Warleigh House

Warleigh is an historic estate within the parish of Bickleigh, 6 miles from Plymouth, in Devon, England. Warleigh House, was the manor house of the manor of Tamerton Foliot and is situated one mile west of that village on the south-east bank of the River Tavy where it joins the River Tamar. It was remodelled in about 1830 in the Gothic style by John Foulston and has been listed Grade II* on the National Heritage List for England since 1960.[1]

The boundary walls of the garden are made from red brick and date from the 18th century and are Grade II listed.[2] The red brick dovecote to the east of the main house dates from the early 18th century and is Grade II listed.[3] The boat house to the south west of the house was built c.1800 in the Gothic style, and is Grade II listed.[4]



During the reign of King Stephen (1135–1154) Warleigh and the manor of Tamerton were held by Sampson Foliot. Risdon states:[6]

"(His) principal place of dwelling was at Warleigh within the same parish, a seat both pleasant and profitable, situated by the Tamer side, having a fair demesne and a park adjoining, wanting no necessaries that land or sea afford".

His descendant Robert Foliot is stated by Pole to have held Warleigh and Tamerton in 1242,[7] during the reign of King Henry III, and to have left an only daughter and sole heiress Ellen Foliot, who married Sir Ralph de Gorges, to whose family passed the Foliot estates, including Warleigh, Tamerton Foliot and Tavy Foliot.[8] Pole states elsewhere that during the reign of King Henry III a certain Sampson Folliot held the manor of Coffinswell, which later passed to the Coffin family.[9]



The Devon historian Tristram Risdon (d.1640) wrote concerning the Coplestons:[11]

"A numerous family who for their fair possessions, their port (sic) (report?) and the respect they lived in, were intitled 'the Great Coplestones' besides dignified with the name of 'Whit Spurrs', some time a title of great note and in these western parts of much esteem. Of this name are many branches sprung who flourished in this county"

The Devon historian Sir William Pole (d.1635) stated the honour accorded to this family as "Silver Spurr", similar to Risdon's appellation, and added that it was connected to the fact that although they were a great county family which had married well, unusually no member of the family had ever been knighted. For his great revenue one member of the family, Raphe Copleston (d.1491),[12] was called 'The Great Copleston'.[13] The principal junior branches of the Copleston family were seated at the Devon manors or estates of: Bowden in the parish of Yealmpton, Instow, Upton Pyne, Kingdon in the parish of Alverdiscott, Woodland in the parish of Little Torrington, Weare Giffard, Eggesford[14] and Bicton. Copleston House was stated by Prince, (d.1723) to be "all in ruines".[15] The present Copplestone House, situated about 1/2-mile south-east of Copplestone Cross, was rebuilt after 1787 in the Georgian style by Robert Madge, who had purchased the estate at that date. It is thought to be on a different site to the old mansion of the Copleston family, but does incorporate some of the older fabric.[16]

For the descent of the senior family seated at Copleston see article Manor of Copleston.

Philip Copleston (fl.1472)

Philip Copleston of Copleston, was Sheriff of Devon in 1471/2.[17] He married Anne Bonville, daughter and heiress of John Bonville (1417–1494)[18] of Shute, nephew of the Devonshire magnate William Bonville, 1st Baron Bonville (1392–1461) of Shute. As Pole stated: "By this match of Bonvile's daughter the estate of Copleston was greatly augmented"[19] Anne Bonville was heiress, from her maternal grandmother Leva Gorges, to the manor of Tamerton Foliot[20] and her father John Bonville was, through his mother, the grandson and heir of Martin Ferrers.[21]

Raphe Copleston (d.1491)

Raphe Copleston (d.1491) (son), according to Vivian (1895) called "The Great Copleston",[22] on account of his great revenues.[23] He married Ellen Arundell, daughter of Sir John Arundell of Lanherne, St. Mawgan-in-Pyder, Cornwall, from a leading Cornish family. In the Subsidy of 1434 his estate of Copleston was assessed at £100 and he served in the honourable position of Justice of the Peace in 1451.[24]

John III Copleston (1475–1550)

John III Copleston (1475–1550) (son) of Copleston, "The Great Copleston" according to Prince (d.1723).[25] He was co-heir of his great-grandfather John Bonville.[22] His monument survives in Colebrooke Church. He married twice, firstly to Margaret St Ledger, daughter and co-heiress of Bartholomew St Ledger, which marriage was childless; secondly he married Katherine Bridges, daughter of Raphe Bridges.

