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HER Number:MDV8277
Name:Whiddonpark House, Chagford


Whiddonpark House; also known as Whyddonpark in late 19th century. Family seat of the Whiddon family; one of Chagford's leading families through the 16th and 17th centuries. Sir John Widdon, eminent lawyer served as a judge under Queen Mary I and then Queen Elizabeth I and also built the Three Crowns in Chagford as a town property for the family. Whiddonpark House was built in the mid-16th century and renovated in Victorian times and the 1980s.


Grid Reference:SX 721 892
Map Sheet:SX78NW
Admin AreaDartmoor National Park
Civil ParishChagford
DistrictWest Devon
Ecclesiastical ParishCHAGFORD

Protected Status

Other References/Statuses

  • National Monuments Record: SX78NW53
  • National Record of the Historic Environment: 898270
  • Old DCC SMR Ref: SX78NW/47
  • Old Listed Building Ref (II*): 94612

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • COUNTRY HOUSE (Built, XVI to XVII - 1550 AD (Between) to 1635 AD (Between))
  • MANOR HOUSE (Built, XVI to XVII - 1550 AD (Between) to 1635 AD (Between))

Full description

Polwhele, R., 1793-1806, The History of Devonshire, 73 (Monograph). SDV21030.

Whiddon Park House. The seat of the Whiddon family from the time of Elizabeth I. Early 17th century. Family died out in 1761, and by 1797 the place was ruinous and the park virtually destroyed. Other details: 2 (1797).

Swete, R. J. (Revd), 1901-1902, A Tour across Dartmoor into North Devon by the Rev. John Swete 1789, 88-96 (Article in Serial). SDV233095.

Whiddon House is described in an 18th century article. It was seen as "an old edifice blocked up toward the park which had the wildest most romantic appearance".

Hoskins, W. G., 1954, A New Survey of England: Devon, 361 (Monograph). SDV17562.

Built by Sir John Whiddon, who died in 1575.

Seymour, D. J., 1955 - 1958, The Smaller Manor Houses of Medieval Devon, 16 (Article in Serial). SDV6523.

Rebuilt in the late 16th century. Lower storeys and porch part of older house. Remarkable stacks.

Fulton, C., 1957, Letter to W. G. Hoskins (Correspondence). SDV260900.

Mr Fulton was brought up at Whiddon which was left to him by his grandfather. He later sold it to a Mr Drew who was father of the owner of Castle Drogo at the time. He writes that "1649" datestone was originally in the floor of the porch and read "1549" but was recarved due to wear with a 6 replacing the 5. The house was renovated by its tenant in Victorian times, a parson, who replaced the flagstones in the porch with tiles and put new fireplaces in the bedrooms. Other details: Scan in Chagford parish file.

National Trust, 1985, Castle Drogo, 7 (Report - Survey). SDV224362.

Nine chimneys are clues to complicated internal arrangements.

Gallant, L., 1986, Deer Parks and Paddocks of England (Un-published). SDV656.

Department of Environment, 1987, Chagford, 69-70 (List of Blds of Arch or Historic Interest). SDV350463.

Whiddonpark House. Former late C16th-early C17th mansion house of the Whiddons, it may even be as late as the 1649 date-plaque. It seems that this is a remenant of the earlier mansion which probably continued to the South-West. Grade II*. The coach-house and stable adjoining the rear East corner of the house are developed from a late C17th/early C18th barn and are Grade II.

Cherry, B. + Pevsner, N., 1989, The Buildings of England: Devon, 251 (Monograph). SDV325629.

A substantial remnant of the large manor house of the Whiddons. Three storey south facing range of granite ashlar with chamfered mullioned windows.

Gray, T., 1995, The Garden History of Devon: An Illustrated Guide to Sources, 234-5 (Monograph). SDV671.

Ordnance Survey, 2011, MasterMap (Cartographic). SDV346129.

English Heritage, 2011, National Heritage List for England (National Heritage List for England). SDV347072.

