The last castle to have been built in mainland Britain, Castle Drogo commands a dramatic position sitting atop the Teign river valley close to Drewsteignton, Devon.
The castle was designed and built for Julius Drewe (Lord Drewe of Drewsteignton) by the architect Sir Edwin Lutyens, who was commissioned to commence the design in 1910. Julius Drewe’s first cousin, Richard Peek, was the rector of Drewsteignton, named after a Norman knight called Drogo de Teigne (or Drogo de Drewe) who was allegedly the forefather of the Drewe family.
Julius stayed with his cousin on a number of occasions so it must be assumed that building a castle on the home ground of his forefathers had a great appeal. The site was located in 1910 and construction spanned the period between 1911 and 1930.
There were significant delays caused by the First World War, with the majority of the work ceasing in late November 1916 and finally shutting down completely in January 1918.
Although recommenced after the cessation of hostilities it was again hampered by the economic downturn during the 1920’s. (My father commented many years ago that the local employment created by the construction work of the castle was something of a saviour in the area, saving a great deal of hardship during The Depression”).
Lord Drewe died in 1931, only one year after the completion of the works, but the family had taken up residence in 1926 and spent the Christmas of that year in the castle. The family continued to live in the castle until 1974 when it was given to the National Trust, becoming the first 20th Century property that the charity acquired.
During the period between 1940 and 1945 Lady Frances Drewe and her daughter ran the castle as a home for babies made homeless by the bombing raids in London.
We thoroughly recommend a visit to Castle Drogo, which blends medieval and Tudor architectural styles with the minimalist arts and crafts style of design popular during the Edwardian era.
Features include original lifts, central heating and electricity generated from turbines located in the River Teign.
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