Indio, Bovey Tracey

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Indio in 1844, drawn by Elizabeth Croker. Demolished and re-built in 1850 by Charles Aldenburg Bentinck (1810-1891)

Indio (anciently Indehoe, Indiho, etc.[1]) in the parish of Bovey Tracey in Devon, is an historic estate. The present large mansion house, known as Indio House is a grade II listed[2] building rebuilt in 1850, situated about 1/2 mile south of Bovey Tracey Church, on the opposite side of the River Bovey. According to the Devon historian Pole (d.1635) it was originally a priory,[3] however research from 1840[4] onwards has suggested it was more likely merely a grange farm, a possession of St John’s Hospital, Bridgwater, Somerset, from 1216.[5]


St John's Hospital, Bridgwater[edit]

In 1219 Henry de Tracy, feudal baron of Barnstaple and lord of the manor of Bovey Tracey, gave the church and some lands within the manor, including Indio, to St John's Hospital in Bridgwater, Somerset. The endowment was confirmed in 1227 and continued until the Dissolution of the Monasteries[6] circa 1540.


Canting arms of Southcote of Indio in the parish of Bovey Tracey and of Mohuns Ottery: Argent, a chevron gules between three coots sable[7]

John Southcott (d.1556)[edit]

In 1544, following the Dissolution of the Monasteries, Indio and Ullacombe, both in the parish of Bovey Tracey, were granted to John Southcott of Bodmin and John Tregonwell of Middleton.[8] The earliest recorded secular inhabitant of Indio was John Southcott (d.1556), who in the words of the Devon historian Pole (d.1635): "Bwilded a fayre howse & dwelled theire". He was a Clerk of the Peace for Devon, and was the 2nd son of Nicholas Southcott of Southcott, in the parish of Winkleigh, Devon.[9] He was steward of Thomas Cromwell by which relationship he obtained several monastic holdings in Devonshire[10] on favourable terms. An ancient document exists, in connection with the Dissolution accounts, which refers to "Rent of a messuage in Yondyeo leased on 15 July 1531 to John Southcote, his wife Joan and Johns’s heirs for ever, 26s 8d".[11]

Thomas Southcote (d.1600)[edit]

Thomas Southcote (d.1600), eldest son and heir, who married thrice:

  • Firstly to Grace Barnehouse, daughter and sole heiress of John Barnehouse of Marsh in the parish of Newton St Cyres[12] and of Prestcot in the parish of Culmstock, both in Devon, a younger branch of Barnehouse of Kingston in the parish of Staverton, Devon.[13] By Grace Barnehouse he had two surviving daughters, co-heiresses to their mother:
  • Secondly he married Thomasine Kirkham, daughter of Thomas Kirkham (d.1552) of Blagdon[17] in the parish of Paignton,[18] by his 2nd wife Cicely Carew, sister of Sir Peter Carew (d.1575)[19] of Mohun's Ottery in the parish of Luppitt, Devon, the last in the male line. Carew settled Mohun's Ottery and other lands on Thomas Southcote (d.1600) of Indio, the husband of his niece.[20] By Thomasine Kirkham he had numerous issue, seated at Indio and Mohun's Ottery.
  • Thirdly he married Elizabeth FitzWilliam.[21]

George Southcot (born 1560)[edit]

George Southcot (born 1560) of Indio, son and heir by his father's 2nd wife Thomasine Kirkham. He was admitted to the Inner Temple in 1575. He married Elizabeth Seymour (d.1589), daughter of Sir Henry Seymour,[22] apparently younger brother of Edward Seymour, 1st Duke of Somerset (c. 1500-1552), KG, Lord Protector of England and brother to Queen Jane Seymour.

Thomas Southcote[edit]

Thomas Southcote of Mohuns Ottery, only son and heir. He married Katherine Pole, 2nd daughter of the Devon historian Sir William Pole (d.1635), of Shute and Colcombe Castle, Devon, MP. In his history of Mohuns Ottery Pole wrote:[23] "Thomas Southcot, Esquier, nowe dwellinge at Mouns Otery, maried Kateryn my 2 daughtr, by whom hee hath issue Sir Popham Southcot, Kt."

