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Wembury House


The house, built in 1803, replaced an earlier structure. It is set within parkland.

Visitor Access, Directions & Contacts

Wembury House is an attractive simple house of 1803 built for Thomas Lockyer. It has five bays plus one, and has two storeys. It is built of rubble with ashlar dressings, rusticated quoins and a big hipped roof. There is a Tuscan porch with cast-iron balcony. The garden front has a central window flanked by niches.

This structure replaces an earlier house built by John Pollexfen in the late-17th century, which itself was a re-building or re-modeling of a house of legendary grandeur created from the remains of a cell of Plympton Priory by the wealthy lawyer Sir John Hele. Prince described it as ‘beyond all others of those days in all this county and equal to the best now'.

In 1793 Swete passed by Wembury on his way from Plymouth to Modbury. It was then ‘the remains of that famous mansion which was built by Sir John Hele... a magnificent edifice which being situated on an advanced ground near the sea had not only a most delightful prospect but was enriched with every convenience'. He also noted that ‘without doors that there was a noble park, and contiguous to the sea an immense pond which was so constructed as to catch of itself and retain with its walls every sort of fish that frequented the coast'. Finally he wrote that it was ‘now in a state of great decay if not entirely dilapidated'.

Polwhele wrote in 1806 that it was ‘now said to be entirely destroyed'. White (1850) noted that Hele had ‘built here a magnificent mansion, at the cost of £20,000, and enclosed a park, which had a salt water lake, supplied by the tides ... It was purchased in 1803, by Thomas Lockyer, Esq., who pulled down the mansion, and built a smaller house for his residence.' Stockdale noted that the surrounding plantations were 30 acres in size.

All that survives of this is a mighty rubble rampart at the opposite end of the lawn in front of the house, buttressed on the west side.

Features & Designations


  • The National Heritage List for England: Listed Building

  • Reference: Garden walls and two pairs of gate piers north-west and south-east, two pairs of gate piers and link walls 230 metres north-north-east, kitchen garden walls and gate piers 120 metres north-east
  • Grade: II
  • The National Heritage List for England: Listed Building

  • Reference: House and wall 90 metres west
  • Grade: II*


  • Earthwork
  • Description: Rampart surviving from the earlier house.
  • Kitchen Garden
  • Conservatory
  • Manor House (featured building)
  • Earliest Date:
  • Latest Date:
  • Pavilion
Key Information


Landscape Park



Principal Building






Civil Parish





  • Devon Gardens Trust