Powderham 1800-1835


Cautionary note. The early years of the new century saw a rapid growth in the number of directories, guidebooks and topographical works published. They copied and ‘borrowed’ freely from each other. Successive editions of guidebooks often updated only information about local facilities and officials, without reviewing their descriptive sections. One example of this is the collection of paintings at Powderham-castle. After his return from north America to Europe William sold The tribute money with other paintings and drawings at London auctions in 1816 and 1817 yet they are still listed as late as 1850 in White’s History, gazetteer and directory.

  • [c. 1800] Elizabeth Ham by herself, edited by Eric Gillett, 1945, pp. 50-51.

One morning we three girls set out for a walk [from Mamhead] to Powderham Castle, then the seat of Lord Courtney. […] It was a very warm day but we enjoyed our ramble through the beautiful Park and grounds nevertheless. There were some Buffaloes in the Park but they did not frighten us. It was there I first saw the China or monthly rose growing in the open air. It covered the whole front of a beautiful Pavilion and was in full flower. I thought I had never before seen anything so pretty. The Greys had sent me the Summer before some cuttings in pots which were the admiration of everyone from their flowering in Winter. We went from Powderham to a Farm-house some three or more miles off, where we were to meet Mrs. Grey and dine. We were sadly tired and after dinner stole away to a hayfield, where we laid ourselves on the dry hay and had a good sleep. We were so refreshed by our nap that, after tea, nothing would serve us but a walk to Dawlish, some three miles farther. It was then a quiet, secluded little watering place. When we returned to our party it was time to start for Manhead House, which place we left the next morning in the old Sociable.

  • 1800 no date, anon. [William Hyett], Guide in a tour to the watering places, and their environs, on the south-east coast of Devon, pp. 15-17

[from Dawlish] A tour to Powderham, Oxton, Mamhead, &c. Total distance about 14 miles.

Starcross, which we now enter, is a charming village, situate on the bank of the river, which it overlooks, as well as the opposite shore. The inn we may rank among the most pleasant of the houses here, whose bow-window presents a delightful prospect of the swelling Exe, from the town of Topsham to its estuary. Pursuing our route on the banks, we are led to Powderham-castle the seat of Lord Viscount Courtenay. This castle was probably first erected to repel and awe the invading Danes, who, before the conquest, made frequent incursions on this coast. It has, of course, undergone many alterations and improvements since that time, tho’ it still appears to be an ancient structure. The hand of taste has swept away the wall that once inclosed a quadrangular court in front, with its heavy gate-way, and laid the house open to the park, which is well stocked with deer, and decorated with some beautiful clumps of oak, beech, chesnut, and wallnut-trees. Within its walls, the man of fashion will be amused by the elegant decorations; and the amateurs of pictures by works of the old masters, among which, the “tribute money of Rubens” is of superior excellence. The pleasure grounds are exceedingly fine and extensive, the shrubberies luxuriant, and the plantations flourishing. The Belvidere, erected by the late Lord Courtenay, is of a triangular form, with an hexagonal tower on each corner; it commands a prospect of the lovely interchange of wooded heights and descending vales, with the majestic river Exe, rolling its congregated waters into the swelling ocean, its variegated shore from above Topsham to Exmouth, and the dark hills of Woodbury, with their fir-crowned summits skirting behind. Crossing the canal by an elegant bridge, we quit Powderham, and pass thro’ the village, and near the handsome church of Kenton;

  • 1802 Edward Atkyns Bray in his journal for 20 September 1802; his widow, Anna Eliza Bray, published extracts from the journal in several of her books. The text here is copied from A description of the part of Devon bordering on the Tamar and the Tavy, 1836, vol. 1, pp. 257-8.

Continuing our route to the left, on the east we arrived at a small tor on the acclivity ascending to Hessory tor, on which is a basin two feet and a half long and six inches deep. My father, who had never before seen a rock basin, was convinced, though this was by no means a regular one, that it must have been a work of art. We fell into the road again at Rundle’s stone, on which, on the south side, is the letter R, in alto relievo. Hence I had often thought I perceived to the east-south-east a tower; and though every person who had heard me mention it considered it as supposititious, I, by means of a glass, now saw it very distinctly: from its direction as well as appearance, I think it must be Lord Courtenay’s Belvidere.

1803 Inventory of furniture and plate at Powderham-castle

  • 1803 John Britton & Edward Wedlake Brayley, The beauties of England and Wales, vol. 4, pp. 88-96. With two prints, engraved by William Angus from drawings by William Craig Marshall. Both prints are shown in Buffaloes, toxophylites and volunteers.

[footnote on p. 93] The annexed Prints were engraved at the expence of Lord Courtenay, who generously presented them to this Work. The nearer view of the house from the park, represents the east front, with a large square tower in the centre, and the new music saloon in the north wing. The other view is taken at some distance, looking across a bay of the river Exe, and is intended to show the situation of the house, with the outline of the country, &c.

[pp. 88-96] Powderham Castle has undergone many alterations since the time of Leland; though so lately as the year 1752, it retained a considerable portion of its ancient castle-like form, and had also a quadrangular court in front, with embattled walls, and a tower gate-way at the entrance. In the north wing was also a library and neat chapel, which have since been converted into an elegant Drawing-Room: many other alterations and improvements have been made by the present possessor. The interior of this mansion is furnished in the most sumptuous manner; and among the various productions of art which ornament its walls, may be specified a few pictures of considerable merit. | The Tribute Money, by Rubens, is a painting justly admired for its grouping, coloring, and execution. The picture represents Our Saviour with several of the spies who were employed by the chief priests and the scribes to ensnare him. “Is it lawful for us,” said these hypocritical emissaries, “to give tribute unto Cæsar, or no? But he perceived their craftiness, and said unto them, Why tempt ye me? Shew me a penny. Whose image and superscription hath it? They answered and said, Cæsar’s. And he said unto them, render therefore unto Cæsar the things which be Cæsar’s, and unto God the things which be God’s.” St. Luke, Chap. xx. | Two pictures; one of Oakhampton Castle; the other, of a Waterfall in this county; Wilson. | View of Whitehall, looking up to Charing Cross: Marlow. | A fine portrait of George Monk, Duke of Albemarle. It is not commonly known that this great general was an author as well as a soldier; yet, after his death, there appeared a treatise on his own profession, which he composed during his imprisonment in the Tower. It is entitled, “Observations upon Military and Political Affairs, written by the Most Honorable George Duke of Albemarle, &c.” A small folio, Lond. 1671. This volume contains some curious matter. It is dedicated to Charles the Second, and includes thirty chapters of martial rules, interspersed with political observations.
A fine portrait of Edward Wortley Montague, Esq. by the Rev. W. Peters.
This celebrated traveller is represented in a Turkish dress, which he usually wore when at Venice, and where the late Mr. Romney took his portrait. He was son of Lady Mary Wortley Montague, and a man who experienced extraordinary vicissitudes of fortune. He eloped from Westminster when a boy, and was found in the disguise of a chimney-sweeper. After this he went as cabin-boy on board a vessel to Spain, where he became a servant to a mule-driver. He was again discovered by his friends, who sent him to the West Indies. Returning to England, he became a member of Parliament, and for some time conducted himself with much propriety; but another fit of rambling seized him, and he went to the east, where he adopted the manners and habits of the Turks. During his stay at Rosetta, he writes thus to a friend in London: “I am much obliged to you for the compliment you paid my beard; and to my good friend, Dr. Mackenzie, for having given you an account of it, advantageous enough to merit the panegyric. I have followed Ulysses and Æneas: I have seen all they are said to have visited; the territories of the allies of the Greeks, as well as those of old Priam, with less ease, though with more pleasure, than most of our travellers traverse France and Italy. I have had many a weary step, but never a tiresome hour; and, however dangerous and disagreeable adventures I may have had, none could ever deter me from my point, but, on the contrary, they were only stimuli.” &c.


