Sharpham House is a majestic Palladian villa overlooking the River Dart.
Its name is derived from Clemens de Scharpenhamm, the owner of the original manor house that was located here. The house has been expanded and redeveloped throughout the centuries during which it has had a number of colourful owners. One, Captain Philemon Pownoll, a high seas adventurer, made his name in 1762 by capturing a Spanish treasure galleon.
With the wealth he accrued from securing this treasure, Captain Pownoll, a captain in the Royal Navy, engaged the architect, Sir Robert Taylor, to incorporate Sharpham’s existing Tudor mansion into a new villa.
It was Sir Robert’s love of mathematics and geometry that helped him create this outstanding example of English Palladian architecture. His genius is most evident in the House’s optically floating, elliptical cantilevered staircase - one of the most dramatic in England. The House was the family home of Maurice and Ruth Ash from 1962, until Maurice died in 2003. It has been the base for Sharpham's charitable activities since the estate was established as a charitable trust in 1982.