Discovering Sharpham Heritage Day

Tuesday 11th September 2018 - 9.30am - 4pm

Find out about Sharpham's history and explore the Grade 1-listed house and gardens at our Discovering Sharpham Heritage day. Join us for a packed day of talks, tours, music and food in the majestic 18th Palladian villa overlooking the River Dart.  

Sharpham House - home to meditation retreats, nature events, weddings, natural burials

On sea and dry land Captain Pownoll took his standPhilemon Pownoll - creator of Sharpham House, Totnes, Devon, England

This year's Discovering Sharpham Heritage Day will focus on the life and work of Captain Philemon Pownoll who transformed Sharpham with prize money from the Spanish ship he took in 1762.

The day includes a tour of the house and gardens, talks about Captain Pownoll's naval career and personal life with an exchange of information, live music from the period and a chance to sample Sharpham's cheese over a delicious lunch.

The day is Heritage Lottery Fund supported.


The day runs from 9.30am until 4pm.

For more details, click the Schedule tab above

Funding for The Sharpham Trust - home to meditation retreats, natural burials, weddings and nature events


About the contributors: 


Valerie Belsey, Senior researcher

Valerie Belsey, speaking at Sharpham's heritage dayValerie has written several green lanes guides with the emphasis on their history and the stories they tell. This and her experience of writing community plays led her into researching the life and times of Captain Pownoll of Sharpham. She has found a new source of inspiration in the seafaring life of Captain Pownoll and is writing a new community play about him and the 18th century navy, set in Sharpham (to be performed in 2019 subject to funding).

Dr Peter Ward, Naval historian

Dr Peter Ward, speaking at Discovering Sharpham Heritage DayDr Ward completed his BA (Hons) History degree at Liverpool University in 1968 and specialised in naval history. After a career in the international high-tech industry, early retirement led him to discover that the University of Exeter had a dedicated maritime history department and he took the opportunity to study for an MA in naval history, specialising in the 18th century Royal Navy. He followed this with a PhD programme that focused on the Royal Navy in the Far East during the late 18th century. He has since lectured at several naval history conferences and has had a book published.


This day is for you if you are:

  • Interested in history and keen to learn more about local heritage
  • Looking for an exclusive tour around Sharpham House and its gardens
  • Wanting to taste the award-winning Sharpham cheese over lunch
  • Looking for a fascinating and varied day out


Further details

The day costs £20 per person, which includes lunch.

We are sorry but we do not allow dogs (except for guide dogs)

For wheelchair users, we've got ramps for accessing parts of the House. Please get in touch to let us know in your needs in advance and we'll be happy to help you.


9.30am - Registration, refreshments, viewing of information boards, sign up for tours

10am - Welcome to Discovering Sharpham’s Heritage day with Julian Carnell, Director of Sharpham Trust

10.15am - Tour of the House    

11.20am - Hornpipe music by Matt Norman

11.30am - Talk on Philemon’s naval career with Valerie Belsey, author of books and local history, and contributions by naval historian Peter Ward

1pm - Lunch: Sharpham cheese platter with an assortment of salads, dips and breads with fresh fruit. Sharpham wine will be available for sale. Mandolin music by Matt Norman accompanying lunch.

1.50pm - Lightning presentations:

  • How Captain Pownoll spent his prize money - with Valerie Belsey
  • Property & Architecture - with Lynette Gribble
  • Landscape - with Richard Soans
  • The hunt for the historic paintings - with Chris Nicholls                       
  • Marriage & Majendie Family - with Jason Lindsay

3.15pm - Sharpham Garden landscape tour

4pm - End of the day

Click here for directions to Sharpham House

We are sorry but we do not allow dogs (except for guide dogs)


The event costs £20 per person for the whole day, including lunch.


Retreats & Events

Booking essential. Book easily and securely online here, by phoning 01803 732542 or by emailing [email protected]

Do check our Calendar, to see and book for our events - or join our mailing list by clicking here to be kept in touch about Sharpham Trust news, retreats & events.