Peters Tower

Lympstone, Devon

Overview

A short walk from the railway station in the large and pleasant village of Lympstone, this is a clock tower overlooking the Exe estuary.

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Beds Bunk beds

Sleeps
2
4 nights from
£174 equivalent to £21.75 per person, per night

Built as a memorial to a much-loved wife

The Peters family were successful Liverpool merchants. William Peters, who built this clock tower in 1885 as a memorial to his wife, lived in a sizable classical house nearby.

We repaired the polychrome brick, restored the clock with its daytime chimes, and made the Tower habitable again – it had been a refuge for fishermen stranded here by the weather. Every inch of space inside its tiny rooms is valuable, so our architect, having spent some time at a boatyard, fitted it out with teak and brass and varnish. The views from all the windows are interesting and some spectacular, and you will find yourself surveying and participating in the daily bustle of life on the foreshore. Life here is lived vertically, the views of the estuary getting better as you climb the steep spiral stairs. The Tower is just a few minutes’ walk from the village station.

On the waterfront

The Tower is no great work of architecture, but it is part of the history of Lympstone. It stands at the end of an alley, actually on the water’s edge, in this large and pleasant village, looking across the broad estuary of the Exe to the green fields beyond. Moreover, it is only a short walk from a railway station, so there is no need for those who stay here to have a car.

‘Three pubs, a restaurant, and a station within two minutes’ walk.’

‘The sanctuary of the Tower seemed like a sleek racing yacht turned through 90 degrees and planted by its stem in the beach.’

From the logbook

Floor Plans

Map & local info

Peters Tower is in the village of Lympstone, which is on the Avocet Railway Line, making the city of Exeter, as well as many other beautiful spots along the river, within very easy reach during your stay. In Exeter you are spoilt for choice with pubs and restaurants. The Royal Albert Memorial Museum is free to enter and be sure not to miss the natural history collection - one of the largest in the country.  

If you are feeling more active, follow Exe Trail cycling routes to explore the area. It is possible to cycle to Exeter Quay, where there are plenty of coffee shops, bars and antique shops to explore. On The Waterfront is always a popular choice with its fantastic choice of speciality pizzas and view of the quay. 

A La Ronde, a unique 16-sided house built for the spinster sisters Jane and Mary Parminter, is very close to Lympstone, and just 15 minutes away, Powderham Castle is still the family home of the Earl and Countess of Devon. Powderham Castle is located just outside Exeter, beside the Exe estuary. Six hundred years of history are contained within the walls of one of England's oldest family homes.

For more information on things to see and do during your stay at Peters Tower, please see our Pinterest Map.

Please Note: The Landmark Trust does not take any responsibility and makes no warranties, representations or undertakings about the content of any website accessed by hypertext link. Links should not be taken as an endorsement of any kind. The Landmark Trust has no control over the availability of the linked pages.

Peters Tower
Lympstone, Devon
Clear directions
FAQs

    What you need to know about this building

  • Does the property allow dogs?

    No.
  • How is the property accessed?

    Directly from the street.
  • What is the nearest railway station and how far away is it?

    Lympstone – 0.5 miles.
  • Is there car parking specifically for Landmark guests?

    No – there is parking in nearby public car parks.
  • What type of heating does the property have?

    There are electric night storage heaters.
  • What are the kitchen facilities?

    The kitchen is fully equipped with all plates, cutlery, fridge etc. There is an electric cooker.
  • What are the bathroom facilities?

    There is one bathroom with a shower over the bath.
  • Does this Landmark have steep, narrow or spiral stairs?

    The stairs are steep, narrow and spiral.
  • Is there a garden or outside space?

    No – but there is direct access onto the beach.
  • Is there higher than expected background noise?

    Yes the property is in a town and you may experience a level of noise associated with an urban location.  There is also a clock that chimes on the hour, every hour between 7am and 11pm.

    Booking and Payment

  • What happens if I can’t get to the Landmark due to bad weather?

    If the weather is bad, please contact our booking office who will be able to tell you whether the Landmark is accessible. If the housekeeper can safely get to the building to prepare it then we consider that it is open and available for guests. However if we cannot undertake a changeover then we will do our utmost to transfer your stay to another Landmark, depending on what we have available. It may not be of a similar size or in the same part of the country as your original booking. If the building is accessible but the customer cannot travel due to poor weather in his/her local area then please be aware that Landmark will not provide a refund. However the customer may be able to claim on his/her own travel insurance. We recommend that all guests take out travel insurance when they first secure a booking.
  • How can I pay?

