The earliest part of the house dates from the sixteenth century, and was substantially rebuilt around 1620 for Sir Charles Hele. The Hele family held the house until 1716, when the estate passed to the Bulteels. Additions were made to the house in both the early and the late eighteenth century. The house was heavily remodelled in the Gothic style in 1835 by J. C. Bulteel, which obliterated the early and late eighteenth century classical work and added castellations.
In 1878 the architect Richard Norman Shaw undertook extensive building works for Henry Bingham Mildmay, remodelling and extending the house, while retaining the sixteenth/seventeenth-century house to the south-west.
Flete House was used by the City of Plymouth as a maternity hospital during and after the Second World War. At the time the Second World War broke out, the estate was in the hands of Lieutenant-Colonel, the Lord Mildmay of Flete. The first baby to be born at Flete arrived on Monday July 14, 1941, and by the end of 1941 there had been a further 124 births. Lord Mildmay remained in residence at the House until his death in 1947 and was apparently often seen in the wards. Dave Hill of the pop group Slade was one of the babies born at the House.
The hospital closed on 8 May 1958, less than a month after the last baby was born there. Flete House was returned to the Mildmay family in 1959.
More recently, the House was leased from the Flete Estate by the Country Houses Association until it went into liquidation in 2003. Flete House is now leased by Audley Court Ltd. and is part of a retirement community run by them.
In 1979 Flete House was used as the location for the BBC series Penmarric, the house represented the house of the title.
- Historic England. "Flete (1107820)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 12 December 2014.
- Flete imagesofengland.org.uk
- Moseley, Brian (May 2011). "Flete House Maternity Home, Holbeton". The Encyclopaedia of Plymouth History. Plymouth Data. Archived from the original on 28 September 2013. Retrieved 13 February 2015.
- Historic Houses to Close News.bbc.co.uk
- Elderly told to Quit Home News.bbc.co.uk
- Flete House Retirement Village Audley
- Country Life Vol. 38, 29 November 1915, 680
- Andrew Saint, 1976, Richard Norman Shaw, 211-16 Yale University Press