Sutton Barton has belonged to the Cooke family since 1955. Rooms were let for guests to bring in extra income of 8 guineas a week. Gradually the business grew and Sutton Barton was turned into a country club in the seventies complete with bars, skittle alleys, a swimming pool (now gone) and a function room. It remained very popular and was used for weddings,cricket tours,dining and live bands performed most week ends, functioning as a pub right up until 1999,
Andy and Teresa Cooke bought the house in 1999 and returned it as the farmhouse it had originally been, deciding that running a pub and a farm with 2 young children was not an option. So now the house has a new reincarnation, it has been split into 3, a cottage, a farmhouse and the main part of the house is being used as the self catering unit that you are looking at today.
About four miles in a south-easterly direction from the market town of Honiton, in a sheltered hollow in the hills on the eastern side of the valley off the Offwell Brook, stands the ancient manor house of Sutton Barton. The name of the property has changed but little during the passing of the centuries. During the reign of King Edward the Confessor it belonged to a thane named Allwin or Ulwin and was called Sutuna. At the time of the Domesday Survey of 1086 it was held by Richard de Brovil, and formed part of the Honour of Plympton belonging to William the Usher. Early in the thirteenth century the estate came to be known as Sutton Lucy from the name of the family who owned the manor at that period.
The estate changed hands several times between 1086 and 1428, and the Rev. O.l Reichel in “The Hundreds of Devon”, gives the following records of ownership:- “Sutton Lucy in Widworthy, which included La Hille, the abbot of Quarera’s estate in Southleigh, and must also have included Widecombe in Farway, was before 1220 the land ofHervei de Helion, who gave it in marriage to Mabel when she married Maurice de Lucy. On 21June1220, she called upon Robert de Hielion, son of Hervei, to warrant the same to her. In 1241 Robert de Bulkeworth was in possession holding for Yi fee. In 1285 Geoffrey de Lucy held 2 ploughlands with appurtenances in Hugh le Prus’s Sutton for Yi fee, and Hugh held the same of Richard le Pruz (Prus being Helion’s heir), Richard le Prus of Richard le Despenser, Richard· le Despenser of Baldwin de Specote, and Baldwin of the Countess ofDevon. It had therefore passed through a good many hands by sale before 1285.
In 1303 Maurice de Lucy held Sutton for Yi fee; in 1346 Thomas de Courtney in succession to Maurice de Lucy, and in 1428 Walter Hongerford in succession to Thomas Courtney”. The Rev. O.J.Reichel would appear to have overlooked the fact that Sutton Lucy belonged to a member of the family of Peverell for a short time, because the property came to Sir T. Peverell through his wife Margaret, who was a daughter of Sir Thomas Courtenay. Sir T. Peverell’s daughter, Catharine, married Walter, Lord Hungerford. After the crushing defeat of the Lancastrian army at the battle of Towton on 29th March 1461, Robert, Lord Hungerford, escaped and fled into the north, but three years afterwards he was captured and executed. On 21st May, 1464, John Dynham ofNutwell received a grant of Lord Hungerford’s forfeited manors from Edward IV, among which was Sutton Lucy in Widworthy. John Dynham served Edward IV faithfully during the Wars of the Roses, and at the battle of Towton he was one of the two commanders of the Yorkist rearguard under John Mowbray, Duke ofNorfolk. After this fearful battle, which was desperately contested during a blizzard, 30,000 slain warriors lay on the trampled and blood-stained snow.
John Dynham was created Lord Dynham in 1467. He died on 28th January 1500, leaving no issue as his children had died in their youth, and his coheirs were his four surviving sisters or their representatives. The estate of Sutton Lucy eventually passed to ~enry Hastings, Earl of Huntingdon, who sold the property to a man named Franklyn. About the year 1600, Peter Franklyn, Esq., sold part of the estate, but retained the house of Sutton Lucy and a portion of the manor lands.