As we saw last week. when you go up Withycombe Village Road and pass the church on your left, just as you reach the parade of shops on the right, there is a road opposite called Burnside.

It is one of those curiosities as to exactly how this and other roads in Exmouth got their names. In this case it refers to a country house that used to be set back from the road and situated opposite the old vicarage. Exmouth had several of these substantial smaller country houses, and while not on  the scale of say Marpool Hall, Marley House or Bystock, were, nevertheless still large houses and have interesting histories. It was as a result of a couple who live in the area of Burnside and who dropped by the museum as they had heard that there was once a historic house linked to where they live, that it prompted me to investigate further and what follows is that discovery.

Funnily enough, Burnside Road, which is shaped a little like a horseshoe, does not lead to where Burnside House was, but rather as we saw last week, to another larger country house that was at the top of this road called Nutbrook.

Returning to Burnside itself, the extensive house was built on three floors, somewhere between 1861 and 1871, as it first appears on that latter census and not before. In 1871 it was occupied by Thomas M Hull aged 62, a retired Captain of HMS Carberry, who perhaps had it built. He lived there with his wife, Emma, 45 and their daughters, Hannah, 20 and Adele, 18. They had a domestic staff of three. By 1881, it is only Emma Hull, now 55 and a widow, living there together with her daughters, now 30 and 28, and a son, Arthur, 26. They have three domestic servants. The Exmouth Journal of 20 July and 13 August 1887 and the Express & Echo of 8 August 1887 had advertisements for the auction sale of the house, so presumably Emma Hull had decided to sell up after the death of her husband.

The house did not sell at auction as between September 1888 and February 1889 it continued to be listed as 'To Let Unfurnished'. On 15 March 1889 the Express & Echo reported that the house was now let to Dr Shopland.

The 1891 census reflects this as it is now occupied by John L Shopland, age 56, a Medical Practitioner and Surgeon, together with his wife, Mary, 46, their sons, John, 22, a student at Cambridge and Frederick, 21, also a student. They occupied the house from March 1889. They employed a cook and general servant. By the 1901 census, John’s wife has died as he is still living there, now aged 67, still practicing medicine, and has remarried. His second wife is called Annie, and is 35. Their sons have moved on and there are two domestic servants. In June 1906 it was recorded that a Francis Shopland was also living there. The photo shows the rear of the house with a game of croquet taking place.

In the 1911 census, John is now 71, retired and his wife Annie is now 45. They live there with their two sons, Charles, 8 and George, 2 and a grandson, Cyril Shopland, aged 11. They employ a governess and a cook and housemaid.

It has been impossible to find out when the Shoplands left the house but it is thought that at some point a Lt Colonel The Hon J H Fraser lived there.

By 1946 Burnside had become a hotel and was now owned by the Stanley family. Next time we shall discover what happened to Burnside and its Lodge and the land that surrounded it.

In the meantime, you can find out more about Exmouth Museum by visiting or email Mike at