Castle Drogo, Cornwall, Devon, Drewsteignton, Edwin Lutyens, Hayle, Home and Colonial, Julius Drewe, National Trust
Well, not strictly Cornwall, but Devon. Monday 4th July. I had sadly from my patio to say goodbye to the birds on the RSPB Hayle Estuary reserve, and start making my way home.
I was not going to be able to pick Bella up from her cattery until 4.30, so had plenty of time to make one last visit, and chose the National Trust’s Castle Drogo, near Exeter, a 20th century castle. I saw a robin in the grounds, and realised I had not seen one all week.
Castle Drogo was built by Julius Drewe, founder of the hugely successful Home and Colonial Stores . (He retired on his fortune in 1889 aged only 33.) He was convinced that he was descended from a Norman baron called called Drogo de Teigne, from Drewsteignton, and bought land there, overlooking the River Teign, to build a castle. He asked Edwin Lutyens to be its architect. Lutyens would much have preferred to design ‘a delicious loveable house’, but Drewe insisted. Construction started in 1911, but in the event, he lost heart after losing his eldest son in the First World War, and started to dislike the cost of it all, and only about a third of the original concept was realised by the time construction was completed in 1930. Drewe died a year later, but had been able to live there since 1925. It is the last castle to be built in England.
I just loved its Art Nouveau Tudor style. (That’s my description; I’ve not seen it elsewhere, and Wikipedia calls it ‘mixed-revivalist’.) It is entirely built in granite, and was given to the National Trust in 1974, its first 20th century acquisition.
The building may have been twentieth century, but the collected pieces were authentic.
To reach the undercroft, which became the chapel in the revised design, it is necessary to go outside. A chance to see the wonderful granite blocks again.
After some lunch in the recent visitor centre and cafe building, I spent an hour or so wandering in the gardens. The rose garden was outstanding, and would have been even more stunning had it been brighter and warmer. (It seems strange to be saying that at a time when UK all-time heat records have just been broken by a considerable margin.)
My final stop was at the circular lawn, where a mesmerising robot lawnmower entertained me for a few minutes.
But let my final picture in this series of posts about this so enjoyable holiday in Cornwall – and Devon – be of the class of animals which had given me such pleasure all week, the birds. Much more entertaining on the lawn than the robot was a pied wagtail, a species which, as with the robin, I hadn’t seen all week.
What an interesting place to visit, thank you for taking your readers there. It is a place I know nothing about sadly. Loved the final bird after all those water birds.
It was news to me that a castle had been built in the 20th century!
An interesting house and a fine garden. Who could ask for anything more to end a good holiday? A bit of sun perhaps?
Even a few degrees warmer would have been welcome!
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Olive Simpson said:
Awww – that’s rather a lovely castle with a very sad history – beautiful granite and quite cosy rooms for a castle! But I agree – the birds have been the stars of your trip! Thanks for taking us with you.
I think the very cosiest room was the (?)housekeeper’s boudoir.
Thanks for coming along on the ride.
I had not heard of Castle Drogo, so was interested to see round, with the help of your pictures, and learn about its history. The garden looks lovely even without the sun..
Good to finish with the pied wagtail photo since the proximity of birds had been such an enjoyable element of your holiday!
Glad to have introduced you to a new castle!