Bradley Manor House
History, tourist information, and nearby accommodation
HERITAGE HIGHLIGHTS: Very well-preserved 15th-century decorative scheme
Archaeologists have found evidence of human habitation at Bradley since the Stone Age, and remains of an Iron Age fort have been found on the hilltop overlooking the manor house.
The house itself dates to the early 13th century, but that early hall house was rebuilt after 1402 by Richard and Joan Yarde. The early 15th-century house was extended again in the late 15th century.
The house is built of local limestone rubble, attractively whitewashed so that it seems to gleam. The house is built to an L-plan, with the 13th-century hall used as a rear wing. The house is two storeys high, with the original first-floor hall reached only by an external stair.
The 13th-century hall was rebuilt as a kitchen, with a huge fireplace in the south wall. A screens passage is lined with 17th-century panelling brought here from the Mermaid Inn at Ashburton. There is another 16th-century screen with linenfold panelling and arabesque decoration in the hall.
One of the highlights at Bradley is a series of stencilling from the late 15th century. This original medieval decorating scheme includes a pattern of fleur-de-lys, a sacred IHS monogram, and a striped curtain. There is also very finely crafted plasterwork and a 17th century overmantle with heraldic designs.
Linked to the house is a small chapel, with written records dating to 1428. The chapel was robbed at the Reformation, and subsequently suffered the indignity of being used to house chickens. It later served as a dining room and billiard room, before reverting to agricultural use. It was restored to its original state in the early 20th century.
The manor is set in a secluded estate of limestone woodland and meadows, yet is only minutes from the centre of Newton Abbot. Bradley Leat runs near the house. This small stream used to feed water to the estate mills.
The lane leading to Bradley Manor is signposted on the A381 but is so small and unobtrusive that it is easy to miss. We had driven past it before we realised where we were meant to turn and had to drive on for another mile before we could turn around and try again. There is a small parking area just before you get to Bradley Leat, followed by a very short walk to the manor house.
Unfortunately, we were not allowed to take photos inside the house, which is a real shame as the Tudor panelling and medieval wall paintings were the real highlights of our visit.
Bradley Manor is a wonderful example of an Elizabethan manor house, set in an oasis of peaceful countryside, yet remarkably close to the bustle of Newton Abbot.
About Bradley Manor House
Address: Totnes Road, Newton Abbot, Devon, England, TQ12 1LX
Attraction Type: Historic House
Location: On the A381, 1 mile south west of Newton Abbot town centre
Website: Bradley Manor House
National Trust - see also: National Trust memberships (official website link)
OS: SX849 709
Photo Credit: David Ross and Britain Express
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NEARBY HISTORIC ATTRACTIONS
Heritage Rated from 1- 5 (low-exceptional) on historic interest
West Ogwell Church - 2.1 miles (Historic Church)
Torbryan, Holy Trinity Church - 3.1 miles (Historic Church)
Compton Castle - 3.9 miles (Historic House)
Ugbrooke Park - 4.9 miles (Historic House)
Bovey Tracey Church - 5.1 miles (Historic Church)
Berry Pomeroy Castle - 5.1 miles (Castle)
Torre Abbey - 5.7 miles (Abbey)
Parke - 5.8 miles (Countryside)
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