan mansion of the Fords survives today at Bagtor as the service wing of a later house appended in about 1700. Nutwell was sold by his executors in 1685.
After Sir Henry Ford's death his trustees were directed by his will to raise £1,000 for his daughters' marriage portions and his trustee John Kelland, MP, sold Nutwell for £6,318 to Sir Henry Pollexfen(1632-1691), Lord Chief Justice of the Common Pleas, who was buried at Woodbury. A slab from 1690 in Woodbury Church showing the Pollexfen arms Quarterly argent and azure, in the 1st and 4th quarter a lion rampant gules was drawn by the Devon diarist and antiquarian Orlando Hutchinson.
The senior branch of the Pollexfen family, from which Sir Henry was descended, was seated at Kitley,in the parish of Yealmpton, Devon. His son and heir was Henry Pollexfen (died 1732) of Nutwell, who married in 1699 Gertrude Drake, daughter of Sir Francis Drake, 3rd Baronet (1642 - 1718) of Buckland Abbey, by his 1st wife Dorothy Bampfield (died 1679) wife. Sir Francis had married as his third wife Elizabeth Pollexfen, Henry's sister.
Nutwell descended into the Drake family of Buckland. The last in the male line Sir Francis Drake, 5th Baronet (1723-1794) is said by Hoskins (1954) "to have wrecked the fine medieval house with his improvements demolishing the two-storied gatehouse with great difficulty in 1755-6 and cutting through the timbered roof of the 14th century chapel to make a plaster ceiling".The Devon topographer Rev. John Swete visited Nutwell while the Drake era house was still standing and made at least four watercolour paintings of it and one of the gothic chapel. He described the 5th Baronet thus: "Though refined in his manners and from his appointment at court versed in the fashionable world, he was yet one of the shyest men; very few of the principal gentlemen of the county had any acquaintance with him and not many knew him personally". The 5th and last Drake baronet bequeathed almost his whole fortune, including his lands, to his nephew Francis Augustus Eliott, 2nd Baron Heathfield (1750-1813), the son of his sister Anne Pollexfen Drake (1726–1772) and her husband the hero of Gibraltar George Augustus Eliott, 1st Baron Heathfield (1717-1790).
The 2nd Baron Heathfield largely pulled down the old house and built in its place a neo-classical house faced with tiles imitating Portland stone.In May 1799 Swete again visited Nutwell, made a painting of the new house, and recorded in his journal "the new mansion erected by the present proprietor Lord Heathfield, tho' yet unfinished exhibits itself most charmingly to the view" He described him as equally defensive of his privacy as his uncle Sir Francis Drake, denying access to Nutwell and its grounds to neighbours and strangers alike. Lord Heathfield's visits to Nutwell were said to be "seldom and of short duration" Heathfield died unmarried and without progeny.
The 2nd baron's sister was Anne Eliott (1754–1835), who married John Trayton Fuller of Ashdown House.Their son and heir was the soldier Sir Thomas Fuller-Eliott-Drake, 1st Baronet(1785-1870), who assumed the additional names of Eliott and Drake and was created a baronet, with special remainder, in 1821. He was succeeded according to the special remainder by his nephew, Sir Francis George Augustus Fuller-Eliott-Drake, 2nd Baronet (1837-1916), a son of the younger of his two brothers, who had also adopted the additional surnames. In 1861 the 2nd Baronet married Elizabeth Douglas (1840-1923) (then resident at Burslesdon House in Dawlish, Devon), a daughter of Sir Robert Andrews Douglas, 2nd Baronet of Glenbervie. She was an historian who wrote (as "Lady Eliott-Drake") The Family and Heirs of Sir Francis Drake (1911). In 1874 the 2nd Baronet, having suffered from mental ill health for 6 years, was admitted to Ticehurst Asylum in Sussex, where he lived until his death in 1916. He was buried at Buckland Monachorum, his widow staying on at Nutwell until her death in 1923. The title became extinct upon his death without a male heir. The second Baronet's only child Elizabeth Fuller-Eliott-Drake married John Eliott-Drake-Colborne, 3rd Baron Seaton (1854–1933), who also adopted the surnames Eliott and Drake.
