Holne Park Ashburton 

Although actually in Holne parish (see map in Local Administration, under Gathering Together), Holne Park is so close to Ashburton that the town frequently features in the address.

'The original house, the "Manor of Holne", is mentioned in the Domesday Book and was given by William the Conqueror to William de Faleise after the Norman Conquest in 1066. The de Faleise family owned the house and estate for the next 820 years...'

'Holne - Holle, Holla: William de Falaise. Cob.'
'20, 11-17 A group of manors in Stanborough Hundred. In the Tax Return for Diptford (Stanborough) Hundred William of Falaise is alloted 3 hides 1 virgate of lordship land...
20, 11 Holne. A parish in the Stanborough Hundred. Northamme ('North' Holne) is held by Nicholas son of Martin of the Honour of Dartington in Fees...
...'South' Holne was part of Harberton, then held by Buckfast Abbey (1, 34 note)'
Caroline and Frank Thron (editors), Domesday Book Devon, Part 2, Philimore, 1985, 20

'Dartington and Barnstaple were inherited by William Martin III (d 1324) in 1282 and 1308 respectively, and briefly united under him and his son William IV (d 1326). The founder of the English line of this family, known simply as Martin, had died before 1086, leaving his widow Geva, the daughter and heiress of Serlo de Burcy, a modestly endowed baron of Somerset and Devon. Geva remarried William de Falaise, a tenant-in-chief of Devon and Somerset, and the estates of both Burcy and Falaise, which came to be known collectively as the honor of Dartington, descended ultimately to her son Robert (Fitz)Martin, (d c 1159)
Robin J Burls, Phd. thesis, Society, Economy and Lordship in Devon in the Age of the First Two Courtenay Earls, c1297-1377, p36

'Robert married, 1st Maud Peverel...2nd, Alice de Nonant, probably daughter of Roger de Nonant, of Broad Clyst. He was dead in 1159. His widow married again, in or before 1175, without the King's licence, for which trespass she forfeited her lands in Dartington, Langacre and Holne.'
Cokayne's Complete Peerage, 2nd Edition, (Martin) Vol VIII, pp 530-532, quoted on http://cybergata.com/roots/3658.htm

'The manor, and almost the whole of the parish, is the property of Sir Bourchier Wrey, bart.; ...
...The manor of Holne and Holne Chace were formerly part of the barony of Barnstaple, and passed (with Tawstock) successively to the Audleys and Bourchiers (Lords Fitzwarren and Earls of Bath) from whom they descended to the present possessor.
...It appears from an inquisition that the manor was possessed by Henry Earl of Bath in the year 1644.'
Letter to The Gentleman's Magazine, vol 98, July - December 1828, p115

'Sir Christopher Wrey of Trebitch, Baronet, was born 1628...About the year 1652 he married Anne...third daughter and coheir of Edward Bourchier, Earl of Bath, by whom he became possessed of a great estate in the county of Devon, and the noble seat of Tawstock, where the family now resides.'
The English Baronetage, Arthur Collins, Vol II, London, 1741, p86

'The greater part of the parish of Holne belongs to Sir Bourchier Wrey, Bart.; his woods extend along the river for several miles. Beyond the chase, near Holne Bridge, is Holne Park, the seat of Sir Bourchier Wrey; the house was built about ten years ago; it is not large, and the situation is rather low, being near the river.'
The Teignmouth, Dawlish and Torquay Guide, N T Carrington and others, 1829, p151

Some residents of Holne Park. Many seem to have taken short term tenancies, and the Wrey family are mentioned until at least 1884. A newspaper article (below) says that the Hon R Dawson purchased the property in 1886 from Sir Bourchier Palk Wrey.

In April 1885 a gardener named I. Russell  is seeking work - cause of leaving 'death', and in May a coachman, 'J', is leaving for the same reason.

Exeter and Plymouth Gazette 17 April 1885 p4 col1

Exeter and Plymouth Gazette 1 May 1885 p4 col1

Clergymen married. The Rev Henry Bourchier Wrey of Holne Park, Devon, to Ellen Maria, only daughter of N R Toke Esq. of Godington, Kent.