The Picture Gallery; D. Teniers the younger. This beautiful and highly-finished painting represents the interior of a room, which is supposed to be the picture gallery of the artist, and is decorated with a number of his groups, portraits, landscapes, and other paintings in miniature. A landscape, with Travellers halting; Both. [sic] | Queen Henrietta Maria, full-length; said to be by Vandyck. | Charles the second, full-length; by the same artist. | The Five Senses, personified in five small pictures; Teniers. | Beside the above, here are many cabinet pictures; and a number of drawings by Lord Courtenay, Mr. W. M. Craig, and others. The miniatures and flower pieces of the latter are executed with much delicacy and taste.
The grounds of Powderham are extensive, finely planted with deciduous and exotic trees, and diversified with some bold swells. On the summit of the highest ground is a tower called the Belvidere, which commands many fine and interesting scenes; and is also a conspicuous object from many parts of the county, and from the British Channel. This building was erected by the late Lord Courtenay in 1773, and is of a triangular shape, with an hexagonal tower at each corner. “The views from the Belvidere,” says Mr. Polwhele, “are a complete garden; its parts discriminated with the most brilliant distinctness, yet flowing into one beautiful whole. To conceive an accurate idea of these fine peculiarities, we ascend the stair-case of the Belvidere, and separately survey the three different parts from the three windows of its elegant room.” Among a number of other places descried from this eminence, are complete views of the town of Topsham, with its busy shipping; the river Exe, with its windings from the sea up to Exeter; Sir Alexander Hamilton’s elegant place, called the Retreat; Lord Heathfield’s (late Sir Francis Drake’s) fine mansion at Nutwell, with its shady groves; and beyond these the commanding heights of Woodbury-Hill, with its ornamented clumps; Exmouth, and the pleasant village of Lympstone, with its “rosy cliffs;” the hills of Dartmoor on one side, and the city of Exeter, with its Cathedral, forming an apex to the grouped houses; also a beautiful tract of undulating and fertile country, spreading between Haldon Hill and the river Exe. The park and plantations belonging to this domain, extend through a circumference of nearly ten miles; and the pleasure gardens behind the house are replete with a vast number and variety of flowers and botanical rarities.

1804 William’s second cousin (William Courtenay, 1771-1859) marries lady Henrietta Leslie who dies in 1839.

  • 1804 The sporting magazine, vol. 25 no. 145 | pp. 32-35 | October 1804 | The Toxophylites | A ramble from Exeter to the back-waters and Exmouth, with a return to Chudleigh.

Many ravishing objects are seen from the high lands of Exmouth. The perforated rock below Dawlish, when the sun has passed the meridian, is a fine picture of rude nature, as is my Lord Courtenay’s park and castle of polished art. To the northward, the Cathedral church of Exeter rises majestically grand in the landscape; and to the eastward, that rapidly declining specimen of Saxon magnificence, Corfe Castle, terminates the view. Governor Paulk’s pillar, and my Lord Courtenay’s look-out, are pleasing objects; […]

Descending to the beach, I hailed a fisherman returning to Topsham, who, for one shilling, landed me at Lord Courtenay’s park and gave me a fine pair of soles into the bargain: having a recommendation to view the internal beauties of this celebrated mansion, I presently entered Powderham castle,

The seat of the Earls of Devonshire, from the time of King Stephen till near the death of the first Mary. In 1683 the title was revived in Charles Blount, Lord Mountjoy; in 1618 it fell to William Lord Cayendish, in whose family the title still continues. But though the title was lost to the Courtenays, they never quitted the domain; and the castle, built by Baldwin De Rivers, or Repariis, is still in the possession of the lineal heir of that ancient family.
From whatever point we behold the castle of Powderham, it exhibits a fine silvery feature in the landscape, insomuch, that it has been improperly called “The Lily of the Vale.” the front towards Exmouth has been considerably enlarged, after a modern fashion, and opens to one of the finest sheets of water in the universe; but the greater part retains its ancient consequence, its narrow windows, Norman
battlements, peep-holes, &c. | In one of the largest and loftiest rooms of the castle his Lordship has several fine pictures; among the best, I observed the Tribute Money, by Rubens; Charles the first and his Queen, by Vandyke; Mr. Montague in his Turkish habit, and a very fine picture by Schnieder; over the chimney piece, in a most supurb frame, Lord Courtenay, by Cosway; with some good shipping, and several pieces of less eminence. While I was here, I had a transient view of the three sister Sylphs of the castle; the first, like St. Cecilia, was playing on her harp: the second, like Ariel, singing to the divine harmony of the chords; and the third, like Penelope, employed in adorning the web of the loom.

In quitting this palace of enchantments, I turned up the Park; and, having passed through a herd of mischievous buffaloes, and some of the finest deer in England, I was entering a fir plantation, on the brow of the hill near Kenton, when my ear was delighted with the sound of the spirit stirring bugle; the archers had struck the stag, and the poor trembling creature staggered feebly before me, I followed it to the valley where it fell; and the attitude of The stricken deer Called to my recollection that charming description of the melancholy, Jaques, in Shakespear’s comedy, “As you like it.”

