Bickleigh Castle
Bickleigh Castle is a fortified manor house that stands on the banks of the River Exe at Bickleigh in Devon, England ( grid reference SS937068). Once considerably larger, Bickleigh now comprises a group of buildings from various periods. A Norman motte castle of the late 11th or early 12th century was dismantled in the mid 12th century. During this time a small stone chapel was built in the bailey. In the 15th century the Courtney family built a mansion on the site and incorporated some of the earlier buildings. The Carew family then lived there for over two centuries. During the English Civil War Charles I's queen, Henrietta Maria stayed in the castle until word was received that Fairfax's Parliamentarian troops were approaching, following which she fled to France. The bulk of the castellated structure was then demolished by Parliamentarian troops. The 'slighting' of Bickleigh was a response to the Royalist sympathies of the Carew family and its use as a stronghold during the conflict. The castle still contains a portrait believed to be Henrietta Maria. Following the Restoration, a typical Devon farmhouse of cob and thatch was added. The buildings subsequently fell into disrepair, and became a farm store and cottage until they were restored early in the 20th century. The Norman chapel and a 14th century gatehouse still exist.

The present Norman chapel was built in the 11th century with the current "wagon roof" dating from the 15th century, and is often cited as the oldest complete building in Devon. It is believed that the chapel was built on the foundations of a Saxon building dating from the 6th century. It was substantially renovated in the 20th century.

Building Activity

  • updated a digital reference
    about 6 years ago via Annotator
  • updated a digital reference
    about 6 years ago via