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Wednesday, 2 July 2014

Arlington Court – a Regency History guide

Arlington Court
Arlington Court
Where is it?

Arlington Court is a Neo-classical house near Barnstaple in North Devon. The stables are home to the National Trust Carriage Museum.

The stables, Arlington Court
The stables, Arlington Court
History

The Arlington estate was owned by the Chichester family who had been wealthy Devonshire landowners since the 14th century. They supported the King during the Civil War and had a strong Catholic heritage. A Georgian house was built at Arlington in the early 1790s and a second Georgian house, in the Neo-classical style, was built in the 1820s. It is this house that still stands today.

The estate was given to the National Trust by Miss Rosalie Chichester in 1949.

The Georgian connection

Colonel John Palmer Chichester (1769-1823)

Colonel Chichester married Mary Anne Cary in 1790 and commissioned a fashionable Georgian mansion to be built at Arlington to replace the Tudor manor house he had inherited.

A View of Arlington Court and St James' Church Tower  from the Park by Maria Pixell (1797)
A View of Arlington Court and St James' Church Tower
from the Park by Maria Pixell (1797)
After the death of his first wife in childbirth, Colonel Chichester married the Protestant, Agnes Hamilton, with whom he had six children. To the great distress of his family, he publicly renounced his Catholic faith in Exeter Cathedral in 1793.

By the early 1820s, it became apparent that the Colonel’s Georgian house had structural issues and he commissioned the architect Thomas Lee to build him a new house in the Neo-classical style. This house was completed in 1823, but sadly Colonel Chichester died the same year and never lived in it.

Sir John Palmer Bruce Chichester (1794-1851)

Sir John Palmer Bruce Chichester
Sir John Palmer Bruce Chichester
Known to his friends as ‘Arlington Jack’, Sir John Chichester served in the navy before inheriting Arlington on the death of his father in 1823. He decorated and furnished the house that his father had commissioned but never lived in; the Morning Room, Ante Room and Boudoir still have the original schemes of decoration.

Part of the Morning Room, Arlington Court
The Morning Room, Arlington Court
Sir John was a Whig MP for Barnstaple from 1831 to 1841 and he was made a baronet in 1840. He married Caroline Thistlethwayte in 1838 and had two children.

What can you see today?

• The Neo-classical frontage of Arlington Court

Arlington Court
Arlington Court
• The Enderlein Charger

The Nurnberg Temperantia

• Snuffboxes and other items from Miss Chichester's collections

Snuffboxes and other items

• The ceiling in the White Drawing Room

Ceiling in the White Drawing Room

• The National Trust's collection of carriages (in the stables)

Travelling chariot in the National Trust Carriage Museum, Arlington Court
Travelling chariot in the National Trust Carriage Museum, Arlington Court
Last visited: June 2014.

Sources used include:
Badcock, Marigold, Gibbons, David and Parker-Williams, Demelza, Arlington Court and the National Trust Carriage Museum, National Trust Guide (2009)

All photographs © Andrew Knowles - www.flickr.com/photos/dragontomato

2 comments:

  1. I'm assuming that Sir Francis was descende from Sir Jack a couple of old salts

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    Replies
    1. Actually, no. Sir Francis was descended from the Chichester Baronets of Raleigh whilst Sir John Chichester was a Chichester Baronet of Arlington Court which was a separate creation. The families were connected by marriage - Sir John's son's widow, Rosalie, married Sir Arthur Chichester, 8th Baronet, Sir Francis' grandfather - but there was no blood relationship.

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