St GILES IN THE WOOD

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Extract from Devon by W.G.Hoskins (1954), included by kind permission of the copyright holder:

ST. GILES-IN-THE-WOOD is a large parish with a number of hamlets, the greater part of which formerly belonged to the Rolle estate, centred at Stevenstone. George Rolle, one of the many successful Tudor lawyers, bought the Stevenstone estate shortly before 1524, and built himself "a right fair house of brick" (Leland) which was probably completed by 1539 when we find him writing to Lady Lisle from "my poor house" of Stevenstone. This Tudor house was rebuilt or remodelled some time in the 18th century, but in 1868-72 the Hon. Mark Rolle rebuilt the house again in the worst style of the time. The richest man in Devon built himself the ugliest house. This is now being allowed to fall into ruin, but the attractive out-buildings of the 18th century house (which were left standing) have been converted into flats. The Deer Park of 370 acres, once finely timbered, is now naked and devastated of its trees.

The church (St. Giles) was "restored" in 1863, with further alterations in 1879, by the Ron. Mark Rolle who spared no expense to make it as ugly as his own house.

 

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