Churston Court

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Churston Court, viewed from south-east, with St Mary the Virgin Church, parish church of Churston Ferrers, at right (east)
Churston Court and St Mary the Virgin Church, viewed from south
Elberry Cove, 1/2 mile north of Churston Court, with ruined private bathing house
Churston Cove, 1/2 mile north of Churston Court
Churston Golf Course, on the land north of Churston Court extending to the coast

Churston Court is the manor house of the former manor of Churston Ferrers (anciently Cercetone (Domesday Book, 1086[1]), Churecheton (Book of Fees, 13th c.[2]), Churchstow,[3] Churchton,[4] Churchston,[5] etc.), near Brixham in Devon and is a Grade II* listed building.[6] Today it serves as a hotel known as the Churston Court Inn. It is located immediately to the west[7] of the parish church of Churston Ferrers, also next to the former home farm, and about 1/2 mile south of the coastline at Elberry Cove, which intervening ground now forms part of Churston Golf Course. It retains its original staircases, stone windows, oak panelling and flagstone floors. The hotel has 19 en-suite rooms with four poster beds, and is said to be haunted by the ghost of a monk who appears in the old kitchen. There is a smugglers tunnel linking the inn to Elberry cove, which lies about half a mile away. There is also rumoured to be a link tunnel running over 10 miles to Berry Pomeroy from the inn. These tunnels were driven more than 400 years ago, so the quality and stability of the passages are no longer known. It is not known if the mine workings under Warborough Road, Churston contain any linking passages to the old smugglers tunnel due to the Warborough adits being untraceable or backfilled under overgrown thickett. In a recent planning application regarding works at number 2 Warborough Road, it is documented that one of the deep shafts is capped underneath the property's garden. [8][9]


Until 1967 the house was a seat of the Yarde family, later of their descendants the Yard-Buller family (in 1858 created Baron Churston) also seated at Lupton House, 1 mile due south in the same parish, a larger house. In 1850, when it was described as "lately...modernised (with)...tasteful grounds", John Yarde-Buller, 3rd Baronet (1799-1871) (after 1858 Baron Churston), whose paternal grandmother was Susanna Yarde (1740-1810), heiress of Churston, was using it as a residence for his eldest son,[10] himself residing at the grander Lupton House.

Agatha Christie was a regular visitor when the property was owned by Lord Churston. She donated a stained glass window to the parish church and is believed to have been inspired to write her 1923 murder mystery novel The Murder on the Links, about a murder on a golf course in Northern France, whilst a guest at Churston Court. Lord Churston sold the property in 1967, having sold the major part of the Lupton and Churston estates in 1960. Churston Court was purchased by a local hotelier, the owner of the Grand Hotel in nearby Torquay. Lord Churston moved to Guernsey, thus severing his ties with Churston Ferrers.

Since its sale various alterations have been made to the structure of the building, most notably an extension to the side and rear.

Further reading[edit]

  • Churston Court, A Brief History[2]
  • Risdon, Tristram (d.1640), Survey of Devon, 1811 edition, London, 1811, with 1810 Additions, pp.160,380


  1. ^ Thorn, Caroline & Frank, (eds.) Domesday Book, (Morris, John, gen.ed.) Vol. 9, Devon, Parts 1 & 2, Phillimore Press, Chichester, 1985, part 1, 17:30
  2. ^ Thorn, Caroline & Frank, (eds.) Domesday Book, (Morris, John, gen.ed.) Vol. 9, Devon, Parts 1 & 2, Phillimore Press, Chichester, 1985, part 2 (notes), 17:30
  3. ^ Pole, Sir William (d.1635), Collections Towards a Description of the County of Devon, Sir John-William de la Pole (ed.), London, 1791, p.131
  4. ^ Pole, pp.263,269,283,512,514; Risdon, p.160
  5. ^ Pole, p.525
  6. ^ Listed building text[1]
  7. ^ Pevsner, Nikolaus & Cherry, Bridget, The Buildings of England: Devon, London, 2004, p.834
  8. ^ "Name: CHURSTON COURT List entry Number: 1208761". English Heritage. Retrieved 10 July 2014. 
  9. ^ "Reputedly Haunted Hotels and Inns". English Country Inns. Retrieved September 4, 2010. 
  10. ^ White's Directory, 1850

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 50°23′50″N 3°32′36″W / 50.3972°N 3.5433°W / 50.3972; -3.5433