The house at Killerton

Autumn at Killerton

'There's no point in having a nice place like this unless we can get it full of people' - Sir Francis Dyke Acland, 1923

Sir Francis loved to use his home for large parties, with rooms full of people enjoying Killerton. This is still so today, after Sir Richard Acland donated Killerton to the National Trust in 1944, the house is still full of people enjoying the gift that the Acland's gave to everyone.

With the family living rooms to wander through downstairs and the fashion collection on the first floor, there is a little bit of everything to be seen at Killerton.

Killerton's stories

With a long history of the Acland family living at Killerton, there are many stories to tell about them. This year we are telling the stories of two strong Acland women, Gertrude and Eleanor, and their roles in the campaigns for women's votes.

A brief history of Killerton house

There has been a house on the site since 1610, however in the late eighteenth century this was replaced with a simple, well-proportioned rectangular two-storey house, designed by architect John Johnson. This house was to be a temporary residence for the family of Sir Thomas Dyke Acland, 7th Baronet, until a grander residence could be built.

James Wyatt's design for a new house at Killerton circa 1772
James Wyatt designed a new house for Sir Thomas Acland at Killerton, Exeter, in 1772
James Wyatt's design for a new house at Killerton circa 1772

However, the building of this grand Palladian-style mansion met with many difficulties and was never finished. The temporary residence became the permanent family home and was greatly modified, with extra rooms added as the family grew and in the late 1890s electricity and heating added.

The final modification of Killerton came in 1924 when Sir Francis Acland, the 14th Baronet, had the entrance porch, which you enter through today, built.