Stowe House

Stowe House

3 miles north of Bude

EX23 9JW

Once a famous family home

Stowe House in the parish of Kilkhampton was a mansion built in 1679 by John Grenville, 1st Earl of Bath (1628-1701) and demolished in 1739. The Grenville family were for many centuries lords of the manor of Kilkhampton, which they held from the feudal barony of Gloucester, as they did their other principal seat of nearby Bideford in Devon. It is possible that the family's original residence at Kilkhampton was Kilkhampton Castle, of which only the groundworks survive, unusual in that it had a motte with two baileys.

The house was built of brick with stone dressings and formed the shape of a rectangle, of three floors with hipped roof incorporating dormer windows and topped by a cupola, eleven bays wide by seven bays deep. There was an extensive deer park with formal gardens including fountains and statues.

Charles Grenville, 2nd Earl of Bath (1661–1701) succeeded his father in 1701 but died in a shooting accident, possibly suicide, shortly afterwards. He left as heir his seven-year-old only son William Henry Grenville, 3rd Earl of Bath (1692-1711) who died in 1711 aged 17 without progeny. The inheritance was divided between the second earl's sisters and a cousin George Grenville, Baron Lansdowne (d. 1735), after whose death the family became extinct. The house was demolished in 1739. Some of the interior was saved and used elsewhere. Prideaux Place at Padstow contains carved woodwork from the Grenville Room.

The Steward's House survives at Stowe as a farmhouse, and some new farmhouses were built locally from the unsold materials from Stowe and are notable for their fine appearance, for example Penstowe, also in the parish. The manor of Kilkhampton was still owned in the early 20th century by descendants of Lady Grace Grenville, a daughter of the 1st Earl of Bath, namely the Thynne family.

A range of stone buildings around a large courtyard, including a seven bedroom barton house with the Grenville arms sculpted above the front door, survives, located between the site of the demolished mansion and a surviving overgrown sunken garden believed to have adjoined the Tudor mansion house.

The "Stowe Barton Farm" estate is now owned by the National Trust and comprises 537 acres of farmland and 14 acres of woodland. It was offered to let by the National Trust in July 2014. The property is now in private ownership and not open to the public.


One mile west of the A39 at Kilkhampton.

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