Welcome to Lustleigh : A Short Tour of the Village – Wreyland back to Lustleigh

Continuation of  “A Walk Around Lustleigh

9. Brookfield also originally belonged to Bovey Tracey [3 miles down the A382]. The first houses here were built in the late 19th century for the men who worked at Kelly Mine.


10. Station House : The Newton Abbot to Moretonehampstead Railway opened in 1866 running for just under 100 years and being famed for its well-kept garden [presumably, The Station House]. The passenger service ended in 1959.

Former Station House

The Station House [private drive]

11. Bishop’s Stone : the indistinct coat-of-arms carved on the front may be that of the See of Exeter but little is known of the history surrounding the stone.

Bishop Stone

Bishop’s Stone

12 : Old Gatehouses: built for Coombe Hill but are now private dwellings.


One of the Gatehouses

13. War Memorial: dedicated to the memory of all who fell in the two World Wars.

War Memorial

14. Great Hall,  or Old Rectory: This historic building with its 14th century timber roof was once the home of the Lords of The Manor and later the Rectory. It was divided up into three private properties in the 20th century.

15. “Parson’s Loaf” : There is only speculation as to why this unusual rock came to be so called.

Parson's Loaf

“Parson’s Loaf”

16. School House. The Board School built following the Education Act of 1870 for Infants and Juniors also provided accommodation for the Head Teacher. It was closed in 1963 and is now a private dwelling.

[The Infants School on the rights is now holiday accommodation and that is where we stayed in Lustleigh]

School House

The School House

17. Town Orchard: The road between The Dairy and the Former Post Office leads past the recently-rebuilt Village Hall to The Town Orchard given to the people of Lustleigh by a resident, Mr W. Bennett. It is where the annual May Day festivities take place.

Village Hall

Village Hall

Town Orchard

Town Orchard

18. The Bridge over the leat taking water the the Old Corn Mill, now a private dwelling.

Bridge and Leat

The Bridge and Leat

19. The road leads to Rudge, one of the old farms of the Manor of Lustleigh, and from where a footpath continues past another old farm, Lower Hisley and on to Hisley Bridge in Lustleigh Cleave.

Road to Rudge

Road leads to Rudge

20. Baptist Chapel : built in 1853 and still in regular use as a place of worship.

Chapel 2

Chapel 1

Welcome to Lustleigh : A Short Tour of the Village – The Church, The Green and Wreyland

Walk Map

A Walk Around Lustleigh Map

Last week I was staying in deepest Devon in the lovely village of Lustleigh on the edge of Dartmoor but within the boundary of the Dartmoor National Park. In addition to everything listed on the walk leaflet there is an excellent community shop called The Dairy. It houses the Post Office (open 9-1 each weekday) and itself is open every day including Sunday. Come with me on a walk through Lustleigh …

Starting at the village centre, outside the Church.

Lustleigh Church

1. Church of St John the Baptist: built in the 12th century on a Celtic site. Inside see the raised Celtic stone and the beautiful rood screen.

The nave

The Nave with Rood Screen, Barrel Roof and Carved Pew Ends

Celtic stone

The Raised Celtic Stone

[This ancient stone was removed from the position in the paving below the inner doorway of the church porch in 1979 in order to preserve it from further wear. It belongs within a well-recognised series of commemorative stones erected in the post-Roman period between about AD450 and AD600. The inscription probably read ‘DATUIDOCI CONHINOCI FILIUS’ – the stone Datuidoci the son of Conhinoci’.]

Carved pew end

Carved Pew End

Rood screen

Rood Screen and Carved Pulpit

2. The Old Vestry: originally a school (see tablet on wall above the door). Now used for church choir rehearsals, parish council meetings and by the Lustleigh Society for the Community Archive.

Old Vestry

The Old Vestry


Tablet on The Old Vestry

3. Church House: built around the 14th century. It was once a centre for village social activities, later became a Poor House and then a Reading Room.