In 1371a licence for a chapel at Nutwell was obtained from the Bishop of Exeter by John Dynham (1318–1383). It was converted into a library by Sir Francis Drake, 5th Baronet (1723-1794) which involved "cutting through the timbered roof...to make a plaster ceiling". Polwhele considered that this was one of his "improvement" which resulted in the creation of a "handsome library", but to Swete it was "an unwarrantable desecration". The chapel survives attached to the present neo-classical building, in a position slightly recessed from the south front and extending eastward. It has undergone considerable restorations. The south side contains four bays, the most westerly being for a first floor arched entrance door reached via an external staircase. The crypt underneath has square headed windows whilst the walls of the chapel above were given in the 19th century three gothic style pointed windows. The parapet above is crenellated and on the merlons survive weathered sculpted reliefs of the Dinham arms. Swete's watercolour of the east end shows the surviving arrangement of crocketed finials projecting outward on corbels over the string course with canopied niches containing much weathered statues of St George and the Archangel Michael. The north wall is topped for only part of its length with a crenellated parapet. Fragments of 14th-century stained glass, showing three figures, survive in the present chapel anteroom.
The former Dower House for Nutwell Court, Belvedere, is a Grade II listed castellated building on Burgmanns Hill. The former manor farm of Nutwell, Gulliford Farm, still exists about half a mile south-east of the property. Its stable block and north wing were built at the same time as Nutwell's riding school and surrounding wall.
There have been four baronetcies created for people with the surname Drake, three in the Baronetage of England and one in the Baronetage of Great Britain.
Sir Henry Pollexfen of Nutwell in the parish of Woodbury, Devon, was Lord Chief Justice of the Common Pleas.
John Pollexfen (1636–1715), of Walbrooke House in the parish of St Stephen Walbrook, City of London and of Wembury House in Devon, was a merchant, a courtier to Kings Charles II and William III, and a political economist who served four times as a Member of Parliament for Plympton Erle in Devon, in 1679, 1681, 1689 and 1690. He was opposed to the monopoly of the East India Company.
The Fuller-Eliott-Drake Baronetcy, of Nutwell Court, Buckland Abbey, or Monachorum, Sherford, and Yarcombe in the County of Devon, was a title in the Baronetage of the United Kingdom. It was created on 22 August 1821 for the soldier Thomas Fuller-Eliott-Drake, with remainder in default of male issue of his own to his next two younger brothers, William Stephen Fuller and Rose Henry Fuller, and their male issue. Born Thomas Fuller, he was a grandson of George Augustus Eliott, 1st Baron Heathfield, and grand-nephew of the last Drake Baronet of Buckland, and adopted the additional surnames of Eliott and Drake upon his inheritance of Buckland Abbey and Nutwell Court from the second Lord Heathfield in 1813. He was succeeded according to the special remainder by his nephew, the second Baronet, a son of the younger of his two brothers, who had also adopted the additional surnames. The title became extinct upon his death without a male heir in 1916. The second Baronet's only child married the third Baron Seaton, who also adopted the Eliott and Drake surnames.
John Dynham, 1st Baron Dynham of Nutwell in the parish of Woodbury and of Hartland, both in Devon, was an English peer and politician. He served as Lord High Treasurer of England and Lord Chancellor of Ireland. He was one of the few men to have served as councillor to Kings Edward IV, Richard III and Henry VII and was trusted by all of them.
Sir Henry Ford, of Nutwell in Devon was four times MP for Tiverton between 1664 and 1685 and twice Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, 1669–70 and 1672–73.
Sir John Dinham (1406–1458) was a knight from Devonshire, England. His principal seats were at Nutwell and Kingskerswell in South Devon and Hartland in North Devon.
Sir Edmund Prideaux, 1st Baronet (1554–1628), of Netherton in the parish of Farway, Devon, was a Councellor at Law and Double Reader of the Inner Temple and was created a baronet on 17 July 1622. He purchased the estate of Netherton where in 1607 he built a new mansion house, known today as Netherton Hall, a grade II listed building. He was one of John Prince's Worthies of Devon.
Sir John Dinham (1359–1428) was a knight from Devonshire, England. His principal seats were at Hartland in North Devon, Kingskerswell and Nutwell in South Devon, Buckland Dinham in Somerset and Cardinham in Cornwall. He killed one of the murderers of his father in Exeter Cathedral, for which he was pardoned by the king. He later broke into Hartland Abbey and assaulted the Abbot over a long-standing disagreement, and also performed other acts of violence. He married three times; his heir was John Dinham (1406–1458). His monument survives in Kingskerswell parish church.
