The castellated house was the seat of Sir Maurice de la Pole in the reign of King Henry II (1154-1189), after which family the manor was known as Compton Pole. The original undefended manor house was built in the mid-14th century and consisted of a hall flanked by solar and service rooms at each end - these were rebuilt in the later Middle Ages. The fortress-like front was added in about 1520 by John Gilbert. The central hall was in ruins by the 18th century, but was faithfully reconstructed in the 1950s. Compton Castle's most famous inhabitant was Sir Humphrey Gilbert.(1539–1583), coloniser of Newfoundland and half-brother of Sir Walter Raleigh; legend has it that Raleigh smoked the first pipe of tobacco in Britain while visiting Sir Humphrey. The castle was home to the Gilbert family until the estate was sold in 1785 whereupon it gradually declined until a descendent bought it back in 1931; he gave it to the National Trust in 1951 on the condition that members of the family should continue to occupy the castle. They still do, and administer it for the Trust.
The Great Kitchen is notable for the insight it gives into medieval domestic life, and its small formal gardens are enclosed by a stone curtain wall to hold the warmth. Braille guide and large print guides available. Access to Compton Castle is extremely limited as there are many changes in levels and steps. Please let them know when you arrive so that they can give you help with portable ramps. Three steps to the entrance and the ground floor has steps, a ramp is available. Spiral staircases to other floors, access to the Solar is by spiral staircase only. Grounds are partly accessible and there are steps to the Rose Garden
Location : Gropers Lane, Compton, Devon TQ3 1TA
Transport: Torquay (National Rail) then bus - 3 miles. Bus Routes : 27, 32 and 32B stopat Marldon 1.25 miles.
Opening Times : Tuesday to Thursday + Bank Holidays 10:30 to 17:30.
Tickets : Adults £6.30; Child £3.10
Tel: 01803 661906