Berry Pomeroy Castle, Devon

On a wooded hill, close to the River Dart in southern Devon, lie the unusual remains of Berry Pomeroy Castle. This site was first occupied by the Pomeroy family during the 11th century, and throughout its inhabitation, the castle has been in the ownership of only one other person - Edward Seymour, Duke of Somerset and Lord Protector during the reign of King Edward VI. The Pomeroys built the original medieval castle during the 12th century, and continued to undertake work on the castle until the 15th century when a substantial programme of work was carried out to restore and replace much of the original building. On a wall in the eastern tower of the Gatehouse, it is possible to see a wall-painting dating from this period. Berry Pomeroy Castle was sold to Edward Seymour during the 16th century, who had elaborate plans for the castle, which were continued by his son.

Although many of the grand designs were incorporated into a wing of state rooms containing exceptional Renaissance work, his ideas were never fully executed and the work remained unfinished. Situated in front of the Seymour Wing, a five-bayed Loggia connected the staircase towers, a feature paralleled at Old Somerset House in London. The Seymour family deserted the site during the 17th century and from that moment in time the buildings were left to deteriorate, and fall into the ruinous state as they appear today. Despite this, Berry Pomeroy Castle has remained in the possession of the Seymours.

Throughout the substantial remains, there is much evidence of different building styles and materials which suggests that many structural alterations were made to the original castle during its habitable life. Both the Pomeroy and Seymour families have left their stamp on this intriguing mix of medieval castle and lavishly detailed mansion.

Even if your interests do not necessarily encompass the historical or architectural aspects of a castle, Berry Pomeroy is located in such beautiful surroundings that you cannot fail to be impressed.

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