We are delighted to announce that Charles Courtnay, The 19thEarl of Devon, has agreed to succeed Lady Arran as Patron of the Trust.
Charlie, as he prefers to be known, was elected in 2018 as hereditary peer and is an active Cross Bench member of the House of Lords. He champions the interests of his home county of Devon and the South West, as well as heritage, agriculture and rural affairs. He is a barrister and partner with Michelmores LLP, based in Exeter, specialising in litigation, particularly in intellectual property and technology with both national and international clients.
Having spent some ten years in California, Charlie returned to the UK in 2014, about a year before his father died, with his wife AJ and their children, Joscelyn and Jack. Charlie and AJ manage the Powderham Estate, including the Heritage Enterprises that occupy the ancient heritage landscape at Powderham. They are committed to heritage tourism, sustainable land management and community well-being. They are particularly keen to make Powderham and its history more accessible and relevant, and have welcomed students from the Universities of Plymouth, Exeter, Oxford and Pennsylvania as well as the Devon History Society to research different aspects of the history and fabric of Powderham. Their aim is to understand better the collective heritage and to share it with visitors.
Charlie commented: ‘I am thrilled to be able to support the Devon Gardens Trust and the remarkable work that it does to promote and secure our county’s unique gardens heritage. Never have our landscaped spaces been more important to our community’s education and our wellbeing, and their preservation and promotion is more important now than ever.’
Charlie succeeds Lady Arran who told DGT members at the 2019 AGM that she would be retiring. During her thirteen years as Patron she has always been a great ambassador for the Trust and an advocate for the conservation of historic designed landscapes. We are most grateful for all her work on behalf of the Trust and wish her and her family well for the future.