  • 1805 mrs Parry Price from Chester in her journal, Exmouth 24 June | The travels of mrs Parry Price through Devon in 1805 | Todd Gray, Transactions of the Devonshire association, vol. 128, December 1996, p. 88 | [Gray] ‘I would like to thank the Berkshire Record Office for permission to publish Mrs. Price’s travel journal’.

when we got there [Powderham] it was past 2 o’clock & the housekeeper came to us to the Chaise & told us she was extremely sorry to inform us that she could not let us see the house, as his Lordship [William] had made a rule that no person should be let in after two o’clock; as he had altered his hour of dining from 7 to 3. […] we came away without seeing anything but the back part of the house, & the drive up to it, which is beautiful with a bridge over the river Exe, which runs through his grounds […].

  • 1805 Shirley Woolmer, A concise account of the city of Exeter, its neighbourhood, and adjacent watering-places, 1805, p.80

From a hill called Chapel-hill [Exmouth], the eye is presented with several gentle hills, that gradually ascend from the coast on the opposite side of the river, and are covered with lively verdure and woody inclosures – the village of Starcross skirting their bottoms. Behind these hills spring up some bold towering headlands of varied shapes and unequal heights; through which the eye is led to distant objects of various kinds. What greatly adds to the beauty of this view, is the taste shewn in the plantations of Lord Lisburne and Lord Courtenay, whose noble seats, also, heighten the grandeur of the scene: nor must we omit to mention the lofty Obelisk, and two magnificent Belvideres one of them lately erected by Sir Robert Palk; which are not only great ornaments, but serve as land-marks to the pilotage of the river.

1806 Princess of Wales visits Powderham.

  • 1806 Alexander Jenkins, The history and description of the city of Exeter: and its environs , p. 277

The prospect from the City walls, is truly delightful: the eye extends over a large tract of well cultivated country, diversified with Parish Churches, Villages, Gentlemens’ Seats, Farm houses, Woods and Hedge–rows; bounded by the bleak and uncultivated Hills of Haldon, Penhill and others, which terminate the prospect: it is also highly enriched by the Estuary (or arm of the Sea) from Topsham to Exrmouth, the navigable canal, the meanders of the river Exe, and the buildings erected on the different heights, particularly Lord Courtenay’s Belvidere, the Obelisk on Haldon, Laurence Castle, on Penhill (built by the late Sir Robert Palk,) with Whitstone Church and Tower: nor is that necessary article of water wanting, as besides the vicinity of the river, the whole of the Hill abounds in springs; it is also easily procured by means of wells, which are of no great depth.

1807 William Reginald Courtenay born, eldest son of lady Harriet and William Courtenay (1777-1859); earl of Devon from 1859 until his death in 1888.

  • 1807 Crosby’s Complete pocket gazetteer of England and Wales | or traveller’s companion, p. 245.

Haldon hill, (Devon.) 4m. from Exeter. On the top is a most beautiful and extensive prospect, which includes and distinguishes the city of Exeter, Topsham, Lympstone, Star Cross, the seat of Lord Heathfield [Nutwell, on the east bank] ; Courtland, the seat of C. Baring esq. and Powderham Castle, the seat of Lord Viscount Courtney: also the river Exe to the sea; and, in clear weather, the Isle of Portland.

  • 1807 George Tod, Plans, elevations and sections of hot-houses, greenhouses, an aquarium, conservatories, &c.

[Plate 10 inscribed:] A conservatory executed for The Right Honorable Lord Viscount Courtenay, Powderham Castle, Devon. [plate shows transverse section and longitudinal section with an elevation and a plan].

[Preface] This Collection will be particularly acceptable, as it exhibits Plans of such Houses only as have been actually built; and as they are dispersed throughout different parts of the kingdom, noblemen and gentlemen in their several neighbourhoods, have an opportunity of appealing to the buildings themselves, and of making an examination of what merits they really possess. […] No speculative or experimental designs are here shewn; but such only as have been actually built, and which have been found to answer the purposes for which they were constructed. No stronger proof can be offered for the verity of this assertion, than a desire that the buildings should be investigated.

[Description of the plates | Plate X. | A conservatory to be executed for lord viscount Courtenay, at Powderham castle, Devon.]

One fire, and a single flue goes round this house; the front part above the floor, the other under the pathway. A narrow border is formed along the back wall, which gives growth to plants trained upon a treillage fixed against the wall for that purpose. The front and end sashes are made to draw down from the top, for the purpose of admitting air. The top lights on the roof are made to slide, and to be taken entirely off in the summer. Plants, &c. are plunged or planted in the pit, which is level with the walk, and is bounded by a stone border, on which are formed small Gothic arches, with wire work. A small arch is formed with treillage under each rafter, at the angle it makes with the back wall.

  • 1808 Charles Vancouver, General view of the agriculture of the county of Devon. | Soil, p.44

The red sandy loam generally characterizes the beautiful demesne of Mamhead, and continues through Kenton, Powderham, and Kenn, where understrata of grey and white sand and sandstone seems occasionally to prevail; but northwardly towards Shillingford, this substrata seems entirely lost in a red rubbly gravel and grout-stone, which continues through Exminster, Shillingford, Alphington, and Ide, to Exeter.

  • 1808 Joshua Wilson, A biographical index to the present house of lords, corrected to October 1808, pp.154-5 | Courtenay, viscount, and a baronet.

The present peer | Born July 30, 1768, was educated at a public school, and is unmarried.

Country seat— Powderham Castle, the ancient seat of the Courtenays, is pleasantly situate on the banks of the beautiful river Exe. During the feudal ages it was erected with a view of defending the adjacent country from the excursions of rival Barons, and perhaps also to protect the surrounding vassals from the incursions of pirates. But this structure has of late yielded to the happier genius of the times; and the machiolated gateways, the formidable portcullis; together with all the “trappings” of ancient warfare, have disappeared. The hand of taste has smoothed the rugged brow of chivalry, and the battlements no longer frown terrible to the eye of the awe-struck traveller. | The helmet, placed on a conspicuous tower, no longer indeed invites the footsteps of every courteous knight; and the roof of the ample hall resounds not with the sound of a band of noisy retainers partaking of a rude, but expensive, hospitality. Instead of all this the change is, we think, for the better: we behold charming pleasure grounds, delightful shrubberies, an ample park well stored with deer, a river abounding with fish, and a Belvidere, surmounted by a tower, whence the most delightful views of the subjacent country are obtained.

A miniature portrait of Viscount Courtenay, by W.M. Craig, was exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1799.

  • 1810 Moy Thomas in his diary | Bath Central Library, MSS 1859 | Todd Gray, The garden history of Devon, 1995, p. 182

the garden, greenhouse and hot-house are kept in very nice order and there are some fine plants & shrubs in the greenhouse, the grounds are extensive stretching a considerable way along the banks of the river Exe.

1811 William sails from Liverpool to north America on the ship Jane; he does not return to England before his death in 1835.

1816-17 William sells paintings and drawings by auction at Christie’s in London, 27 April 1816 and 15 February 1817.

