• Guided tour of the Nursery and Arboretum at Thornhayes, near Cullompton. Friday 20th October 2017. See Events section for information.
Devon Gardens Trust is devoted to the preservation and enhancement of gardens in the UK county of Devon

Marley House (Syon Abbey)

Statutory Designation: 

House listed Grade II*.

District: 
South Hams
Parish: 
Rattery
Grid ref: 
SX 723 611
Map no: 
Landranger 202
Type of site: 
C19 Parkland
Description: 

A large country house owned by the Palk family and then inherited in 1806 by the Carews of Haccombe.  A fine C18 neo-classical house, but with remodelling in early C19,alterations of 1873 and extensions of 1935 when it became a convent.  The north front is unattractively pebbledashed.   Nine bays, with a Greek Doric pedirnented portico of four very tall columns, the propor­tions distorted by the filling in of the basement level on this side.  U-shaped plan: the small back courtyard now built over.  On the south and west sides the arcaded basements, still exposed, project as ter­races in front of the house. Plain convent wing to the west by Benedict Williamson, with cloister on the garden side.  Recently the walled gardens, which are at a considerable distance from the house, were sold to a neighbouring farmer and. the grounds were reduced. by the construction of the A38.  Many trees were lost, directly as a result of the road works and also indirectly from the exposure to wind.  The land slopes towards the south east.  A balustrade staircase leads down from the middle of the east front to a lawn.  It would appear that originally the park extended from this front to a large pond backed by a clump of trees, but now there is an irregular line of conifers separating the lawn from the land used for grazing.  On the south side of the house there appears to have been a formal garden. A sundial, balls of clipped box and Yucca plants remain but the area is now used for growing fruit and vegetables. The higher ground to the north west of the house was evidently laid out as an arboretum. The A38 cuts across this area but some fine trees remain, including a magnificent pair of Lucombe oaks, cut-leafed beech and a Japanese cedar. Close to the house there are now several small flower gardens with religious statues, which are cultivated by the nuns.  Before the walled gardens were sold they were used by the nuns partly as a flower garden. There are still fruit trees on the walls, including figs.

Conservation Area: 
Yes
Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty: 
No
Area of Great Landscape Value: 
No
Nature Conservation Zone: 
No
Coastal Preservation Area: 
No
National Park: 
No
Scheduled: 
No
Evidence: 
MapView plan, scale 1:2500 Ordnance Survey 1890 edition 6”
References: 
Cherry & Pevsner: The Buildings of England – Devon, 1989: 776-7
Status: 
on Devon Gazetteer