All on Devon Gazetteer
  • Parkland
Local Authority:
South Hams
OS Grid Ref:
SX 531 491
Map no.:
Landranger 201

An attractive simple house of 1803 built for Thomas Lockyer. Five bays plus one, two storeys, rubble with ashlar dressings, rusticated quoins, a big hipped roof.  Tuscan porch with cast-iron balcony; garden front with central window flanked by niches. It replaces an earlier house built by John Pollexfen in the late C17, which itself was a rebuilding or remodeling of a house of legendary grandeur created from the remains of a cell of Plympton Priory by the wealthy lawyer Sir John Hele. Prince des­cribedit as ‘beyond all others of those days in all this county and equal to the best now’. In 1793 Swete passed by Wembury on his way from Plymouth to Modbury. It was then‘the remains of that famous mansion which was built by Sir John Hele… a magnificent edifice which being situated on an advanced ground near the sea had not only a most delightful prospect but was enriched with every convenience’. He also noted that ‘without doors that there was a noble park, and contiguous to the sea an immense pond which was so constructed as to catch of itself and retain with its walls every sort of fish that frequented the coast’. Finally he wrote that it was ‘now in a state of great decay if not entirely dilapidated’. Polwhele wrote in 1806 that it was ‘now said to be entirely destroyed’. White (1850) noted that Hele had ‘built here a magnificent mansion, at the cost of £20,000, and enclosed a park, which had a salt water lake, supplied by the tides ... It was purchased in 1803, by Thomas Lockyer, Esq., who pulled down the mansion, and built a smaller house for his residence.’ Stockdale noted that the surrounding plantations were 30 acres in size.  All that survives of this is a mighty rubble rampart at the opposite end of the lawn in front of the house, buttressed on the west side.

Listed Buildings

Wenbury House and wall 90m. W listed Grade II* garden walls and two pairs of gate piers NW and SE, two pairs of gate piers and link walls 230m. NNE, kitchen garden walls and gate piers 120m. NE all listed Grade II.



Cherry & Pevsner: The Buildings of England – Devon, 1989: 894-5 S Pugsley: Devon Gardens – An Historical Survey, 1994: 75,175 T Gray: The Garden History of Devon, 1995: 232

50.321867, -4.0750945