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The House (the interior is not open to the public)

Please scroll down to see more detailed information and photographs.

The house is a masterpiece of Victorian fantasy, using the Gothic revival in architecture to best effect. On a gloomy evening it emerges from the Dartmoor mist with a spooky presence, but in the sun the pink granite glows with warmth. It replaced an older house on the other side of the garden, in the formal part of the Tudor Gardens: that was a substantial dwelling of seven bedrooms, but disappeared from the records in the 1840s. Like many houses of that era, it may have stood for 400 years and then burnt down in a few hours after a candle was left near a curtain… but no one now knows.

The present house was built in 1862 by a man from Newton Ferriers, W. E. Matthews, apparently because he wanted a base for hunting on the moor. In 1875 it was purchased by James and Barbara MacAndrew, married not long before and looking for a family home. They were part of the MacAndrew Shipping Line family of Liverpool. They made some alterations, including the addition of the Billiard Room that is now used for teas, with its big fireplace of Italian marble and superb mock hammerbeam roof. The MacAndrews had no children, and after James died in 1915, Barbara had a long widowhood before her own death in 1929. The house was then empty for two years, while the executors tried to sell it and the bigger Lukesland-Stowford estate of which it was part.
In 1931 Lukesland was purchased by Howard Howell, a forester and entrepreneur who came to Britain with the Canadian army in the Great War, married a local girl, Muriel Neale, and settled in Exeter. They undertook a series of modifications, replacing a large bay window on the northern aspect and removing the Victorian conservatory on the western side of the Billiard Room, and a number of buildings in the courtyard. Following Howard’s death in 1969, his son Brian and daughter-in-law Rosemary moved to Lukesland with their family. The house was modernised again at this time, but with no changes to the exterior. Hence the house you see today is mainly Victorian, and unchanged for 75 years.
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