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AFFETON CASTLE, Devon
LIKE Bickleigh 12 miles to the east, Affeton ‘Castle’ is a substantial fifteenth-century gatehouse to a fortified house of which little else remains. This remotely situated residence was built of local grey rubble with freestone dressings bythe Stucley family, a cadet branch of the Stukelys of Great Stukely in Huntingdonshire who acquired the manor when Sir Hugh Stucley married Katherine Affeton in about 1434. Three centuries later Sarah Stucley married into the prosperous Bideford trading family of Buck, with the family dividing their time between Hartland Abbey, Daddon, and Affeton Castle. In 1859, George Buck took the title by licence of Sir George Stucley in preference to his patronymic name to establish himself as heir to the landed Stucleys rather than the mercantile Bucks. A year later, the gatehouse at Affeton was rehabilitated as a shooting lodge by David Mackintosh, who subsequently worked at the Stucley seat of Hartland Abbey. Today, Affeton Castle is the centre of a substantial estate run in tandem with that at Hartland Abbey.
Proudly standing above the wooded valley of the Little Dart, a tributary of the River Taw, Affeton is the only significant late medieval secular residence in central Devon. Sacked three times during the Civil War, this two-storey gatehouse was described in 1859 as ‘a ruin … with a turret at one corner and a battlement, and windows of late Gothic character’. Approximately 60 feet by 22 feet, it has corner buttresses with roll-moulded offsets, and a garderobe projection at the south-east angle.