“ Downes is set in a quiet location overlooking the splendid Devon countryside with all of its grandeur and history in this loved family home. ”

Architectural History

Moses Gould’s original building at Downes in 1692 was in red brick, but in 1794 James Buller faced the red brick with Beer stone and the windows were lowered. The pediment with the Buller Coat of Arms was also added. In 1840 the back part of the house was demolished and the present red brick back section was built to contain staff quarters and extra bedrooms for the family. In about 1868 the East Wing was extended backwards. Above the present dealings are two more ceilings, the highest being the cruck roof, which shows that originally the two wings were the same size. Prior to about 1860, the east aspect of the house was outwardly Georgian in appearance, but it was then altered to confirm with Victorian taste. In 1910 the house was modernised, extending the present front door entrance and making a billiard room on the right, which is now the Museum. The wall to the right of the grand staircase was also knocked down and the original front hall and library made into what is now called the Long Hall.

Architectural Features

Downes House is a two-storey Palladian Mansion of the 1690s. The Front elevation is clad in Beer stone and has a heraldic porch and flanking wings. Internally the grand staircase is original with a contemporary portico from the hallway and mid 18th-century dog gates. The 19th-century staircase window contains stained and painted glass fragments dating from the 15th to 18th centuries, said to be taken from a French monastery. A rear stair turret is believed to have an ‘Abbot’ plaster ceiling. Other features of the building include: late 17th-century moulded plaster ceilings, skirting and door cases; early 18th-century panelling; ornate fireplaces; a carved overmantle of 1604 with four caryatids; and curved corridors. In addition, there is a pillared and vaulted wine cellar in brick, the remains of late 19th-century cast iron stalls and fittings in the stables and spectacular views from the property over parkland beyond. A large level lawn to the front of the Mansion is sunken in part leading to a ha-ha overlooking the parkland. At the rear is a large brick walled garden and gardener’s cottage. The Mansion is set in approx. 200 acres of largely open parkland with wooded belts and some 19th-century specimen trees.

Filming Attributes

There are a number of outbuildings and courtyards around the property that can be screened from other areas which can provide storage and parking. A range of buildings in the neighbouring Home Farm can also provide additional facilities such as catering. Accommodation may be available within the main house or nearby estate properties. Candles, smoke machines and animals may be permitted by prior arrangement. The owners of Downes House have a very positive and flexible attitude towards filming. The property is close to the city of Exeter which includes an international airport and the M5 motorway.

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Special Considerations

  • Accommodate Unit Base
  • Accommodation for Cast & Crew
  • Animals Allowed
  • Hotworks
  • Night Shoots
  • Remote Area
  • Weekend Shoots

Topography

The Estate is situated within the rolling Devon countryside which provides a diverse range of landscapes including farmland used for arable and livestock production. The Estate is on the edge of Crediton, a medium-sized town which has good road links to Exeter and the M5 motorway. Downes House sits on a level terrace cut into a gently sloping spur above the floodplain of the Rivers Yeo and Creedy, 1 km east of Crediton. The House faces southeast across parkland which contains small plantations. There are outbuildings and a large walled garden on rising ground to the northwest, leading to a hill known as Downes Head. The mild climate associated with this part of the country allows for the House to sit in a sheltered position with established trees surrounding the property.

Crew and Relevant Links

Contact

Email: nancy.sheridan@heritage4media.com

Phone: Heritage4Media: 07736 364722

Website: www.downesestate.co.uk