House, part of former country mansion. Late 16th-early 17th century, maybe as late as the 1649 dateplaque; service block extended in the 19th century, modernised circa 1980. Most is granite stone rubble but the main front is coursed blocks of massive granite ashlar; granite stacks, the oldest with granite ashlar chimney shafts; slate roof.
Plan: L-shaped house. The two-room plan main block facing south-east contains the principal rooms which are served by both rear lateral and end stacks. To rear of the left (south-western) end is the main entrance lobby and projecting stair turret. To rear of the right end the kitchen projects at right angles. The former end stack is now axial since this block was extended back another room in the 19th century and the has a projecting lateral stack on the inner side. It seems that this is only a part of the late 16th-early 17th century mansion. The main block probably continued further to the south-west. Three storeys throughout.
Exterior: nearly symmetrical two-window front of original granite-mullioned windows. All have hollow-chamfered mullions broad bead-moulded reveals and hoodmoulds with plain square labels. Ground floor left is 3 lights, the rest are 4 lights with central king mullions. Only the second floor windows still contain rectangular panes of leaded glass. The roof is hipped to right and gable-ended to left. The left end, including the side of the stair turret is blind except for a small loft window to right of the projecting ashlar stack. It does include some irregular blockings or patchings but they are not clear enough to work out what was going on. The main doorway is a little left of the stack. Its ashlar-fronted porch is gabled and includes a round-headed outer arch with a broad bead-moulded surround and hoodmould. The doorway itself is a smaller version of the outer arch and it contains a 19th century panelled and part-glazed door. Directly above a plaque is fixed to the wall; it bears the date 1649 in a simple geometric pattern. The end of the stair turret contains two 19th century 4-pane sashes, the top one enlarging an original window. The right end of the main block is also blind and the rear block has an irregular 4-window front of various casements. The oldest are oak-framed containing rectangular panes of leaded glass, some maybe as old as 18th century. Others are 19th century with glazing bars and occasionally a 20th century casement without glazing bars. Most have exposed oak lintels. 19th century part-glazed panelled door near the front block blocking an earlier and larger doorway and another 19th century door is the only feature of the rear gable end. Other side of the rear block contains similar irregular fenestration except for one light of a partly blocked original granite-mullioned window on the third floor. Interior: has been much-refurbished in the 19th and 20th century but much of the early fabric and some good detail nevertheless survives, much of it uncovered since circa 1980.
From the entrance hall a granite low segmental arch with hollow-chamfered surround leads to a spacious newel stair with the steps made from solid oak baulks. The left front room (nearest the entrance) was a good parlour. The fireplace is the finest in the house; it is granite with a Tudor arched lintel and moulded surround. Also most of the walls here are still lined with 17th century small field oak panelling. By contrast the right room has a plain granite fireplace with a soffit-chamfered oak lintel and a soffit-chamfered crossbeam. Kitchen to rear has a massive granite fireplace with a soffit-chamfered oak lintel. It has been reduced in size and a large brick-lined bread oven built into the blocking. 18th century doorway to front block. The original is blocked; granite with segmental head and broad hollow-chamfered surround. The ceiling, like those of the upper rooms, is flat and here the joists of large scantling are exposed. The fireplace in the upper rooms are of granite ashlar with chamfered surround, the larger with pyramid stops. The fireplace in the first floor right room has an overmantel of 17th century ornamental plasterwork. An heraldic achievement is flanked by W initials with floral sprays beyond. All over them the name Upcott. Most of the joinery detail is 19th century but there are a number of early 18th century 2-fielded panel doors. Roof structure is completely early 20th century. Whiddonpark House is probably just a part of a larger mansion, probably the largest and most important in the area. It was the seat of the Whiddon family from the mid 16th century to 1761. According to Polwhele writing in 1797 it was then ruinous and Swete in 1781 wrote it was "an old edifice blocked up towards the part which had the wildest, most romantic appearance." The estate was bought up by the Drewe family who built Castle Drogo on the ridge opposite. Listed 1952 Other details: LB UID: 94612.

