A project full of passion
We (Geoff, Heather, Kate, and Jon) are the current owners and we took charge of the keys to Pynes House in 2011. From that moment we began bringing the house back to life. The house that you see today is the result of loving restoration and years of hard work.
As with all historic homes, restoration, refurbishment and maintenance remains an ongoing project, particularly in certain parts of the house. All the weddings and events that are held at Pynes House help to fund this vital work and, thanks to the meticulous attentions of many specialists, we hope Pynes House will be able to receive visitors for many years to come.
We look forward to sharing our little piece of history with you and very much look forward to welcoming you to Pynes House. If, in the meantime, you’d like to keep up to date with the restoration project, do visit our blog.
If the walls could talk
There is history in the very walls of Pynes House and the estate itself dates back to Norman times. The Du Pin family came to England from Aquitaine in France with the court of Henry II. As knights of the Royal Court, King John later granted them land near Upton Pyne in Devon and for ten generations, this was their domain.
At the end of the 15th Century, the estate passed to a number of other families, including the Larders and the Coplestons. It was whilst he was living at Pynes in 1655, that Sir John Copleston, then Sheriff of Devon, was knighted by the Lord Protector Oliver Cromwell as a reward for his unwavering support of the Parliamentary cause during the Civil War of 1642 – 1651.
If you’re interested in the origins of the house, we’ll happily share our knowledge with you when you visit, so please ask.
A house fit for a Queen
Pynes House, as we know it now, came into being around 1700 when the original parts of the present house were built. The owner at that time, Hugh Stafford, altered and improved the house extensively so that it was in keeping with his position in society. The numerous developments included a magnificent stone entrance hall, designed by the celebrated architect, Ambrose Poynter.
It wasn’t long after these works were completed that Sir Stafford is said to have welcomed both Queen Victoria and Prince Albert to his home. This was obviously a great honour for any house and it is believed that the myrtle bush in the rose garden has grown up from a clipping given to Sir Stafford by Queen Victoria from her wedding bouquet. Royal brides of today all carry myrtle in their bouquets, taken the from bush at Osborne House on the Isle of Wight that provided the very myrtle for Queen Victoria herself.
Add your story to ours
The tale of Pynes House also has close links with the world of literature and it has played a part in one of the greatest novels of all-time.
The second Earl, Walter Stafford Northcote, was a huge admirer of the literary talent of Jane Austen and believed most fervently that his house was indeed the inspiration for Barton Park in Austen’s iconic work, Sense and Sensibility. This tale is still told in the local area and remains as popular as ever.
Jane Austen expert, Anne-Marie Edwards agrees with this assessment in her own book, ‘In the Steps of Jane Austen’. Edwards says that yes, Barton Park is Pynes House and believes it likely that Austen would have stayed at the house whilst holidaying in Devon. In the novel, the sisters Elinor and Marianne Dashwood wander the countryside that surrounds Barton Park and we now invite you to follow in their footsteps.