Christopher Copleston (1524–1586)

Christopher Copleston (1524–1586) (son by his father's 2nd marriage) of Copleston, Sheriff of Devon in 1560.[24] He married twice: firstly to Mary Courtenay, daughter of George Courtenay (who predeceased his father Sir William III Courtenay (1477–1535) "The Great"[26] of Powderham), which marriage was childless; secondly he married Jone Paulet, daughter of Sir Hugh Paulet (pre-1510-1573) of Hinton St George, Somerset, Governor of Jersey.

John IV Copleston (1546/9-1608)

John IV Copleston (1546/9-1608) (2nd son and heir, by father's 2nd marriage) of Copleston and Warleigh, who married Susan Pollard, a daughter of Lewis II Pollard (d.pre-1569) of King's Nympton, Recorder of Exeter and Sergeant-at-Law, grandson of Sir Lewis I Pollard (c. 1465–1526), Justice of the Common Pleas.[27] The couple's monument, erected in 1617 and repaired in 1894, survives in St Mary's Church, Tamerton Foliot,[28] inscribed in Latin as follows:

Johanni Coplestono Armigero huius manerie domino viro cum generis antiqui tum verae virtutis laude nobilitato: qui postquam aetatis suae annum LIX attigisset Warleiae suaviter in Christo obdormirvit, 9 November 1608. Susanna uxor amantissima quae quinque filios et totidem filias peperit in spe resurrectionis bene merenti pie posuit, 4 September 1617 ("To John Copleston, Esquire, lord of this manor, a man famed as greatly for true virtue as noble descent, who after he had reached his 59th year went to sleep gently in Christ at Warleigh, November 9, 1608. Susanna his most beloved wife who brought forth five sons and as many daughters placed this piously in well deserved hope of resurrection, September 4, 1617")
Murder of godson

As related by Prince, John IV Copleston murdered his godson, possibly an illegitimate son, which "most unfortunate occurrence in this place of Tamerton...in all probability hastened the extinction of the name and family here and at Copleston also".[29] The godson had been sent abroad for his education and when he returned home to England overheard his godfather's private conversation and reported it amongst his circle of friends, which action soon found its way by gossip back to his godfather, whose indignation was "exceedingly enkindled" and who exclaimed: "Must boys observe and discant on the actions of men and of their betters?", and thenceforth resolved and sought all opportunities to be revenged upon him. The two next met at Tamerton Foliot church during the Sunday service, and the youth fled before the end of the service, having noticed his godfather's angry look. Having received a message from his godfather that his anger was over and that he could return to church, the youth appeared at church the next week at the usual time. However Copleston's rage was not over, and although the youth had again fled before the end of the service, Copleston followed him and threw a dagger into his back, which killed him instantly. Copleston fled, and implored all his influential friends at the royal court to procure him a pardon from Queen Elizabeth, which eventually he received, but not without having had to pay a large fine which necessitated the sale of thirteen of his manors in Cornwall. This story is related by Prince, who heard it from a gentleman who was a neighbour of the Coplestons.[29]

Amias Copleston (1581/2-1621)

Amias Copleston (1581/2-1621) (son) of Copleston and Warleigh. He was buried at Tamerton Foliot, the manor his ancestors had inherited by marriage to Anne Bonville. He resided at the former Gorges seat of Warleigh within that manor, and thus possibly had abandoned ancient Copleston as the family's principal seat. He married Gertrude Chichester (d.1621), 2nd daughter of Sir John Chichester (d.1586), Sheriff of Devon in 1576[30] son and heir of Sir John Chichester (1519/20-1569) of Raleigh,[31] from a leading family in North Devon.