    We accept Maestro (if issued in the UK), Visa, MasterCard, direct transfer and sterling cheques drawn on a UK bank. Cheques should be made payable to the Landmark Trust except for Lundy stays and boat/helicopter tickets which should be payable to The Lundy Company Ltd. All payments must be in sterling.
  • How do I create an account?

    If you have not used the Landmark online booking facility before and you wish to register in advance, you can set up an on-line account by following the instructions below:

    Go to the Landmark home page and click on Gift shop (located at the top of the home page in red).

    Select a gift (e.g. Landmark Handbook or Anniversary Mug) and complete the ‘Amount required’ box. There is no need to complete the purchase but this step is necessary in order to bring up the registration page.

    Click ‘Next Step’ at the bottom of the page.

    This will bring you to the ‘Your details’ page.

    Please complete all the fields (name, address, contact details and create an account). Click on the green ‘Create Account’ button once you have finished.

    At the top of the page headed ‘Your details’ there will be a grey box saying ‘Signed in’ and underneath this it will say ‘you are currently signed in as ….

    Here you will also have the option to ‘Sign out’. Please do so and that is your registration completed.

    Please return to the Landmark home page.

    To check your registration or update your account details at any time please ‘Sign in’ using the icon in the top right-hand corner of the home page.

    If you experience any problems in registering or setting up your on-line account please contact webmaster@landmarktrust.org.uk.
  • How do I pick up the key?

    There are various arrangements for picking up keys. To arrange to get into the Landmark, please contact the housekeeper at least two days before your stay
  • Can I pay a deposit?

    If your stay starts more than three months from the date you make the booking, you are required to pay a deposit of one third of the cost of your stay (or £100 per booking, if greater) at the time of booking. Camping on Lundy must be paid for in full at the time of booking.
  • How can I cancel or change my booking?

    If you wish to cancel or change your booking, please contact our Booking Office on 01628 825925
  • Do you accept payment in other currencies?

    At the moment we only accept payment in sterling.
  • What if I arrive late?

    Please let the housekeeper know if you are going to arrive late and s/he will leave a key for you in a suitable place.
  • How far in advance do I need to book?

    It depends. Some of our most popular Landmarks are booked up a long time in advance, but many can be booked at short notice. We will always have Landmarks free for the coming weekend so it’s always worth checking our availability list.
  • Do you have to be a member to book a Landmark?

    No, Landmarks are available to be booked for anyone.
  • Do I need a Handbook to be able to book?

    No, all the information you need can be found on our website, although we’d like you to buy one anyway as it will be a pleasure to own!

    Staying at a Landmark

  • Are Landmarks accessible for people with disabilities or limited mobility?

    Some of our Landmarks are suitable for people with disabilities or limited mobility. However, many Landmarks have steep or narrow staircases, uneven floors and thresholds, changes of level, low ceilings or beams, as well as indistinct colours on steps and in corridors. We recommend that you call Booking Enquiries on 01628 825925 if you would like to find out the suitability of a particular Landmark for anyone with a specific disability.
  • Are Landmarks only available as self-catering accommodation?

    Yes, Landmarks are only available as self-catering accommodation. We do not offer bed and breakfast.
  • Do you provide catering?

    Landmark does not provide catering, but we can recommend Greycoat Lumleys who can arrange for expert and well-trained staff to cater for one evening or for your entire holiday. Their cooks and chefs are able to work with you to meet your specific requirements
  • Do you allow dogs?

    You may bring up to two dogs to properties where dogs are allowed (please see specific property details for exemptions however dogs are not permitted on Lundy except assistance dogs). They must be kept off the furniture and under proper control.
  • Can I bring a pet?

    Apart from two dogs (see above) no other pets are permitted.
  • Am I insured if I break something?

    We do not carry insurance for breakages. However we appreciate that accidents do sometimes happen. If you have a breakage during your stay, please let the housekeeper know and if appropriate we reserve the right to invoice you accordingly.
  • Are Landmarks suitable for children?

    Yes, most of our Landmarks are perfect for children, with gardens to play in and secret places to discover. Our furniture is surprisingly robust and we positively encourage families to stay. However, some of our buildings may not be suitable for small children; for example, some of them have steep or uneven spiral staircases. We recommend that you call the Booking Enquiries team if you would like to find out the suitability of any of our Landmarks for young children.
  • Can I get married in a Landmark?

    Unfortunately, most of our Landmarks are not licensed for weddings. However, you may get married on Lundy.
  • Can I hold a big party in a Landmark?

