Exmouth was fortunate to have several grand houses throughout the 19th and 20th centuries and although not great estates we have looked at Nutbrook, Burnside and Dolforgan. We now come to Ryll Court or sometimes as it was spelt, Rill Court after the Manor of Rill which encompassed Marpool.

I am grateful to the following for their assistance and photographs, with my research into Ryll Court:                                                                                        

Daphne Barnes - Phillips whose book, Exmouth’s Rolle, besides telling the story of Rolle College, has an amazing account of Ryll Court from those who lived in it as students. This book can be obtained by e mailing corridorpress@yahoo.co.uk

The late Jeanne Mallett (nee Boone) for her account of her time at Ryll Court.

Nick Boles – descendant of Rev J T Boles who was the first owner of Ryll Court.

Jason Hoole – a descendant of the Tucker-Pain family.

My late mother, Pauline (nee Clapp) who at one time lived at number 14 Ryll Court Drive, for the information she held on the house.

Ryll Court was built by a local builder, Thomas Burridge. He commenced building it in 1853 and it was completed three years later, in 1856. At that time, it was within five acres of land.

In about 1828 a General Boles on his return from India occupied Cranford House until his death in 1850. One of his descendants, Rev James Thomas Boles, who was the curate at Littleham, who lived at Cranford House and had a young family, bought Ryll Court, in 1856, as it had been newly constructed. Rev Boles added a further 11 acres which he bought from Mr William Hartopp Hull, Squire of Withycombe, who lived at Marpool Hall. This land was on the opposite side of what became Albion Hill and housed the farm and stables of Ryll Court.

Rev Boles’ estate encompassed what is now Ryll Court Drive and also across what is now Albion Hill, which at the time was a highway which Rev Boles then fenced off in order to keep it purely part of his estate. When he bought the property there was a dilapidated gate at the top which he repaired and in 1858 he also erected fences and posts to seal off the highway.

In 1860 a Mr Robert Cooper who, although he lived in Cheltenham, had built a house on land nearby that highway and found that as it had been fenced off by 1858 he could no longer access that highway. He took Rev Boles to court over it. The case was Cooper v Boles and it was tried before a special jury to establish whether there was actually a public highway with rites of access by persons. Among those giving evidence was Herman Burridge, son of the original builder, Thomas Burridge. The jury returned a verdict in favour of the plaintiff Mr Cooper and the judge awarded him 40 shillings in damages. The case was reported in full by The Exeter and Plymouth Gazette on 17 March 1860.

Between 1866 and 1887 Rev Boles was curate and then vicar of Crowcombe, Somerset and  the property was let between 1866 and 1885. It was let to Major Ian Lind, retired from the 31st Nepal Regiment, and his wife Blanche and their family. They also employed six servants at the house, but by the time of the 1881 Census had moved on and it was then occupied by the wife of a Maharaja. A lady called Penelope Gh_ _ _ . Unfortunately, her handwriting is illegible and therefore her surname is not known.  Rev Boles died in 1885 and in 1887 the family sold a 21year lease on Ryll Court and ownership changed again.

In the next exciting episode of the history of Ryll Court we shall discover the history of a famous family who lived there. In the meantime if you would like to find out more about Exmouth Museum please visit www.exmouthmuseum.co.uk or email Mike at exmouthmuseum@gmail.com