Facts & Figures

Did you know ...?

1. It wasn't until 1926 at the fine age of 87 that Timothy the Tortoise was discovered to be a girl when zoological students were doing some studies here.

2. Horse trials were held at the Castle for approximately 40 years. Princess Anne attended one here in 1970. There was even a riding school here from 1955 to 1970.

3. When the Castle's chapel roof was being repaired, the workmen discovered a mummified rat under a slate tile. It has now found a new home in the Courtenay Gallery for visitors to see!

4. In 1646 the Castle was taken over by the Roundheads at the Battle of Powderham - the family didn't return until 1702.

5. In 1792 under the reign of the 3rd Viscount the cook was the best-paid member of the household
staff with wages of 100 guineas (£105) per year. A butler was on £45 and a nursery maid £3.
Often servants were paid a guinea or a pound for tea, extra to their salary, as this was a valuable commodity in those days and if you were favoured you may receive ½ your wage in the 2nd Viscount's will.

6. Years ago families were often much larger than they are today, and there was a great deal of
pressure to produce a son and heir. The 2nd Viscount had 13 daughters before a son was born.

7. The saying ‘Devon born, Devon bred. Strong in the arm, thick in the ‘ed" was never truer than for
the 17th Earl when fighting for his country at Longstop Hill, Tunisia. He was shot in the head,
but luckily the bullet went in the front side of his helmet and out the back. It just scathed his head and gave him mild concussion. The lifesaving helmet now sits on display in the Ante Room.

8. The 17th Earl received a Certificate of Commissioning Officer in the Cold Stream Guards. It is 1
of only 12 that King Edward VIII ever issued. (He abdicated in 1936 to marry Mrs Simpson).

9. The state bed was designed to the 3rd Viscount's requirements - suitably grand and flamboyant. The coronet on the top is the insignia of a Viscount. The pineapple motifs on the bedposts symbolised wealth. The dolphins on the head and footboards represent the Courtenay family emblem. And another coronet on the footboard re-emphasises his Viscount status.