The tale of Lupton House goes
back to before 1772 when the building we see today was constructed.
An early construction of the house included a private chapel
and was built for an Elias Pennyls and his wife Margaret.
This was named the Chapel of St. Katherine and was built in
1408. On December 19th, 1409 they received a license to worship
and were given an oratory to be made in the chapel. Sadly,
there is no trace of this chapel at this present day. Also,
during our research, it appears that an even earlier chapel
had been built in the grounds in 1317.
The house had also been owned
by John Peverell who had left the residence to his sister
Agnes. She, in turn, married a gentleman called John Upton.
The Upton family settled there around 1480 and eventually
the name of the place was given up to that of the new family
whose estates would be written in Normal French as L'Uptons.
1763 Churston was owned by Francis Yarde of Churston Court
and his daughter, Suzanne Yarde, married Francis Buller. Suzanne
and Francis did not inherit Churston direction from her father,
but from John Yarde who was the last male heir of the family.
He was Suzanne's uncle, the eldest brother of Francis Yarde.
Although she inherited Churston Court her husband, the judge,
bought a larger residence from Charles Mayne in 1788 - Lupton
House. As a consequence of this he aquired a half share, along
with the owner of Greenway, the Lordship of the Manor of Brixham.
Lupton House, in its present
state, had been built by Charles Mayne just 16 years earlier
in 1772. In 1843 the house underwent extensive remodelling,
its design changing to a neo-classic style. This work was
carried out by George
Wightwick for Sir John Yarde-Buller. Further alterations were
made in the 1860's. John Yarde-Buller was the son of Francis
and Suzanne and had inherited his fathers baronetcy and entered
Parliament two years later as MP for South Devon. He held
his seat for 24 years until he retired in 1858 upon which
he was raised to the peerage as Baron Churston of Churston
Ferres and Lupton. In 1860 the lengthy surname was reduced
by Royal License and Lord Churston and his issue were allowed
to drop the prefix to become Yarde-Buller as it is known to
In 1926 Lupton House was the
Devon seat of John Reginald Lopes Yarde-Buller, 3rd Baron
of Churston. It was during his residence to the building that
it was to suffer a great fire on the top floor, completely
destroying it and ultimately causing it to be lost when the
house was restored - hence why today Lupton House only has
two levels. Below is a short newspaper article taken from
a local newspaper just after the fire occured.
|On taking up his duty at 10.30 last night
the Churston Village constable saw flames issuing from
Lupton House. The constable observed flames issuing from
one of the bedroom windows directly over the portico and
also from the top of the main entrance door. The caretaker
Mr. W. Maidment who resides in the adjoining cottage ran
out to help put out the flames but they increased in intensity,
fanned by the force of a strong westerly gale. Mrs. Maidment,
to raise the alarm, ran clad only in her nightdress to
the house of the estate warden about a half mile distant
and she then roused many of the Churston Villagers who
had retired to rest. During her haste Mrs. Maidment found
her speed impeded through some gravel getting into her
shoe, which she eventually lost in the intense darkness.
When she arrived back at her cottage she found one foot
stockingless. Meanwhile her son had cycled to Brixham
and summoned the Brixham police and fire brigade.
the time some of the family heirlooms were saved from the
blaze and stored in a nearby barn. Unfortunately these were
to be destroyed in a second fire in 1928. It is not known
why these two blazes started, although electrical faults have
been suggested. Interestingly, at the time of the second fire
it was the ninth famous country house to be destroyed by fire
in a matter of just a few months.
In September 1930 Brixham received
a new lifeboat which was later named in honour of Sir George
Shee, Secretary of the RNLI from 1910 to 1931. When he was
asked to present a boat to one of six possible places Sir
George chose Brixham as a compliment to the outstanding seamanship
of its lifeboatsmen. At the time the Prince of Wales was president
of the RNLI and was invited by H.M. Smardon to officially
launch the new boat, an invitation that was accepted. The
photo on the left shows the Prince, closely followed behind
by H.M. Smardon, inspecting the crew of the new Brixham lifeboat.
On the 27th July, 1932 the Prince lunched at Lupton House
with Lord Churston, Bishop Cecil of Exeter, Lord Mildmay,
Sir Godfrey Baring and Sir George Shee. Just below is a rare
photograph of some of the staff that were working at Lupton
House during the Prince's visit.
is also a small, documented connection with World War II in
regards to Lupton. In January 1944 a training programme for
NEPTUNE included 'Exercise Duck' and was known as the exercise
phase. Whilst troops selected for the invasion assult were
training, both in their own areas and at the Assault Training
Centre, a large number of exercises were held to give the
units actual experience in the type of the work were to perform.
Exercise Duck initiated almost continual exercises. Five camp
areas were se aside for this exercise. Four of them (A, B,
C and D) were located in the Falmouth - Heslton - Redruth
- Lanviet - St. Austell - Truro area and the fifth, Camp Area
E was located at 'Lupton House, East Dartmouth'. Each area
contained 14 camps and parking space for 1,000 vehicles except
for Camp E (Lupton House) which had four camps and parking
space for 200 vehicles. Each of the camps had 39 pyramidal
tents, a mess tent and a kitchen, and accommodated 200 task
force troops and 30 SOS maintenance troops. During the nights
of the 6th and 7th of February, orders for the exercise were
published, and on the 7th February the movement tables were
published. Movement of the task force personnel into the assembly
area began on 9th February with the 1st Brigade personnel
moving into Lupton House.
then Lupton House has been a hotel (although further details
regarding this are still being researched) and recently was
Gramercy Hall School, a small co-educational independant school
which taught approximately 160 day and boarding pupils aged
between 3 and 17. It was founded in 1990 but closed in 2004.
After that the house has stood
In 2003 the Brixham Heritage
Museum’s Field Research Team conducted an excavation
of the grounds of Lupton House. A page outlining this, along
with the backstory and resulting finds, can be seen at the