The Fursdons of Fursdon
Walter de Fursdon first took the land at Cadbury during the reign of King Henry III (1216-1272). He was a Freeman of the City of Exeter. There were Fursdons here when Chaucer wrote the Canterbury Tales; when Drake defeated the Spanish Armada and when Columbus discovered America. The name "Fursdon" is probably taken from the surrounding countryside - Furzey Down - meaning gorse covered hill.
The house at Fursdon has evolved over more than 750 years from humble beginnings as a cross passage dwelling made from cob with a thatched roof. There have been many changes and adaptations - a major rebuild in the 18th century - with the last major addition being the library wing in 1815.
In 2009, 750 years of stewardship were celebrated with a series of events starting with the symbolic planting of a sweet chestnut on the estate.
Fursdon is privately owned and the responsibility for the preservation of the house and the estate lies with the family. There are about 750 acres of mixed arable and woodland including the home farm. It is hard work and the family is indebted to many friends and part-time staff who help and support them so willingly. What you see is a home steeped in family history. Restoration, conservation and maintenance are everyday tasks that go hand in hand with family life at Fursdon.
The Fursdon Dragon
The Cadbury Dragon reputedly protects the Fursdons of Fursdon and lives nearby at Cadbury Castle, an Iron Age hill fort and well known land mark. This fabled Dragon flies between Dolbury Hill at Killerton (NT) and Cadbury Castle and is reputed to guard the Fursdons of Fursdon and treasure at Cadbury. In 1643 during the Civil War Exeter was besieged by Parliamentarians. There was a lot of fighting in the area and sadly in one skirmish at Lyme, George Fursdon was killed. His body was brought back to Fursdon and Sir Thomas Fairfax's forces followed, camping on Cadbury Hill, a good vantage point to spot an army of Cornishmen who were on their way to take on the Parliamentarians. It is said that the dragon scared them away!
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