Knightshayes appeal for local memories of Joyce, Lady Heathcoat Amory

A project is underway at Knightshayes as part of an effort to create an archive of recorded memories from people who met and knew Joyce, Lady Heathcoat Amory. The team at Knightshayes are on a hunt to find anyone who might have known Joyce, visited her, met her, played golf with her or have any memories they’d like to share.

The project will run alongside a larger project next year to celebrate Joyce and share stories about her life.  As a generous and well known community figure in Tiverton, the team often hear of memories of local visitors and residents alike, but now would love to create an archive of these recordings.  These will be properly archived and kept, and if participants are happy to, then a few will also be played at the exhibition that will take place next year.

In 2018, the team at Knightshayes plan to create an exhibition to show Joyce’s achievements, life and passions.  Part of this will involve celebrating just how much of a community figure Joyce was, and how she and Sir John supported many local causes and contributed to lots of local amenities, such as Tiverton Golf Club. There will also be the chance to find out all about Joyce’s golfing career in the 1920’s and how she forged a trail of success in a man’s world.

House and Collections Manager, Kate Churchill said, ‘We really want to take the opportunity to properly tell visitors about Joyce and everything that she achieved, and played a part in changing how women could succeed in sport. Not only that, but it’s a fantastic to hear all about local people’s meetings with her, whether it was in passing or because they visited Knightshayes when the family still lived here. It’s the real memories that bring to life Joyce’s legacy.’

People are now being urged to get in touch if they have any memories they’d like to share, and then the team will arrange an informal chat to give more information and find out a bit more.

Not only was Joyce a hugely accomplished champion golfer, she is also partly responsible for the creation of the beautiful woodland garden at Knightshayes which so many visitors enjoy visiting throughout the seasons today.  She designed and grew the garden alongside her husband, Sir John and head gardener, Michael Hickson, for which they all received the very prestigious Victoria Medal of Honour from the RHS.  She continued to live at Knightshayes even after the National Trust took over the estate following the death of her husband, John in 1972. She was the last member of the family to live at Knightshayes until her death in 1997. The exhibition will explore more about her passion for the outdoors at Knightshayes and visitors will be able to see a part of the house that she moved into when the National Trust took on Knightshayes and begun the restoration in of the main house.