Thorp, J., 2013, Whiddon Park House, Chagford, Devon (Report - Assessment). SDV358627.

The 1649 house consists of the east range, kitchen block and stair turret which make up an interesting and largely self-contained small mid-17th century house of minor gentry status. It has an interesting transitional plan-form and preserves enough original detail to understand its quality. It has an L-shaped plan with the principal rooms in the east range and the kitchen projecting behind the north end and the stair is in a turret projecting behind to the south. Its possible that the house includes old fabric and may have once been larger and this is discussed in Thorp's report. In the early 18th centruy, the house was modernised and a two-storey service range was added to the back (west end) of the kitchen block. This range contains two rooms on each level. Later alterations (19th and 20th century) were mainly superficial although there was a 19th century refurbishment including patterned floor tiling and replacement of the 17th century roofs of the kitchen block and the east range. The service range was also raised to three storeys in the 19th - 20th century.

Van der Steen, A., 2017, Details of wall uncovered in courtyard of Whiddon Park House (Correspondence). SDV365296.

Details (plan / photographs) of early stone work wall base found in the forecourt/garden area of Whiddon Park House during work carried out in line with planning permission in 2017. The wall is being consolidated as found in lime mortar.

Sources / Further Reading

SDV17562Monograph: Hoskins, W. G.. 1954. A New Survey of England: Devon. A New Survey of England: Devon. A5 Hardback. 361.
SDV21030Monograph: Polwhele, R.. 1793-1806. The History of Devonshire. The History of Devonshire. Unknown. 73.
SDV224362Report - Survey: National Trust. 1985. Castle Drogo. National Trust Archaeological Survey Report. A4 Comb Bound. 7.
SDV233095Article in Serial: Swete, R. J. (Revd). 1901-1902. A Tour across Dartmoor into North Devon by the Rev. John Swete 1789. Devon and Cornwall Notes and Queries. 1 Part 1. 88-96.
SDV260900Correspondence: Fulton, C.. 1957. Letter to W. G. Hoskins. Letter. Digital.
SDV325629Monograph: Cherry, B. + Pevsner, N.. 1989. The Buildings of England: Devon. The Buildings of England: Devon. Hardback Volume. 251.
SDV346129Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 2011. MasterMap. Ordnance Survey. Map (Digital). [Mapped feature: #108313 ]
SDV347072National Heritage List for England: English Heritage. 2011. National Heritage List for England. Website.
SDV350463List of Blds of Arch or Historic Interest: Department of Environment. 1987. Chagford. Historic Houses Register. A4 Bound. 69-70.
SDV358627Report - Assessment: Thorp, J.. 2013. Whiddon Park House, Chagford, Devon. Keystone Historic Buildings Consultants. K836. A4 Comb Bound.
SDV365296Correspondence: Van der Steen, A.. 2017. Details of wall uncovered in courtyard of Whiddon Park House. Email. Digital.
SDV6523Article in Serial: Seymour, D. J.. 1955 - 1958. The Smaller Manor Houses of Medieval Devon. Transactions of the Torquay Natural History Society. 12. Unknown. 16.
SDV656Un-published: Gallant, L.. 1986. Deer Parks and Paddocks of England. Deer Parks and Paddocks of England. Manuscript.
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. 234-5.

Associated Monuments

MDV77352Part of: Whiddonpark farm, Chagford (Monument)
MDV44336Related to: Beech tree avenue, Whiddon Deer Park (Monument)
MDV33204Related to: Coach House and stables at Whiddonpark House (Building)
MDV8252Related to: The Three Crowns Hotel, Chagford (Building)
MDV8276Related to: Whiddon Deer Park, Moretonhampstead (Monument)

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events

  • EDV6791 - Building survey at Whiddonpark House, Chagford (Ref: K836)
  • EDV8885 - Survey of wall remains in courtyard of Whiddon Park House

Date Last Edited:Feb 6 2023 12:17PM