Set in a landscape of rolling hills and orchards, Compton Castle is a bewitching mixture of romance and history. A fortified medieval house for many years the residence of the Gilbert family. It was improved by John Gilbert c.1520, partly in ruins in the eighteenth century and restored in the 1950s. In 1803 it was noted that ‘the back part of the ruins are very picturesque—the venerable ivy, twining round and supporting the dilapidated walls of the once proud apartments, gives an awful gloom to the spot, which even the view of the part inhabited does not dissipate’. White (1850) noted that ‘Parkfield House is the pleasant seat of Francis Garrett, esq., who owns a great part of the parish, and a few years ago, purchased the ancient mansion called Compton Castle, now occupied by his gardener. This castellated house was the seat of Maurice de Pole, in the reign of Henry II, and it was afterwards held by the Comptons, Gilberts and Templers.’ Stockdale described it as ‘having become in a very delapidated consideration’ but also a ‘very picturesque appearence’. The sale particulars of 1904 mention the ‘charming pleasure grounds and grounds’ and that it ‘will no doubt with care endure for many decades as an object of interest associated with the troubled times of the early centuries . . . at the south and west side of the castle, situated in a well sheltered position are the fruit and vegetable gardens having a rich and productive soil, the walls being clothed with a variety of excellent fruit trees. Owned by the National Trust, it is open from April to the end of October.
Compton Castle is listed Grade I
Cherry & Pevsner: The Buildings of England – Devon, 1989: 539
T Gray: The Garden History of Devon, 1995: 77