John V Copleston (1609–1632)

John V Copleston (1609–1632) (son), who died aged 23 without progeny and was buried at Tamerton Foliot. He was the last of the family of Copleston of Copleston and Warleigh and Risdon wrote of him: "The heir male of this house was a hopeful young gentleman, lately dying issueless, who left his lands unto his two sisters, married into the families of Bampfield and Elford".[32] By these heirs the manor of Copleston was sold in 1659.[33] His two sisters and co-heiresses were:

    • Elizabeth Copleston (born 1608), the elder sister, who married (as his 1st of 4 wives) John Elford (1603–1678) of Sheepstor, near Buckland Monachorum in Devon, whose ruined manor house survives on the shore of Burrator Reservoir.[34] Elizabeth had no male issue, only four daughters, including:[35]
      • Gertrude Elford, who married Roger Wollocombe of Combe
      • Elizabeth Elford, who married Edmund Fortescue of London
      • Barbara Elford, who married Arthur Fortescue (1622–1693)[36] of Penwarne, Cornwall and of Filleigh, Devon, ancestor of Earl Fortescue
The manor of Copleston descended into the families of Wollocombe and Fortescue.[37]


Sir John Bampfylde, 1st Baronet (1590–1650)

Sir John Bampfylde, 1st Baronet (1590–1650), MP, of Poltimore and North Molton in Devon, married Gertrude Coplestone (d.1658), a daughter of Amias Coplestone (1582–1621) and a co-heiress to her brother John V Coplestone (1609–1632), and inherited amongst other properties the manor of Tamerton Foliot, which thus passed into the Bampfylde family.[39]

Sir Coplestone Bampfylde, 2nd Baronet (c. 1633–1692)

Sir Coplestone Bampfylde, 2nd Baronet (c. 1633–1692), eldest son, died of gout at Warleigh and was buried at Poltimore.

Sir Coplestone Bampfylde, 3rd Baronet (c. 1689–1727)

Sir Coplestone Bampfylde, 3rd Baronet (c. 1689–1727), (grandson, eldest son of Colonel Hugh Bampfylde (c. 1663–1691) (son and heir apparent of Sir Coplestone Bampfylde, 2nd Baronet (c. 1633–1692), whom he predeceased) by his wife Mary Clifford, daughter of James Clifford[40] of Ware.[41] He was a High Tory Member of Parliament for Exeter (1710–1713) and for Devon (1713–1727). As well as having inherited his grandfather's extensive Devonshire estates, including Poltimore and North Molton, he also inherited the estates of his distant cousin Warwick Bampfylde (1623–1695) of Hardington, Somerset (5th in descent from Peter Bampfylde of Hardington, younger brother of Sir William I Bampfylde (d.1474) of Poltimore[42]), to whom he acted as executor.[43] He married Gertrude Carew, daughter of Sir John Carew, 3rd Baronet (d.1692) of Antony, Cornwall.

Sir Richard Warwick Bampfylde, 4th Baronet (1722–1767)

Sir Richard Warwick Bampfylde, 4th Baronet (1722–1767), only son and heir, MP for Exeter (1743–1747) and for Devonshire (1747–1776). He married Jane Codrington (d.1789), daughter and heiress of Colonel John Codrington of Wraxhall, Somerset. In 1741 he sold the manor of Tamerton Foliot, with its manor house of Warleigh, to the husband of his cousin Admonition Bastard, namely to Walter Radcliffe, son of Walter Radcliffe of Frankland, Sheriff of Devon in 1696.[44] His remaining seats were Copleston and Poltimore in Devon and Hardington in Somerset.[45]


The first member of the Radcliffe family (later of Warleigh) to be recorded is John Radcliffe (d.1560) of Kingset and Mary Tavy,[47] Devon,[48] a tenant-in-chief of Queen Elizabeth I. The arms of Radcliffe of Warleigh were: Argent, a bend engrailed sable a canton of the first charged with a horse's head sable. These arms, without the canton, were the arms of Robert Radcliffe, 1st Earl of Sussex (c.1483–1542), KG and also of the Radcliffe Baronets (created 1813). The family of de Radclyffe which first bore these arms originated at the manor of Radcliffe in Lancashire. Richard de Radclyffe was Seneschal and Minister of the Royal forests in Blackburnshire and accompanied King Edward I (1272–1307) in his wars in Scotland and received from him a grant of free warren in all his demesne lands at Radcliffe.[49] The descent of the Radcliffe family of Warleigh was as follows:[50]