  • 1816 The new monthly magazine | no. 29, vol. 5, p. 466 | 1 June 1816.

The paintings lately removed from Powderham Castle, (the seat of Lord Courtenay), have been sold by auction, at Christie’s, in Pall-mall, at very low prices. The celebrated large picture of the Tribute Money, by Rubens, reputed to be worth several thousand pounds, fetched but 480l, and had only two bidders. The old china sold tolerably high; an antiquated cup and saucer of common size, was knocked down for 88l.

  • 1816 The scots magazine and Edinburgh literary miscellany, September 1816 vol. 78 p. 649. The Christian observer for September 1816 carried the identical text (no. 177, vol. 15, p. 606).

The paintings lately removed from Powderham Castle have been sold by auction, by Christie, at very low prices. The large picture of the Tribute Money, by Rubens, reputed to be worth several thousand pounds, fetched but 480l. […] At Mr. Hope‘s sale, in Cavendish-square, being the finest private collection in Europe, the pictures fetched very inconsiderable prices.

shot in studio

  • 1817 A guide to the watering places, on the coast between the Exe and the Dart, part 2, pp. 61-72.

[Watering places | Powderham,] Six miles from Dawlish, is, in Domesday, terra Guhelmi de Ow. | Powdreham: in a very old deed at the castle, spelt Pudderam. It was also called Poldreham, the dirty village; and Pol-tre-ham, the village at the headplace. Powderham is about three miles and half in length, and two in breadth: the Kenne, for the most part, divides it from Kenton. This parish lies low, but the grounds are pleasantly varied by undulating hills; particularly at Exwell, and a spot near the Belvidere, which is the highest in Powderham. The roads are excellent; and may be pronounced, indeed, the best parish roads in Devonshire. The only village in this parish, is Powderham-street, situate about a quarter of a mile from the church. Tradition says, that Powderham-village was formerly called St. Clement’s probably from the dedication of the church to that Saint. It derives its present name from Powderham-castle. “Powderham,” says Leland, “late Sir William Courtenies castelle, standith on the haven shore a little above Kenton. Some saye that it was builded by Isabella de Fortibus a widdowe of an E. of Devonshires. It is stronge, & hath a barbican, or bulwark, to beate the haven.” Camden asserts, that Powderham castle was built by this Isabella. Risdon is very short in his description of the castle “Close to the confluence of Exe and Kenne river stands Powderham, as these verses import:

Where Exe meets curled Kenne with kind embrace
In chrystal arms they clip fair Powderhamn-place.

From Lympstone on the other side of the Exe Westcote, in his usual manner, exclaims, addressing his supposed companion thus: “We will now look over the river to the other side, and observe that fair object which offers itself to our view: we cannot surveigh it well, unless we go nearer to it: Exe is here large and navigable, and scorns to be forded: in this boat we may take a better view of it than before. It appears like a strong defensible castle: is there no danger in approaching it? no; fear not: it is indeed a castle; but fortified chiefly by a noble heart, one that keeps bountiful hospitality like his honourable ancestors, and gives kind and courteous entertainment to all comers.”
Sir William Courtenay, as Cleveland informs us, “from an old castle, made Powderham a noble seat. | This castle stands near the confluence of the river Exe and the little river Kenn, about seven miles south by east from the city of Exeter, on the west-side of the Exe, and about half a mile from the parish-church. | It hath a fair prospect of the river Exe. Powderham-castle was, probably, built either before the conquest, to prevent the Danes (who landed at Teignmouth in 970) from coming up the river to Exeter; or else by William de Ou, a noble Norman who came into England with the Conqueror, and to whom the King gave Powderham.
The park and plantations are extensive. The pleasure-grounds belonging to the castle are about ten miles round. The park itself, two miles round, contains about four hundred head of red deer and some buffaloes. In the plantations are different sorts of firs (all flourishing except the balm of gilead) and a variety of beautiful shrubs — planted, for the most part by the late Lord Courtenay. Nor are the forest-trees less vigorous; particularly in the park, where (besides the large clumps of beech, oak, and elm) are several noble chesnut and walnut trees. To enjoy a full and uninterrupted view of this beautiful scene, and of the diversified country around it, some building was necessary to be erected on one of the most commanding heights. And the late Lord Courtenay, whose taste deserves every commendation, made choice of a bill that is, indeed, happily calculated to answer. Here under his inspection, the Belvidere was built; the form of which is triangular, with an hexagonal tower at each corner. From Lawrence-castle at Haldon, and from the obelisk at Mamhead, we have a greater extent of prospect: but for a command of objects, the Belvidere is, perhaps, the first spot in the western counties. The views from the Belvidere are a complete garden — its parts discriminated with the most brilliant distinctness, yet flowing into one beautiful whole. To conceive an accurate idea of these fine beauties, we ascend the staircase of the Belvidere, and separately survey the three different parts from the three windows of its elegant room. If we begin with the south west view, from the south-west window, we are presented with a rich morning landscape. In the foreground we are at first struck with the plantations of fir, birch, aspin, and other kinds of trees, that slope away from the steep verdant hill on which the Belvidere stands. To the right, a small piece of water breaks out above the wooded valley; which seems, by an agreeable deception, to lose itself amidst the trees; when, carrying the eye along the skirtings of the plantation, we meet a canal apparently a continuation of this water. Above the marsh, on the sides of the hill directly opposite, we see a variety of enclosed ground stretching away to a great extent – pastures cornfields, and orchards. Still farther and bounding the prospect, the flinty mountain of Haldon seems to support the clouds, in one long line above these variegated enclosures. This unbroken line is terminated, to the right, by Lawrence-castle; to the left, by the obelisk of Mamhead. Removing to the south-east window, we have, immediately below the eye, the fir plantations still continued and sweeping down the hill; whilst their deep and dark foliage receives an additional richness from the gleaming of the castle-turrets. Large groups of trees rise in the park, and over shadow the castle. If we look to the green marshy level under this wooded headland, the canal again attracts the eye; from the midst of which an islet emerges, beautifully planted with shrubs. Winding round this spot of verdure and fragrance, the artificial stream pursues its course through the marsh, till it reaches the river Exe, into which its waters descend. The village of Kenton, interspersed with orchards, and Warborough hill gradually rising above South-town and Starcross, its brow crowned with firs, are near and striking objects on the other side of the canal. At the mouth of the Exe, there is a long bank of sand which is called the Warren, and beyond it, the sea. On the other side of the Exe, at the extreme point of land, we have Exmouth in prospect; and on the same side, further up the river, we catch a glimpse of the village of Lympstone-above which are extensive hills, apparently not in a state of high cultivation. At the north-east window, the Exe appears in full view; spreading its waters in a wider expanse, as it directs its course through a straight and spacious valley. On this side of the river, the land is rich, but not planted, except (in the centre) with some clumps of fir, and here and there with a few scattered trees. At a little distance up the river, on the other side of it, the town of Topsham shews various irregular buildings: and, still looking up the river until we lose it among the hills, we see the cathedral towers, and a part of the city of Exeter (through a bright atmosphere) in beautiful perspective.

