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HER Number:MDV10069
Name:Mamhead House


Site of the former Mamhead House alleged to be a Medieval manor house rebuilt about the time of Elizabeth I and rebuilt again in the late 18th or early 19th century. It was demolished when the present Mamhead House was built and the site was marked with a tree.


Grid Reference:SX 930 808
Map Sheet:SX98SW
Admin AreaDevon
Civil ParishMamhead
Ecclesiastical ParishMAMHEAD

Protected Status

Other References/Statuses

  • Old DCC SMR Ref: SX98SW/14
  • Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division: SX98SW1

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • MANSION HOUSE (Early Medieval to XIX - 1066 AD to 1830 AD (Between))

Full description

Unknown, Mamhead: The Seat of the Earl of Lisburne (Illustration). SDV342697.

Illustration of the former 'Mamhead House' as an imposing Georgian mansion in parkland very close to the church.

Lysons, D. + Lysons, S., 1822, Magna Britannica, 327-8 (Monograph). SDV323771.

Ordnance Survey, 1880-1899, First Edition Ordnance 25 inch map (Cartographic). SDV336179.

'Mamhead House (Site of)' shown on 19th century map to the north west of 'St Thomas's Church (Rectory)'.

Reichel, O. J., 1915, The Hundred of Exminster in Early Times, 200-36 (Article in Serial). SDV285943.

The probable site of the Domesday Manor of 'Mammehetua'. In 1086 it was held by Ralf de Pomeray of Baldwin. Descents until 1434 are given.

Gover, J. E. B. + Mawer, A. + Stenton, F. M., 1932, The Place-Names of Devon: Part Two, 501 (Monograph). SDV337894.

Mamhead was mentioned as 'Manneheva', 'Mammehutua' and 'Mammeheua' in 1086. In 1238 it was mentioned as 'Mamiheuid' and in 1242 as 'Mammehavede'.

Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division, 1954, SX98SW1 (Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card). SDV342696.

1.Site of Mamhead House. Alleged Medieval manor house rebuilt about the time of Elizabeth I and rebuilt by Wilmot Earl of Lisburne who died in 1820.
2.This mansion was built by Sir Peter Bailey who died in 1680 at the age of 82.
3.The first Mamhead House was Elizabethan (1558-1603). This was torn down and a Georgian (1714-1830) house was built on the site. 4.This too was torn down the site was marked with a tree.
5.The present Mamhead House was built in 1824. However there is no evidence that the Mamhead House of the 18th century or the previous one of the early 17th century on the same site ever existed. The tree was still standing in 1963.

Fincham-Powell, K. + Williams, T., 1995, Untitled Source, 7 (Monograph). SDV342698.

The Mamhead Estate has a documented history dating back to the Domesday Book. Rumour suggest the ancient village of Mamhead once existed in the present grounds of Mamhead Park. In the 13th century Mamhead House was situated next to the church and owned by the Peverells. It passed to the Carews during the reign of Elizabeth I. It was then occupied by Giles Ball whose son Peter was born and died at Mamhead and rebuilt the old house in 1665. He also afforested much of the surrounding Haldon Hills. When William of Orange landed at Brixham in 1688 some of his retinue were billeted at Mamhead. There are rumours of two underground passages from this house used by smugglers who landed contraband at Hele's Dock near Dawlish and took it via Port Road to hiding places on the Mamhead Estate. One passage led towards the old estate's kitchen garden at Brinshill at SX93488042 and the other led from the Obelisk at SX92528075 towards the house. Thomas Ball was responsible for employing Capability Brown to landscape Mamhead Park in the 1770s and later Nightingale family enlarged the house. Other details: Photocopies of Pages 1,2 and 7.

Sources / Further Reading

SDV285943Article in Serial: Reichel, O. J.. 1915. The Hundred of Exminster in Early Times. Transactions of the Devonshire Association. 47. A5 Hardback. 200-36.
SDV323771Monograph: Lysons, D. + Lysons, S.. 1822. Magna Britannica. Magna Britannica: A Concise Topographical Account of The Several Counties o. 6: Devonshire. Unknown. 327-8.
SDV336179Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 1880-1899. First Edition Ordnance 25 inch map. First Edition Ordnance Survey 25 inch Map. Map (Digital).
SDV337894Monograph: Gover, J. E. B. + Mawer, A. + Stenton, F. M.. 1932. The Place-Names of Devon: Part Two. The Place-Names of Devon: Part Two. IX. A5 Hardback. 501.
SDV342696Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card: Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division. 1954. SX98SW1. Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card. Card Index.
SDV342697Illustration: Unknown. Mamhead: The Seat of the Earl of Lisburne. Unknown. Photocopy.
SDV342698Monograph: Fincham-Powell, K. + Williams, T.. 1995. Memories of Mamhead and Ashcombe. Photocopy. 7.

Associated Monuments

MDV32495Part of: Mamhead Park (Park/Garden)
MDV16986Related to: Icehouse in Mamhead Park (Building)
MDV10055Related to: Mamhead House (Building)
MDV10060Related to: Obelisk in Mamhead Park (Building)
MDV75650Related to: Railings northwest of St Thomas's Church (Building)
MDV75649Related to: Underground Passage in Mamhead Park (Monument)

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events: none recorded

Date Last Edited:May 20 2016 1:58PM