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HER Number:MDV64757
Name:Lifton Park Mansion


Lifton Park, now partly ruinous. Built c1815, altered 1857. Gothick style, of stuccoed stone with slate roofs.


Grid Reference:SX 380 845
Map Sheet:SX38SE
Admin AreaDevon
Civil ParishLifton
DistrictWest Devon
Ecclesiastical ParishLIFTON

Protected Status

Other References/Statuses

  • Old DCC SMR Ref: SX38SE/66
  • Old Listed Building Ref (II)

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • COUNTRY HOUSE (XIX - 1801 AD to 1900 AD (Between))

Full description

Ordnance Survey, 1907, 86SE (Cartographic). SDV335984.

Department of Environment, 1985, Lifton (List of Blds of Arch or Historic Interest). SDV337962.

Lifton Park. House and ruins to the east. Circa 1815 for William Arundell of Kenegie in Cornwall who inherited the Lifton estate in 1775. Alterations of 1857 for Henry Bradshaw who acquired the estate in 1844. Stuccoed stone with some stone dressings, and slate roofs with rendered stacks. An extensive Gothick house of 1815 partly remodelled in a more archaeological but still Gothick style in 1857. The west block survives but to the east the house is ruinous. The original build seems to have had a west entrance and a sequence of principal rooms facing south and opening into one another, the now ruinous central room, said to have been an orangery on the south side being single-storey with three tall arched Gothick windows with timber tracery between the slightly advanced blocks to the west and east. The exterior alterations of 1857 seem to have been confined to the entrance front at the west which was refenestrated with stone traceried windows and given a battlemented parapet and stepped and Dutch gables. In the circa 1950s the east part of the house became ruinous, renovations in progress on the west block at the time of survey, 1985. The west block 1815 with alterations of 1857 (dated rain water head). Stone stuccoed and blocked out and rusticated with various unarchaeological designs. Slate roof with stepped gables at ends. Rendered stacks with moulded caps and tall ornamental chimney pots. Double depth plan with rooms leading directly off a large entrance hall. Two storeys. Eight bay symmetrical front with central embattled porte-cochere with flying diagonal buttresses to the front and double chamfered arches carried on short shafts. Front left and right projections have Dutch gables to the front crowned with crosses and slender setback buttresses with set-offs. The battlemented parapet to the central five bays rises as a stepped gable, crowned with a cross above the middle bay. Stone Perpendicular style stone traceried windows throughout, one-, two- and three-light with cusping in the heads of the main lights. Tall arched doorway with two-leaf door to main entrance. Adjoining at the north of the entrance front is one bay which preserves the 1815 detail. A single-storey embattled projection has a two-light Gothick arched timber traceried casement in a rectangular architrave. The south side of the west block has two stepped gables to the south and one to the east but preserves its 1815 fenestration of two-light timber traceried casements in rectangular architraves, the ground floor windows being French windows.
Interior: Plaster vault to porch, presumably of 1815. Most of the joinery and cornices also date from 1815 including large two-leaf doors with Gothick panelling. Fine hall fireplace surround has moulded stone pinnacles, one finial missing, and a cast iron fireplace corbelled out on Gothic heads. The principal staircase is dog-leg and supported on iron columns with stone stairs and paired cast iron balusters. A second timber stair has balusters with Gothick detailing and a trail of foliage carved on the newel post. The east block 1815. Stuccoed stone with vermiculated rustication, rendered stacks with moulded caps. Roofless and forming a picturesque ruin to the east of the house. The remains of the central three-bay room on the south side has an embattled parapet and tall arched Gothick windows with timber tracery and buttresses with set-offs between. To the east of this the plan seems to have been an irregular picturesque block with canted bays and two-light Gothick arched timber traceried casements in rectangular architraves.
William Arundell is said to have rebuilt an earlier house on the site, but there is no sign of a pre 1815 core.
John B. Wollocombe, From Morn till Eve (1908). Other details: LBS 92364.

Cherry, B. + Pevsner, N., 1989, The Buildings of England: Devon, 536 (Monograph). SDV325629.

Gray, T., 1995, The Garden History of Devon: An Illustrated Guide to Sources, 140 (Monograph). SDV671.

