I’m Nicky, the new owner of Harrabeer Country House from May 2021. I’ve travelled to all corners of the globe on business and pleasure, staying in accommodation ranging from swish hotels in Singapore to treehouses in Sumatra. And for decades, I’ve dreamed of taking the best of what I’ve experienced and creating my own haven for holidaymakers, using my background in corporate hospitality and interior design. Warm hospitality, inviting interiors and the personal touch are what make a stay special for me, and what you’ll continue to find at Harrabeer Country House.
The History of The Harrabeer
There’s been a dwelling of some kind on the site of Harrabeer House since before the Domesday Book, according to local records. The name Harrabeer means ‘wood of the hares’ in Old English which was spoken between around 450-1100. And there’s a document from 1503 that refers to ‘the dilapidated Harrabeer’, indicating that dwellings have come and gone here over the centuries!
The Harrabeer House of today has a 17th-century core, now the lounge bar and kitchen, with many features of a typical Devon longhouse; its roof construction, now hidden, dates it to the 1680s. The bar area was where the owners lived and the kitchen area was for animals, with the fireplace in between. A detached barn lay at right angles to the main building with a courtyard in the ‘L’. An external spiral staircase was added later to a new owner’s bedroom, a typical longhouse addition.
Before the railway explosion of the 1800s, Harrabeer remained much as it was when built in the 1680s. We know this because, at BUCKLAND ABBEY, there’s a tithe map from 1784 which shows ‘The Harrabeer’ – a farm on the Buckland Abbey Estate. In the 1850s the railway came through Yelverton, bringing people who wanted smart houses, so Harrabeer was extended, more than doubling its size.
More recently, in 1975 the house was turned into a hotel and its land sold off over time for housing. In 2001 new owners Michael and Amanda transformed its dilapidated barn into self-catering apartments and restored the original inglenook fireplace and ceiling beams in the oldest part of the house. In May 2021 the house gained new custodians – Nicky and her parents, Ena and Louis, whose aim is to continue to provide boundless hospitality in a country house that’s part of South Devon’s history.