History of Downhill Demesne and Hezlett House

Come and learn about the history of our 250 year old cottage at Hezlett House and the life of the eccentric Earl Bishop at Downhill Demesne

China shelving at Hezlett House

Family history at Hezlett House

The house at Liffock became home to the Hezletts in 1766 and stayed within the family for the next 200 years until the National Trust acquired it in 1976.

Frederick Augustus Hervey

Earl Bishop’s Anniversary

2018 marked the 250th anniversary of the arrival of Frederick Augustus Hervey in the Diocese of Derry

Downhill House

The build and destruction of Downhill House

Once a grand Italian-inspired home, Downhill House was devastated by a fire. Take a look at what happened to the house next.

A portrait of a seated Frederick Augustus Hervey, The Earl Bishop, by Vigée Le Brun

The flamboyant Earl Bishop 

Frederick Augustus Hervey was born in 1730 as the third son of John Hervey, heir to the 1st Earl of Bristol. It was unlikely he would ever inherit the title, so he chose a career in the Church. It appears that he wasnt the usual churchman.

Mussenden Temple in, County Londonderry, Northern Ireland

The scandal behind Mussenden Temple 

Mussenden Temple is probably the Earl Bishop's most famous construction, standing on the very edge of the cliff above Downhill Beach. But a family scandal is associated with this awe-inspiring building.

The Belvedere at Downhill Demesne and Hezlett House

Family history 

The family history of the Earl-Bishop Frederick Hervey, is as colourful as he was himself - full of gossip and scandal. If it wasn't for him, the Herveys would only be known for their connection with Ickworth and Downhill Demesne wouldn't exist.