ARCHAEOLOGISTS have uncovered remains of a large building on the National Trust’s Killerton estate in Devon. This significant find supports the theory that these are the remains of Killerton’s lost house; a grand mansion designed by renowned architect James Wyatt, the location of which has been lost for 240 years.
Rumours about the lost mansion have persisted for many years, but no-one has been able to find where the building was located.
An archaeological survey of Killerton’s parkland showed an image which highlighted something unexpected. In the woods above Killerton house was a large rectangular earth bank hidden by laurel, the size and shape of which matched the surviving plans of the Wyatt building.
A team of countryside volunteers cleared the site, revealing a huge space filled with brick and stone. Had the National Trust found the house that Devon never had?
Andy Bramwell from the National Trust said, ‘The image and the size of the site got us really excited that we’d finally found Wyatt’s unfinished house. But it was still a theory – there was no proof.’
But last week a team of volunteer archaeologists led by Joe Bampton from South West Archaeology uncovered the remains of several walls and a doorway.
Joe explained: ‘The thickness and size of these
walls tell me they were part of a big building of the same scale as Wyatt’s lost house. We found part of the interior walls and the incredibly solid exterior wall. We plotted the location against the floorplan and can say that the doorway would have been the entrance to the billiard room.’
team said: ‘We never expected to find such extensive foundations under the site.
‘We’ve been able to fill a gap in Killerton’s history and can now put the rumours to bed – Killerton’s lost house has been found.’
An exhibition, Lost Killerton, is open to the public daily until October 20, 2017.
Fi Hailstone from Killerton’s countryside