Church House

Church House

4. The Cleave Hotel: originally an old farm “Gatehouse” and became a public house in the 19th century.

The Cleave

The Cleave Public House

5. Tudor Cross on the village green. Made of stone with a Maltese Cross head and chamfered shaft on an octagonal base. Erected in memory of Rector Henry Tudor (1888-1904). Nearby was the site of the village pump. Only the granite trough remains.

Tudor Cross

Tudor Cross

6. Cottages around the green: In the mid 19th century many were shops and one a Post Office. Primrose Cottage [tea rooms] was built in 1940 on the site of a hardware shop.

Primrose Tea Rooms

Primrose Tea Rooms

7. Old Gospel Hall: formerly used for worship by the Plymouth Brethren.

Baptist Chapel

The Old Gospel Hall and Wrey Brook

8. Wreyland: Approached from under the railway bridge Wreyland (or Wrayland) is a small hamlet that was part of the parish of Bovey Tracey until 1957. The Wrey Brook being the boundary between Lustleigh and Bovey. The thatched cottage on the left, known as Wreyland Manor, was where early manorial courts were held. Cecil Torr’s family owned properties here, including Yonder Wreyland where “Small Talk at Wreyland” was written.

Wreyland Manor

Wreyland Manor

Yonder Wreyland

Yonder Wreyland

Small Talk at Wreyland

Small Talk at Wreyland

Watery North Devon Literary Connections

There are some watery literary connections in North Devon. Charles Kingsley author of The Water Babies lived in Clovelly as a child and returned many times as an adult and Henry Williamson lived for some time in Georgeham near Croyde and based his Tarka the Otter stories on local North Devon rivers.

Charles Kingsley was born at Holne Vicarage on Dartmoor. I visited the church, but the vicarage was inaccessible, a couple of years ago when staying in the area. Here is a brief resumé of his life and a picture of the stained glass window in the church of St Mary the Virgin at Holne.

life of Charles Kingsley

Church at Holne

St Mary the Virgin, Holne, Dartmoor

Stained glass window

Charles Kingsley Window, Holne

There is a Charles Kingsley Museum in Providence House (his former home) in Clovelly. The Kingsley family moved to Clovelly from Holne when Charles was 11 and they lived there for six years. Charles Kingsley visited the village frequently as an adult and wrote his novel “Westward Ho!” here.

Providence House Clovelly

Providence House, now The Charles Kingsley Museum, Clovelly

Step inside the Museum with me and see Charles Kingsley at work in his study and his chair and his Christening Shawl.

CK and his christening shawl

Charles Kingsley and his Christening Shawl

CK's chair

Charles Kingsley’s Chair (on loan from the parish of Eversley, Hampshire)

The leaflet supplied to visitors states that “the village also inspired him to write ‘The Water Babies’. I had always understood that Kingsley was inspired to write the book on his visits to Yorkshire whilst staying near Malham Tarn at a house called Bridge End in nearby Arncliffe in Littondale. Here is an article from The Yorkshire Post supporting this fact. Maybe he was also inspired by Clovelly on some aspect of the book?

Tarka the Otter

From a wet and windy Clovelly I headed to Braunton for fish and chips and then to the local museum. I expected to find some information about local writer Henry Williamson who wrote ‘Tarka the Otter’. There was a small display about the author who wrote many more books than this famous nature writing including :

The great work of his mature years, A Chronicle of Ancient Sunlight, [which] stands as a true statement of the social history of this country in all its varied detail, through the life of the main character, Philip Maddison.”

In north Devon it’s Tarka, Tarka everything. The Tarka Line (railway), The Tarka Trail (walking/cycling path), Tarka Holiday Parks (caravans), Tarka Radio (hospital radio) the list is never-ending. But finding places relating to the otter’s author takes a bit more research. The Henry Williamson Society have managed to secure a couple of blue plaques on his two homes in nearby Georgeham and his writing hut still stands in a garden at nearby Ox’s Cross. Through pelting rain I managed to snap the two Georgeham homes and Williamson’s grave but I had to forego finding the shed.


