Monday, February 16, 2009


My ancestors on my Father's side sailed on "The Duchess of Northumberland" to Australia from Devon England in 1841; a subject I'll broach at a later date. Haldon Belvedere, above, was not very far away from whence they came. Below is the story about the castle and the link for further information. My girlhood dreams were of living in such a place.

Haldon Belvedere/Lawrence Castle is a landmark on the Devon skyline which is visible from miles around. It was originally built by Sir Robert Palk, a past Governor of Madras who was reputed to be one of the richest men in England in the late 1700s. He had made his fortune in India while in the employ of the East India Company and this allowed him to purchase Haldon House in Dunchideock and estates extending to 11,600 acres. The house was extended to establish a grandiose mansion designed on Buckingham House in London. All that remains now is the stable block and staff quarters which have been converted into the Lord Haldon Country House Hotel and a private dwelling.

The Palks used the Belvedere to entertain special guests such as King George 111 and later, Marconi is said to have carried out tests at the site which has evidence of having been a Neolithic settlement. The triangular tower was extensively renovated in 1994 to illustrate the magnificence of its fine architecture, its ornate plasterwork, gothic windows and mahogany flooring. The spiral stone staircase with cantilevered steps, wrought iron and mahogany balustrade and hand rail, leads to the roof terrace where the best views are to be had. The building is, without doubt, one of the finest examples of this type of 18th Century tower, the design of which is based on the Shrub Hill Tower which stands in Windsor's Great Park.

The restoration was commended by winning a Civic Trust award in 1999.

No comments: