Colcombe Castle

Has been described as a Possible Fortified Manor House

There are masonry footings remains

NameColcombe Castle
Alternative Names
Historic CountryDevonshire
Modern AuthorityDevon
1974 AuthorityDevon
Civil ParishColyton

A castle of the Earls of Devon, first built in the 13th century, now mostly in ruins. A long range of buildings with the kitchen at its north end, the hall probably adjoining it. Some Perpendicular style, some straight-headed mullioned windows (Pevsner).

The Medieval house was rebuilt on a massive scale by the Marquess of Exeter, but it fell into ruin following his attainder in 1539. Again rebuilt in the early 17th century by the Pole family but when they moved to Shute, Colcombe became a farmhouse. Much early 16th century work remains including the kitchen and room above.

Traces of pre-16th century work are visible but more conspicuous are the 17th century additions by Sir Wm.Pole (Hoskins). (PastScape)

Colcombe Castle was a seat of the earls of Devonshire. One of the last earls had begun to rebuild it on a magnificent scale, but it was left unfinished, and was in ruins when it came into the possession of Sir William Pole. Sir William rebuilt it and made it the place of his residence; his son Sir John, created a baronet during his father's lifetime, in 1628, then resided at Shute, which his successors have made their chief seat. Colcombe Castle has been deserted, and is now in a state of dilapidation: part of it has been fitted up as a farm-house. (Lysons)

House. Circa C17 with later alterations. Stone rubble with quoins and rendered front. Slate roof with gabled ends. Two stoeys. Two window range. Modern metal frame casements replace former stone mullion windows. Central plank door with modern gabled porch. Extended at rear to form deep plan and with further extension with catslide roof. Interior heavy stopped chamfer ceiling beams

On the site of and possibly incorporating some of the remains of Colcombe Castle one of the seats of the Courtenays, Earls of Devon, and first built in late C13, by Hugh de Courtenay, partly rebuilt by Henry Courtenay, Marquis of Exeter, but after his execution in 1540 it was confiscated by the Crown. Returned to Edward Marquis of Exeter who died in 1556. Bought by William Pole of Shute whose son William Pole the historian and antiquarian completed the house and made Colcombe his residence. (Listed Building Report)

Not scheduled

This is a Grade 2 listed building protected by law

Historic England Scheduled Monument Number
Historic England Listed Building number(s)
Images Of England
Historic England (PastScape) Defra or Monument number(s)
County Historic Environment Record
OS Map Grid ReferenceSY247948
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  • Salter, Mike, 2002, Index and Amendments to Mike Salter's English Castles Books (Malvern: Folly Publications) p. 6
  • Cooper, Nicholas, 1999, Houses of the Gentry, 1480-1680 (Yale University Press) p. 264
  • Salter, Mike, 1999, The Castles of Devon and Cornwall (Malvern: Folly Publications) p. 52
  • Pettifer, A., 1995, English Castles, A guide by counties (Woodbridge: Boydell Press) p. 64 (slight)
  • Pevsner, Nikolaus and Cherry, Bridget, 1989, Buildings of England: Devon (Harmondsworth) p. 85
  • King, D.J.C., 1983, Castellarium Anglicanum (London: Kraus) Vol. 1 p. 121 (possible)
  • Hoskins, W.G., 1954, A New Survey of England: Devon (London: Collins) p. 374
  • Wall, C., 1906, in Page, Wm (ed), 'Ancient Earthworks' VCH Devon Vol. 1 p. 623
  • Mackenzie, J.D., 1896, Castles of England; their story and structure (New York: Macmillan) Vol. 2 p. 25 online copy
  • Lysons, D. and S., 1822, Magna Britannia Vol. 6 Devon p. 129- online transcription