Henry Williamson’s hut at Ox’s Cross

Williamson Skirr Cottage

Williamson’s first home in Georgeham : Skirr Cottage [named after the sound made by the wings of owls on the roof]

Skirr Cottage plaque

Crowberry Cottage

Crowberry Cottage – Williamson’s other home in Georgeham

Crowberry plaque

Read here about a journalist’s search for The Field and other Tarka and Williamson locations.

Williamson grave

Crowdless Clovelly

Clovelly info board

The famous and picturesque village of Clovelly on the North Devon coast is quite unique. Its streets are too steep for cars and in the past donkeys were used as the main form of transport. Donkeys are still kept at Clovelly but no longer used for heavy loads. Instead these days all goods are transported by sledge.

Clovelly Sledge transportation

Clovelly Sledge Transport

There is a huge car park at the top of the village and you enter Clovelly through the big visitor centre containing a ticket office  (yes, there’s a £6.50 charge to park and visit the village) and a shop selling everything from postcards and books of all kinds to sweets and souvenirs, a cafe and an audio-visual film show. The village is owned by one family – read more about the history of the village ownership here.

Looking up cobbled street Clovelly

The main street in Clovelly

Down the main street in Clovelly

I suppose the poor weather meant that the usual Clovelly crowds kept away and I had the village practically to myself. There was a small coach party of German tourists arriving at the same time as me but we soon spread out in the narrow streets and passages and shops and inns and around the harbour so my visit was not in any way spoiled by the famous crowds that I had heard of.

Clovelly Quay

The tide’s out at the quay

I decided to walk steadily down the main street and sit down for a while on the 14thC quay to study the map (so long as it stayed dry) and work my way slowly back to Hobby Drive and from there regain the car park.

The tide is out at Clovelly Harbour

Clovelly and Lifeboat Station

Down at the harbour the tide was out but it looked as if there is still some kind of fishing industry being carried out here. The map and leaflet list all the places to see and I managed see/visit them all.

Crazy Kate's Cottage Clovelly

Crazy Kate’s Cottage [The oldest cottage in Clovelly, named after a fisherman’s widow]

Temple Bar Cottage Clovelly

Temple Bar Cottage [here the street passes under the kitchen and dining room of a cottage]

Oberammergau Cottage Clovelly

Oberammergau Cottage [decorated with wood carvings from Germany]

Clovelly Museum and signs

Kingsley Museum and Shop [find out more about Charles Kingsley and his times in Clovelly]

Rex Whistler's Clovelly poster

Rex Whistler’s ‘Clovelly’ toile de jouy fabric in the museum

Toile de Jouy

Close-up of the fabric

Exterior 15th century fisherman's cottage

Fisherman’s Cottage [see how a fisherman lived in the 1930s]

Queen Victoria Fountain

Queen Victoria Fountain [a stone fountain built as a monument to Queen Victoria]

Mount Pleasant Clovelly

Mount Pleasant [a grassy picnic spot with war memorial and spectacular views]

Hobby Drive poster

Hobby Drive Poster

Hobby Drive Walk info

Hobby Drive Walk

Bay from Hobby drive

Bideford Bay from Hobby Drive

Rain was threatening on the morning of my visit but it held off until I’d JUST begun my Hobby Drive walk. Then the heavens opened and reluctantly I gave up the walk and headed off to Braunton and shelter and sustenance at Squires fish and chip restaurant.

In and Around Anderton House : a Photo Album, 3 [Goodleigh to Gidleigh]

Anderton House view from single bedroom

I have mentioned the wonderful views to be had from the glass walls of the sitting area and from each of the bedrooms at Anderton House but there is also a very relaxing garden on a couple of levels and sloping down the fields in front.

Anderton House water feature in garden

When the sliding glass door is opened, even fractionally, you can sit inside and hear the gentle tinkle of the water feature just outside.

