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Cadhay // Ottery St Mary

Photo: © Derek Harper / CC BY-SA 3.0
Elizabethan Long Gallery
Photo: © Derek Voller / CC BY-SA 3.0
Cadhay House
Photo: © Derek Voller / CC BY-SA 3.0
Sovereign Courtyard
Photo: © Derek Voller / CC BY-SA 3.0

The historic manor house and estate at Cadhay dates back to pre-medieval times, although most of the current house is Elizabethan. It was built in 1550 for John Haydon, a bencher at Lincoln's Inn and in essence remains largely unchanged since.

When the Cadhay house was originally constructed it incorporated part of a previous 15th century building. This became the Great Hall with its fine original chestnut roof.

Some years later the great nephew of John Haydon took on the house and made some notable additions. Chief among these was the addition of an Elizabethan Long Gallery which today is used as something of a museum. The gallery also formed a rather interesting central courtyard which is known as the Court of Sovereigns. This is on account of the four carved Tudor kings and queens (Henry VIII, Edward VI, Mary and Elizabeth I) that stand over the doorways.

Further modifications and considerable restoration work took place in the late 1730s when the house was taken on by new owner, Peere Williams. Much of this was in the contemporary Georgian style with many of the Tudor hearths being blocked and some rooms being panelled. Perhaps the biggest change was the creation of a dining room by inserting a lowered ceiling into the Great Hall. Fortunately the original roof timbers can still be seen in the chamber above.

For much of the 18th and 19th century the house went through periods of neglect suffering indignity such as being divided into two and used as a farmhouse. It was only in 1910 that the house's fortunes returned with significant restoration being carried out.

Today Cadhay is described as one of the finest Tudor manor houses in England, Cadhay is unsurprisingly Grade I listed. The current owner, Rupert Thistlethwayte, a descendant of the 17th century owners, has devoted much of the last decade to restoring Cadhay to its former glory.

Cadhay's extensive gardens are not formally laid out but are beautiful all the same. Original features like the medieval fish ponds and walled kitchen garden sit alongside lawns and the avenue of lime trees which leads to the house.

The gardens and house, are open to the public on Friday afternoons between 2pm and 5.00pm from May to September. There is a small tea room serving home baked cakes and light refreshments.

Other attractions near Cadhay