Country houses for sale

An ‘intensely Gothic mansion’ on the market in the heart of Devon

The astonishing Bishops Court in Devon has come up for sale, a magnificent and dramatic building in a beautiful setting just a few miles from Exeter. Penny Churchill tells more.

Down in Devon, Richard Addington of Jackson-Stops in Exeter seeks ‘offers over £4.5m’ for Grade I-listed Bishops Court near Clyst St Mary, five miles from Exeter, aptly described by the Devon Gardens Trust as ‘an intensely Gothic mansion’ remodelled in 1860–64 by the Gothic Revival architect William White, who worked on Grade I-listed Dartington Hall near Totnes at about the same time.

At Bishops Court, he transformed a house of about 1800, which itself incorporated the remains of the most important medieval residence of the Bishops of Exeter, acquired in 1265 and used by them until 1546.

Set in more than 30 acres of parkland at the end of an imposing lime avenue, Bishops Court stands in open countryside above the valley of the River Clyst and comprises, in addition to the principal family living accommodation, five self-contained apartments.

There is also a Grade II-listed thatched gate lodge and the original medieval tithe barn and adjoining stable block, both listed Grade I.

The current owners of Bishops Court, who bought the draughty 11,796sq ft building in 2003, are artists and architects who have carried out their own sensitive, but practical restoration of the historic structure.

They have carefully updated the interior of the main house, which now boasts four main reception rooms, the former chapel and eight bedrooms, most of which have bathrooms en suite.

The former service wing has been converted into three self-contained one- and two-bedroom apartments and two studios, all let on assured-shorthold tenancies, which, together with the Renewable Heat Incentive from the wonderfully efficient biomass boiler system, provide a substantial income stream.

Bishops Court is for sale through Jackson-Stops at £4.5 million — see more details and pictures.


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