The British Critic, Quarterly Theological Review and Ecclesiastical Record, 1828, C & J Rivington and J Mawman, p247. The marriage was in 1827


1834 The Rev Henry Bourchier Wrey. (Also there in 1839, 1848, 1850, 1855, 1859) He died in the Barnstaple registration district in the December Quarter of 1882, aged 85 http://www.freebmd.org.uk/cgi/search.pl

Western Times 29 Nov 1834 p3 col1

1837 Capt. Jekyll

Exeter and Plymouth Gazette 1July 1837 p2 col5

1840 The Hon Mrs Lawrence Shawe

Western Times 3 October 1840 p3 col1

1843  'The lady of' N B F Shawe

Exeter and Plymouth Gazette14 January 1843 p3 col2

1846 J Y Buller

Western Times 18 July 1846 p6 col4

1847 W Fortesque 'for a term'

Western Times 2 January 1847 p5 col4

1848 Albany Bourchier Savile (married the eldest daughter of Sir Lawrence Vaughan Palk, who had been MP for Ashburton 1818 - 1831 )

North Devon Journal 18 May 1848 p2 col6

1850 Rev H Wrey and family 'sojourning'

Western Times 14 December 1850 p5 col4

1852-53 'Nobility, gentry and clergy': Sir Bourchier Wrey, Bart

Slater's Directory of Berks, Cornwall, Devon ..., 1852-53 p5

1852 Col Pettle (spelled Pattel in the same paper 8 January 1853 p7 col4)

Western Times  8 May 1852 p7 col3

1855 H Wrey  at 'his seat' Holne Park

Western Times 7 July 1855 p7 col1

1861 Henry Bourchier Toke Wrey shown as Head of house in census (which has Holne Park under the Holne enumeration district) RG9/1419, enum. dist. 7, fol. 102, pp. 7-8, sched. 35

1871 J A Froude, 'the historian'

Western Times 16 June 1871 p7 col2

1878 Frederick Stevenson

Western Times  25 March 1878 p2 col4

1880 Rev F Garrett (spelled Garratt elsewhere)

Western Times 14 September 1880 p6 col3

1881 Fredrick Stevenson, (Gentleman) and his wife, Catherine

Holne Census 1881 - RG11/2177/97/103

Left: In 1882 'Mrs John Wrey wishes to take a lease of Holne Park for 5 years - Mrs Wrey to undertake to do all repairs, painting and colouring the house inside, and  outside except  the roofs, chimneys and shootings and walls - at a rental £ 80 (pencilled in)

1886 The Hon R Dawson

Exeter and Plymouth Gazette 15 October 1886 p2 col2

1891 Richard M H Dawson and family

Holne Census 1891 - RG12/1712/fiche #0142



 And some of those who worked there:

In 1851 Mary Sprague was a governess at Holne Park. There were also the following indoor servants:

Ambrose Simmons, Footman

Eleanor Pearse, Cook

Mary Banfield, Housemaid

Susanna Dolling, Kitchen maid

There were two outdoor labourers:

Robert Bowden

James Ridd

Holne Census 1851 - HO107/1874/362

Many thanks to Brian Bassett for letting me use his transcription of the Holne Census. For more of Brian's transcriptions, see the Holne section of the Genuki Devon pages http://genuki.cs.ncl.ac.uk/DEV/Holne/ 


In 1861 the priorities of the Wrey family, who have 6 children ranging in age from 3 months to 6 years, have changed. They now employ:

Elizabeth Cockram, Nurse

Elizabeth Taylor, Parlour maid

Eliza Taylor, Nurse maid

John Southcombe, House servant

Anna Stanbury, Under nurse

Andrew Tolcher, Groom

Holne Census 1861 - RG9/1419/96/99


By 1891 the Dawson family have the full complement of servants again:

Mary Grey, Lady's maid/domestic servant

Mary J Coombes, Nurse

Richard T Merrafield, Hall boy

Harriett Whitehead, Housemaid

Emily E Bath, Housemaid

Susan Blake, Nursery maid

Harriet Drame, Cook

Diana Perks, Kitchen maid

Elizabeth Gill, Scullery maid

George N Blake, Footman

Holne Census 1891 - RG12/1712/fiche #0142

Many thanks to Brian Bassett for letting me use his transcription of the Holne Census. For more of Brian's transcriptions, see the Holne section of the Genuki Devon pages http://genuki.cs.ncl.ac.uk/DEV/Holne/

John Stanbury* kept a book in 1866 of the days that people had worked

*John Stanbury, of Holne Park Cottage, is available to show a farm to prospective purchasers, and is named as the woodman of Holne Park in 1878.

