A history of Killerton House

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Sir Thomas Dyke Acland, 7th Bt, planned to have a grand house on Dolbury Hill in Devon. These plans fell through, and the modest 'temporary' house designed by John Johnson became the family home.

Entrance hall 

Following a fire in 1924 Sir Francis, 14th Bt, rebuilt this as an open space suited to this large, hospitable family.


Sir Charles, 12th Bt, built the study in 1900. Tenants and employees used the door at the far end so they would not disturb the household.

Later generations used the study for more light-hearted activities including wood-turning, boat-building and darts.

Music room 

Originally the dining room, this room is named for the chamber organ installed for Lydia Acland, new wife of Sir Thomas, 10th Bt. They also added the bay window to make room for their family of ten children.

In the 1920s and 1930s this room was the centre of family life. Sir Francis and his family had breakfast and tea here, and gathered after dinner for music and conversation.

The corridor

The long corridor runs through the house from the original front door. Hardly altered since 1778, it shows Johnson’s simple, elegant design. 

Drawing room

Sir Charles created this room for balls and grand functions, moving the front entrance away from here and opening out the front lobby into the adjoining room. However, the family used it properly only once.


The library and the current dining room were the principal rooms in the original house. The library was the ‘Little Parlour’. It was so light that Henrietta Acland, the 9th Bt’s wife, considered putting paper panels over some of the windows. 

Dining room 

The dining room was the ‘Great Parlour’ – the only room Johnson decorated elaborately, with a frieze and columns. Sir Charles added images of agricultural work and silhouettes of himself and his wife, Gertrude, to the ceiling.