On the outskirts of Exeter, Killerton is a relatively modest 18th century house surrounded by a huge 2,590 hectare estate that provided the family wealth. It has been owned by the National Trust since 1944.

There’s the usual complex of buildings at the entry to the property. Any yellow building in the vicinity of Killerton is almost certain to be owned by the estate. The orange on the map gives an idea of its scale.

The house is unusual for an estate this size, a modest light terracotta coloured building. There were plans to replace it with what would have been the grandest house in Devon, but the family fortunes took a turn for the worse and it was never built.

The interior is pretty standard for its age with plenty of portraits, an extensive library, and some attractive ceilings.

Upstairs is the Paulise de Bush collection of clothes dating from the 18th to 20th century. When I visited there was an exhibition on activity wear through the ages.

The gardens were created by John Veitch in the 1770s, though they’re more woodland than formal gardens, and include this memorial cross.

The Killerton Chapel was almost grander than the house itself.

My favourite part of the visit was the incredible Bear’s Hut, built as a project in the 19th century using a variety of unusual building materials. It gained its name when it was used to house a bear…

Author: jontycrane

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