Exeter and Plymouth Gazette, 5 May 1865 p1 col6

Exeter and Plymouth Gazette, 16 November 1878 p3 col5

 Names from the book:

John Rawland - elsewhere looks more like Rewlan

Thos Noshe ?

John Stanbury*

Emma Stanbury*


Whit ?



Bishop or Bishep



Junsen ?

Stenpem or Stenkem




* The 1871 census for Holne shows John Stanbury and his wife, Emma, living at Holne Park

Holne Census 1871 - RG10/2096/97/100

Right: Holne Park farm accounts Michaelmas 1855 to Michaelmas 1856


Cattle sold £98 19s

Sheep sold and lambs £42 1s 3½d

Pigs sold £34 4s 2½d

Horse £12 14s

Cash for wheat £213 4s 3d

Sold poultry £3 13s 6d

Rents of cottages and horse labor £5 12s 6d

Dairy account £35 12s 6½d

Wool £29 2s 6d

Left: Holne Park farm accounts Michaelmas 1855 to Michaelmas 1856


Cattle purchased £21 11s 6d

Sheep purchased £27 2s

Horse purchased of Mr Wrey £18 18s

Hay £17 14s

Reed £2 8s 6d

Bought oats 19s

Paid for poultry £1 15s

Seeds £17 8s 6d

Manure £77 11s 7d

Tradesmen's bills including barley for pigs £47 15s 10½d

Tithes £2 6s 7½d

Rates and taxes £5 2s ½d

Carriage of manure and miscellaneous charges £7 7s1½d

Wages including Bowden's £159 18s 6d

On account of rent £21


In 1855 mine machinery and materials from the South Plain Wood Mine were sold by Mr Creagh. Included in the sale was two buddles, hand screw, horse whim, cobbing irons etc.  

Mining began in 1850, and it was reported two years later that 'powerful machinery' was installed there, operated by water from the Dart. In June 1854 several tons of copper had allegedly been sold from the mine.

Document which I have seen but was not able to purchase. Sold by auction 2013   

Exeter and Plymouth Gazette 2 February 1850 p5 col4 

Western Times 8 May 1852 p7 col3

Western Times 24 June 1854 p7 col3                    



In 1859 some coppice from the Holne Park Estate was sold. Here are some of the (hand written) conditions:

Auction held this 16th day of April 1859 at the New Bottle Ashburton by Mr Henry Couch Creagh on behalf of the Rev Henry Bourchier Wrey for selling a quantity of oak coppice now standing and growing in South Plain and North Park Woods in the parish of Holne in 4 lots marked 3 and 4 in North Park and 1 and 2 in South Park Wood to be sold by the statute acre......

3. That no person shall retract his or her bidding.

7. Whatever damage may be done in felling or removing any wood or bark must be paid for or repaid and made good by the respective purchasers.

10. No horses or other beasts shall be suffered by the respective purchasers to go at large or unmuzzled in the wood and no dogs shall be allowed to accompany the purchasers or their workmen there and any purchaser who by himself or by his workmen shall offend against this clause shall pay 10s in respect of every day upon which the offence shall occur and the seller shall be at liberty either to sue for the recovery thereof as liquidated damages or in like manner as provided by the last foregoing condition to seize and dispose of the wood and bark and horses and carts of the purchasers offending to sell the same for the recovery thereof....

17. The purchasers shall pay to the auctioneer the sum of five shillings on each lot. 


Right: Agreements for 4 purchasers after the sale. They are - John Maddick (signs with a cross); John Hent (?); E Butland and Jacob Endecott (Endacott ?)

All are witnessed by Geo Caunter.

John Maddick paid £12 2s 6d per acre for coppice in North Park Wood; John Hent paid £13 5s.

