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15th - 17th Sep / 2023
Autumn Study Trip - Devon

Our Autumn study weekend takes us to the Exeter area, led by Events Committee member Kate Dyson. Our visits will include privately-owned Ugbrooke Park, near Chudleigh, an early castellated house designed by Robert Adam, with grounds designed by Capability Brown. Since the 1960s, Ugbrooke has been painstakingly restored by the Clifford family, who have always lived there. The property is mentioned in the Domesday Book. Following this we visit another important private house for lunch and to study the family furniture collection.

Powderham Castle, built in the fourteenth century by Sir Philip Courtenay, is the seat of the Earl and Countess of Devon. More a fortified manor than a castle, Simon Jenkins, in his book on England’s Thousand Best Houses describes it as a 'family tree in architecture'. Treasures include two huge Baroque bookcases and a longcase clock made by John Channon in 1740, Rococo plasterwork, a music room added in 1794 by James Wyatt, and a splendid staircase praised by Pevsner as the most spectacular architecture of its date in Devon.

We will visit Knightshayes, a renowned house by William Burges, and will, we hope, see the Burges bedroom furniture on loan from the V&A, though currently not on display, and Holcombe Court, a private Grade I listed Tudor house, containing an interesting small collection of bespoke contemporary furniture inspired by William Burges and designed by Scott Cunningham. Since the 13th century twenty-three generations of the family have lived in privately-owned Fursdon House, which was rebuilt in 1723 and altered in 1818 when Waterloo hero George Fursdon returned to add a new colonnade, ballroom and library. The old great hall has its original screen. There’s also a small family memorabilia museum. We will be staying in traditional thatched cottages overlooking the beautiful courtyard of Bickleigh Castle, a fortified manor house that stands on the banks of the River Exe near Tiverton.

To express interest, please contact the Events Secretary at

Powderham Castle

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