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HER Number:MDV37704
Name:Holwell Temple, Castle Hill Estate, Filleigh


Holwell Temple, built 1770-1772 as eyecatcher, to the south of Castle Hill. It forms one of a number of important garden structures in the 18th century design of Castle Hill, Filleigh.


Grid Reference:SS 674 269
Map Sheet:SS62NE
Admin AreaDevon
Civil ParishChittlehampton
DistrictNorth Devon
Ecclesiastical ParishCHITTLEHAMPTON

Protected Status

Other References/Statuses

  • Old DCC SMR Ref: SS62NE/89
  • Old Listed Building Ref (II): 444525

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • GARDEN BUILDING (XVIII - 1770 AD to 1772 AD (Between))

Full description

Woodbridge, K., 1979, Landscaping at Castle Hill (Article in Serial). SDV344391.

Faussett, R., 1984, Untitled Source (Monograph). SDV344392.

Department of Environment, 1988, Chittlehampton, 88 (List of Blds of Arch or Historic Interest). SDV86207.

Holwell Temple built as eyecatcher, circa 2000 metres south of Castle Hill, Filleigh, 1770-1772. Stucco on brick and stone rubble with ashlar dressings, the brick confined to the ground floor, stack, full-height engaged pilasters and columns of the portico.
Plan. Square on plan with tetrastyle portico to north side. Floors and roof no longer survive. Originally two principal storeys.Three bays to each face. The principal north facade is pedimented with three semi-circular headed niches over round-arched window openings flanking straight-headed doorway. Three of the four columns have ashlar bases with the stubs of the brick columns only surviving, the second column from the right rising to about five metres. Each of the bays to the remaining sides are flanked by engaged brick pilasters with Ionic style capitals, the latter surviving only to the west and south sides. Square openings over larger window openings to each bay, on the west side two of the upper storey windows, and on south side the central upper storey window have been blocked. On the east side, only the left-hand bay has similar openings, the central bay is blind due to the internal brick stack, the right-hand bay has a blocked ground floor window. No interior features survive except for the ground floor fireplace on the east side with cambered brick arch. Holwell Temple was built between 1770 and 1772, a former inscription around the frieze recording that it was "Erected by Matthew Lord Fortescue in Grateful Remembrance of his Brother Hugh Earl Clinton MDCCLXXII." Intended originally to cost £100, the eventual expenditure proved to be £700. Lord Fortescue wrote in August 1771 "I think the expense should in some measure be made to correspond with the great obligation i owe to my brother's memory - not only to this temple but by hiding as much as I could of that false French taste which was shown when he began the improvements and, which in those days very generally prevailed". The temple stands imposingly on the extremity of a bluff; originally the meadows below it were flooded and the trees around it shredded "to favour the deception of a port". It forms one of a number of important garden structures in the 18th century design of Castle Hill, Filleigh.

Goodwin, N. D., 1989, Holwell Temple (Worksheet). SDV344389.

Site overgrown. Other details: Slides attached.

Goodwin, N. D., 1989, Holwell Temple, 23-26 (Ground Photograph). SDV344393.

Views of temple from south, east and west. Other details: Attached to worksheet.

Colvin & Moggridge, 2000, Castle Hill Park Restoration Management Plan, 18-23 (Report - Interim). SDV344390.

Holwell Temple in Matthew Lord Fortescue's park to be stabilised under Castle Hill Park countryside stewardship scheme of 2000.

North Devon District Council, 2003, North Devon Buildings at Risk Survey 2000-2003, 40 (Report - Survey). SDV344372.

Listed as ruin, but further decay since listing is evident. Other details: Photographs.

Ordnance Survey, 2010, MasterMap (Cartographic). SDV344030.

Collings, A.G. + Young, G.M. + Passmore, A.J., 2011, Holwell Temple, Castle Hill, Filleigh, Devon: An Archaeological and Historical Survey, 9-11 (Report - Survey). SDV347660.

The temple was constructed in 1771-2 as a banqueting room, but between 1775 and 1785 it was converted into two cottages, the reason given later being that 'the interior was never finished and the whole was suffering from damp and trespass'. However, the documentary evidence indicates that the interior fittings were in fact completed, and this is borne out by the limited surviving evidence from the fabric of the buildings, as well as finds from the excavation. Unfortunately little architectural evidence survives to indicate the internal layout of the cottages, however it is clear from the fenestration that lit first-floor accommodation was provided, and rows of sockets above the windows but well below the top of the walls may be evidence for a second floor within the roof space. An early 20th century photograph depicts a lean-to extension (now demolished) along the west side, and the excavation exposed a low-level brick wall abutting the original wall footings. This seems likely to have incorporated a ceramic cloam oven inserted into the fireplace, and although this has been removed, fragments of the oven were recovered from the vicinity. It is likely that the original ground-floor fireplace was open, with a simple large cast-iron grate, however a fragment of cast-iron fire surround was recovered, indicating the insertion of a domestic fireplace with a hob grate into the earlier opening. See report for full details. Other details: Figures 1-12; photos 1-10.

Sources / Further Reading

SDV344030Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 2010. MasterMap. Ordnance Survey. Map (Digital). [Mapped feature: #89587 ]
SDV344372Report - Survey: North Devon District Council. 2003. North Devon Buildings at Risk Survey 2000-2003. North Devon District Council Report. A4 Stapled + Digital. 40.
SDV344389Worksheet: Goodwin, N. D.. 1989. Holwell Temple. Devon County Sites and Monuments Register. Worksheet.
SDV344390Report - Interim: Colvin & Moggridge. 2000. Castle Hill Park Restoration Management Plan. Colvin & Moggridge Landscape Architects Report. A4 Ring Bound + Digital. 18-23.
SDV344391Article in Serial: Woodbridge, K.. 1979. Landscaping at Castle Hill. Country Life. Unknown.
SDV344392Monograph: Faussett, R.. 1984. The Creation of the Gardens at Castle Hill, Filleigh. Unknown.
SDV344393Ground Photograph: Goodwin, N. D.. 1989. Holwell Temple. Slide. 23-26.
SDV347660Report - Survey: Collings, A.G. + Young, G.M. + Passmore, A.J.. 2011. Holwell Temple, Castle Hill, Filleigh, Devon: An Archaeological and Historical Survey. Exeter Archaeology Report. 11.25. A4 Stapled + Digital. 9-11.
SDV86207List of Blds of Arch or Historic Interest: Department of Environment. 1988. Chittlehampton. Historic Houses Register. A4 Comb Bound. 88.

Associated Monuments

MDV63687Part of: PARK in the Parish of Filleigh (Monument)
MDV80570Related to: Undercroft Adjacent to Holwell Temple (Monument)

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events

  • EDV4599 - North Devon Buildings at Risk Survey 2000-2003
  • EDV5222 - Archaeological Building Recording at Holwell Temple

Date Last Edited:Aug 12 2011 1:51PM