Higher Hareston Manor

Hareston is typical of the West Country Manor House being four square around a small central courtyard with the services on one side of a through passage and the Great Hall and living chambers on the other side of the passage. The core of the present house derives from the mid 15 th Century. The chapel at the N.E. end was dedicated to St. Martin and was first licensed by the Bishop of Exeter in 1379. The great barn (grade 2 listed) and the remains of an ancient wain house with buttressed walls, is situated at the East side of the house. Legend states that the building was used centuries ago on the prevalence of plague or other pestilential disorders as a hospital. There is strong reason to believe that Hareston may, during the Civil War, have been one of the Royalist strong positions established in a half circle from Plympton to Hooe, when Cromwellian Plymouth was besieged. Two of Harestons fields are called Higher and Lower Culverin and to this effect various 17c shot have been ploughed up in the fields from time to time .



The name is derived from two Old English words, “Hare” (grey), “Stan” (stone) there is an enormous outcrop of grey granite in the field “Great Hareston” on the property, this was probably a boundry stone of some significance. The Doomsday survey of 1084 reveals that “the Manor of Harestana was held by the Saxon Edric at the time of Edward the Confessor. It seems certain that there has been a dwelling on the site of the present house for over a thousand years. After the Norman Conquest in 1066 it was given by William the First to his half brother the Count Of Mortain whose stronghold was Launceston Castle. In 1086 Rainald held it of the Count.

The subsequent ownership of the manor has been:

13 th Century de Collesford Family

14 th Century Silverlock Family

Late 14 th /15 th Century Carslake Family

1450 to 1755 10 generations of the Wood Family

1818 to 1905 The Winter-Wood Family

( Thomas Winter-Wood was the patriarch of Devons first chess dynasty his three children Edward, Carslake and Edith were all deeply involved in the Royal game all their lives and played significant rolls in the development of chess in their native county)

Sir Mathew Woods second son William Page Wood became Lord Chancellor in 1868 and was created Baron Hatherley, The famous late Victorian, Field Marshall Evelyn Wood, GCB.,GCMG., VC., DCL., BART., also derived from this line. The contemporary of Sir Evelyn was the notorious “Kitty O'Shea” who eventually became the wife of Charles Stuart Parnell and thus “Uncrowned Queen Of Ireland”. Kitty O'Shea was born Catherin Wood and was the daughter of the second baronet Sir John Page Wood and therefore Kitty O'Shea could possibly have lived for a time at Hareston Manor.

In the mid 17 th century the west wing of the house burnt down during the harvest and in 1824 the Winter-Wood family relocated to a more comodius place at Lower Hareston and let Hareston Manor to a succession of tenant farmers. In 1863 the Parsons Family lived at Hareston with their nine daughters ranging from 1 to 19 that a terrible thing happened. Within a period of six weeks all nine children died from either cholera or diphtheria contracted from contaminated water from the well in the house.

Since then a number of owners have inhabited Hareston including the Kingwell family who sold the house to it's present day occupiers, the Bassett family, who fully restored the house and its grounds in the late sixties early seventies.