Who Owned #Bude?
Almost all of the built-up part of Bude and Stratton was owned by two families: the Arundels of Trerice and the Grenvilles, families who were largely always on good terms, and who indeed, inter-married. Sir Richard Grenville bought Binhamy Manor in 1576, and owned one side of the river bank. The other side was owned by Lady Gertrude Arundel. Bude Bridge, now known as Nanny Moore’s, was built, and Efford Mill (a tidal salt water mill) was established.
The old mill cottage still stands, bearing the inscription “AJA 1589” (Anne and John Arundel). So, what of Bude’s two families? Both were Norman in origin, coming to England in the days of William the Conqueror, according to Dudley Stamp and Bere. Both were also staunchly loyal to the Crown. Testament to their status, the Grenvilles built a house at Stowe, which was rather grand and, in fact, half a castle, but this was demolished in 1662, to be replaced by a large red-brick mansion which was controversially considered by some to be “tasteless”. In 1739, it was pulled down by Grace Countess Grenville. There are suggestions that it was demolished because of the window tax (you can see there are lots of them). Since then, the stables became a farmhouse (Stowe barton) with appropriate curtilages. Imagine if we still had this – Bude’s very own stately home!
The direct male line of the Grenvilles died out and the properties were passed to a kinsman, Henry Thynne, Lord Carteret. We still see the linked street names dotted around the town. The Thynnes built what is now the holiday village of Penstowe and remained at Kilkhampton until 1961.
According to Dudley Stamp and Bere, the Thynnes were interested in the Port of Bude. Early on, in 1780, they leased off land at the Bewd Inn (Bude Hotel) on the site of the TSB bank. Two warehouses were also built along the Strand, including Julia’s Place (where the Strand arcade is) and on the site of the Strand Hotel. The Arundel lands included Efford Manor and Strand Farm, which were inherited by Sir Thomas Acland in 1802. He further developed Bude. The Aclands were of Saxon stock, originally settled in Landkey Parish, near Barnstaple. So, a Devonian influence on Cornish Bude!
The Aclands did a great deal for Bude. They created Efford Cottage from old fish cellars. Killerton Road, and Holnicote Road are both named after their houses situated in Exeter and Somerset. Sir Thomas Acland was interested in Bude as a seaside resort so built Tommy’s Pit, the bathing pool on the breakwater. His son, Arthur, placed the half-tide cross at the end of Coach Rock where Summerleaze meets Middle Beach; he also created the first tide tables. The Aclands also built the large red-brick Victorian mansion which became Efford Down Hotel. Acland housing developments included The Crescent and Breakwater Road. They also granted that land could be used for Catholic and Congregational churches, founded Bude’s primary school, and gave land for two non-conformist churches. St Michael’s Church was also enlarged. The Aclands were Anglican but pretty tolerant of religious movements. The Thynnes, conversely, were strongly Anglican and never allowed a Nonconformist church or chapel on their land. Both families contributed to the development of the town.
By 1939, the Acland estates were sold off to pay for death duties. The Council had already bought Summerleaze Down from the Thynnes who had sold off other land for a gold course. In 1940, the Council was granted a 500 year lease on cliff land at Compass Point by the Acland Family.
Dawn Robinson is author of Bude Through Time, and Bude the Postcard Collection (Amberley Publishing) both available locally from Spencer Thorn booksellers and other outlets, or online.