Large Tudor style mansion at Lifton Parkwas built c1815 for William Arundel with alterations made in 1857. It is now largely derelict apart from the eight bay west entrance wing. White in 1850 noted 'a handsome seat' surrounded by c300 acres of lawns and woods at 'Lifton' or 'Castle Park'. The entrances to Lifton Park are marked by decorative Victorian lodges, 'Hornapark' and 'South Lodge'.

Clark, J. + Richardson, D., 1999, Lifton Park (Un-published). SDV357685.

The large Gothic mansion was built circa 1815 and is now largely derelict apart from the eight bay west entrance wing.

Gent, T. + Manning, P., 2016, Lifton Wood and the Development of the Surrounding Area. (Report - Assessment). SDV359657.

This desk-based assessment was carried out between August 2015 and February 2016 to assist in the interpretation of a recently rediscovered hilltop enclosure and other features in Lifton Wood, Lifton, Devon.

Lifton Park is a Listed Grade II 'Gothick' mansion built in c. 1815 and partly remodelled in 1857. The west block survives, but to the east the house is ruinous. Much of the arboretum survives, as do rockeries and formal seating areas within the woodland. There are two Victorian lodges, Hornapark and South Lodge (the latter is to the east of the house), which are also listed Grade II. These are said to have been built in the late 1860's for Henry Bradshaw (Hornapark has an 1867 date stone) although there was an unmarked building in the position of South Lodge on the 1840 tithe map and possibly in Swete's view of Lifton Bridge in 1793. North Lodge, which is not listed, is marked on the tithe map as 'Lodge', so was presumably the original lodge.

The mansion was built for William Arundel Harris of Kenegie, Cornwall, whose grandfather (also William Arundel, of Trengwainton and Menedarva) inherited the Lifton estate, and assumed the name and arms of Harris, in 1776. The house was also called Castle Park.

In 1898 John Wollacombe wrote that William Arundel married Mary Lucinda Webber on the day after his coming of age (17 September 1815) and that following their first two years of married life at Kenegie they 'then moved to Lifton, where he [William] had added to the old house and planted some hundred of acres'; the house 'was designed and built by him'. This suggests that the couple moved to the house in late 1817 or so, it presumably having been under construction in the preceding two years. William reassumed the name Harris in 1822, became High Sherrif of Cornwall in 1817, and was magistrate for Devon and Cornwall and deputy Lieutenant of Devon in 1835.

This reference to William adding 'to the old house' appears to be the basis for the claim that the mansion was built on the site of an earlier house, although apparently no evidence for this has been found in its construction. The 1807 map (Fig. 4) depicts what is probably the house in question, in plot 328. Overlaying the 1807 map with later mapping (Fig. 11) suggests that the 1807 house lies beneath Lifton Park, although due to the possibility of inaccuracies in the earlier map, this is not certain.

Lifton Park is shown on the tithe map (1840; Fig. 6), which depicts the house, and structures to the south, which included a double coach house, stables and walled gardens; William Arundel Harris, Esq. was the owner and occupier. To the south, plantations (plots 1413 and 1417) probably screened these buildings from the house. Small circular features in this area are recorded as clumps. The greater part of the land is shown on the tithe map as a single plot recorded simply as 'Plantation' (field 1412), with a path that seems to follow the contours around the hill. To the north plot 1213 was also a plantation. There is an irregular boundary immediately west of Lifton Park house that appears to relate to a terraced feature shown on the OS 1884 map (Fig. 7), perhaps a croquet lawn or some other leisure facility. There is no such boundary irregularity at this location on the estate map of 1807.

