The house at Knightshayes

father and son exploring inside the house at Knightshayes, Devon.

Built for Sir John Heathcoat Amory (1829-1914), former MP for Tiverton, the house remained in the family for 125 years.



A medieval world in the great hall

Step back in time as you explore the ‘medieval’ hall, complete with minstrels' gallery. From the gallery get a closer look at the elaborate ceiling patterns or admire the chivalrous banners and shields. Can you identify the stone carvings, portraying aspects of medieval life, including the king, farmers and guards?

Books galore in the library

There’s plenty to see in the library, from the intricately decorated ceiling to the shelves full of rare books. Sitting on bookshelves and hiding in the alcoves are some unusual Martinware ceramics, including the grotesque spiny beast and peculiar birds.

Behold beauty the boudoir

A softer and more feminine room, the boudoir was the personal retreat for the lady of the house. The ceiling is beautifully painted with the signs of the zodiac. Look out for the French music box and silver ink stand made for the Great Exhibition. From the window, enjoy fantastic views of the parkland and beyond.

Vice and virtue in the billiard room

Look up at the seven deadly sins looming over the billiard table; can you identify them all? From the violent wolf to the greedy pig, these imaginative stone carvings are watched over by the wise owl.

The sound of music in the drawing room

 Admire the elaborate ceiling, now restored to its colourful glory after being covered for nearly a century. Don’t miss the large wooden cabinet containing a rare collection of local ceramics.

Precious treasures in the morning room

A luxurious room richly decorated in red velvet and full of unusual treasures. In the alcoves are items of Italian renaissance earthenware, which have featured in many international exhibitions. The room is also home to Sir John’s beloved art collection.

The dining room

Take a look at the table and sideboard, laid out for a family dinner. Above, the ceiling is inscribed with poetry from Robert Burns.

Great views from the bedroom

From this large Edwardian bedroom you can view the Heathcoat Amory’s lace making factory. You can also see the fascinating bedspread which served as a visitor's book, where each woman who visited Knightshayes would add her own embriodery. 

Burges' designs

Copies of Burges' original designs can be found in the smoking room.
Admire his great imagination and fine attention to detail.

Burges room

Largely restored to its original designs, this room enables a greater understanding of how dramatic the house would have looked if all of Burges' designs had been implemented.

The greatest lady golfer

Discover our exhibition room and take a glimpse into the fascinating career of Joyce Wethered, last member of the family to have resided at Knightshayes and four times winner of the English Ladies Championship and the British Ladies Open Golf.

Quirks and curiosities

There's plenty to see, from looming grotesques and gargoyles to the ‘medieval’ great hall with minstrels’ gallery. Look out for the imaginative stone carvings of the seven deadly sins and aspects of medieval life, designed by the architect William Burges.
The grand staircase is engraved with heraldic dogs and leads up to rooms of various styles, from Victorian gothic to Edwardian. The elaborate ceiling decorations tell of the troubled birth of Knightshayes and its restoration.

Our collection

There’s plenty to see at Knightshayes, but if you would like to see more of our collection online then visit our new collections website.

You can also see our access statement for more information about assessing the house.