In 1086, the tenant of Powderham was William II, Count of Eu who died in 1096.

By now, the manor seems to have been owned by the Bohun family and when Margaret de Bohun married Hugh Courtenay, 2nd Earl of Devon in about 1325, Powderham was her dowery.

The property has stayed in the Courtenay family ever since.

The original building was built in the 14th century as a fortified manor house with curtain walls. During the War of the Roses, the family had divided loyalties. In 1455 Thomas, 6th Earl of Devon, a senior member of the Courtenay family and supporter the Lancastrian side, laid siege to Powderham which was commanded by Sir Philip Courtenay a Yorkist. The siege lasted seven weeks with Thomas failing to gain possession. He was later to be captured near York and beheaded in 1461.

During the Civil War Powderham castle was garrisoned by Royalist troops commanded by Sir Hugh Meredith and held out in December 1645 against Sir Thomas Fairfax’s Parliamentary troops but a few weeks later, and aided by cannon fire, the castle eventually fell to the attackers after sustaining terrible damage.

From an overgrown ruin, open to the elements, Powderham in 1702 began to be resurrected. Sir William Courtnenay and his wife Lady Anne decided to restore the castle and by 1876, architects, such as James Wyatt and Charles Fowler, had done their work.

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