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Parke, Bovey Tracey

In the civil parish of Bovey Tracey.
In the historic county of Devonshire.
Modern Authority of Devon.
1974 county of Devon.
Medieval County of Devon.

OS Map Grid Reference: SX80587857
Latitude 50.59461° Longitude -3.68840°

Parke, Bovey Tracey has been described as a probable Fortified Manor House.

There are no visible remains.


Park House, the manor proper of Bovey. An ancient demi-castellated building of great strength. Built in 14th century and taken down at end of 19th century. No remains above ground but alleged markings can be made out on lawn in dry weather (Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card).
L. Tregoning states that Old Parke was built in the 12th century and it seems there was a house here before the Norman conquest. According to M. A. Hole, the house was built in the 14th century. In the 16th century the house was crown land and leased to Thomas Southcott. A lack of heirs meant that in 1702 the estate passed into Chancerey and was then bought by Mr Bale who sold it to John Langdon in the 1730's. In 1747 the manor passed to the Courtneys who held it for 110 years. It was last held as a manor by the Bentinck family. Marks on the lawn seen in dry weather and masonry which can be located by probing give an indication of the position of the old manor house, its front being near the present drive. The back door of the present house and various dressed stones, troughs and finials scattered about may be relics of Old Parke. In 1825 Parke was conveyed to William Hole, who built the present house (National Trust 1984).
Details of ownership from 1487 given. Manor house described in 1709 as 'a fair large mansion house and gatehouse', in 1807 as an 'excellent farm house' and in 1815 as 'an exceedingly good dwelling house of a superior sort'. At the time of William Hole's purchase of Parke the house was accounted to be in a bad state. A contemporary description states that 'the house has an ancient appearance but is in a dilapidated condition. The walls are supported by buttresses for the most part of the Elizabethan age. In some of the inhabited rooms are handsome ceilings adorned with plaster showing the arms of Eveleigh, Southcott, Courtney, Bray and Yaux' (Molland 1996).
Parke, on western edge Bovey Tracey appears to have been established since the 12th century. The first dated reference, in 1487, refers to Margaret, Countess of Richmond and thus a member of the Royal family, who was granted the estate for life by the Crown estate, to who it had been forfeited. First recorded use of present name is in 1596 when Thomas Southcote of Park paid 26s 8d in rates. In 1599 Nicholas Eveleigh left 'all my estate in the Park of Bovey Tracey' indicating that the estate was no longer crown property. Estate changed hands frequently from beginning of 17th century. House demolished by William Hole in 1826 and new house constructed by 1828. There is little information regarding the old houlse but it appears to have been essentially medieval with later additions. Fragments from it appear to have been incorporated into the new house and its setting (Desmond). (Devon and Dartmoor HER)

For a C14 'fortified' house, in a large park, that survived until the mid C19 there is remarkably little about this house. It does not appear in the usual topographical directories. The current Parke House is C19, owned by the National Trust but leased by the Dartmoor National Park Authority as their headquarters.
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This record last updated 26/07/2017 09:21:52

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