Castle Hill Filleigh, this image was taken before the fire of 1934.
Castle Hill in the parish of Filleigh in North Devon, is an early Palladian country house situated 3 miles (5 kilometres) north-west of South Molton and 8 mi (13 km) south-east of Barnstaple. It was built in 1730 by Hugh Fortescue, 14th Baron Clinton (1696–1751), who was later created in 1751 1st Baron Fortescue and 1st Earl of Clinton, the son of Hugh Fortescue (died 1719), lord of the manor of Filleigh, Weare Giffard, etc., whose family is earliest recorded as residing in the 12th century at the manor of Whympston in the parish of Modbury in South Devon. The Fortescue family became major land owners, influential in British and West Country history. Castle Hill is a rare example in Devon of an 18th-century country mansion “on the grand scale
Much of the land is included in the estate covering a substantial area. Its grade I status in terms of landscape is due to its diversity. Included are a series of ornamental drives through garden and woodland, mature and replanted woodland as well as follies, some of impressive façade size
A major fire broke out in the early morning of 9 March 1934 and burned for two days. It destroyed much of the interior and killed two members of staff, the housekeeper and a maid. The 5th Earl had recently installed a central heating system, the boiler of which, situated underneath the library floor, had malfunctioned. After the fire the house was restored to the 18th-century style by Lord Gerald Wellesley (1885–1972), soldier, diplomat and architect, with Trenwith Wills. Although 49 paintings, including many Fortescue family portraits, were saved from the fire with only minor smoke damage, all were shortly afterwards destroyed by fire when the delivery lorry returning them from the restorer caught fire whilst parked overnight in a garage pending their return to Castle Hill.
The house was substantially reconstructed following a disastrous fire in 1934. It was designated a Grade II* listed building in 1967. The park and gardens are Grade I listed in the National Register of Historic Parks and Gardens. Today the property is leased by Eleanor, Countess of Arran (born 1949), the grand-daughter of Hugh Fortescue, 5th Earl Fortescue (1888–1958).