    All our larger Landmarks are perfect for gatherings of family or friends. You may invite an additional two guests to visit you during your stay, however they must not stay overnight. This is very important because our fire regulations specifically note the maximum number of people in any one building. In addition our properties are prepared, furnished and equipped for the number of people specified and greater numbers cause damage and excessive wear and tear to vulnerable buildings. Should this condition be ignored we shall make a retrospective charge per person per day (whether or not they stay overnight) for each guest over the permitted limit, the charge being pro-rated on the total cost of your booking.
  • Are there televisions in the buildings?

    We deliberately do not provide televisions and find that most people appreciate this.
  • Why are your access tracks sometimes difficult?

    One of the challenges of restoring unloved buildings is gaining access to them. We frequently have to negotiate rights with our neighbours and share tracks with them. In many cases tracks do not belong to us and we have no right to maintain them. Wherever possible we work with our neighbours to provide you with a good quality surface, but where this is a problem then you will be warned at the time of booking.
  • Will there be sockets for my electrical appliances?

    Yes, we have standard electricity sockets for UK appliances. If you are coming from outside the UK, you will need to bring your own adaptor plug(s). If you are visiting one of our European properties we have standard European electricity sockets. If you are visting from the UK, you will need to bring your own adapter plug (s).

    Facilities

  • Are the kitchens and bathrooms restored to a modern standard?

    Sometimes our kitchens and bathrooms have to be imaginatively fitted into the available space in buildings where before there were none, but they are all planned and equipped to a high and modern standard.
  • Is linen provided?

    Yes, Landmarks are fully equipped with sheets and towels. All the beds are fully made up for your arrival.
  • Are the kitchens fully equipped?

    Yes, our kitchens are well equipped with cookers and fridges. There are freezers and dishwashers (in larger buildings) and, where space allows, microwaves as well as a wide and standard range of utensils. A full equipment list is available at time of booking.
  • Do you provide logs for the open fire/stove?

    Logs are provided at many of our Landmarks for an additional cost.
  • Will there be a mobile signal in the Landmark I book?

    Mobile coverage varies. Some Landmarks have an excellent signal, but others have none at all. If you are concerned, you can check with the housekeeper before your arrival.
  • Is there Wi-Fi in your buildings?

    No. At the moment, we have decided not to implement Wi-Fi in our buildings following a consultation with our customers. Many said that they would find it useful, but many also felt that it would somehow damage the experience of staying in a Landmark. As the responses were so split, and as we have so many other initiatives requiring funding, we have decided to put this on hold for the time being.
  • What should I bring with me? Are there toilet rolls, soap, shampoo, milk, teabags, coffee, hairdryer?

    A welcome tray with tea and sugar awaits your arrival and you will find a pint of milk in the fridge. We also provide toilet rolls and a bar of soap per basin, but no other toiletries. We do not provide hairdryers.
History

Built in memory of his wife

Peters Tower and the cottages around it were built in 1885 by William Peters in memory of his wife, Mary Jane. The Peters were a family of wealthy Liverpool merchants, who had made their money in the 18th century, trading with the American colonies (one branch of the family moved to Pennsylvania, where descendants still live). In the early 19th century, Ralph Peters III encouraged his three sons to take up careers not directly connected with trade, and in addition bought each of them a property in a different part of the country.

William was the second son; he went into the army, where he served for a few years with the 7th Dragoons before his father settled on him the 400 acre estate of Harefield, in the parish of Lympstone. Harefield is a late Georgian house, rather plain (today, it is a preparatory school and the wider estate is managed by a family trust). William Peters seems to have had little difficulty in being accepted by the County establishment, taking on the traditional roles of JP and chairman of the local Conservatives. He died in 1896.

The following entry for Tuesday, 2 June, 1885 in The Devon and Exeter Daily Gazette sets the scene after his wife’s death:

Lympstone Memorial Tower

‘The Memorial Tower and Cottages at Lympstone, erected by Mr W.H. Peters, of Harefield, in memory of his widely-revered wife, are rapidly approaching completion, and the work in its entirety will form a most fitting tribute of esteem and regard for the deceased lady, whose 

loss is much felt by all classes of society, especially by the poorer inhabitants of the parish. The memorial is erected on a piece of ground that was for a long number of years occupied by the New Inn, in the lower part of the town, and adjacent to the Railway Station. The cottages are just in the very place where the families which they are intended to accommodate would wish them to be - by the edge of the river, where the fishermen mostly congregate. The memorial buildings comprise a substantial clock-tower, some 70 or 80 feet high, and a commodious block of twelve cottages, suitable for small families. From the former a magnificent view of the estuary of the Exe can be obtained. The memorial cottages are arranged as a series of twelve convenient buildings, and will be let at a mere nominal rent, so that they will be a great boon to the class which they are intended to benefit. The whole work is now well forward, and will be inaugurated at no very distant date. The tower is a landmark for many miles around, and the structure is an object of prominence and much interest. The entire work has been under the superintendence of Mr Sivell, builder, of Lympstone, and reflects credit on him.’

