A visual peek at both the Topsham and the Axe…
The Devon Rural Archive is a unique local resource dedicated to promoting a greater understanding of Devon’s domestic architecture and associated landscapes. From purpose built facilities in the grounds of Shilstone House it allows local historians, archaeologists and genealogists, amateur and professional alike, to carry out their own research.
The archive has a growing reference library of books, journals, periodicals, photographs, maps and historic documents that are available for use. There is also exhibition space with one gallery dedicated to the history of Shilstone and the artefacts that have been discovered by the DRA. The archive is open every Monday, Tuesday and Thursday (excluding bank holidays) and there is no need to book. If you are interested in the history of your home there is no better place to begin your research.
In addition, the DRA holds monthly lectures on topics of historical interest (on the first Thursday of each month), regular exhibitions and other events such as House Detective days when Devon residents can find out more about the history of their own home. Throughout the spring and summer it also runs guided tours round Shilstone house and gardens.
Created in 2006 with the aim of providing a much-needed resource for the people of Devon, the DRA is run as part of a charitable trust. It aims to rediscover and encourage the preservation of the remains of Devon buildings and landscapes, to establish their history, and to help owners and the public increase their knowledge, understanding and enjoyment of historic properties. Its current research project concerns Devon Manor Houses and farmhouses from AD1300 to the present day and so far it has visited and prepared reports on around 150 such properties.
The DRA is run by its resident archaeologist Abi Gray. Its office opening hours for information and enquiries are Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm. Please telephone 01548 830832 for further information, or visit the website: