The house and grounds of Poltimore House have had a long and interesting history. Staring as a Deer Park, then remaining in the ownership of the Bampfylde family for around 400 years to finally becoming Poltimore Girls College, A refuge for the boys of Dover College in WWII, a hospital and then finally an abandoned and vandalised house. These days it is active throughout the year with volunteers working on site and many events taking place. Here is a brief time line of the house. More details on each phase can be found by following the links.

Deer Park

  • Deer Park

Building the house

  • 1298 – Bampfylde family acquired the land
  • 1550 – Present mansion was started – aspects of this Tudor house are still evident
  • 1646 – Negotiations for the Treaty of Exeter took place in the Great Hall (the present Saloon) which brought an end to the Civil War in the South West
  • 17th Century – major remodelling of house including white and gold rococo styling in the saloon with Palladian cornice and elaborate plasterwork
  • 1831 – more reconstruction with the imperial staircase built in the entrance hall
  • 1830-1840 Gardens and woodlands were mainly laid out by the Veitch family who introduced many exotic trees from China, North America and Chile

Poltimore College

  • 1920 – Estate put up for sale – 1923 House and greater part of estate had not been sold so leased to Poltimore College, a boarding school for girls

Dover College

  • 1940-1945 – Wartime refuge for the boys from Dover College

Poltimore Hospital

  • 1945-1975 – Hospital, including a state of the art terrazzo lined operating theatre which is still there

The Decline

  • 1987 – Fire in west wing of house (which contributed to the decline, neglect and vandalism in evidence today)
  • 1993 – first of several major thefts which resulted in the loss of floorboards in several rooms, fireplaces and chimney pieces and mahogany doors of the Saloon


  • 2003 – Finalist in the BBC Restoration programme
  • Poltimore House Trust and Friends of Poltimore House working hard to stem the deterioration and bring the house and grounds back to life.