Anderton House and footpath

There’s a short Public Footpath across the field which leads down to the main road that runs through Goodleigh, two miles from Barnstaple. I surprised to see that the village had two twins. Both sound like villages in France and indeed they lie close to each other in Normandy, not far from the Normandy Landing Beaches of the Second World War.

Goodleigh twinnings

The church of St Gregory stands high above the main street and right on the street itself is The New Inn. We didn’t manage to get there but plenty of Landmarkers at Anderton House had enjoyed their meals.

Goodleigh Church

The Church of St Gregory, Goodleigh

Goodleigh War Memorial

The Goodleigh War Memorial

New Inn

The New Inn, Goodleigh

One of my favourite walks in Devon is through the grounds at Gidleigh Park. Although it’s a drive from Goodleigh we were really looking forward to it as after the very wet walk we had booked an Afternoon Tea. Yummy!

Gidleigh Park Hotel

Gidleigh Park in the rain!

Gidleigh Park

The Water Garden at Gidleigh – brimming over!

Tea at Gidleigh Park

The Afternoon Tea

In and Around Anderton House : a Photo Album, 2

You’ll notice on the plan shown in the previous post that there’s a circular pod containing a guest cloakroom and house bathroom. This pod narrows the corridor between the ‘public’ areas – sitting room, dining area, kitchen – and the ‘private’ sleeping quarters. It’s simple but effective.

Anderton House bathroom

The House Bathroom

There are three bedrooms: a double, a twin and the single study bedroom (designed for the Andertons’ teenage daughter) that reminds me so much of my student days at The Lawns, Cottingham.

Anderton House double bedroom

The Double Bedroom

Anderton House Curtain fabric 'Palm Trees' by Liberty

Double Bedroom Curtain Fabric – Palm Trees by Liberty

Anderton House twin room

The Twin Bedroom

Anderton House Curtain fabric 'Cogwheels' by Heals

Twin Bedroom Curtain Fabric – Cogwheels by Heals

Anderton House single bedroom

Single Bedroom with Curtain Fabric Nimbus by Heals

Anderton House 'Nimbus' curtains by Heals

Curtain Fabric, Nimbus by Heals

Anderton House single room

Single Bedroom

Anderton House single study bedroom

Study Desk in the Single Bedroom

I was intrigued to see a separate selection of fiction on the single study bedroom shelf. Many of the titles/authors I knew had Devonian connections – Ted Hughes, Sylvia Plath, Williamson’s ‘Tarka the Otter’, Thomas hardy, Charles Kingsley. Some I have made a note to read in future in order to discover whether or not there’s a connection or whether the connection is merely the decade of publication  e.g. Dodie Smith’s ‘It ends in revelations’ and David Garnett’s ‘Plough over the bones: a novel about a French village in the Great War’.

Sometimes I find that hanging space at Landmark properties is at a premium. Not the case here at Anderton House. Each room had a decent built-in cupboard and set of drawers.

Anderton House decent hanging space

In and Around Anderton House : a Photo Album, 1

The Landmark Libraries and the accompanying literature supplied by the Trust always add to my enjoyment of any Landmark stay. At Anderton House it was no exception.

On the non-fiction shelves in the sitting room, alongside the usual reference books such as the local edition of Pevsner, I enjoyed reading ‘a garden & three houses‘; words by Jane Brown; pictures by Richard Bryant; captions by Peter and Margaret Aldington (Garden Art Press, 1999). This is the story of the Aldington’s designing and building of their home Turn End (and the two neighbouring houses) in Buckinghamshire. Also, ‘Aldington, Craig and Collinge: twentieth century architects; by Alan Powers (RIBA, 2009) and ‘Frank Lloyd Wright’s houses‘ by Thomas A. Heinz (Grange Books, 2002).

