Featured image of Powderham Castle

The History of Powderham Castle

LocationExeter, Devon, England (Google Map)
Open for VisitorsYes
Owned byCharles Courtenay
Official WebsitePowderham Castle
Rooms AvailableYes (Events, Weddings, Exhibition, Party)

For more than six centuries, Powderham Castle has been standing tall beside the scenic estuary of River Exe. This is one of England’s oldest family homes. It has been owned by the Courtenay family to date. Currently, the 19th Earl & Countess of Devon, Charles Courtenay, reside in Powderham Castle, which is their ancestral property. It provides a picturesque view, perfect for a family day out.


As early as 1390, Sir Philip Courtenay started to build this castle. Since then, Earls of Devon have been residing here. This magnificent Powderham Castle took around 30 years to be completed. Covering an area of about 3500 acres of the Powderham Estate, the castle is set amidst a breath-taking view of the Exe estuary.

Courtney and Bonville family were enemies during the Wars of Roses (1455-1487). At that time, Sir William Courtenay tied knots with Margaret Bonville. Powderham Castle was sieged for two months in a certain turn of events by the Courtenay side. The castle was damaged severely during 1642-1651, the period of the Civil War in the UK. Later in the early 1700s, Sir William Courtenay restored and remodelled the castle.

One little-known fact to note is that originally, it was built as a fortified manor house. During the 17th century, it got some castle-like features. Many other elements were added much later, like the State Dining Room, a courtyard with a medieval-style gatehouse. Victorian architect Charles Fowler designed and built the gatehouse from 1845 to 1847.


Powderham Castle architecture
Powderham Castle”, by Alison Day, is licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0

The architectural style of Powderham castle is a mix of different types. Owing to its history of restoration and remodelling, it comprises Georgian, Victorian, and Gothic styles of architecture. The exterior is mostly in Victorian style, and the interiors are entirely in the Georgian style. The Marble Hall forms the centrepiece of the attraction was completed in 1755. It is the southern part of the Great Hall. This Marble Hall has a beautiful fireplace from the 18th century, qualifying it to be a sitting room.

Originally, this hall was twice the height as it is now. In the 18th century, bedrooms were added on top of it. A mahogany staircase was also included on the upper side, forming a staircase hall. The wall of this hall has artistic plasterwork of birds and animals.

A splendid music room having a spectacular Axminster carpet was created in 1794. The 10th Earl of Devon built a grand Dining Hall in the castle. This hall’s interiors were intricately designed by the 11th Earl of Devon. The dining hall has a memorial chimney, which was also installed by the 11th earl of Devon.

Towards the east-facing terrace, a Rose Garden is home to blooming roses. In the month of June, it is in its full glory. Beside this garden, a beautiful timer-roofed chapel is built. The fascinating Deer Park is home to 600 Fallow deer and other animals. The wide stretch of oak and pine trees provides a scenic view.

Movie Features

The Remains of the Day (1993) – Some parts of the Powderham Castle have been featured in ‘The Remains of the Day’. The drama film is the adaptation of the Booker prize-winning novel that goes by the same name.

Churchill: The Hollywood Years (2004) – Directed by Peter Richardson, ‘Churchill: The Hollywood Years’ is a parody of the British government.

Frequently Asked Questions

Where is Powderham Castle?

Powderham Castle, located in Powderham Estate, lies on the banks of River Exe. It is located about 6 miles to the south of Exeter city and half a mile towards the northeast of Kenton village.

Who lives in Powderham Castle in Devon?

Earls of Devon has been seated in the Powderham Castle. 19th Earl of Devon, Charles Courtenay, resides in this hereditary castle.

Have you visited this castle before? If yes, why not share some beautiful pictures with us!
You can email us your pictures of the castle at castrumtocastle@gmail.com. Please use the name of the castle in the subject line.
Also, don’t forget to mention your name and social media profile link if you want the credits!

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