Fowlescombe Manor

Fowlescombe Manor is a ruined country house in Fowlescombe, near Ugborough, Devon, England.

The house was built by Thomas Fowell in the centre of the valley in 1537. It is believed to be on the site of an earlier house for which records go back as far as 1453. Sir Thomas Fowell, a member of the King’s court, is recorded as being born in Fowlescombe Manor in 1453, implying that there had been a manor on this site previous to that date. The main building, thought to have been constructed around 1537, took the form of a hall house surrounded by parkland and a water garden. The 17th century stable block was built around a courtyard, which may also have been the location of the kennels for the pack of hounds used for fox and deer hunting reflective running belts. A pack of hounds was kept at kennels at Fowlescombe for many years gloves for goalkeeper. It is said that a kennel-master used sometimes to keep the hounds hungry so that they would hunt well the following day, but that one night, when visiting his hounds which were making a lot of noise, he failed to wear his usual jacket, and was eaten by the hounds, only his boots being found the next morning. A folk song exists relating these events. The layout of fields on the surrounding farms which made up part of the estate can still be seen from the position of hedges and field boundaries.

The estate was known as Fowelscombe or Vowelscombe. Its last owners in the mid 19th century were the King family. It fell into ruin sometime between 1860 and 1880, and has since become an ivy-clad ruin.

The estate was sold in 1919, and again in 1948. The Bakers purchased the estate in 1998 and began some restoration. It is now an organic farm with some holiday cottages for rent. The farm has pedigree Aberdeen Angus and Devon Ruby Red cattle and rare breeds of sheep, goats and chickens.

The bridge leading to the estate, which was built in the late 18th century, still survives and has been designated as a Grade II listed building.


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