There was a choice of jigsaw puzzles in the study area called The Dog House (see photos below) but none appealed, and besides, I was too busy reading. However, I discovered this selection of 300 piece puzzles any one of which looks more attractive to me!

Here is a photographic tour of the main features of the house and its contents and environment.

Anderton House the drive

The Approach Drive after a sharp bend from the road

Rear of Anderton House

Another tightish turn to get into the Car Port

Weclome to the Anderton House Come inside

Welcome to Anderton House, come inside

Welcome to Anderton House

The Housekeeper’s Welcome Tray [note plain white LSA International crockery]

Anderton House ancient and modern

Entrance Hall contains a mixture of ancient and modern

Anderton House the dog house and sitting room

Down the steps is the glass-walled sitting area

On the right is the ‘Dog House’ a study area where Mr Anderton could work with his papers and not mess up the sitting room with them, could still be part of the house company and also appreciate the stunning hillside views.

Anderton House The Dog House Study

The Dog House

Anderton House Eames Chair

There are iconic Eames Chairs in the Sitting Room …

Anderton House sitting area modern art

… and some modern art

Anderton House kitchen area

The efficient kitchen

Anderton House dining area

The Dining Area with 1970s Denby Arabesque display

An original plan of Anderton House

And here is the original plan of the house from Powers’ book showing the ‘public’ areas quite separate from the ‘private’ areas

Landmarking in North Devon : Anderton House

Staying at Anderton House in North Devon these last few days reminded me of visits that I have recently made to Modernist houses and also sleeping in the single study bedroom took me back to my student days at Hull University in the 1970s.

2 Willow Road

2, Willow Road, NW3, 1939 [National Trust]

Villa Savoye

The Villa Savoye, 1928-1931


High Cross House, 1932 [National Trust]


The Lawns, student residences, Cottingham near Hull [Source]

The Lawns was built in the 1960s and I lived there for two years between 1970 and 1972. The Villa Savoye, High Cross House and 2, Willow Road were both built in the 1930s and seemed way ahead of their time. Even more ahead of their time are the American houses designed and built by Frank Lloyd Wright, an influence on the architect of Anderton House, Peter Aldington.

Anderton House on arrival

Here is how the Landmark Trust introduce Anderton House (above) on their website and their justification (if any were needed) for adding this unusual property to their portfolio:

AH and Goodleigh sign

Anderton House appeals to anyone who enjoys modern architecture or wishes to be transported back to the 1970s. The integration of inside and outside spaces makes the open plan living area a grandstand for the changing lights on the Devon hills beyond. A large open plan kitchen, dining and sitting area are carefully planned on two levels with furnishings that evoke the period.

Anderton House Sitting room 3

AH sitting room

The Sitting Area

Anderton House dining area

Dining Area overlooked by the Kitchen

B and W pics Anderton House 2

Original black and white photos of Anderton House (reproduced in “Aldington, Craig and Collinge” by Alan Powers)

For all its modernity, Anderton House is as much at home in the rolling Devon landscape it overlooks as the longhouses that inspired its profile. It is an exceptional example of uncompromisingly modern design executed in simple materials. The roof appears to float cleverly over the spacious open plan living area with its sliding glass walls. The house retains all its contemporary materials and detailing and is furnished to match.

Anderton House the hall

The Hall linking ‘public’ with ‘private’ areas

Anderton House original photo of hall

Photo of the Hall from the Kitchen in “Aldington, Craig and Collinge”

Buildings of any age can find themselves at risk. As a building designed by a living architect, Anderton House was a new departure for us when we acquired it in 2000. We chose it for all the reasons we usually apply to older buildings and happily caught it before changing tastes had been allowed to blur its clean lines or site drainage problems to damage its fabric. It is listed Grade II*.”

Even before staying here I had always thought it an excellent choice.

Agatha Christie at Home and at Hotels

It was great news when The National Trust announced in 2000 that they had received the gift of Greenway to add to their inventory, although the house did not open to the public until 2009. Being a regular visitor to Devon I made particular point of arranging a visit to Greenways on 22nd August that year. I’d seen the house, perched above the River Dart, several times from river excursion boats and apparently travelling by river boat (The Green Way) is the best way to approach it.

