Subject:Report on visit to Puslinch House, Yealmpton

NGR:SX 5695 5090


Puslinch is first recorded as Posling on the 1238 Assize Roll.  The name seems to mean 'hill where pease grows'.  It must have been a farm developed within the pre-Conquest manor of Newton Ferrers, as it is recorded as having been given by William de Ferrers to Roger de Poslinch in the C13.  It was later held by the de Mohun family for several generations before passing by marriage to the Uptons of Trelask in Cornwall.
The Plymouth doctor and merchant James Yonge acquired the property on his marriage to Mary Upton in 1709 and is thought to have built the present house circa 1720.  The Yonge family still own Old Puslinch, the surrounding farmland and Puslinch House, but the latter is let.

Description:

Puslinch House is a large four-storey early C18 brick mansion set on a terrace overlooking the Yealm Valley.  It has a well-preserved interior with a wealth of panelling, fireplaces, plasterwork, a grand stair and other features, in the style of, although probably not designed by, Sir Christopher Wren.

Walled gardens adjoin the house, while earthworks of a trapezoidal geometric formal garden lie to the south, within a small deer park.
A later rock garden with water features lies just to the south-west of the house.

Old Puslinch lies a short distance west of the present house in a hollow just above the shore of the Yealm estuary.  It was an important house by the early C15: a chapel dedicated unusually to St Toly or Olaf having been licenced in 1405.  By the C17, it had developed into a double courtyard mansion, probably facing west.  After the present Puslinch House was built, it reverted to a farm.  It is the subject of a separate report.

Dating:

1Before c.1720.  Rectangular pond created to catch and store water from spring.  Culvert built to supply Old Puslinch with drinking water.

2Circa 1720.  Puslinch House built on new site, with C18 garden, park and landscape features laid out around it.

3Later C18.  Specimen trees placed in formal area to south of house, cistern built to replace pond as water supply.  Rock garden built, with pond supplied by cistern.

41850s.  Additions to house & stable yard.  More specimen trees added to park and fields to west.

Conclusions:

Puslinch is an unusually well-preserved example of a formal garden layout surrounding a new country house of the early C18.  The geometric formal garden to the south seems to be unique in Devon, while the small deer park is the latest of a group of such parks to be discovered in Devon, presumably supplied with deer by arrangement with owners of larger parks in the vicinity.