Mamhead (The Orangery)

Mamhead, Dawlish, Devon, EX 6 8HD
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Overview

Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown was consulted by the Earl of Lisburne in 1772, and visited Mamhead in 1773, providing plans for the alteration of the House and grounds.

The third Viscount Lisburne inherited Mamhead from Joseph Nightingale in 1755. The viscount was created Earl of Lisburne in 1776. In 1769 Robert Adam (1728-92) provided plans for the improvement of the House and alteration of a cascade house, which appear to have been implemented. Plans supplied by Adam in 1777-80 for a new house were not implemented. Lying to the north-east, east and south-east of the House, the park is undulating pasture with scattered groups of trees, and is enclosed to the north, north-east, east and south by boundary plantations.

Brown was consulted by the Earl of Lisburne in 1772, and visited Mamhead in 1773, providing plans for the alteration of the House and grounds. The charge of £105 (worth 170,000 in 2015) is recorded in his account book

A diarist recorded work in the park in 1778. The parish church (listed Grade II*), together with planting in the churchyard and Church Shrubbery, serves as a feature in the park landscape. A brick icehouse (listed Grade II), probably of dating from the 18th Century sits in Church Shrubbery.

After Brown

Mamhead remained the principal seat of the earls of Lisburne until 1822, when the estate was sold by the third Earl to R W Newman, a merchant from Dartmouth and MP for Exeter. The current Mamhead House (listed Grade I), also known as Mamhead Park, was built to designs by Anthony Salvin in 1828-33 on foundations laid for a projected Italianate mansion designed by Charles Fowler in 1822. It replaced a 17th Century house remodelled by Robert Adam in 1769. The old house near the church demolished on its completion c. 1830.

The estate continued in the family until c 1985, but under the fifth baronet the House was let first as a holiday centre for evangelical clergy, and later as a school. The main house and gardens have recently been restored, and the estate is now home to a working rare breed farm. To coincide with the 300th anniversary of Capability Brown’s birth, the Orangery is now opened for occasional private functions, and from 2017, the garden will be open for limited private events.