But I had my elderly mother in tow so we booked a car parking space and a table in the restaurant (converted from Agatha’s own kitchen). The gardens are beautiful and varied and paths lead up above the house to the kitchen garden and down to the River Dart and the Greenway Boat House.

Greenway Boat House from the River Dart: featured in Agatha Christie’s ‘Dead Man’s Folly’.

The Greenway Boat House (above and below)

Agatha Christie used the boathouse as the location for the fictional murder of Marlene Tucker in ‘Dead Man’s Folly’

We made a tour of the house with an introduction by a room steward and were then left to our own devices. I don’t have any interior photos so we were probably asked not to take any. My question to the guide was “Which books did Agatha actually write here?”. The answer was “None”. She used the house as a summer retreat and invited guests of friends and family to join her. Here she would read her latest manuscript to these guests in the evenings before publication in the following autumn. However, one book was written based entirely around the Greenway location : “Dead Man’s Folly“. I read loads of Christie novels in my late teens but have never gone back to them since. With the exception of DMF which I bought secondhand the day after visiting the house and read straightaway. All the locations came back to me with immediate clarity. The boat house featured as the location where the murder took place.

Greenway Library – my favourite room (Photo from Agatha Christie at Home by Hilary Macaskill)

[The frieze was painted by Lieutenant Marshall Lee when he was stationed at Greenway by the US Navy. The house had been requisitioned by the Admiralty during the Second World War.]

After our house tour we used the servants’ entrance to the dining room where only 3 or 4 tables were set for lunch. We enjoyed our meal surrounded by Agatha Christie’s cookery books and kitchen equipment.

Moorlands Hotel

Interestingly, I have come across two hotels with Agatha Christie connections within just a couple of weeks. The first is Moorlands near Haytor just on the edge of Dartmoor. Whilst staying here Agatha Christie was inspired to write her first book, The Mysterious Affair at Styles.

Moorlands is now a hotel belonging to the HF Holidays organization and it was just steps away from our cottage on Dartmoor in October. There’s a lovely cafe (with wifi) – Dandelions – which is open to non-residents. I already knew about the Christie connection and asked to see the picture.

Agatha Christie Portrait and Complete Works

Then this weekend I visited a friend who was staying at The Old Swan Hotel in Harrogate. This was the hotel where AC was found 10 days after she mysteriously disappeared following her husband’s revelation that he was leaving her for another woman.

And finally, what do Agatha Christie, The Duke and Duchess of Windsor and Edith Wharton (all featured in these pages) have in common? Answer : they all had doggie cemeteries for their own pets.

Buckfast Abbey Window

Earlier this month Lynne commented here that she loved the blues of the Millennium Window by Tom Denny at Bolton Percy church she compared it with the newer window at Buckfast Abbey.

Tom Denny Millenium Window, Bolton Percy

So, after we left Dartington late last Thursday afternoon we drove a few miles to Buckfast Abbey. Lynne specially wanted to show me the stained glass window in the Blessed Sacrament Chapel. But before heading into the Abbey tea and cake called. The Grange Restaurant can be highly recommended for its homemade cakes and cheesecakes!

The Abbey interior and exterior are currently undergoing major renovation works. The nave is full of scaffolding but we made our way to the only dust-free, quiet area The Blessed Sacrament Chapel.

“In contrast to the rest of the Abbey, the Blessed Sacrament Chapel brings a touch of modern. After the main church was completed, the chapel was added to provide a place for quiet prayer, especially during the summer months when thousands of people visit the church daily. The splendid stained glass windows depicting Christ at the Last Supper, were designed and made in the Abbey’s workshops by the monks.”


The window is breathtaking and to think that it was made by the monks themselves and we could actually touch the chunky roughly-hewn glass.