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History of Bradfield & Bovey Houses in Devon
By Michael Ford
&      B O V E Y
Walrond Family Seats in Devon

Bradfield House

Bradfield at Uffculme near Cullompton still has its medieval hall in full glory with a spectacular early 16th century hammerbeam roof and carved angel terminals. The whole is very ornate with linen-fold panelling and a carved frieze while tracery abounds.

The house was enlarged in the late Elizabethan period with a rebuild of the wings either side and behind the hall to include reception rooms, bedrooms and stairway. The house contains some beautiful plasterwork, carved woodwork and panelling. Around 1860 a restoration took place which included a large service wing to the west. Bradfield is one of the largest country houses in Devon.

The property was the seat of the Walrond family for seven hundred years from the 13th century until the early 20th century. Their other major seat was at Bovey House between Beer and Branscombe.

The major portion of this Grade I mansion, the west wing and part of the entrance front, is being offered for sale with over 13.5 acres of land, through the agent Knight Frank International through their Exeter office. Offers are invited in excess of 350,000. There is scope for further restoration as a private house.

Bovey House

Bovey House was a seat of the Walrond family from about 1670 when they bought it from Sir William Pole, although they are believed to have been in tenancy from a considerably earlier time. It remained in the family until it passed by marriage to the Rolles family in 1778 and then onto Lord Clinton, again by marriage.

The property was owned by Sherborne Abbey up until the dissolution of the monasteries when Henry VIII gave it to Catherine Parr as part of her dowry in 1543.

The present house was built around a medieval hall in 1592 and having been reduced in size after a period of neglect, was restored in 1868.

In places the house rises to three storeys and still retains that beautiful Elizabethan look. The Great Hall is now a drawing room with 17th century panelling and an interesting ceiling. There is another room, which has 16th century, linen-fold panelling and an ornate frieze. The ‘King Charles Bedroom’ has a unique coffered ceiling depicting Charles II hiding in an oak tree with the pursuing horsemen all around during his flight after the battle of Worcester.

Bovey House is now a hotel, tastefully modernised and set in attractive walled gardens retaining many ancient and historic features, as does the house itself with secret passages and a priests’ hole. There is a well in the grounds, which is 180ft deep and has a tread-wheel for raising water. Thirty feet down is another hiding place let into the sidewall. In front of the house there are three anchor stones in a triangle used, up to the Second World War, to secure three defensive bronze cannons.

Walrond family monuments can be found in the church of St. Mary at Uffculme. Two other lesser Walrond houses are Tidwell House at East Budleigh built around 1730 and Dunchideock House from the Georgian period and earlier. Two other houses with Walrond associations, by marriage, are Moorstone Barton, an important medieval house at Halberton and Huntsham Court, an impressive mansion built in 1868.

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