Powderham Castle, Devon

Castle Entrance Privately owned estate
The powerful Courtenay family started building the castle in 1391. It had a hall and six towers, only one of which remains today. Another branch of the Courtenay family laid siege to the castle for seven weeks in 1455, without success.
During the English Civil War, Powderham Castle was initially held for the Royalists, attacked in 1645, and finally taken by the parliamentarians in 1646. The badly damaged castle was not lived in by the family again till 1702.
Sir William Courtenay inherited in 1702 and set about repairing and modernising the castle. He divided the long Great Hall horizontally and vertically. His heirs added the fine plasterwork of the staircase, moved the chapel, built the Belvedere Tower, and added the Music Room, containing the biggest Axminster carpet ever made at the time.
In 1835, William Courtenay inherited and engaged the architect Charles Fowler, who added the State Dining Room, and at the same time changed the main entrance from the eastern side to the western, creating the viaduct and courtyard with the medieval style gatehouse. An older chapel was demolished and the medieval Grange converted into a chapel.
Minor internal alterations and a new entrance on the North side have been made in the 20th century.
Access to the lavish interior is by hourly guided tours. Various rooms on the ground and first floors are shown, the highlights being the staircase and the Music Room. There are a number of amusing hidden doorways.
Immediately outside are the Chapel and the raised Rose Garden. In the estate are various family-themed attractions. Garden fans will find the Woodland Garden and folly well worth seeing, but be warned that this is about a mile (20 mins walk each way) from the castle. I didn’t make it as far as the Belvedere (40 mins each way).
To see the main attractions takes about 3 hours. Families could make a day of it. Powderham is one of the more energetically marketed private estates, and as you drive out you will find that it even has its own shopping centre with food hall and gardening store.

Woodland Garden
Woodland Garden
Woodland garden folly
Garden Folly
Rose Garden & North front
Rose Garden & North front

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