Nutwell Court

All on Devon Gazetteer
  • Parkland
Local Authority:
East Devon

Substantial country house, in its own grounds and overlooking the Exe Estuary.  Transformed into an exquisitely precise and austere neo-classical mansion in 1802  for the second Lord Heathfield by S.P. Cockerell.  The house was remodelled twice before - after 1699 by Sir Henry Pollexfen and again after 1754 by his collateral heir Sir Francis Henry Drake.  The Rev. John Swete was an admirer of  Drake’s landscaping.  White (1850) wrote that Drake had ’made great alterations in the house and grounds’ and that it ‘was nearly all rebuilt by the late Lord Heathfield, and is now a large and handsome mansion, in a well wooded park’.  The ornamental pond and parkland survives.  The garden at Nutwell Court was an enterprise of great interest to Sir Francis Henry Drake, although resident in either London or Hampshire for most of the year.  Drake was greatly concerned with a large variety of plants - fig trees in 1752, cedars in 1754, and laurels and evergreen oaks in 1755.  By 1756 he had grape vines, a raspberry tree, a strawberry tree, a weeping willow, plane trees, cypresses, Newfoundland firs, larch trees, and a cistus.  Further planting followed with black poplars, apricot trees, orange trees, Weymouth pines, myrtle and Scotch pines.  The growing of fruit trees featured prominently.   



Listed Buildings

House listed Grade II*, range of servants’ accommodation and stables 9m east of house listed Grade II, former indoor riding school 10m south west of Nutwell Home Farm listed Grade II*. 


T Gray: The Garden History of Devon, 1995: 165-7
S Pugsley: Devon Gardens – An Historical Survey,1994: 29-32
Cherry & Pevsner: The Buildings of England- Devon,1995: 552

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