[p.70] The late Lord Courtenay, in the years 1783 and 1784, altered the course of the Kenne, by cutting a canal from the island on Kenton marsh (a little below Powderham mills) nearly in a straight line from thence to the end of the marsh, through which the Kenne now runs about two hundred yards south of its original course in the parish of Kenton. | From Kenmouth point, before mentioned, a straight line, being drawn (or imagined to be drawn) to Darling rock near Lympstone on the other side of the Exe, separates the two parishes of Kenton and Powderham across the river.

[p.71] The parish roads are made with gravel, and are sufficiently wide, and kept in good, [sic] repair. There is a new road from Starcross to Powderham, by the side of the river Exe, secured from the water by a strong stone wall. […]

[p.72] From a field near Warborough plantation, we have one of the most pleasing evening views in this neighbourhood. Description cannot convey an idea of it. I can only say, that from this hill we look down on Kenton tower and village immediately below; which, when the orchards (intermixt with the houses) are in full bloom, is extremely picturesque — that Powderham-castle has no where a more antique appearance, or the Exe a more beautiful distinctness than from this elevated spot – and that Woodbury and all the variety of scene beyond the river, lighted up by the radiance of the setting sun, are cloathed in colors peculiarly rich and glowing; not to notice a part of the city of Exeter, which appears to more advantage, perhaps from other points of view.

  • 1818 John Britton & Edward Wedlake Brayley, Devonshire; or, original delineations, topographical, historical, and descriptive, of that county, the result of personal survey, pp. 93-96.

[This volume copies the authors’ text from 1803, which had been amended by 1832, and includes the two etchings from Craig’s drawings.]

  • 1820 John Pike Jones: A botanical tour through various parts of the counties of Devon and Cornwall, p. 3 & p. 55. Jones was visiting Powderham on the first excursion of his tour. With his companion he had crossed the estuary from Exmouth to the ‘flat, sandy tract’ of the Warren. The day being ‘remarkably fine’, they continued towards Haldon.

[p.3] At the extremity of the Warren the shore became rocky, the cliffs were lofty and romantic. The submersed rocks were covered with Sea Anemonies. On the summit of the hill are some neat houses and a small inn; from a terrace we enjoyed some charming views. The varied outline of the coast presented an appearance that exceeded our expectations; the waves dashed gently beneath our feet, and the day being remarkably fine, the brightness of the atmosphere gave a rich glow to the whole scene. Powderham Castle, the magnificent seat of Lord Courtenay, is surrounded with fine plantations. The pleasure-grounds are extensive, and laid out with considerable taste. The gardens contain a noble collection of exotics; many of the plants had attained an extraordinary size and luxuriance, occasioned most probably by the mildness of the air. From Powderham the ascent to the Haldon Hills is gradual; the road is very bad, being formed on a deep sandy soil. On the right is Oxton, the seat of the Rev. John Swete. We found Orobanche major [great broomrape] in abundance in the road leading to the house.

White water-lilies flowered in the marshes, pools and canals at Powderham and, though ‘hardly wild’, Jones included Nymphaea alba in his ‘List of plants growing wild in the vicinity of Chudleigh, and in various parts of the adjoining hundred of Teignbridge.’ (p. 55).

  • 1822 Daniel Lysons & Samuel Lysons, Magna Britannia | vol. 6, Devonshire.

[part 1, p. lxxxix. | Courtenay, viscount Courtenay] William, the present Viscount, who resides abroad. Powderham-castle, the seat of the family, is kept up.

[part 2, p. 423] The castle has since [1646] undergone various alterations, but retains, in some degree, its castellated appearance. In the north wing was a chapel, rebuilt in 1717, which was converted into a drawing-room by the late Lord Courtenay. On the hill above the castle is a triangular building, with three hexagonal towers, called the Belvidere, constructed for the purpose of commanding the rich and diversified prospects of the sea, the river Exe, and surrounding country. This building is above sixty feet in height, including the towers. The deer-park, plantations, and pleasure-grounds, are extensive; and there is a large and beautiful flower-garden. […]

  • 1822 or 1823 George Alexander Cooke’s Topographical & statistical description [3rd edition, p108]. George Clack[e] is mentioned at least twice on earlier pages (p. 29 & p. 92), on both occasions linked with Powderham-castle.

Powderham-castle, three miles from hence [Exminster], is supposed to have been built by Isabella de Fortibus, the last descendant of the great family of Rivers. She died in the reign of Edward the First. | The modern mansion, a few years since the residence of Lord Courtenay, is now the seat of George Clacke, Esq. It contains some very spacious apartments, furnished in the most sumptuous manner, and decorated with paintings of considerable merit. The park and plantations are about ten miles in circumference, and contain a variety of fine shrubs and majestic forest trees. On the summit of the highest ground is the triangular tower, called the Belvidere, with hexagonal ornaments at each corner. The prospects from hence are extremely grand, embracing among others, complete views of Topsham with its shipping; the river Exe, winding from the sea up to Exeter; the ornamented heights of Woodbury-hill, the village of Lympstone, the hills on Dartmoor, Exeter with its cathedral, and a large tract of fertile country, interspersed with several beautiful seats. | The tower itself is also a conspicuous object from the British Channel.

  • 1824 Edward Mogg, Paterson’s Roads, 17th edition, London 1824. London to Teignmouth (p. 90)

Powderham Castle, George Clacke, Esq. This noble mansion contains some very
spacious apartments, furnished in the most sumptuous manner, and decorated with paintings of considerable merit. The park and plantations are about 10 m. in circumference, and contain a variety of fine shrubs and majectic [sic] forest- trees. On the summit of the highest ground, is a triangular tower, called the Belvidere, from whence the prospects are extremely grand, embracing, among others, complete views of the town of Topsham, with its shipping; the river Exe winding from the sea up to Exeter; the ornamented heights of Woodbury Hill; the village of Lympstone; the hills of Dartmoor; the city of Exeter, with its cathedral; and a large tract of fertile country, interspersed with several delightful seats.

  • 1825 The monthly repository of theology and general literature | April 1825, no. CCXXXII, vol. 20, p. 247 | A list of joint-stock companies, the proposals for which are now, or have been lately, before the public.

