Coleton Fishacre - DBH1 The Web Site 2021

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Coleton Fishacre

Locales > Devon and Cornwall

If you could wander around the fantastic house  house built in the arts and crafts style with an art nouveau interior built by the seriously rich man behind the Savoy Hotel and Gilbert and Sullivan operettas that would be great.

If it had an amazing setting with stunning sea views and world class awesome gardens then that would be fantastic
The great news is that you can wander around this place and soak up the atmosphere and I’ve made the movie below to show you more.

Rupert and Lady Dorothy D’Oyly Carte first came upon the site of Coleton Fishacre when the yachting between Brixham and Dartmouth in 1923.

Rupert D’Oyly Carte’s father was the impresario Richard D’Oyly Carte. He had an exclusive business arrangement with Gilbert and Sullivan. This had lead to the formation of the famous opera company and the building of both the Savoy Theatre and the Savoy hotel all of which Rupert now managed.  This meant that they were fabulously rich.
Coleton Fishacre was intended as a weekend retreat for husband and wife and their teenage children, Michael and Bridget.

The walls of shale stone quarried  on the estate together with the Cornish slate roof do give a sense of tranquillity to the house. The exterior is arts and crafts, old fashioned even as it was built.  

The house designed as a weekend retreat rapidly  became a residence. A country house rather than the seaside holiday home. The exterior may have been arts and crafts but the interior was art nouveau with all mod cons.

It was big enough to accommodate an indoor staff of 4, a Butler, housekeeper, housemaid and cook as well as a chauffeur and six gardeners.

Soon after the house was finished lady Dorothy lived there permanently while her husband lived in London and came down on Friday evenings. They spent the time yachting and gardening. By the 1930s the gardens at Coleton were well enough established to be opened to the public. The family swam in the sea or in the concrete tidal pool built down in the Cove. They entertained friends in the world the arts. There were bridge parties and concerts, in fact everything except happiness.

Bridget married in 1926 her cousin but the marriage was not a success and she divorced in 1931 and readopted her maiden name.Michael, the son, had gained his fathers love of motoring. Unfortunately he was killed in a motor accident in 1932 in Switzerland whilst learning how to manage the family business. His parent’s marriage didn't long survive his death. They separated in 1936 and Rupert divorced lady Dorothy on the grounds of her adultery five years later.

To complete the story Bridget took over the family business and interests when her father died in 1948. She then gave Coleton Fishacre to the National Trust. She ran the empire successfully as the Savoy Group with a general manager carrying out the day to day management. When she eventually died in 1985 it was the end of the family of the Doyly Cartes

The Garden

The terraces that surround the houseare built of dry stone walls with rich interplanting. The purples are so vibrant that they grab the eye with marvel.

The amazing rill garden has sumptuous planting. The rill itself brings the sound of splashing water and with its honey coloured stone brings a centre piece to drool over.

The beauty of the garden is beyond compare. So now we know how to make a perfect garden – start with unlimited funds, a stunning location and work continuously on it for a century or so.
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