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HER Number:MDV8470
Name:Castle Drogo, Drewsteignton


Castle Drogo. Last castle erected in England and last built solely in granite. Begun 1911, completed 1930, designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens for millionaire Julius Drewe. Predominant style outside is Tudor. One of the finest 20th century houses in Britain; 'a perfectly preserved masterpiece'. Now owned by the National Trust.


Grid Reference:SX 721 900
Map Sheet:SX79SW
Admin AreaDartmoor National Park
Civil ParishDrewsteignton
DistrictWest Devon
Ecclesiastical ParishDREWSTEIGNTON

Protected Status

Other References/Statuses

  • National Monuments Record: 445794
  • Old DCC SMR Ref: SX79SW/30
  • Old Listed Building Ref (I): 94821

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • MANSION HOUSE (XX to XXI - 1911 AD to 2011 AD (Between))

Full description

Pevsner, N., 1952, The Buildings of England: South Devon, 75 (Monograph). SDV336217.

Hoskins, W. G., 1954, A New Survey of England: Devon, 390 (Monograph). SDV17562.

Castle Drogo. Last castle erected in England and last built solely in granite. Begun 1911, completed 1930, to design of Sir Edwin Lutyens. Predominant style outside is Tudor.

Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division, 1982, SX79SW9 (Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card). SDV224360.

Now owned by the National Trust.

Devon County Council, 1984, EE, 2, 3 (Aerial Photograph). SDV224361.

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

Other details: 10.

Devon County Council, 1986, GJ, 3, 4, 18 (Aerial Photograph). SDV224366.

Griffith, F. M., 1988, Devon's Past. An Aerial View, 118 (Monograph). SDV64198.

Castle Drogo overlooks the steep gorge of the River Teign. The 'castle' - perhaps the last building in England to warrant the name; was built of granite from the Drewsteignton estate itself, in accordance with the romantic image of the man who commissioned the castle, the millionaire grocer Julius Drewe. Sir Edwin Lutyens' original plans for the castle were even larger and grander than the building as eventually constructed: the castle as we see it, completed in 1930, is only a quarter of the size of the grandest of his various schemes. The handsome landscaped grounds visible at the castle cannot be seen from the house, as would befit a medieval dwelling. Neither has the castle any external drainpipes, rainwater is carried from the roof in pipes concealed within the 1.8 meter thick granite walls. One aspect of the design which has caused the national trust much trouble.
A unique site in Devon. One of Lutyens’ most famous buildings, it is certainly one of the most spectacular and strikingly sited of all Devon’s castles, ancient or modern.

Unknown, 2006-2007, England News, 140 (Article in Serial). SDV361716.

Castle Drogo is to undergo a seven year repair and restoration programme undertaken by the National Trust.

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

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

(Listing description 1952) Large country house, "the last castle built in England". Built between 1911 - 1930 for Julius Drewe by Sir Edwin Lutyens. It is built entirely of granite with massive ashlar facing.
Plan and exterior description: built along the top and east of a high granite spur Castle Drogo has a most dramatic setting overlooking the steep-sided woooded gorge of the River Teign. Its style of construction (with solid stone walls) and appearance (with embattled parapet and even a portcullis to the main doorway) is that of a medieval castle but it was nevertheless a domestic house with large mullion-and-transomed windows containing rectangular panes of leaded glass. Well- illustrated plans and descriptions are published (see below), and these cover the interior with its furnishings and fittings. Since the house is so recent it is virtually as it was finished, complete with the original furniture, some of it designed by Lutyens. In short it is a perfectly preserved architectural masterpiece and although Luytens was prevented from realising his full scheme it must still be regarded as one of the finest 20th century houses in Great Britain. Source: ASG Butler Castle Drogo, Devonshire, Parts 1 and 2. Country Life August 3, 1945 pp 200-203 and August 10, 1945 pp 244-247. National Trust, Castle Drogo guide (1982).
(Historic Parks and Gardens Listing 1987) Castle Drogo (listed grade I), described as 'one of the finest C20 houses in Great Britain' and 'a perfectly preserved architectural masterpiece' (listed building description), is built at the south-west end of a rocky spur high above the Teign gorge to the south. The Castle was originally designed in 1911 by Sir Edwin Lutyens, who was then at the height of his career (Hussey 1950). Possibly inspired by Norman Shaw's earlier building at Flete, Devon (guidebook), the design underwent extensive revision between 1911 and the completion of the final, considerably reduced building, in 1930. Traditionally built with battered, solid walls of locally quarried granite, the construction was undertaken by Bearne of Newton Abbot. The massive structure is principally of three storeys with a varied roof line composed of battlemented turrets, while large mullion and transom windows light the asymmetrical facades. The main entrance to the house is through a monumental octagonal-turreted gatehouse to the north-west, with a first-floor oriel and a relief of the heraldic Drewe lion carved by Herbert Palliser (1883-1963); the gatehouse also contains a working portcullis. At the south-west corner of the structure a low chapel projects, rising from the emerging rock and enclosing a small garden court. The monumental quality of the architecture ensures that the Castle is assimilated into its rugged moorland landscape. Other details: LB UID: 94821.

Steinmetzer, M., 2013, Archaeological monitoring and recording at Castle Drogo, Devon (Report - Watching Brief). SDV359807.

No evidence for archaeological activity was exposed during the erection of the scaffolding; partly due to the shallow nature of the groundworks.

Sources / Further Reading

SDV17562Monograph: Hoskins, W. G.. 1954. A New Survey of England: Devon. A New Survey of England: Devon. A5 Hardback. 390.
SDV224360Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card: Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division. 1982. SX79SW9. Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card. Unknown.
SDV224361Aerial Photograph: Devon County Council. 1984. EE. Devon Aerial Photograph. Unknown. 2, 3.
SDV224362Report - Survey: National Trust. 1985. Castle Drogo. National Trust Archaeological Survey Report. A4 Stapled + Digital.
SDV224366Aerial Photograph: Devon County Council. 1986. GJ. Devon Aerial Photograph. Unknown. 3, 4, 18.
SDV336217Monograph: Pevsner, N.. 1952. The Buildings of England: South Devon. The Buildings of England: South Devon. Paperback Volume. 75.
SDV346129Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 2011. MasterMap. Ordnance Survey. Map (Digital). [Mapped feature: #108579 ]
SDV347072National Heritage List for England: English Heritage. 2011. National Heritage List for England. Website.
SDV359807Report - Watching Brief: Steinmetzer, M.. 2013. Archaeological monitoring and recording at Castle Drogo, Devon. Oakford Archaeology. OA1106. Digital.
SDV361716Article in Serial: Unknown. 2006-2007. England News. The Castle Studies Group Journal. 20. Unknown. 140.
SDV64198Monograph: Griffith, F. M.. 1988. Devon's Past. An Aerial View. Devon's Past. An Aerial View. Paperback Volume. 118.

Associated Monuments

MDV32487Part of: Castle Drogo estate and gardens, Drewsteignton (Park/Garden)
MDV33413Related to: Castle Cottage, Drewsteignton (Building)
MDV80477Related to: Castle Drogo Leat, Moretonhampstead (Monument)
MDV19560Related to: Hydro-Electric Engine House, Castle Drogo (Building)
MDV33419Related to: Stables and coach house at Castle Drogo (Building)
MDV19559Related to: Weir south-east of Hunter's Tor, Moretonhampstead (Monument)

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events

  • EDV7090 - Archaeological monitoring and recording at Castle Drogo (Ref: OA1106)

Date Last Edited:Aug 23 2018 3:28PM