425 Exeter and Powderham Rail Road [No solicitor named; no figure for amount of ascertained capital.]

  • 1825 The repository of arts, literature, fashions &c, pp. 192-4 | Powderham-castle, Devon, the seat of lord viscount Courtenay. Rather than a lost painting of his mother, the three-quarter length in the drawing-room was probably Thomas Hudson’s splendid portrait of William’s grandmother which still hangs at Powderham; lady Frances died in the year before her husband became lord Courtenay. The article is illustrated by an etching from a drawing by John Gendall (1790-1865).

hudson_lady FrancesCourtenay

Powderham-castle, situated about seven miles from Exeter, was formerly a strong castle, with a barbican, for the defence of the haven. […] Notwithstanding the various alterations that have taken place, it still retains much of its castellated appearance, as will be seen from the annexed View of the Principal Front from the park. | The hall of entrance leads to an anti-room, still possessing some family portraits. Immediately connected with this are the breakfast-room and middle drawing-room, which had to boast of some splendid works of art that have passed into other hands. Here hung for many years the celebrated work of the Antwerp blacksmith, the Tribute-Money, and other master-pieces. The rooms are finely wrought, and the ceilings highly ornamented. The mantel-pieces are beautiful specimens of art in Parian marble. | Connected with this is the drawing-room. In the absence of the costly furniture that once decorated these fine apartments, we have still the pleasure to make mention of some fine portraits that yet grace the walls. In this room is a three-quarter length of Lady Courtenay, mother of the present lord; a portrait of Dowager-Lady Honeywood, by Sir Joshua; Lord Charles Somerset by Cosway; a full-length portrait of the Duchess of Suffolk, mother of Lady Jane Grey, by Hans Holbein; Peregrine Bertie, a full-length, by the same master. | The drawing-room was formerly a chapel: with it is connected a superb music-room; twelve marble pilasters enrich the sides, and support a beautiful frieze, which is terminated by a dome highly ornamented with enriched coffers. The intercolumniations are decorated with pictures and compiled niches containing marble vases on fluted porphyry columns. Over the doors and niches are medallions, by Craig. On one side of this superb room is a full-length portrait of Louis XVI. King of France, by David: it is finely painted. The figure is in a commanding attitude; the background composed of the chair of state or throne, regalia, &c. This portrait was brought into this country, during the troubles in France, in a mutilated condition, being pierced in many places and otherwise defaced. Over the fire-place is a very fine picture, by Cosway, of the three Misses Courtenay, afterwards Lady Lisburne, Mrs. Morland, and Lady George Thynne. There is another picture in the castle of the same size by this artist of three other sisters, one of whom was afterwards Lady Somerset. The beautiful marble mantel-piece in this room deserves particular notice: it is a superb work of Parian marble, supported by figures on each side, the size of life. The entablature represents Apollo and the Muses, finely wrought. The upper drawing-room contains a family picture of fourteen portraits, by the Rev. W. Peters. In this room are some fine pieces of tapestry, representing a Dutch harvest-home, &c. This apartment communicates with | The library, which consists of a splendid collection of books in ancient carved cases, comprising some very valuable works, both ancient and modern, and among the rest some of the most costly and superb specimens that ever issued from the British press, particularly in point of illustrated works. Among the ancient works we observed, a fair copy of “The Lyf of our Lady,” by John Lydgate, monk of Bury; of “The Excitation and Stirring of the noble and victorious Prince Henry V.” printed by our first English printer, Caxton; a complete and superb copy of the Museum Florentinum, finely embellished; and a curious copy Hudibras on vellum, the plates on satin. In the centre of the room are some curious astronomical instruments. There is much old carving about this library, which partakes of the style of the 17th century: the mantel indeed appears to be much earlier. | The principal staircase is loaded with arabesque ornaments, which have a fine and stately effect. | The gardens attached to the castle are extensive, and have been kept in the finest order: its flower-gardens likewise have been celebrated for their arrangement and choice collection of costly plants. The grounds are beautifully laid out, and so blend with the flower–garden, as to form a lovely whole. Here is still to be seen the rare exotic growing in all its native luxuriance, combined with the temple, the orchestra, and banqueting-room, that once gave life and soul to the scene. | The park is extensive and well stocked with deer. The woods are of the finest kind, sweeping along the brow of the hill in the vicinity of the castle in magnificent forms, beautifully diversified in all the tones of forest-scenery, pleasure-grounds, and plantations. This hill is surmounted by an hexagonal building, denominated the Belvidere: it comprises a tower about 60 feet in height, from which some superb views of the adjacent country are commanded. The river Exe constitutes a noble feature, skirting the park, and continuing to flow in all its majesty to the sea at Exmouth, which forms a beautiful point, terminating the headland from Woodbury, that bounds the horizon, and stretches away over the villages of Lympstone and Topsham, which skirt the river, up to Exeter. […]

  • 1827. May. In a letter to or from mrs Jane Grimston of Yorkshire. East Riding of Yorkshire Archives and Local Studies Service, Beverley | DDGR/45/13. The text here is copied from Todd Gray, The garden history of Devon, 1995, p. 183.

You are a wicked woman for not being in raptures with Powderham. Who told you to expect carnations or anemonies or common annuals? In former days when the family were in its glory, tho to be sure their whole souls seemed wrapped up in their garden, they used to go when breakfast was over in open carriages & stay all day, dining there, a band of music under the trees, dancing on the grass, acting plays.

  • 1829 Nicholas Toms Carrington: The Teignmouth, Dawlish, and Torquay Guide; with an account of the surrounding neighborhood, pp. 207-13.

[This volume uses text from the 1817 Guide to the watering places, on the coast between the Exe and the Dart, which in itself had borrowed heavily from Polwhele’s History of 1793, which included text from Chapple’s draft text published in an abridged form in 1760.]

  • 1829 Jones’ Views of the seats, mansions, castles, etc. of noblemen and gentlemen in England | Second series comprising the western counties | Powderham castle, Devonshire; the seat of William Courtenay, viscount Courtenay.