Sir Popham Southcote (1603-1643)[edit]

Sir Popham Southcote (1603-1643) of Indio, eldest son and heir. Popham's grandfather Sir William Pole (d.1635), the Devon historian, stated in his history of Indio that Thomas Southcott "hath bestowed it uppon Sr Popham Southcot his eldest sonne, wch nowe dwelleth theire".[24] He married Margaret Berkeley (d.1654), daughter of Sir Maurice Berkeley of Bruton, Somerset.[23][25] He had three sons, all of whom either died as infants or otherwise predeceased him, and five daughters,[25] two of whom survived him as co-heiresses, married to Brian and Southcote.[26] Most of the lands were dismembered from the manor of Mohun's Ottery by the Southcotes in about 1670.[26]

Tufnell / Indio Pottery[edit]

In about 1766 a pottery was established at Indio, then seemingly owned by "George Forster Tufnell",[27] apparently the same man as George Forster Tufnell (1723-1798), of Turnham Green, Middlesex and of Chichester, Sussex, who was twice a Member of Parliament for Beverley in Yorkshire.[28] The founders of the business were either Tufnell himself, or Tufnell in partnership with William Ellis (born 1742 in Bovey Tracey) or Hammersley[29] or Nicholas Crisp (d.1774).[30] According to Massey (2001) "The Indio Pottery established the reputation of Bovey Tracey as a centre of industrial pottery production".[31] Nicholas Crisp arrived in Bovey Tracey in 1767 intending to produce porcelain[32] to rival the output of the well-established Staffordshire Potteries. However the business did not prosper and Crisp was imprisoned for debt in 1768.[33] He subsequently continued production at Indio with his wife until his death in 1774.[34] the next manager was William Ellis, and it was his operation at Indio which was visited by the great Staffordshire potter Josiah Wedgwood in 1775, on his way to inspect the potteries in Cornwall. In his diary he recorded his unflattering opinion of the factory: "It is a poor trifling concern & conducted in a wretched slovenly manner".[35] In 1785 Indio Pottery was insolvent and unable to pay wages, and was in a "reduced and declining state suffering continual loss".[36]

Further reading[edit]

  • Stretton, Norman, The Indio Pottery at Bovey Tracey, Transactions of English Ceramic Circle, Vol.8, Part 2, 1972
  • Adams, Brian & Thomas, Anthony, A Potwork in Devonshire: The History and Products of the Bovey Tracey Potteries 1750-1836, Bovey Tracey, 1996
  • Ellis, William IV (grandson of William Ellis the potter), article on Indio Pottery published in Saturday American, 1883


Arms of Bentinck: Azure, a cross moline argent[37]

Indio was later a seat of a branch of the Bentinck family, lords of the manor of Bovey Tracey, who were of Dutch origin. Hans Willem Bentinck, 1st Earl of Portland had accompanied William Henry, Prince of Orange to England during the Glorious Revolution of 1688.[38] In 1716 the family was created Duke of Portland, and the last in the male line was Victor Frederick William Cavendish-Bentinck, 9th Duke of Portland (1897–1990), on whose death without surviving male issue the dukedom became extinct, although the Earldom of Portland was inherited by his distant cousin.

Captain John Albert Bentinck[edit]

Captain John Albert Bentinck (1737-1775), Royal Navy, a Member of Parliament for Rye in Sussex (1761-8) of Terrington St Clement in Norfolk, a Count of the Empire, was a grandson of Hans Willem Bentinck, 1st Earl of Portland, being one of the two sons of Hon. William Bentinck, 1st Count Bentinck (1704-1774),[39] by his wife Charlotte Sophie, Countess von Aldenburg (1715-1800). In 1763 Captain John Albert Bentinck married Renira van Tuyll van Serooskerken (d.1792), 2nd daughter of John, Baron de Tuyll de Serooskerken.

William Bentinck[edit]

Vice-Admiral William Bentinck (1764-1813), Royal Navy, son. In 1802 he married Frances Augusta Pierrepont, only daughter of Charles Pierrepont, 1st Earl Manvers.

