DiCamillo Companion

West Woodyates Manor

  • Earlier Houses: There have been buildings here since Neolithic times. By the 2nd century AD there was likely a Roman farm on, or near, the site of today's house. In the Middle Ages the area was part of the estates of Tarrant Abbey, a 13th century Cistercian nunnery.

    House & Family History: In the early 18th century West Woodyates Manor was altered by Thomas Pitt, 1st Lord Londonderry, second son of the unscrupulous Thomas "Diamond" Pitt. An MP and grandfather of Prime Minister William Pitt (Pitt the Elder, later 1st Earl of Chatham), Diamond Pitt is famous, or infamous, today as the English merchant who served as president of Madras, and who, in 1701, purchased a 410-carat uncut diamond from an Indian merchant (the stone was reputed to have been stolen from Abul Hasan Qutb Shah). Pitt paid the enormous sum of £20,400 (approximately £45 million in 2019 values using the labour value commodity index) for the stone, which he then sent to England hidden inside his son Robert’s shoe. After its arrival in Britain Pitt engaged London jewelers, between 1704 and 1706, to cut the diamond into smaller, saleable pieces. The most famous stone to emerge was the Pitt Diamond, today Le Regent, a 141-carat cushion brilliant diamond (a number of the secondary stones were sold to Peter the Great). In 1717 Pitt sold the 141-carat stone to the French regent, Philippe II, Duke of Orleans, for £135,000. As such, it was part of the crown jewels of France until the French Revolution in 1789. Le Regent, aka the Pitt Diamond (see “Images” section), has been on view at the Louvre since 1887. With the enormous proceeds he received from the sale of the stone, Diamond Pitt went on a country house spending spree, buying many estates, especially in the West Country, among them West Woodyates Manor. The house, together with 970 acres, was listed for sale for £18.5 million in August of 2020.

  • House Listed: Grade II*

    Park Listed: Not Listed

  • Past Seat / Home of: Thomas Pitt, 1st Earl of Londonderry, until 1729; Thomas Pitt, 2nd Earl of Londonderry, 1729-34. Hayter family, 20th century. Eastwood family, 20th century.

    Current Ownership Type: Individual / Family Trust

    Primary Current Ownership Use: Private Home

  • House Open to Public: No

    Historic Houses Member: No