The Feudal barony of Cardinham is one of the three feudal baronies in Cornwall which existed during the medieval era. Its caput was at Cardinham Castle, Cornwall. The Barony was held in recent times by the Vivian family, the last being Nicholas Vivian, 6th Baron Vivian. Brigadier Nicholas Crespigny Laurence Vivian, 6th Baron Vivian, conveyed the title to John Anthony Vincent of Edifici Maxim's, Carrer General, Arsinal, Principat Andora, in 1995. Mr. Vincent was a member of the Manorial Society of Great Britain and died in Douglas, Isle of Man, on 31 March 2018. The Barony was then conveyed after the probate of his estate to an American citizen on 25 May 2019.
Matford is an historic estate in the parish of Alphington, near Exeter, Devon. It should not be confused with Matford in the parish of Heavitree, almost immediately opposite on the other side of the River Exe.
Creedy is an historic estate in the parish of Sandford, near Crediton in Devon. It is named from its location on the west side of the River Creedy. It was the seat of the Davie family from about 1600 until the late 20th century. The mansion house on the estate has been called at various times New House, Creedy House, and as presently, Creedy Park. It was first built in about 1600, rebuilt in 1846, burnt down in 1915 and rebuilt 1916–21. It is surrounded by a large park, the boundary of which is enclosed by a stone and brick wall several miles long.
Netherton in the parish of Farway in Devon is an historic estate situated about 3 1/2 miles south-east of Honiton. The present mansion house known as Netherton Hall was built in 1607 in the Jacobean style, restored and rebuilt 1836-44, and is a Grade II listed building.
Sharpham is an historic estate in the parish of Ashprington, Devon. The Georgian mansion house, known as Sharpham House, overlooks the River Dart and is a Grade I listed building. The house was commenced in about 1770 by the Royal Navy captain Philemon Pownoll to the designs of the architect Sir Robert Taylor (1714–1788). In the opinion of Nikolaus Pevsner it contains "one of the most spectacular and daring later 18th century staircase designs anywhere in England". The park and gardens are Grade II* listed in the National Register of Historic Parks and Gardens. Part of the descent of Sharpham is shown on the Palmes family heraldic pedigree roll.
Soldon in the parish of Holsworthy Hamlets, Devon, England, is a historic estate, a seat of the Prideaux family. The manor house is a grade II listed building dating from the mid-16th century with later alterations. It was sold in 2014 as an eight bedroomed house with an acre and a half of grounds for an asking price of £750,000.
Columb John in the parish of Broadclyst in Devon, England, is an historic estate and was briefly the seat of the prominent Acland family which later moved to the adjacent estate of Killerton. Nothing of the structure of the Acland mansion house survives except the arch to the gatehouse, dated about 1590, and the private chapel, restored in 1851. The site of the former mansion house is situated one mile due west of Killerton House, and five miles north-east of the historic centre of the City of Exeter. The estate's name derives from it having been held by the Culme family, whose own name was taken from its landholdings in the vicinity of the River Culm, which flows through the Columb John estate.
Sir Hugh Stucley (1496–1559) was the lord of Affeton in Devon, and Sheriff of Devon in 1545. His third son was Thomas Stukley, known as "The Lusty Stucley".
Sherford is a village and former civil parish and manor, now in the parish of Frogmore and Sherford, in Devon, situated about 2 1/2 miles east of the town of Kingsbridge. It should not be confused with the new town Sherford to be built on the outskirts of Plymouth, about 18 miles to the north-west. The parish church is dedicated to Saint Martin of Tours. In 1961 the parish had a population of 258. The parish was abolished in 1986 and merged with parts of South Pool and Charleton to form "Frogmore and Sherford".
South Milton is a village and civil parish in Devon, England, situated on the south coast about 2 miles south-west of Kingsbridge. The civil parish includes the hamlets of Sutton, south of the village, and Upton, north of the village.
Gulliford Farm is a Grade-II listed farmhouse in East Devon, between Exmouth and Topsham. It is situated in the village of Exton, in the parish of Woodbury. The main residential building dates to the 16th Century with later Georgian and Victorian additions.