In the 18th century the first houses appeared on The Beacon and Louisa Terrace. One of these, in Louisa Terrace, has a fascinating history and an equally famous owner who founded the Exmouth Hospital.

The house in question is Dolforgan, now called Dolforgan Court, and the owner was Mrs Charlotte Hume-Long. But how did Dolforgan Court in Exmouth come to be called that by Mrs Charlotte Hume-Long?

In the 17th century there was a manor house built at Dolforgan, Montgomeryshire, Wales for the Fox family and in the following century it was bought by the Herbert family. Between 1790 and 1800 the house was extensively restored and extended by John Herbert. Between 1807 and 1818 the house had an iron bridge built to carry the main drive to the house – one of the earliest in the world to have this.

In 1846 Walter Long married twenty-one year old Harriett Avarina Brunette Herbert, the only daughter of Captain Owen Herbert who owned Dolforgan Hall, as it was then called. Harriett died in 1847 from complications following childbirth and Walter died three months later – it is said of a broken heart. The hall passed in 1867 to his brother Richard Penruddocke-Long (1825 – 1875). In 1868 he sold it to James Walton and after his death it was sold to John William Willans and then it passed to his son John Bancroft Willans, a historian and photographer.

The Exmouth connection to this name relates back to Richard Penruddocke-Long who was born on 19 December 1825 at Batnton House, East Coulton, Wiltshire to Walter Long and his wife, Mary Ann (nee Colquhoun). He was one of five children.

Richard married Charlotte Anne Hume-Dick on 4 October 1853 at St George’s Church, Hanover Square, London. She was born in 1830 in Touris, France, the daughter of the Rt Hon W W Fitz-William-Hume -Dick and his wife, Margaret Bruce- Bruce - Hume- Dick (nee Chaloner). They lived at Dolforgan, had ten children, five sons and five daughters. The eldest, Walter, was born in Bath but eight others were all born at Dolforgan. The last, William, was born in France in 1868 and he died in Australia in 1943. Two of the sons were raised to the peerage. Richard, the second son, was the first, to become Baron Gisborough on 23 June 1917. The other one was Walter Hume-Long, their eldest son born in 1854 in Bath. He went on to become a Conservative MP for North Wiltshire from 1880 – 1885, West Darby, Liverpool 1895 – 1900 and South Bristol 1900 -1906. He was President of the Board of Agriculture from 1895 – 1900 and introduced the Muzzling Order, a highly unpopular measure but it succeeded in eliminating rabies in this country.

He became a Fellow of the Royal Society and on 4 June 1921 became 1st Viscount Long of Wraxall. Walter died in 1924.

Richard and Charlotte’s ninth child was a daughter called Maud Avarina Millesaintes Long (1867 – 1880) the relevance of this becomes apparent later, in Exmouth.

Before his death Dolforgan Hall had been sold by him in 1868 to clear debts. Richard died on 16 February 1875 in Cannes, France and following his death Charlotte Hume-Long arrived in Exmouth. She named her house Dolforgan after her husband’s family’s ancestral home. The extensive records of Dolforgan Hall are kept in the National Library of Wales. The Willans family sold the hall to the Jones family and it is now Grade 2* Listed.

Next time we will see the story of Mrs Charlotte Hume-Long and explore her fascinating life and her time at Dolforgan in Exmouth. The picture shows the modern day Dolforgan gazing out to sea in its beautiful location in Louisa Terrace.

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