Description: Reeve Castle Incuding Adjoining Glasshouse, Engine House, Terrace, Ponds, Bridges and Garden Paths
Date Listed: 15 December 1986
English Heritage Building ID: 95626
OS Grid Reference: SS7098202975
OS Grid Coordinates: 270982, 102975
Latitude/Longitude: 50.8119, -3.8326
Explore more of the area around Zeal Monachorum, Devon at Explore Britain.
SS 70 SW
4/75 Reeve Castle including adjoining
- glasshouse, engine house, terrace,
ponds, bridges and garden paths
Large house. Dated 1900 and built for and by William Carter-Pedlar. Interior and
roof completely renovated from ruinous slate 1977-85. Stone rubble walls, nearly
all faced with cream-coloured Barnstaple machine-brick which includes decorative
bands of red brick (and some black brick to rear); roof material unknown.
A most unusual house, a romantic late Victorian fantasy. The plan was dictated by
Carter-Pedlar's interest in playing the organ, and therefore the rooms are ranged
around a massive stair well which was designed to house a large organ. Essentially
the house is rectangular with its main front facing south and overlooking the
terrace and Japanese garden. On the left front (south-west) and right rear (north-
east) corners are projecting turrets and the right front (south-eastern) corner is
cut back at an angle providing the entrance front with another corner turret. The
service rooms are on the north side and include a small wing projecting left rear.
2 storeys with cellars and 3-storey entrance porch. It is a clever synthesis of
styles; basically a kind of Venetian Gothic but also hints at Arabic inspiration.
The walls have a red brick plinth and at first floor level a band of moulded and
contrasting bricks, a top cornice projecting in similar fashion and a pierced
parapet. The south-west and north-east tower parapets are slightly taller. The
porch has no parapet. On ground and first floor levels drip courses are interrupted
by moulded hoods over the windows. All the windows have moulded brick reveals.
Most of the windows are lancets with pointed heads and 3 are grouped under a round-
headed hoodmould at first floor level to right of the porch and in the turret to
left of the porch. Both these last 2 are above large round-headed windows. The
original glazing had all been knocked out before 1977 but apparently the heads
contained coloured leaded glass. The front door, also in an arch-headed frame, also
dates from 1977. Over the doorway are 2 grey limestone plaques, one inscribed with
the initials of William Carter-Pedlar and date, and the other containing a motto in
Greek. Just behind the porch an observation tower rises from the roof like a large
cliimney or minaret, It has plain external cast-iron steps and railings. The garden
front has 2 windows between the angle turrets and across the front a glass-roofed
verandah supported on plain cast iron posts. It is floored with tiles. To the
left, in the angle between the main block and the service block is an iron-framed
conservatory with mansard roof and floor of small shaped Minton tiles of various
colours. The rear elevation, the service rooms, is simpler than the main front and
part is exposed rubble with red brick dressing. The main roof is flat except for a
large iron-framed glass vault over the stairwell.
Interior: all the original joinery, plaster and other fittings were stripped out or
vandalised beyond repair between 1952-1977 and therefore have been replaced.
According to the owners many of the doors had panels of leaded glass over panels
painted with Chinese or Arabic designs. The doorways are pointed arches of moulded
red brick, originally exposed but now painted over. Old photographs show the
stairhall. surrounded by Arabic motifs and Greek mottos. The house is heated by a
From the front (south) the ground drops away rapidly to a former quarry, now the
Japanese garden and includes 2 terraces. The upper terrace in front of the verandah
projects forward with a round end. It is grassed with slightly battered retaining
walls with brick coping and plain iron railings. The lower terrace includes
concrete-lined ponds and service walkways to the cellars. To left (west) of the
upper terrace an iron bridge over one of the walkways leads over to a hothouse with
a round vaulted iron frame but now missing its glass. Under the lower terrace is
the boiler house. Outside (south) the ground drops very sharply and a bridge from
the engine house connects with the top of a tall iron-framed tower. This contains a
weight and pulley connected to the boiler engine. When the weight was dropped the
engine was started.
From the front a series of winding concrete and brick paths with simple iron rails
and including several simple timber and iron footbridges wind down the steep slopes
of the former quarry which has been landscaped as a Japanese garden including a
large concrete-lined lake with islands. The paths also wind off through water
gardens, rookeries, other series of ponds, tennis court, croquet green, bear pit
etc. The series of lakes, ponds and waterfall are fed by an elaborate system of
overflow pipes and fed by a nearby spring and water tower (q.v.).
Listing NGR: SS7098202975
Source: English Heritage
Listed building text is © Crown Copyright. Reproduced under licence.