Architectural History

Sidbury Manor is a 19th century Victorian mansion in (quoting Pevsner) ‘free Jacobean Renaissance style’. Built by Stephen Cave MP, the current owner’s gt gt gt uncle, in the late 1870s under the architectural guidance of David Brandon. This Grade II listed building sits splendidly in parkland, the centrepiece of a 2250 acre traditional agricultural estate, away from public view and one mile up a private drive from the village. In its early days the family used the house for entertaining in the summer months and shooting parties in the winter. It was not lived in full time by the family until the 1920s; in 1939 a girls boarding school took occupation and remained until 1959. The owner’s parents demolished the service wing at the rear of the house in the early 1960s since when it has been lived in continuously.

Architectural Features

Quoting Pevsner ‘….for the new house a site was cut into the hill, so that the south front overlooks terraced gardens. Entrance from the east, through a gravelled forecourt enclosed by low iron railings and gates in C18 style. To the side, Stables with shaped gable and cupola over the central archway. Both house and stables of red brick with Ham Hill dressings, in places very yellow. Asymmetrical entrance front, with gables of different shapes and a turret-like bay-window with conical roof as the main accents. Transomed windows with arched uncusped lights. The garden front is more regular with an open loggia, a detailed corbelled-out oriel, the conservatory and behind this a large wing with chateau roof’.
For the interior ‘……..axial corridors, the staircase in the angle, a huge hall with stairs rising on two sides; on the corridor sides bold round-headed arcades on both floors with naturalistic versions of Corinthian capitals. Good stained glass in the large landing window; tall reception rooms with Jacobean-style single-rib ceilings. Dining hall with elaborately panelled walls and carved overmantel; library with built in shelves and two deep bay-windows’. Outdoors, magnificent walled gardens on five levels with tennis court/croquet lawn, summerhouse, rose gardens, potting sheds etc designed by Edward Kemp. Nearby on the estate Walter Cave designed for his family an interesting variety of turn-of-the-century buildings, particularly Mouseplatt, ‘a small house breathlessly crammed with Arts and Craft detail’, and two further entrance lodges.

Filming Attributes

The rear of the main house provides a large area for storage and parking, as does the courtyard in the stables, the forecourt and a large expanse of grass parkland. Accommodation may be available in estate properties and the main house or the full range can be found 3 miles away in Sidmouth. Hot works, animals, night shoots will all be considered and permitted by prior arrangement; the owners have a very positive and flexible attitude towards filming. The location has good mobile phone reception and broadband speeds.



The house and estate lies within East Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, a glorious piece of countryside characterised by intimate wooded combes, vast areas of heathland, fertile river valleys and breathtaking cliffs or hilltops. It includes the East Devon section of the Jurassic Coast - England's first natural World Heritage Site - and is a living, working landscape shaped by many centuries of farming activity. Sidmouth, a delightful coastal town, sits three miles to the south and provides all the amenities and services that might be required. The house is 15 miles from the city of Exeter which has an international airport, the M5 motorway and main line rail services to London; landing areas for helicopters can easily be made available. The estate’s farming is mixed with grass and forage crops grown to support a herd of dairy cows, flocks of sheep and growing beef cattle as well as conventional arable crop production. On the valley sides and tops of the surrounding hills are extensive wooded areas growing both hardwoods and commercial forestry crops.

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