George William Pierrepont Bentinck (1803-1886)[edit]

George William Pierrepont Bentinck (1803-1886), son, of Terrington St Clement in Norfolk, a Member of Parliament, died unmarried aged 82.

Charles Aldenburg Bentinck (1810-1891)[edit]

Mural monument in Bovey Tracey Church to Harriet Fulford (1818-1853), 1st wife of Charles Aldenburg Bentinck (1810-1891) of Indio

Charles Aldenburg Bentinck (1810-1891), brother, of Terrington St Clement in Norfolk, a Justice of the Peace for Devon. In 1849 he married firstly Harriet Fulford (1818-1853), 3rd daughter of Col. Baldwin Fulford (1775–1847),[40] of Great Fulford in the parish of Dunsford (6 miles north of Indio), an officer in the Inniskillen Dragoons and Lieutenant-Colonel of the Devon Militia. In 1850 he rebuilt Indio House, to the design of the Exeter architect David Mackintosh. The resultant house, which survives today, was described by Pevsner as "Austere Tudor relieved by romantic crenellated chimney-stacks".[41] Above the front door is a datestone inscribed "1850" with the initials "CAB", with the arms of Bentinck and the family's motto Craignez Honte ("fear disgrace"[42]).[43] He purchased the lordship of the manor of Bovey Tracey from William Courtenay, Earl of Devon.[44] His first wife died in 1853, aged 35, only 4 years after their marriage, and is commemorated by a mural monument in Bovey Tracey Church. He married secondly to Frances Williams (1816-1904), 2nd daughter of Martin Williams of Bryngwyn, Montgomeryshire, who erected a brass tablet in Bovey Tracey Church to her husband, and is herself similarly commemorated.

Henry Aldenburg Bentinck (born 1852-post 1937)[edit]

Henry Aldenburg Bentinck (born 1852), 2nd and eldest surviving son, of Indio, a barrister and Justice of the Peace for Devon. In 1890 he married Alma Martha Paget, eldest daughter of Admiral Lord Clarence Edward Paget. In 1912 he installed electric lighting in Bovey Tracey Church, in memory of his parents, as is recorded on a marble wall tablet.

The estate employed twenty staff, including five gardeners.[45]

Indio (with Indio Pond)[46] was sold by the Bentinck family in 1939, with 1.5 miles of trout fishing on the River Bovey and 400 acres.[47]

Today the house retains only about 25 acres of the original estate.[48] The Indio Pottery (1750 -1836), situated to the east of pre-1850 house, was connected by a leat (c. 1810-11) to the "Pond Garden Pottery" and the Indio Pond or Lakes. Indio Pond is today separately owned.[49]


In 1964 Indio was purchased by retired businessman Alfred Edward Whybrow of Woolwich in South London, the son of a boiler-stoker from East London, who had sold his businesses Meadowbank Estates[50] and Castle Sports, a chain of shops with about 15 branches in North London and South Essex. He employed a team of builders who worked on renovations for three years. His grandson, Nicholas Chulapat Nakorn (born 1956), whose father originated in Thailand, is the author of Blood in the River, which relates his experiences growing up as a mixed-race child in rural England, and describes his childhood holidays at Indio. The family sold Indio in 1997.[51]

Further reading[edit]

  • Billinge, Frances, The Meaning and History of Indio in Bovey Tracey, and the Legend of its Nunnery, The Devon Historian, vol. 85, 2016, re-published on-line by, in Aspects of the History of Bovey Tracey: Explore the town with a local historian [9]


