DiCamillo Companion

Escot House

  • Built / Designed For: Sir Walter Yonge

    House & Family History: Escot House was built for Sir Walter Yonge on a site he purchased in 1680. He was an MP and friend of John Locke the philosopher, as well as of Edward Clarke of Chipley. In August of 1684 the articles of agreement for the building of Escot were drawn-up between William Taylor, surveyor and carpenter, and Sir Walter Yonge. The Hall was 40' x 27' and the principal staircase 36' x 24', forming the center part of the house. The Drawing Room was 30' x 22', the Eating Room was 28' x 22', the principal bedroom 22' x 20,' and the dressing room was 22' x 16'. There was the same service basement, with a large kitchen under the Entrance Hall and there was a small back stairs straight up to the attics, bypassing the private apartments. There was a Long Gallery on the first floor opening onto the great staircase and communicating with the three apartments off it. The ground floor was 16' high and the first floor 14'. An important feature of Escot was its library, for Yonge had a collection of books enhanced by purchases Locke made for him on the Continent. The attics were divided into 16 rooms of different sizes, with a cupola in the center and a gallery communicating with all the rooms. On September 29, 1686 Yonge's sister, Isabella Duke, wrote "I have seen Escott, which looks very well without, but there is very little done within, not one Chamber finish'd or fit to receive my Brother, I am afraid ‘twill give him much pain , before he finds any pleasure there yet." Three months later Yonge was writing to Locke about "business and building and planting and accounts and a thousand other torments" and that "two months hence I must return to the builders to give them orders for the summers work, and particularly about the gardens and library (your province) wherein I would not willingly make a step without your advice." At the end of January 1686/87 he wrote "I assure you I was not in jeast when I told you in my last I depended on your coming over in the spring, to set my Library in order, I dare hardly resolve to set up the wainscot and much less the books without your advice, therefore pray doe not dissappoint me, but since I am like to be condemned to summer in this country let me not want the pleasure of the best roome in my house, as I shall think that when you have helpt to furnish it, and are so kind to fill up one of the chairs designed for it. [In] the spring when he [Edward] returns to his House, and I to my building, in which durty work (however ill you think of it) I am too farr engaged not to goe on a little farther, especially since Mr. Taylor is leaving our country after this summer, and I would willingly get beyond the need of an Architect before he gets out of my reach." Taylor had stayed longer than the two years called for in the article of agreement, but the house was still unfinished in February 1691/2, when Yonge wrote to Edward "I desire you will by J Barber send me word wch day I may hope to see you, that I may get ye Joyner to meet you to advise abt my great staircase, and if you please to give an intimation to my carpenter I doubt not but he will be so kind to meet you—if you please to bring with you a note of ye prices of ye colours and other things I had from you, with what boards you had from me, we may also adjust that account with Isaaks help." (This history of Escot most generously provided by Bridget Clarke).

    House Replaced By: The 17th century house burned down in the early 19th century and was replaced by by the current house.

  • Garden & Outbuildings: Capability Brown designed the Park.

  • Architect: William Taylor

    Date: 1680s
    Designed: House

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    Architect: Lancelot Brown

    Designed: Parkland

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  • Vitruvius Britannicus: C. I, pls. 78, 79, 1715.

  • House Listed: Demolished

    Park Listed: Not Listed

  • Current Seat / Home of: Kennaway family

    Past Seat / Home of: Sir Walter Yonge, 17th century.

    Current Ownership Type: Individual / Family Trust

    Primary Current Ownership Use: Private Home

    Ownership Details: The house occupied by the Kennaway family today is the new house built to replace the 17th century house, which was destroyed in the early 19th century. Gardens are open to the public.

  • House Open to Public: Grounds Only

    Phone: 01404-822-188

    Fax: 01404-822-903

    Email: [email protected]

    Website: http://www.escot-devon.co.uk

    Historic Houses Member: No


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