In 1808, John Heathcoat invented a device, a warp loom, that allowed for the manufacturing of lace. After setbacks in other locations—Luddites destroyed his initial looms—he eventually set up his own company in Tiverton, became a Member of Parliament, and made a fortune. Knightshayes is the house and grounds he built with that fortune.
A Victorian designed by William Sturgess, Knightshayes is an example of whimsy and wonder, its gardens and grounds designed for long walks and expansive views of Tiverton and the surrounding area. Burgess’ work can be found on the ceilings and walls as well as in the staircase. The signs of the zodiac are all depicted on one ceiling, although because there are only eight circles, every other one features two symbols.
The furnishings are impressive, and although the place feels like a hunting lodge—hunting trophies are everywhere—there are signs a women lived here, too.
The gardens are filled with surprising topiaries, blooming trees, and all manner of flowers. There are a variety of trees on the property, including one of the oldest redwoods on the planet.
We only spent a bit over an hour on the property—but it was enough time to tour the house and the closest gardens and grounds. A picnic here would have been perfect, but we still had one more place to get to before heading to Bath. Up next: Dunster Castle.