The situation of the Castle, though low, is extremely beautiful, upon the banks of the river Exe, which is here a mile and a half broad at high water, being within three miles of its confluence with the British Channel; the windows command a view of Topsham, and all the shipping that come up there, with many adjacent seats. The Retreat, a most elegant place; Nutwell, a picturesque mansion, and its embowering groves are within view, together with Woodberry Hill, Exmouth, and the village of Lympstone; with many other interesting and agreeable objects, besides a full command of the ocean to the west. The grounds of Powderham are very extensive, comprising an ample Park, well stored with deer, delightful shrubberies and plantations of exotics, diversified with lawns and pleasure grounds, through a circumference of nearly ten miles. On the summit of an eminence in the park is a tower called the Belvidere, built in 1773 (upon the model of that at Shrubs-hill, Windsor, erected by William, Duke of Cumberland). This tasteful ornament to the surrounding country commands the most delightful and extended views of a part of the kingdom deservedly styled the Montpelier of England. The hand of taste has smoothed the rugged brow of chivalry, and the high turrets and massive embattled towers no longer frown terrible to the eye of the awe-struck traveller. The ancient fortress has yielded to the genius of modern times, and the machicolated gateway, with its formidable portcullus [sic], have disappeared, and made way for more domestic and ornamental appendages, since the year 1752, at which period it still retained a considerable portion of its ancient castellated form. On the north wing additions have been made, under the direction of the late J. Wyatt, R. A., corresponding to the general appearance. The interior contains many noble apartments, which have been much embellished and adorned by the taste of the present possessor, and furnished in the most sumptuous manner. Among the various decorations are some good family portraits, and a few pictures by the great masters, deserving attention. The Tribute Money.—Rubens. A View of Okehampton Castle.—Wilson. A Waterfall in Devonshire.—Ditto. A fine portrait of George Monk, Duke of Albemarle. A fine portrait of Edward Wortley Montague, Esq. by Peters. The Picture Gallery.—D. Teniers the younger. A beautiful and highly-finished painting. A Landscape, with Travellers halting.—Both. Queen Henrietta Maria, probably by Vandyck. A full length of King Charles II. The Five Senses personified, in five small pictures. —Teniers. With many cabinet paintings, and a number of drawings, by Lord Courtenay, with some miniatures and flower-pieces, by Craig, executed with much delicacy and taste. Besides other curiosities, here is a remarkably fine set of dressing plate, a royal present to an ancestor of the family. Within a short distance of this Castle are a multitude of sea-bathing places, such as Dawlish, Exmouth, and Teignmouth, which, on account of their recent origin, present a fine contrast to the proud and haughty aspect of Powderham, still glorying in its strength and antiquity.

  • 1829 Thomas Moore, The history of Devonshire, vol. 1

[p. 14] The views also about Powderham, Exmouth, and Teignmouth, especially at high water, are rich and beautiful beyond description.

[p. 23] […] the Exe rolls on a majestic stream between a constant succession of the richest and most varied scenery on both its banks, having the woods and castle of Powderham on the west, and the pleasant village of Lympstone, with gentlemen’s seats, on the east. In this part of its course it receives several little tributary streams; one near Exminster, a pleasant trout brook, called the Kenn, at Powderham, and a small river from Lympstone on the opposite bank.

[p. 25] The Kenn rises near Dunchideock, and running by Kennford and Kenn, falls into the Exe between Kenton and Powderham.

[p. 53] The sea was accustomed to flow beyond Powderham Mill over the whole flat commonly called the Sod, which is at present intersected by Lord Courtenay’s canal. In digging in this marsh, shells are met with as well as at Exmouth. A boat also, and some timber, were not long since discovered several feet deep, a sufficient proof that the ground has been raised.

[p. 77] A turn-pike road also branches off from Alphington through Exeter to Starcross, eight miles; from Starcross to Dawlish, four miles; and from thence to Teignmouth, three miles.

1830 William Reginald Courtenay marries lady Elizabeth Fortescue who dies in 1867 (he dies in 1888).

  • 1830 Pigot & Co’s Directory, pp. 257-258 | Devonshire.

Star Cross is a very pretty village, situated on the river Exe, about eight miles from Exeter, seven from Teignmouth, and four from Dawlish: it is in the parish of Kenton, and hundred of Exminster. The only attraction belonging to this place, besides its pleasant situation, is ‘Powderham Castle’, the splendid seat of Lord Viscount Courtenay; supposed to have been originally built by Isabella de Fortibus, the last descendant of the great family of Rivers, who died in the reign of Edward I. This castle has been improved into a very elegant mansion by its present possessor; although much its attraction, of late years, has been dispelled by the uncheering circumstance of the non-residence of its noble proprietor. The interior is furnished in the most sumptuous manner, and its adornments embrace pictures by the most celebrated old masters. The park, grounds and plantations of Powderham occupy a space of nearly ten miles in circumference. Upon the summit of the highest ground is ‘Belvidere’, a high tower of triangular shape, with an hexagonal tower at each corner, erected by Lord Courtenay in 1773: this building commands a great variety of the most beautiful and interesting scenery, and is itself a conspicuous object from the British Channel and many parts of the county. […] Viscount Courtenay is lord of the manor, and holds, by his agent, courts leet and baron annually. A curious custom is attached to this manor, viz. that if the issue of any of the tenants hold their tenements, one after another, three descents, they may claim the inheritance of the tenement.

[Nobility, gentry and clergy] Courtenay Lord Viscount, Powderham castle

1831 The UK’s House of Lords decides in favour of William’s claim to the dormant title of earl of Devon.

  • 1831 Samuel Lewis, A topographical dictionary of England [no page numbers]. Copied from 1833 edition.

Powderham castle and grounds, the ancient seat of the Courtenays, Earls of Devon, are delightfully situated on an acclivity rising from the western bank of the river Exe. The former, now merely retaining its castellated appearance, was, in Leland’s time, a strong fort, with a barbican for the protection of Exe haven. During the parliamentary war it was fortified with eighteen pieces of ordnance, and garrisoned with 300 men: the present drawing-room was formerly a chapel, and the new music-room was built partly on the site of another chapel. The Belvidere tower, occupying an elevated site above the castle, commands a noble terra-marine view. The Exeter canal joins the river near this place.

  • 1832 John Britton & Edward Wedlake Brayley, Devonshire and Cornwall illustrated in a series of views | pp. 32-33. Craig’s two drawings are replaced by a single print, engraved by John Thomas Smith from a drawing by William Henry Bartlett.


Powderham Castle, the principal seat of the noble family of Courtenay, is delightfully situated near the banks of the river Exe, within four miles of its confluence with the British Channel. Leland describes it as a strong fortress,“with a barbican, or bulwark, to beate the haven;” yet although, in some degree it retains a castellated appearance, its warlike characteristics have chiefly given place to the more domestic appendages and arrangements of modern times. […]

Until the year 1752, it retained a considerable portion of its ancient castle-like form, and it had then a quadrangular court in front, with embattled walls, and a tower gate-way at the entrance; but it has since undergone numerous alterations. Before the expatriation of the present Viscount, this Mansion was most sumptuously fitted up and furnished, and several fine paintings (including the Tribute Money, by Rubens) were among its ornaments; but both the furniture and pictures were afterwards removed, and neglect and dilapidation usurped the place of former splendour. The pleasure-gardens, park, and plantations, extend through a circumference of nearly ten miles, and are diversified by some bold swells, commanding extensive prospects. On the highest ground stands the Belvidere, which was erected in 1773, by the late Lord Courtenay, and is of a triangular form, with an hexagonal tower at each angle. From this edifice a rich succession of interesting views is obtained over the surrounding country, — including the town of Topsham, with its busy shipping; the river Exe,with its windings from Exeter to the Sea; Nutwell Court, the splendid seat of Sir Thos. T. F. E. Drake, Bart. and beyond it, the heights of Woodbury Hill; the pleasant village of Lympstone; the town and port of Exmouth; the distant hills of Dartmoor; the beautiful tract between Haldon Hill and the river Exe; and the city of Exeter, with its Cathedral, forming an apex to the grouped houses, above which it so boldly towers.

