Discover a land and its people
Killerton is a warm, welcoming family home built in 1778 on the site of an older Elizabethan house.
When you explore the house and grounds today you will find many traces of the Acland family, who owned the land and built the house. You will also experience the vivid stamp that John Veitch, the first head gardener, left on the landscape of this 3,000 acre estate.
On a visit here you can see family photographs of life at Killerton dating from the 19th century, the country-house organ that is still played today, and the wealth of history captured by the costume collection. Venture further and you can discover the design legacy of John Veitch and his fellow gardeners in the gardens and parkland.
Plans for Killerton
The Acland family settled in south Devon in the late 16th century. By the mid-18th century the family had grown in wealth and rank; the 7th Bt, Sir Thomas Dyke Acland, wanted Killerton to be a visible mark of his status.
Designing the house
John Johnson was the architect hired by Sir Thomas to build a temporary home for the Aclands at Killerton. Johnson’s temporary house became the family home when plans for a grander house near its location were abandoned.
Laying out a park
Sir Thomas wished to have gardens and parkland fit for his new family seat at Killerton. He took on Scottish gardener John Veitch to make his dreams come true. Veitch started planting in 1770, before the house was even designed, so that the setting would be fit for the Acland’s new home.
The house today
Killerton has been a family home for many, many years, and different generations have all put their own mark on the house. Explore this welcoming family home as it stands today.
Women of Killerton
Harriet, born Lady Christian Henrietta Caroline Fox-Strangways, married John, the eldest son of Sir Thomas Dyke Acland, 7th Bt. As his wife she followed him to his army posting in America, where she had many of her own adventures.
Lydia Hoare married Sir Thomas Dyke Acland, 10th Bt, known as the ‘Great Sir Thomas’. It was under this couple that Killerton entered its ‘golden age’. Lydia was certainly more than just the mother of 10 children.
Gertrude was a good match for the 12th Bt, Sir Charles, both finding a natural home in the grandeur of Edwardian England. Much of Gertrude’s personality is still stamped upon Killerton and its grounds.