No mention is made of an architect, but it is possible that there was none, the builder drawing up the design himself, perhaps after studying the Campanile in St. Mark's Square in Venice, or obtaining it from a pattern book. The Tower was also intended to serve as a refuge for fishermen caught out in bad weather and unable to return to their homes in other villages along the estuary. A fireplace provided on the first floor allowed them to keep warm. The clock is a typical Victorian gesture to encourage good timekeeping, though for many years, until mechanical failure solved the problem, the striking of the clock at night was a source of complaint from many of its nearest neighbours.

Experience this Landmark

For up to two people

A clock tower overlooking the Exe estuary, perfectly described by a Landmarker as ‘like a sleek racing yacht turned through 90 degrees and planted by its stern in the beach.’ It is a short walk from the railway station in the large and pleasant village of Lympstone. It has quite tiny rooms, but the views are fascinating and you will find yourself surveying and participating in the daily bustle of life on the foreshore.

Book a stay
Restoration

The principles of yacht designed informed the interior

The structural restoration of Peters Tower was mainly straightforward; a greater challenge was how to fit the amount of accommodation needed into the very small space available. It helped that all interior carpentry had anyway to be renewed, since the floors were rotten and the stairs collapsing. An extra floor was also inserted where the old clock mechanism had been. The principles of yacht design informed the arrangement of furniture and fittings. The architect, John Vivian, spent some time at Mashford's boatyard in Plymouth, and in a chandlery, before making his own plans for an interior that resembles that of a yacht, from galley kitchen to bunk beds.

Teak (whose use in those days was less frowned upon) was used throughout, all corners are rounded off and light fittings and knobs are made of brass. The lanterns in the living room and the bathroom are copies of those on HMS Warrior, a 19th-century ironclad battleship, then under restoration in Hartlepool with help from Landmark’s founder, the late Sir John Smith, and the Manifold Trust. (Today, HMS Warrior can be visited in Portsmouth Docks).

Extra fire precautions were inevitably required. The County Fire Prevention Authority agreed that fixed fire escapes would not be practical, and that installing smoke detectors and using special one-hour fire resistant timber for floors and doors would be precaution enough. To save as much space as possible the new staircase was to be a spiral and eventually a firm was found that made a good Victorian replica in cast aluminium - another yacht building material.

The external brickwork of the Tower was in poor condition. Parts of the parapet, out of one corner of which an elder bush was growing, had to be rebuilt completely; in several places bricks had to be replaced. In the most visible places old bricks were re-used, obtained by unblocking windows on the north and south elevations. However, the white bricks of the quoins and parapet facing had worn worse than the red and also needed to be renewed. These had come originally from Newton Abbot, but they are no longer made there. Luckily a new source was discovered in Totnes, and so replacement was possible. The whole of the exterior was cleaned using bristle and soft wire brushes before repointing.

As for the roof, although the rafters were mostly sound, the boarding and the wall plates were rotten. These were replaced and the original slates relaid. The leadwork was also renewed, as were the gable louvres and the access door. The finishing touches to the restoration were of course the repair of the clock and the weather vane. Very little of the latter survived in good condition - most of the scroll work and two of the letters had to be renewed - but what remained was cleaned and repaired. The forge that did the work, Erme Wood Forge, Ivybridge, also made the new fanlight above the front door (itself the old one repaired). The original hand-wound mechanical clock had unfortunately deteriorated beyond the point where it would be possible to get it going again without almost complete rebuilding. The actual clock faces, and the bell, were perfectly all right however; after minor repairs by Smith of Derby they are now fulfilling their proper function but with a new electric motor, complete with restart unit, striking mechanism and - since anticipatory protests were immediately voiced by nearby residents - night-time silencing.

Experience this Landmark

For up to two people

A clock tower overlooking the Exe estuary, perfectly described by a Landmarker as ‘like a sleek racing yacht turned through 90 degrees and planted by its stern in the beach.’ It is a short walk from the railway station in the large and pleasant village of Lympstone. It has quite tiny rooms, but the views are fascinating and you will find yourself surveying and participating in the daily bustle of life on the foreshore.

Book a stay
Availability & booking

Select a changeover day to start your booking...

What's a changeover day? and Why can't I select other dates?Explain MoreQuestion

A changeover day is a particular day of the week when holidays start and end at our properties. These tend to be on a Friday or a Monday but can sometimes vary. All stays run from one changeover day until another changeover day.