The first example of this new attitude occurred around 1810-20, when William Tardrew, whose business operations were carried on in the lime kilns on the beach below, chose also to make Peppercombe his home. He took advantage of the open ground at the valley mouth to build what seems to have been a substantial house, enjoying a fine view of Bideford Bay. It does not appear on the first one-inch Ordnance Survey Map of 1809, but is clearly shown, as Dwelling House and Court, with gardens and lawns, on the Tithe Map of 1840.
A surviving photograph shows this to have been a sprawling stuccoed "castle", complete with seafront verandah and flagpole. Its ruin confirms the impression of a Picturesque residence vaguely in the style of Nash, perhaps more at home on the South coast of Devon than the North.
The Tardrew family's lease was renewed for the last time in the 1860s. There is no record in the estate papers of the Pine-Coffins taking over the Castle and re-letting it, but according to the Smales there were other tenants. For the last part of its short history, it was the home of Major John Edward Pine-Coffin. He is given as the occupant in Land Tax returns in 1909, but the present Mrs Pine-Coffin, who is researching the family's earlier history, is not certain for how many years he had been living there before that.
As a serving army officer, Major Pine-Coffin would not have been much at home, for which reason the estate had been left outright to his mother, Matilda Pine-Coffin, on his father's early death in 1890. He was married in 1894 and presumably at some point thereafter retired from the army and came home. However, Portledge itself was let, and his mother lived at the dower house of Kenwith Castle, so Peppercombe would have seemed a handy solution to the problem of where he was to set up his own household.
A few local people remember the house in its heyday; Sunday school teas were held in the large kitchen, and children played games on the lawn afterwards. The Smales's grandfather was coachman at Peppercombe, and they remember from their own childhood the remains of formal gardens, and the tennis courts with their changing hut halfway down the cliff path. These, together with the trout pond and rabbit warren, and remains of the house itself, have now disappeared beneath the undergrowth, following the Castle's abandonment.
Unfortunately the site was not a safe one, as was revealed when part of the cliff subsided in 1909. The Pine-Coffins had already threatened the local council with court action in 1895 for undermining the cliffs at Portledge when removing gravel from the beach below. Peppercombe, too, was a popular source of road gravel, and this may have contributed to the landslip which rendered Peppercombe Castle uninhabitable. The house developed dangerous cracks, and soon afterwards the Pine-Coffins decided to cut their losses by salvaging what they could of the wood and ironwork. Traces of the Castle can thus be found in many houses on the estate: windows were reused in the workshop at Fairy Cross, and part of the porch can be seen on one of the cottages in Peppercombe.
In 1926, however, the Pine-Coffins decided that the view from Peppercombe, and the plentiful prawns to be caught on the beach, should not be wasted. John Walters, who lives at Horns Cross, was engaged with his father and two other estate workmen to move the existing boat-house from the lake at Portledge to the Peppercombe drive, for £150. As Mr Walters remembers, this was no easy task. The coast road was in bad repair, and a cart track had to be specially levelled between Portledge and Peppercombe. Then, with the help of a horse, the boat-house was dragged in sections along the coast to the new site.
Luckily reassembly was easy. The boat-house had come in the first place, around the turn of the century, from Boulton and Paul of Norwich. Boulton and Paul, founded in 1867, was one of the first manufacturers of prefabricated "Residences, Bungalows and Cottages", which they sent not only to the seaside coasts of Britain, but to destinations all over the British Empire ("carriage paid to the nearest Goods Station") and even to South America. The company still has a copy of its 1920 catalogue, containing a choice of twenty-two designs. Several varieties of bungalow are illustrated, ranging from the Modern Residential, through the Week-End and the Seaside to the plain and ordinary (with verandah).
Castle Bungalow itself does not appear, but the Pine-Coffins had chosen something similar in scale and materials to B48, one of the more modest designs on offer. For £570 the customer got a weather-boarded and timber-lined two bedroom bungalow, with brick foundations and chimneys included. The Peppercombe version has a few slightly grander touches, which make it closer in appearance to the more luxurious B34, Seaside Bungalow, with "wood walls and Italian pattern iron roof".
The Bungalow was used by the family for picnics, and Colonel Pine-Coffin's father kept his prawn nets there. More recently, it was altered slightly and let as a holiday cottage. It passed to Landmark after the National Trust's acquisition of Peppercombe in 1988.