The Chichesters and the coast

View from Morte Point over Woolacombe

Along with the Arlington estate, the Chichester family also owned a large stretch of land along the North Devon coast.


The Chichesters privately owned the beach and surrounding land at Woolacombe for over 800 years, having acquired it in 1133 during the reign of Henry I. In 1916 the people of Woolacombe presented Rosalie, the last heir to the Arlington estate, with a special key to Woolacombe School. Rosalie was known for teaching local children in Arlington to read so this would suggest she also helped the children of Woolacombe. The key can be seen on display at Arlington Court. In 1935, Rosalie made a gift of Potter's Hill to the National Trust to commemorate the silver jubilee of King George V. She also sold part of the beach and land to family friend Stanley Parkin prior to her death. The remaining Chichester land at Woolacombe was gifted to the National Trust in her will and is still enjoyed by local people and visitors today.

Mortehoe and Morte Point

The manor of Mortehoe was bought by the Chichester family on 20 April 1618 from Arthur and Hugh Pollard for the sum of £600. In 1909 Rosalie made a gift of the tip of the headland at nearby Morte Point and adjoining land to the National Trust. It was given in memory of her mother, Lady Chichester, who died in 1908 and her father, Sir Bruce, who died in 1881 when she was just 16 years old. The village of Mortehoe was left to the National Trust in her will and acquired on her death in 1949.