Exeter's Historic Mamhead House and Castle on the market for over £8 million
Occupying an outstanding position with commanding panoramic views over its parkland, the surrounding countryside and along the Exe Estuary, Mamhead House is quite simply breathtaking. A Grade I late Georgian house offered for sale through Strutt & Parker for offers in excess of £8,000,000, the property is located in a tranquil position along the East Devon coastline, but with easy access to the M5 motorway and Exeter Airport.
Mamhead House has a fascinating history and there has been a house on this site for many centuries. Mamhead is mentioned in the Domesday Book and the ownership has passed through several distinguished families. In 1547, it was bought by the Balle family. In 1672 Peter Balle, an attorney to Queen Henrietta Maria, was awarded a Baronetcy for his services to her. Later William of Orange billeted his supporters on the Estate. Mamhead then passed into the hands of the Earls of Lisburne, who sold the Estate in 1822 to Robert W Newman, MP for Exeter between 1918 and 1931.
The current house was built in 1833 as a "Marriage House" for Robert Newman and his new bride, Mary. The initials of both appear entwined throughout the house. The family motto, "Ubi amor ibi fides", "Where there is love there is trust" is beautifully carved above the front door and is repeated in various places throughout the house.
Today Mamhead House combines reception rooms of fine proportions with exquisite plaster ceilings that flow from one to another. It has a peaceful and relaxing environment and the reception rooms, bedrooms, terraces and garden make the most of the stunning views over the parkland, open agricultural land and along the East Devon coast to Portland Bill.
The house, which is built of mellow Bath stone and is approached by a long winding drive through woodland, has five principal reception rooms, five additional reception rooms, galleried halls, landings and corridors, a main kitchen/breakfast room, a secondary kitchen/butler's pantry and extensive domestic offices and cellars.
There are 16 bedrooms, 8 bathrooms and an attic with a further 11 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms.
At one end of the house overlooking the magnificent Italian sunken garden with its fine Salvin fountain, sundial and seat is a large camellia house.
In the grounds is a two-bedroom staff bungalow together with useful garaging, outbuildings and an Estate yard.
Approached directly from the main drive, situated to the north west of Mamhead House is Mamhead Castle. Also designed by Anthony Salvin and built at the same time as the house, it is a copy of 14th century Belsay Castle in Northumberland. It was designed as a craggy picturesque foil to the house. Constructed of local red sandstone it was originally used to provide stabling, a coach house, laundry and brewery. A passage linked the brewery with the house cellars. The Castle is Grade II Listed and a central courtyard is approached through a massive gatehouse complete with portcullis.
Today the Castle has been completely modernised and is laid out in six office suites. These can be let to provide a useful income, although they are vacant at present. Mamhead House is complemented by stunning landscaped gardens and parkland. It is known that Lancelot "Capability" Brown charged the first Earl of Lisburne £105 for his plans for improving the park. There are extensive Italian terraces, a magnificent sunken garden and all with the backdrop of azaleas, camellias and rhododendrons.
The parkland comprises many fine specimen trees. The agricultural land is grazed by sheep on a short term arrangement with a local farmer. The 70 acres of woodland provide a magnificent backdrop to the house.
The Estate extends in all to about 164 acres (66 hectares).
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Images courtesy of Strutt & Parker.