  • 1835 Richard Brown, The principles of practical perspective, or, scenographic projection | preface dated London, January 1, 1835 | second edition, in two parts | part 2, pp. xiv-xv | Essay on picturesque residences | Powderham castle | In a footnote on p. xv, the author identifies himself as the artist who drew the ‘view of Powderham Castle, in the Rev. T. Moore’s History of Devon‘, as shown at the head of this page.

This building abounds in projecting towers, which rise at different heights, thereby constituting the picturesque. Till 1752 it retained a considerable portion of its baronial character, as it had then a quadrangular court in front, with embattled walls, and a gateway with machicolated towers at the entrance; but having undergone a repair, without attention to the antique style of architecture, it presents a motley combination, in which the remaining Norman parts only serve to excite our regret that the greater part should have been destroyed. The misguided direction of this work is prominently conspicuous in the edifice: modern sash windows appear in some of the apartments with every kind of Gothic form imitated by the bars in the semicircular heads, whilst, in others, French casements are introduced; a strange violation of common propriety thus to mix the modern and the antique. The summit is still embattled, and seems to frown on the petty innovations below. Here the grounds are extremely picturesque, as swell and hollow compose its surface; but the situation of the house, like that of many of the ancient mansions in the country, is injudiciously chosen; though at no great distance, further up in the lawn, as you approach the Belvedere, is one of the most beautiful and enchanting prospects in Devon.

  • 1835 James Bell, A new and comprehensive gazetteer of England and Wales, vol. 4, p. 30

Starcross – situated on the western side of the mouth of the Exe, south of Powderham-castle, and opposite Exmouth – is a thriving and agreeable watering-place. The trade of the place is principally in coals and timber, for the landing of which it has a good quay. A fair is held on the Wednesday in Whitsun-week. In the neighbourhood is a conspicuous land-mark called Belvidere, erected in 1773, by Lord Courtenay. It consists of a lofty triangular tower with a hexagonal turret rising from each corner, and commands some richly diversified views including the castle of Powderham, built in the reign of Edward I., by Isabella, the last of the powerful family of Rivers. The parks, plantations, &c., surrounding this relic of feudal times, are upwards of 10 miles in circumference.

  • 1835 Jonas Dennis, The landscape gardener, London 1835. The rev. prebendary Dennis of Bradford House near Exeter dedicated his work to Colt Hoare, 25 March 1835.

[pp. 17-18] The deepest-tinted, thickest, and in all respects finest grass was produced in the plantation-gardens of Powderham Castle in Devonshire, during the proprietor’s occupation. It was mowed, brushed and rolled in summer thrice in a week, and annually manured.

[pp. 72-3] During the occupancy of Powderham Castle its plantation garden was deliciously odoriferous, toward the close of August or commencement of September; aromatic plants and shrubs of diversified species, uniting in supply of contributory scents.

[pp. 99-100] A similar embankment [similar to lord Rolle’s on the river Otter] by the late Lord Courtenay, on the western side of the estuary of the Exe, adding an extent of lawn in front of Powderham castle, concurrently with another considerable contraction of the eastern side by Mr. Hull, has reduced the sounding at Exmouth bar to fourteen feet at spring-tide, and has occasioned immense accession of sand-banks materially impeding navigation.

  • 1835 Thomas Dugdale, Curiosities of Great Britain: England and Wales delineated, vol. 9, p.761 | Exmouth.

The walks are delightfully pleasant, and from a hill called Castle-hill, the eye takes in a line of coast extending from Exeter to the Berry-head, a distance of twenty miles. This delightful prospect is still further increased by the noble edifices of Mamhead and Powderham-castle, with their extensive plantations.

Powderham Castle is an ancient structure, originally built for the protection of the coast; it contains some very spacious apartments, furnished in a most splendid manner, and decorated with paintings of considerable merit. The park and plantations are about ten miles in circumference; the Belvedere tower, occupying an elevated position above the castle, commands several elevated and extremely beautiful views

  • 1835 The author of The bandit’s bride, &c | Sydney Beresford: A tale of the day | vol. 2, pp. 230-31 & vol. 3, pp. 2-5. ‘The author’ was Louisa Sidney Stanhope (1758-1850).

We may not pause to describe the beauties of Powderham Castle, or linger beneath the close umbrage of walnut, chesnut, beech, and oak, decorating the park; neither may we tell of the herds of deer, frolicking, and bounding, and browsing on the rich pasture; nor intrude within the mansion, to criticise and sum up the exquisite paintings therein contained. Those who have visited that quarter of the coast, and have feasted the eye of taste on “the Tribute-Money of Rubens” who have wandered through the gay pleasure-grounds, and mounted the towers of the Belvidere, will side with us in saying, description must fall short of the rich, picturesque, varied beauties of the extensive scenery;

[At the end of volume 2] “At that instant a shrill shriek rang through the wood: it roused into energy and action. Beresford paused not for words or thought, but darting from the side of his fair companions, sought the direction, and was soon hid by the re-closing branches.

[vol. 3, p. 2-5] A lady, in snow-white vesture, half reclining on the moss-grown trunk of a felled tree, and looking up, with pleading earnestness, into the face of a gentleman, who was leaning over her. | “I cannot stand–I cannot move, “said a low soft voice, and hysteric sobbings followed. | “How unfortunate! Bear up, dearest, and I will fly for assistance.” | But assistance came in the form of Beresford–for Beresford, with one bound, stood at the side of the lady; his face ruddy with health; his eyes softened with interest. The lady looked up–started up–pronounced his name–and then, with seeming faintness, tottered, and fell upon his shoulder. It was the duchess of Newhaven.

[The duchess has violently sprained her ankle and her husband speeds off to the castle for assistance, so that] Beresford, a second time, found himself alone with Clara–found himself exposed to man’s worst peril, an artful, beautiful, beguiling woman.

1835 William dies

powderham waiter_benjamin pyne

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Page history

  • 2022 November 18: first published online.
  • 2022 November 28: 1835, Richard Brown added.