Powderham Castle
Powderham Castle is located south of Exeter, Devon, England. The Powderham Estate, in which it is set, runs down to the western shores of the estuary of the River Exe between the villages of Kenton and Starcross. The castle was built between 1390 and 1420 by Sir Philip Courtenay. The Castle remains in the hands of his descendant, the Earl of Devon. It was extensively altered in both the 18th and 19th centuries, most notably by James Wyatt in the 1790s. The staircase, hall, music room and master bedroom of the house were used as locations for the 1993 film The Remains of the Day . The house was also used as a setting for a recent film comedy, Churchill: The Hollywood Years . A female tortoise named Timothy lived on the Powderham castle grounds until her death in 2004. Having lived for around 165 years, she was the oldest resident of Great Britain up to that time. On 29 September 2009, the Earl auctioned 113 treasures from the castle, at Sotheby's in London, in order to cover debts accrued in running the 14th-century home. The sale of family silver, furniture, antiques and paintings made a total of £1,013,638.

Origin of the name
From the word polder, originally Dutch for reclaimed land, thus meaning "the hamlet of the reclaimed marsh-land".

The house
The Marble Hall, completed in 1755, forms the lower part of the medieval Great Hall and would have once been as high as the staircase hall. The hall has an impressive mahogany staircase decorated with carved heraldic beasts and intricate plasterwork. The spectacular Music Room, designed by James Wyatt for the flamboyant 3rd Viscount of Devon, has a splendid Axminster carpet. Upstairs the original solar has a collection of toys. The house has a mixture of medieval features and fine 18th century decoration. There is also a collection of paintings and family portraits by many notable artists and a 14ft high Srumbels clock. It is alleged that the house has a haunted landing.

Contravention of the Equality Act 2006
In May 2008 Lord Devon reportedly said that the requests for gay civil partnerships at Powderham Castle clashed with his religious beliefs. Devon County Council investigated and said that the licence for hosting civil ceremonies would be revoked. County solicitor Roger Gash said that providers of civil ceremonies could not legally treat people unfairly according to their sexual orientation and, in an e-mail to Lord Devon, said: "It seems to me that your refusal to accept civil partnership ceremonies amounts to such discrimination and that this leaves the county council with no option but to revoke the licence for the castle." It was therefore decided that the castle would be unable to host civil ceremonies from 1 January 2009. The castle web site, however, still clearly advertises as a provider of civil ceremonies for 2010.

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Building Activity

  • steve lloyd
    steve lloyd commented
    Its just wonderfull.
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