In 1997, Lucy and Sebastian Fenwick found the Grade II listed farmstead in the heart of the South Hams. Intrigued by the remains of a designed landscape and clear signs of an important early house, they purchased the site and embarked on a lengthy project with the Devon Rural Archive to discover more about the landscape and earlier dwellings.

With two sets of double terraces, medieval fishponds and sunken lanes as well as an early Walled Garden and a courtyard of fine barns separated from the main house, this proved to be a rewarding and historically important find.

Shilstone’s iconic Grand Passage.
Left (2009) Courtesy of the Devon Rural Archive. Right (2012) Courtesy of Andy Mac Photography.

Having previously owned a Grade I listed house not far from Modbury and with a keen eye for architecture, Sebastian has substantial experience dealing with property renovations on this scale. With the property only being half the size it currently is, due to being purchased as a rather rundown farmhouse reduced in size over many years from its former medieval glory, the couple has spent many years rebuilding and remodelling it to create their beautiful home.

After completing work on the exterior landscaping of the property, the house build didn’t begin until 2000 and, along with architect Christopher Rae Scott, the couple has worked tirelessly to create their masterpiece. Whilst digging and delving throughout the vast renovation work, much was uncovered, not least the lost water gardens and terracing which prompted Sebastian to initiate the inauguration of the Devon Rural Archive (DRA), a charity-run resource dedicated to rural architecture. The property has won a range of awards and accolades for the architecture and design from prestigious organisations including the Georgian Group and English Heritage.

The East Facade of Shilstone House. Courtesy of the Devon Rural Archive.

The East Facade and Garden hosting a Ceremony. September 2019.

Shilstone’s West Wing and curved Drawing Room Window. Courtesy of the Devon Rural Archive.

Shilstone’s West Wing and Courtyard in Summer 2019. The curved architecture of the Drawing Room Window very much apparent.

With stone quarried from land within the estate, the facade of the existing property was developed into the casing of this stately home, but it is the interiors which really set Shilstone apart. With a surprising mix of a classic period mansion blended with contemporary, clean lines and the beautiful finish of a new build, the property is beautiful both inside and out. The cool, calm colours flow freely throughout, alongside stunning Georgian style windows reaching up to the sky-high ceilings allowing the light to flood in.

When they first purchased the house, they planned it to be their private home, but since then the idea to hire part of the house out as a wedding venue has flourished. Shilstone has now been hosting stunning weddings within the house, gardens, barns and marquee very successfully, with a myriad of delighted couples and an ever-growing portfolio of wedding photos and 5-star reviews.

Shilstone from the air. Circa 2017/18. Courtesy of Andy Mac Photography.

We hope this article has been both enjoyable and informative. If you require further information, please give one of our dedicated team a call on 01548 830 888 or fill out a contact form here to get the ball rolling for your dream day!

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