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Broadclyst's History

Sometimes referred to as BROAD CLIST, or Broad Clyst. Broadclyst was a parish in the hundred of Cliston.

Below is some historical information about the Parish from the last millenium or so. There's also more information in the National Trust section.

1001 AD

In 1001, the Danes landed at Exmouth and marched to Exeter. However, Exeter was well fortified and did not surrender. Instead, the Danes concentrated on devastating the surrounding area. The Saxon King Ethelred's commander-in-chief, Cola, quickly assembled an army and battled them at Pinhoe, in or near Mincimore copse. The Danes were victorious. The day after the battle, the Danes moved eastwards, burning Pinhoe, Broadclyst and other neighbouring villages on their way.

Manor at Columbjohn (John's Columb)

Information taken from http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk

The small hamlet of Columbjohn is on the western side of the Parish. There used to be a large mansion at there. Nowadays there is only a chapel, the remain of the gatehouse and a small cottage. The manor used to have 22 rooms, including a hall, parlours, chambers, 2 butteries and a kitchen, as well as a coach house, brew house, workers hall, little house and a gate chamber complete with bed and bedstead. There have been documentary references to Columbjohn since 1086.

In 1486 the manor was owned by Edward Courtenay, Earl of Devon. In 1580/1 the manor was acquired by Sir John Acland, who is said to have built a new mansion on the site of earlier foundations, with a chapel consecrated in 1608. By 1622 it was the main residence of the Acland family with John's widowed mother living in the adjoining manor of Killerton.

During the Civil War in the reign of Charles I, Columbjohn was a focal point for the Royalist war effort in Devon; the manor was garrisoned for the king. In 1642 John Acland became High Sheriff of Devon and he was awarded a baronetcy in 1644. However, by 1645 Parliamentarian forces had taken control and it became a headquarters for Fairfax in 1646. Oliver Cromwell stayed at the house around this time.

When the Acland family moved their main residence to Killerton in 1680, it appears that there was no desire to retain the earlier mansion and the building was effectively erased. Only a small group of buildings, including presumably the chapel, 'Pigeon Cottage' and the gatehouse, are shown on the estate map of 1756. The chapel remained in use via a route known as the 'Processional Way' across the park, shown lined with trees in 1756.

The Acland Family

The younger son, John Acland, became a well known politician and benefactor who gained a lot of wealth by his marriages to two wealthy widows. He moved to the manor of ColumbJohn. He died childless and his estate passed briefly to his brother Hugh. Hugh was succeeded by his grandson John who established Killerton as the principal residence of the Acland family and later became the First Baronet of ColumbJohn.

In the 18th century Sir Thomas Acland, the 7th Baronet, moved the family seat to Killerton. The architect of the new house was John Johnson, who was instructed by Sir Thomas to build a temporary residence until a more elaborate home could be built on he hill above the site. Sadly, Sir Thomas's son died shortly after in 1778, and he abandoned plans for a second mansion. The house was remodeled and expanded several times over the subsequent centuries, but it is essentially the same building that Johnson planned.

In 1944, Sir Richard Acland donated the estate, with over 6400 acres and including working farms and 240 cottages, to the National Trust.

Black Dog

Black Dog was the name of a pub on the southern side of Broadclyst village. The pub has since been turned into residential property, but this part of the village is still known as Dog Village.


History including details of births, marriages and deaths in the 1800s.

Description for Broadclyst in 1868 (The National Gazetteer)


In 1870, Broadclyst was a small village with only seventy-eight houses. Unfortunately there was a devastating

fire on the 27th April which entirely destroyed sixty houses.

Local Press account



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