E Butland paid £17 2s 6d per acre in South Plain Wood, as did Jacob Endecott.


Unless they say otherwise, all the documents on this page are from my own collection

 Left: Sale particulars for Holne Park, Ashburton, in February 1871. It is evidently a work in progress, as there is an insertion and some crossing out.  It reads as follows:

View of Holne Park, South Devon

Beautifully situated on the banks of the Dart in its own ornamental grounds, 2 miles from the Market Town of Ashburton. Railway Stations are Newton Abbot or Totnes. The house, comfortably furnished (last two words crossed out), to be let from Michaelmas next for three (last four words crossed out) Lady Day next for five years, rent £100 per annum, contains 3 sitting rooms, 6 bed rooms, 3 dressing rooms, & 3 servants rooms - very good kitchen and offices, cellars, etc. Detached stabling with coach house, and saddle room, 2 loose boxes and 4 stalls. Walled kitchen garden in capital order, flower garden & croquet ground. Spring water in abundance. Dairy farm adjoining the premises - right of fishing and (last two words crossed out) shooting over 400 acres, (then inserted) and fishing in the Dart, with good woodcock coverts. Foxhounds and harriers in the neighbourhood. The house is approached by a carriage drive from a lodge entrance.

Apply to G Caunter Esq., Ashburton Febry 1871


Below: A map of Holne Park and Staddicomble Estate

It lies between the road to Ashburton - top of the second page - and the road to Buckfastleigh - across the left hand corner of the second page.

Holne Park House is on the right hand side of the second page, almost half way down

           ˄ Staddicombe


Holne Park:

Dwelling House

Shop ? meadow 


Alexis Orchard

Little Orchard

Little Meadow

Gt Oak Park


Little Marsh

Home Park Orchard

Labour in Vane

Marl Park

Gt Orchard & Garden

Little Oak Park

Little Arish

Little Orchard

Kiln Field and Mow plot

Bottom Close

Lower Arish

Higher Arish

Cummings Close

Great Hill

Stoney Holne

Grt Holne

North Holne

Little Hill

Lower Lodge

Middle Lodge

Higher Lodge


South Park Wood (bottom right hand corner, encloses South Plain)

Alexis Wood

Fir Plantation (adjoins North Park Wood)

Bridge Wood (small area at the very top)

North Park Wood (most of the top area)




Staddicombe now Vetches

Dwelling House

Grt End


Maggott ? Park

Broad Park

Spla....? Orch ?


Middle Park


Pool Park

Barrow Park

Little Park

Barn Park

Barn Orch



When advertised, the property was to be let for 3 or 5 years.
Western Morning News 7 March 1871 p1 col3

In June 1871 newspapers reported that J A Froude, 'the historian', had taken Holne Park

Western Times 16 June 1871 p7 col2

James Anthony Froude had been baptised at Dartington in 1819 (born in 1818), the son of Rev Robert Hurrell Froude and his wife Margaret.

In the 1871 census, two months before the family arrived in Ashburton, James A Froude, man of letters MA LLD, was living in Kensington with his wife, son, daughter, and seven servants. Henrietta Froude, the wife of James, died in the Kensington registration district in 1874, and James was back in Kensington in 1881

Parish records.

1871 census RG10, piece no 52, folio 41, p20


1881 census RG11, piece no 45, folio 42, p21

In the 1880s renovations were afoot 

Left:  John Eddy's estimate to paint all shutes and cornice, windows, doors, and in kitchen court and garden, paint and ...?.... frontispiece, and front doors, scrape off old where required, and touch up, and give two coats after. Outside work - £16

Doors, windows and in stable yard 2 coats £1 6s


Right: The estimate of Thos Hext, Mason.

Coulering front of Holne Park House, two coats finding materials and carriage £3 15s

Right : Other people involved in the project were John Horton (?)

Below: And Joseph Watts, whose bill includes travelling to Truro and back


Left: A bill presented by John Eddy to Mr J Wrey*, for work carried out in 1881.

The account, for £11 1s 1d, includes repapering, whitening ceilings, painting and varnishing various doors and skirtings, staining and varnishing the best staircase, painting floors and repairing garden frames.

The bill was paid in two instalments, one in May and one in August 1882.