The Lifton estate was advertised for sale in 1842 and included land in the parishes of Lifton, Stowford, Bradstone and Broadwoodwidger comprising the manors of Lifton, Stone and others and including the Royalty of the Hundred of Lifton extending over 18 parishes. The Estate consisted of the 'Mansion of Lifton Park with its splendid Woods and Plantations, valuable Quarries of Lime and Stone, and mines of Manganese, and about 4,700 Acres of land, generally of a very fertile and superior quality, of which about 350 are wood and plantation, and the rest arable and pasture'. The house is described as 'one of the most admired residences in the County …built within the last 25 years in the most substantial manner… '. 'Lifton Park and Mansion', described as being about 4,580 acres, was advertised again in 1845. The several farms belonging to the estate varied in size from 30 to 200 acres each. In the same year the estate was sold to the trustees of the late R.H. Bradshaw for Henry Blagrove Esq. A conveyance dated 1848 describes the 'Mansion' as including 'a double Coach House, Stabling for Eight Horses, Carpenters Shop, riding house, Laundry, Wash house and Domestic Offices, Walled gardens, Greenhouse and Graperies, together with 37 acres and 34 perches'. It is not certain when the coach house complex was converted to a farm, but a 1952 sale catalogue for Lifton Park Estate includes Lifton Park Farm and walled kitchen garden; there was also a cottage on the farm. On the OS 1:10,560 map of 1888 (Fig. 8). Lifton Park mansion, the coach houses and other ancillary features are shown together with Lifton Wood. A pheasantry, aviary, rookery, various other structures and paths are depicted and there are four quarries within the edges of the wood. To the north of the house is an enclosure containing two buildings, which is shown on modern mapping as 'Woodyard Barn'. Additional structures had also been built at the south-eastern end of the coach-house complex. The various features appear much the same on the OS map of 1907, with the addition of a second pheasantry, and fish pond to the south (Fig. 9).

In 1898 Wollacombe wrote that in his younger days Lifton House was called ''Castle Park’ – a name which it had acquired from the deep fosse of a Roman encampment, or castella, which crowns Lifton wood’. Lysons (1822) refers to 'William Arundel Harris Esq. of Castle Park in Lifton', and the same reference appears in leases of 1816 and 1821.55 An 1827 lease names it as Lifton Park56 and White's directory of 1850 refers to it as 'Lifton' or 'Castle Park'. In Dean Jeremiah Milles questionnaire sent to Devon parishes in 1753, the enquiry as to what antiquities were known in the parish, was answered as 'none', so the incumbent was presumably not aware of the earthworks in the wood, or considered them irrelevant.

Horner, B., 27/04/2015, Lifton Park House, Lifton (Ground Photograph). SDV358226.

Ground shots of Lifton Park House, ruinous wing in particular.

Sources / Further Reading

SDV325629Monograph: Cherry, B. + Pevsner, N.. 1989. The Buildings of England: Devon. The Buildings of England: Devon. Hardback Volume. 536.
SDV335984Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 1907. 86SE. Second Edition Ordnance Survey 6 inch Map. Map (Paper).
SDV337962List of Blds of Arch or Historic Interest: Department of Environment. 1985. Lifton. Historic Houses Register. Website.
SDV357685Un-published: Clark, J. + Richardson, D.. 1999. Lifton Park. Devon Register Review. A4 Stapled + Digital.
SDV358226Ground Photograph: Horner, B.. 27/04/2015. Lifton Park House, Lifton. Digital.
SDV359657Report - Assessment: Gent, T. + Manning, P.. 2016. Lifton Wood and the Development of the Surrounding Area.. Archaedia. 1155. Digital.
SDV671Monograph: Gray, T.. 1995. The Garden History of Devon: An Illustrated Guide to Sources. The Garden History of Devon: An Illustrated Guide to Sources. Paperback Volume. 140.

Associated Monuments

MDV73261Related to: Flagstaff, Lifton Park (Monument)
MDV73260Related to: Fountain, Lifton Park (Monument)
MDV73267Related to: Gatepiers, gates and railings to south east of South Lodge, Lifton (Building)
MDV73263Related to: Hornapark, Lifton (Building)
MDV58638Related to: North Lodge, Lifton (Monument)
MDV64758Related to: Parkland , Lifton (Monument)
MDV58646Related to: South Lodge, Lifton (Building)
MDV73264Related to: Wall, gatepiers and gate south east of Hornpark, Lifton (Building)

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events

  • EDV6997 - Desk-Based Assessment of a Hilltop Enclosure in Lifton Wood and the Development of the Surrounding Area. (Ref: 1155)

Date Last Edited:Jun 28 2016 7:43PM