Heritage Category:
Listed Building
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Date first listed:
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Statutory Address:

The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

South Hams (District Authority)
National Grid Reference:
SX 86537 64839



6/63 Compton Castle


- I

Medieval fortified house, seat of the Gilberts and property of the National Trust. Circa 1320 manor house with work of circa 1450, extended and fortified in circa 1500 to early C16. Restored circa 1930-55. Hall rebuilt 1954-5. Built of local limestone rubble with red sandstone and white Beer-stone dres- sings and granite corbels, lintels and copings. Slate roofs. Only parts of the screens passage survive of the early C14 four-bay hall which was reconstructed in C20. At the west end the solar and withdrawing room with a polygonal bay window to the west, a large tower on the south west and a chapel projecting at right angles to the hall to the north west are all circa mid C15. The chapel has Perpendicular four-light windows and a pointed turned vaulted roof with a priest's room above. At the east service end of the hall the buttery and pantry and offices including angle towers to the north east and south east and the kitchen wing to the south east with another tower on the south east corner are all circa 1500. Also of circa 1500 is the north front wall in line with the end of the projecting chapel and service wings which forms a small court in front of the hall. This front elevation is almost symmetrical and has a contemporary corner tower to the right hand (north west) to balance the left hand (north east) tower, both gabled (although in different directions) and with corbelled oriels. The main portcullis entrance is slightly to left of centre with its corbelled machicolations and battlements to the high courtyard wall, the Perpendicular north window of the chapel on the right hand and the service room to the left. To the far left another portcullis to the postern gateway. Outer walls to the east, west and south with another tower on the south east corner circa early C16. All the towers are square with gabled roofs. Compton was abandoned by the Gilbert family in circa 1750 (in favour of Sandridge, Stoke Gabriel q.v.) and became a farm. It was bought back by the Gilberts in C20. As well as reconstructing the hall Compton was thoroughly restored. Originally the land was held by the Comptons. Joan daughter and heiress of William de Compton married Geoffrey Gilbert who built the house in circa 1320. It was the home of Sir Humphrey Gilbert the explorer and navigator who annexed Newfoundland in 1583. Sir Humphrey Gilbert was half brother of Sir Walter Raleigh. References: Country Life, volume 170, page 1546, 5 November 1981. Transactions of the Devonshire Association, volume 88, pages 75-85. National Trust Guide Book, 1952.

Listing NGR: SX8653764855


The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

Legacy System number:
Legacy System:


Books and journals
Guide Book for Compton Castle, (1952)
'Country Life' in 5 November, , Vol. 170, (1981), 1546
'Transactions of the Devonshire Association' in Transactions of the Devonshire Association, , Vol. 88, (), 75-85


This building is listed under the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 as amended for its special architectural or historic interest.

End of official listing

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Date: 17 May 2004
Reference: IOE01/11270/15
Rights: Copyright IoE Mr Keith Mackenzie. Source Historic England Archive
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