Can you help Sharpham at our Open Day?

22nd March, 2018
by Julian | 4 Min Read
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Could you help out at Sharpham House?

Volunteers are needed to help with the annual Heritage and Spring Garden Open Day, happening on Sunday April 8, 10.30am to 4pm.

The event attracts hundreds of people to the beautiful grounds surrounding 18th century Sharpham House – but the charity that runs the House might be a bit short-handed on that day.

“We’re looking for people to help us out – and they’ll have a fun day in return,” said Maya Herbolzheimer, Volunteer & Engagement Officer at The Trust.

“We need help on the day, from setting up tables and chairs to helping in the dining room and directing visitors.

“It’s usually a wonderful day for everyone involved, there’s true team spirit and volunteers will get fed and watered too!” she said.

Anyone who can offer assistance can contact Maya ahead of the day on 01803 731802 or email [email protected]

A rare chance to see inside Sharpham House

The annual Heritage & Spring Garden Open Day is a rare chance to see inside Sharpham House - Grade 1-listed Sharpham House – an 18th Palladian villa overlooking the River Dart near Totnes.

There will be tours of Sharpham House, gardens and grounds, talks and a display of archive artefacts on the day.

“Thanks to our team of volunteers, we’ve got an ever-increasing Sharpham archive,” said Maya Herbolzheimer, Volunteer & Engagement Officer for the Trust. “Now we can share some of the fascinating material – from maps and old pictures to anecdotes and memories.”

Easter family fun and food too!

The day includes fun for all the family including arts and crafts, music, storytelling, nature connection and talks and tours relating to Sharpham's rich heritage. 

The kids can explore the gardens, solve clues and hunt for hidden eggs on Sharpham’s Easter Egg Wildlife Trail too.

Meet Captain Pownoll, who founded Sharpham with prize money from the Spanish ship he took in 1762 - with actor-storyteller David Heathfield.

While Sharpham House Café will be open during the day for teas, coffee and tasty lunch.

The Cellar Door Café at Sharpham Wine and Cheese will be open for lunch, and the season, serving local fresh and seasonal dishes accompanied by Sharpham Wine. Or visit the Cellar Door shop for tailored tastings, vineyard tours and to buy Sharpham’s award-winning wine and cheese.

The event is free entry, although there is a £4 charge for parking. If you’re travelling from Totnes, consider walking or cycling along the Carriage Drive foot and bike path, or take the free shuttle between Sharpham and Totnes run by Bob The Bus. A timetable is on the event’s web page.

Sharpham’s rich history>

The Heritage & Spring Garden Open Day is a great way to celebrate and share the history surrounding Sharpham House.

Sharpham is an ancient place and people are known to have lived here from at least 1260. The name exactly describes its situation in the Saxon words schearp (meaning sharp) and ham (referring to the bend in the river). Thomas de Schearpham was the owner of the original manor house that was located here in 1260.

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 captain in the Royal Navy and 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 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.

Pownoll also commissioned paintings of him and his wife Jane from the famed society portraitist Sir Joshua Reynolds, copies of which hang in Sharpham’s Music Room. It is thought that he also commissioned Capability Brown to landscape the grounds.

Sharpham House was the family home of Maurice and Ruth Ash - founders of The Sharpham Trust, a charity that hosts mindfulness retreats and courses and events that help people connect to nature.