Walter I Radcliffe (1693–1752)

In 1741[51] the estate was purchased by Walter I Radcliffe (1693–1752) of Franklin, Devon, baptised at St Thomas's near Exeter, whose wife Admonition Bastard (born 1701) (4th daughter of William Bastard (1667–1704) of Gerston, East Alvington, Devon, by his wife Anne Pollexfen, daughter and heiress of Edmund Pollexfen of Kitley, Yealmpton, Devon[52]) was a great-granddaughter of Gertrude Copleston (d.1658),[53] the heiress of Warleigh, being a granddaughter of Sir William Bastard (d.1690), of Gerston, MP for Bere Alston, Devon (1678–9), by his wife Grace Bampfylde, a daughter of Sir John Bampfylde, 1st Baronet (1590–1650) by his wife Gertrude Copleston (d.1658), heiress of Warleigh.[54] Walter I Radcliffe was the third son and (following the deaths of his two elder unmarried brothers) eventual heir of Jasper II Radcliffe (d.1704) of Hockworthy Court, Hockworthy, and Franklyn, Devon, Sheriff of Devon in 1696, by his wife Jane Andrews, daughter of Solomon Andrews of Lyme Regis, Dorset.[55] A very large oil painting by Thomas Hudson (1701–79) titled The Radcliffe family: Walter Radcliffe of Warleigh, Devon, his wife Admonition and their family, property of the Berger Collection[56] founded by the mutual funds manager William Merriam Bart Berger (d.1999) of Denver, Colorado, USA, is on display in the Denver Art Museum, formerly displayed in the Assembly Rooms, Bath, Somerset, and on occasion at nearby Dyrham Park. It depicts Walter I Radcliffe with his wife and nine children. It measures 126 inches by 174 inches (10 ft 6" high by 14 ft 6" wide) and is one of Hudson's largest works, rivalling in size the swagger portrait of Viscount Courtenay and his family in the dining room of Powderham Castle.[57] It was sold in 1996 by the Radcliffe Chattels Settlement.[58]

Walter II Radcliffe (1733–1803)

Walter II Radcliffe (1733–1803) (second surviving son and heir), of Warleigh, who died unmarried.[55] He was the typical eighteenth-century gentleman, and made a Grand Tour of Europe, maintained a house in London, and was twice painted by Sir Joshua Reynolds.[56]

John Radcliffe (1735–1805)

John Radcliffe (1735–1805) (younger brother), of Warleigh, whose heir was his nephew Rev. Walter III Radcliffe.[55] He was predeceased by three younger brothers, including William Radcliffe (d.1760) who was killed in action at the Battle of Warburg in Westphalia, during the Seven Years' War.

Rev. Walter III Radcliffe

Rev. Walter III Radcliffe (living 1835), nephew. He was the son of Rev. Copleston Radcliffe (6th son of Walter I Radcliffe (1693-175..)), Rector of Stoke Climsland, Cornwall and Vicar of Tamerton Foliot, by his wife Sarah Peter, daughter of Samuel Peter of Percothan, Cornwall.[55] In 1812 he married Abby-Emma Franco, daughter of Abraham Franco and sister of Sir Ralph Lopes, 2nd Baronet (1788–1854) (born "Ralph Franco") of Maristow, near Tamerton Foliot. Ralph Franco, whose mother was Esther Lopes, was heir to his uncle Sir Manasseh Masseh Lopes, 1st Baronet, MP and patron of the Rotten Borough of Westbury, from a wealthy family of Sephardic-Jewish Portuguese origin, who had converted to Christianity in 1802. His baronetcy had been created in 1805, with a special remainder to his nephew Ralph Franco. Between 1825 and 1832 Rev. Walter Radcliffe remodelled the house in the Gothic style to the designs of the architect John Foulston(1772–1841).[51] By his wife Abby-Emma Franco he left the following progeny, three sons and three daughters:

  • Walter IV Copleston Radcliffe (1815–1876), eldest son and heir.
  • Copleston Lopes Radcliffe (1818–1883), of Derriford, near Plymouth,[60] who in 1832 purchased Plympton House in the parish of Plympton St Maurice, Devon.
  • Col. Sir William Pollexfen Radcliffe, KCB, of Mortimer House, Berkshire
  • Sarah Lydia Radcliffe
  • Charlotte Hester Radcliffe
  • Emma Admonition Radcliffe, wife of Rev. John Hall Parlby of Manadon, Plymouth.[60]

Walter IV Copleston Radcliffe (1815–1876)

Walter Copleston Radcliffe (1815–1876), JP, of Warleigh, eldest son and heir. His 5th son was Jasper FitzGerald Radcliffe (1867–1916), DSO, Lieutenant-Colonel of the Devon Regiment, killed in action in World War I.[60]

Walter V John Deacon Radcliffe (1858–1930)

Walter John Deacon Radcliffe (1858–1930), eldest surviving son, of Warleigh, JP. A Barrister of the Inner Temple.

Walter VI Henry Radcliffe (1893-post 1937)

Walter Henry Radcliffe (1893-post 1937), eldest son and heir, of Warleigh. Captain of the Devonshire Regiment in 1927, fought in World War I. In 1937 he had a daughter Joanna Katharine Radcliffe (born 1932)

20th century

In 1960 Warleigh House was used as a nursing home.[1] In 1986 the Radcliffe family continued to reside at a nearby estate.[61]


The house and 111 acres of land was purchased in 1998 by David Piper (born 1950), a property developer and hotel owner,[62] who having been twice divorced, in 2002 placed an advertisement for a wife in the International Herald Tribune newspaper, which brought him to international prominence having been the subject of 1,000 newspaper articles and 20 hours of television and radio broadcasting.[63] The advertisement was as follows:

"Eccentric Lord of the Manor, 52, seeks attractive 25–35 year old entrepreneurial, intelligent, professional of independent means to become his Lady of Warleigh. Mutual interests should include a catholic taste in music, the arts, travel adventure, English humour and fun".

He told the BBC that he had received replies from Frankfurt, Munich, Verona, Strasbourg, Denmark, Somalia and Niger, but said "What I would really like is someone from South East Asia; I happen to like that part of the world".[64] In 2002 he offered the 10 bedroomed house with 20 acres for sale for £2.5 million, including the circular dovecote and boathouse.[65] In 2008 after having been diagnosed with prostate cancer he offered the estate for sale for £2 million and also all his remaining personal assets and possessions he offered for sale on e-bay to cover debts of £2.3 million. He died on 31 March 2014.


In 2014 Warleigh House was refurbished and briefly operated as a three-bedroom luxury hotel by its owner Kris Clayton. Finally, in 2015, it was returned its original purpose as a private residence.[66]


Warleigh House has been owned by Robert Kilroy-Silk and Jan Kilroy-Silk since 2015.

Further reading

  • Burke's Genealogical and Heraldic History of the Landed Gentry, 15th Edition, ed. Pirie-Gordon, H., London, 1937, pp. 1878–9, pedigree of Radcliffe of Warleigh
  • Archives of Radcliffe Family of Warleigh, Plymouth and West Devon Record Office, ref: 407


  • Pevsner, Nikolaus & Cherry, Bridget, The Buildings of England: Devon, London, 2004, p. 889, Warleigh House