  1. ^ "J. E. B. Gover, A. Mawer, and F. M. Stenton in their comprehensive study of place names in Devon showed that in Patent Rolls and other documents Indio was variously referred to as Yondeyeo, Judeyeo, Indiho, Yonyeo, Yondyeo, Yenyeo or Judyeo, and it was not until the early nineteenth century that the name Indeo, with a possible Latin religious inference, was cited. Gover found the earliest references to Yondeyeo in the Letters Patent of 1544, and as Judeyo in 1547. The Letters Domestic of 1765 referred to Indeho, and Benjamin Donne’s map of Devon (also 1765) used Indiho, which on Christopher and John Greenwood’s 1827 map of Devon became Indeo."(
  2. ^ Listed building text[1]
  3. ^ Pole, Sir William (d.1635), Collections Towards a Description of the County of Devon, Sir John-William de la Pole (ed.), London, 1791, Collections Towards a Description of the County of Devon, Sir John-William de la Pole (ed.), London, 1791, p.266; Also called a priory by Risdon (Risdon, Tristram (d.1640), Survey of Devon, 1811 edition, London, 1811, with 1810 Additions, p.134)
  4. ^ George Oliver & John Pike Jones, Ecclesiastical Antiquities of Devon: Being Observations on Several Churches in Devonshire, Exeter, 1840[2]
  5. ^
  6. ^
  7. ^ Pole, p.501
  8. ^, quoting Youings, Joyce (Joyce Youings, Devon Monastic Lands: Calendar of Particulars for Grants 1536–1558 (Exeter: DCRS New Series, 1955))
  9. ^ Pole, p.432
  10. ^
  11. ^, quoting Youings, Joyce
  12. ^ Vivian, Lt.Col. J.L., (Ed.) The Visitations of the County of Devon: Comprising the Heralds' Visitations of 1531, 1564 & 1620, Exeter, 1895, p.647, pedigree of Ridgeway of Tor Abbey
  13. ^ Pole, Sir William (d.1635), Collections Towards a Description of the County of Devon, Sir John-William de la Pole (ed.), London, 1791, p.204
  14. ^ Vivian, p.698; p.647
  15. ^ Vivian, p.698
  16. ^ History of Parliament biography[3]
  17. ^ Vivian, p.516, pedigree of Kirkham
  18. ^ Risdon, p.150; Pevsner, p.844
  19. ^ Vivian, pp.135, 698; Pole, p.130
  20. ^ Vivian, p.698; Pevsner, p.193; Risdon, p.134
  21. ^ Vivian, p.698
  22. ^ Vivian, p.699; p.702, pedigree of Seymour of Berry Pomeroy
  23. ^ a b Pole, p.131
  24. ^ Pole, p.267
  25. ^ a b Vivian, p.699
  26. ^ a b Lysons, 1822
  27. ^ Full name given by Polwhele, Richard, History of Devonshire, 3 Vols., Vol.2, London, 1793, Vol 3, p.496, note
  28. ^ History of Parliament biography[4]
  29. ^ Massey, Roger, Bovey Tracey Potteries Revisited, paper read at the Courtauld Institute, 13 January 2001, p.118, conclusion[5]
  30. ^ Massey, 2001, p.115
  31. ^ Massey, 2001, p.115
  32. ^ Massey, 2001, p.115
  33. ^ Massey, 2001, p.115
  34. ^ Massey, 2001, p.115
  35. ^ Massey, 2001, p.115
  36. ^ Massey, 2001, p.116
  37. ^ Montague-Smith, P.W. (ed.), Debrett's Peerage, Baronetage, Knightage and Companionage, Kelly's Directories Ltd, Kingston-upon-Thames, 1968, p.896, Duke of Portland
  38. ^ Devon Gardens trust: Indio House[6]
  39. ^ Burke's Genealogical and Heraldic History of the Landed Gentry, 15th Edition, ed. Pirie-Gordon, H., London, 1937, p.141, pedigree of Bentinck of Indio House
  40. ^ BLG, 1937
  41. ^ Pevsner, Nikolaus & Cherry, Bridget, The Buildings of England: Devon, London, 2004, p.193
  42. ^ Montague-Smith, P.W. (ed.), Debrett's Peerage, Baronetage, Knightage and Companionage, Kelly's Directories Ltd, Kingston-upon-Thames, 1968, p.896
  43. ^ Listed building text
  44. ^
  45. ^ Devon Gardens trust: Indio House
  46. ^ Devon Gardens trust: Indio House
  47. ^ Devon Gardens trust: Indio House[7]
  48. ^ Devon Gardens trust: Indio House
  49. ^ Devon Gardens trust: Indio House
  50. ^
  51. ^ [8]