* Or possibly Mrs J Wrey

Left: And William White, who moved earth with horses and carts

Right: The water works were also overhauled. This is a bill from Henderson and Son, Civil engineers and Surveyors, of 31, Lemon Street, Truro. The account was for levelling and taking measurements for the proposed water supply, designing the works and making detailed drawings, inspecting and testing the mains and services. Some 'Cash out of pocket' expenses included rail travel and staying at a hotel at Exeter.



Some of the materials arrived by train at Ashburton.

Left and below: More work connected to the water works. In 1881 Mr J (?) Edgecombe sent a bill (above) for drawing 2 tons of pipes to Holne Park, together with 14 tons of bricks and 3 tons 10cwt of iron pipes. He also charged 7s for drawing timber to the sawpit - '1 horse'.

Meanwhile Thomas Easterbrook (below) had, amongst other work, paid Lawrence and two other labourers for excavating and assisting the pipe layer.

Left and below: Some of the materials - bricks, pipes, bends and elbows - came from Candy and Co.

Lead came from James and Rosewall, Octagon Street, Plymouth

Some pipes and associated materials came from Scotland. This bill is from William MacCleod and Co., 30, Enoch Square, Glasgow: Metal merchants and founders agents.

In 1888 the Haytor Volunteers held maneouvres at Holne Park, with the permission of the Hon R Dawson. The exercise centred around Hembury Fort. 'The skirmishing among the fine old oaks was very pretty.'

Western Times 13 November 1888 p5 col7

Mr T Gale, gardener to the Hon R Dawson, was one of the judges at the Holne Cottage Garden Show in 1892

Totnes Weekly Times 27 August 1892 p7 col2

The Hon R Dawson died during an operation in London in August 1914. He was Lord of the Manor of Ashburton, and had at one time been the Unionist candidate for the Mid-Devon Division.

Captain Richard Long Dawson, Coldstream Guards, died 3 months later on 20 November 1914. He was the only son of the late Hon R Dawson and Mrs Dawson, Holne Park.

Western Times 14 August 1914 p10 col1

Western Times 27 November 1914 p10 col1 

For more on Captain Dawson, see Bob Shemeld's research under Roll of Honour WW1 A-F, under Ashburton in Peril.

Right: A postcard to Miss Forbes (which says 'Dear M') at Holne Park. The date appears to be 1916. The card continues 'You have it busy at the harvest', which suggests that she was working at the Park, rather than being a guest. The card was posted from Gartly, a village on the main Aberdeen to Inverness railway.
Many thanks to Andrew McHardy for the image and the information. He says, 'Forbes is a surname well ensconced in the upper reaches of the Don Valley.'

1921 A fancy fair was held in the grounds of Holne Park with the permission of Mrs Mason. The fair was held to raise funds for the renovation of Holne Church, and about 1000 people visited the grounds. There were various stalls, including a produce stall supervised by Mr Thorne, the gardener at the Park.
Western Morning News 2 June 1921 p3 col3

A bronze memorial to the late Hon Mrs Jane Emily Dawson, of Holne Park, was unveiled at Holne Church in 1934. Born in 1855, she was the widow of the Hon Richard Dawson, who had bought the property in 1886 from Sir Bourchier Palk Wrey. She died in February 1932.
Western Times 9 November 1934 p7 col6

By 1940 Holne Park was a 'first class country house hotel' in search of a chef. The candidate, who had to be reliable and sober, could expect to earn £4 weekly. Applications were to be made to the Manageress, telephone 317.
Western Morning News 1 October 1940 p1 col6

When Frank Joseph Rogers died in 1948, he left £25,932 2s gross, £25,601 4s 1d net. Formerly of Holne Park, Ashburton, he left various bequests, including £50 each to people who had worked for him: Bray (gardener), Sanders (carter), Leaman (woodman), Crocker (mason) and Townsend (carpenter).
Western Times 28 May 1948 p6 col2

In 1955 Holne Park Hotel was advertising in the Yorkshire Post and Leeds Intelligencer as an 'excellent touring centre'. There was h and c (hot and cold water) in all bedrooms.

Yorkshire Post and Leeds Intelligencer 16 July 1955, p2 col2