  1. Historic England, "Warleigh House (1162274)", National Heritage List for England, retrieved 11 March 2018
  2. Historic England, "Garden boundary walls immediately south south east of Warleigh House (1107483)", National Heritage List for England, retrieved 11 March 2018
  3. Historic England, "Dovecote approximately 80 meters East of Warleigh House (1107484)", National Heritage List for England, retrieved 11 March 2018
  4. Historic England, "Boat House immediately 110 meters West south west of Warleigh House (1309685)", National Heritage List for England, retrieved 11 March 2018
  5. (Pole, Sir William (d.1635), Collections Towards a Description of the County of Devon, Sir John-William de la Pole (ed.), London, 1791, p.483: "Folliot of Warlegh: Barrule argent and gules, a bend sable")
  6. Risdon, p.209
  7. Pole, p.335, regnal date 27 Henry III
  8. Risdon, p.209; Tavy Foliot per Pole, p.339
  9. Pole, p.271
  10. Pevsner, p.276
  11. Risdon, Tristram (d.1640), Survey of Devon, 1811 edition, London, 1811, with 1810 Additions, p.97, concerning the parish of Colebrooke
  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.224, pedigree of Copleston of Copleston
  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.225
  14. Pedigrees of foregoing branches given in Vivian, 1895, pp.226–233
  15. Prince, John, (1643–1723) The Worthies of Devon, 1810 edition, London, p.237
  16. Pevsner, p.277
  17. Vivian, p.224; Stabb, J., Some Old Devon Churches, London, 1908–16, p.65
  18. Vivian, 1895, p.102, pedigree of Bonville of Shute
  19. Pole, p.335
  20. Pole, p.335; Vivian, p.102
  21. Vivian, p.102
  22. Vivian, p.224
  23. Pole, p.225
  24. Prince, p.236
  25. Prince, p.235
  26. Visitation of Devon, 1895 ed., p.246
  27. Vivian, p.598, pedigree of Pollard
  28. Pevsner, p.679
  29. Prince, p.237
  30. Risdon, list of Sheriffs
  31. Vivian, p.174
  32. Risdon, p.97
  33. Hoskins, W.G., A New Survey of England: Devon, London, 1959 (first published 1954), p.372
  34. Pevsner, p.725
  35. Vivian, p.329, pedigree of Elford of Sheepstor; Prince, p.238
  36. Vivian, p.355, pedigree of Fortescue
  37. Prince, p.238
  38. Risdon, p.402
  39. Vivian, Lt.Col. J.L., (Ed.) The Visitations of the County of Devon: Comprising the Heralds' Visitations of 1531, 1564 & 1620, Exeter, 1895, p.40"
  40. Eveline Cruickshanks, Stuart Handley and D. W. Hayton, ed. (2002). The House of Commons, 1690–1715. vol. III. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. pp. 125–126.
  41. Vivian, Lt.Col. J.L., (Ed.) The Visitations of the County of Devon: Comprising the Heralds' Visitations of 1531, 1564 & 1620, Exeter, 1895, p.40
  42. Vivian, pp.38–9
  43. Vivian, p.40
  44. Lysons, Samuel & Daniel, Magna Britannia: volume 6: Devonshire (1822), pp. 469–496, 'Parishes: Tallaton – Templeton'
  45. Wotton, Thomas, The English Baronetage, Vol 2, London, 1741, p.195, Bampfylde of Poltimore
  46. Burke, 1835, Vol.2; Burke's Landed Gentry, 1937, gives canton with tinctures inverted
  47. Burke's, 1937
  48. Burke, 1835, Vol.2, p. 27
  49. Montague-Smith, P.W. (ed.), Debrett's Peerage, Baronetage, Knightage and Companionage, Kelly's Directories Ltd, Kingston upon Thames, 1968, p.
  50. Burkr, John, Genealogical and Heraldic History of the Commoners of Great Britain and Ireland Enjoying Territorial Possessions or High Official Rank but Uninvested with Heritable Honours, Vol.2, London, 1835, pp.27–8, Radcliffe of Warlegh
  51. Pevsner, p.889
  52. Vivian, p.50, pedigree of Bastard; p.600, pedigree of Pollexfen
  53. Burke's History of the Commoners, vol.2, p.28
  54. Vivian, p.40, pedigree of Bamfield of Poltimore
  55. Burke, 1835, Vol.2, pp.27–8
  56. See
  57. French, Daniel (Ed.), Powderham Castle: Historic Family Home of the Earls of Devon, 2011. Visitor guidebook, p.10
  58. Provenance: By descent in the Radcliffe family until sold under the terms of the Radcliffe Chattels Settlement; Sotheby's, London, 13 November 1996, lot 52
  59. More clearly visible in a copy of the painting made in the 19th century by J. King
  60. Burke's, 1937, p.1878
  61. See
  62. Mr Piper owned the Wiltun Hotel and one other in Plymouth
  63. Daily Mail on-line
  64. See
  65. Advertisement by estate agents Wilkinson grant & Co, Exeter
  66. See

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