Wildercombe House - About us

Wildercombe House is a family-run guest house, owned by Barry and Anne-Marie Marsh. Our search for the ‘right property’ began in 2009, encompassing the East and South coasts of England, resulting in our purchase in May 2010 of Wildercombe House, located in Ilfracombe, North Devon.

Built in 1885, Wildercombe House is a former Victorian Gentleman’s residence, and from its hillside location enjoys panoramic views of the Bristol Channel, Ilfracombe, and rolling countryside.

The restoration work of Wildercombe House began in January 2011. Our vision was to be sympathetic, but adventurous, retain the building’s history and architecture, yet offer everything we expect of our buildings in the 21st century, including the installation of a lift providing access to all floors, and wi-fi throughout.

Re-opening in June 2012, Wildercombe House offers our guests generously proportioned, luxurious accommodation, including one room with disabled compliant facilities.

Children aged 14 years and over are welcome.

Wildercombe House - History & Heritage

1884 – 1887

25 March 1884 – James King, AndrewHarris, George Cardell and George Russell agree to purchase the land known as ‘Bicklescombe’.
16 July 1884 – ‘Bicklescombe’ is sold by George Russell to Joseph Mayfield of Hemel Hempstead.
Coincidentally, the current owner, Anne-Marie Marsh, was born in Hemel Hempstead.
29 Sept’ 1885 – Indenture between Joseph Mayfield (owner), George Russell (estate agent) and William Jones (builder) conclude transaction of land, now renamed ‘Wildercombe Park Estate’.
Original name of the house was to be ‘Woodside’. Terms of planning permission demands 200 trees and shrubs to be planted in the grounds.
18 Nov’ 1885 – Confusion suggests that the afore mentioned were subsequently removed from all legal documents and a new Indenture was produced on this date.
25 Dec’ 1885 – Plans are produced for the house, offices, stable and coach house to the value of £1500.00. The blueprint for the build is displayed in the lobby of Wildercombe House today.
It is assumed that Wildercombe House took 22 months to build.
15 Oct’ 1887 – Joseph Mayfield and George Russell sell Wildercombe House to Thomas Viccars.

1902 – 1943

13 Nov’ 1902 – Thomas Starkey, of the local brewery ‘Starkey, Knight and Ford’, buys Wildercombe House.
7 Dec 1907 – In addition to Thomas Starkey, Edward Jones, Duff and Arthur Pridham become joint owners.
Sometime before 1929, Hilda Byng Uniacke buys Wildercombe House.
16 Sept’ 1929 – Hilda Byng Uniacke sells Wildercombe House to Bragatha Jane Hamilton.
5 April 1938 – Elsie Pringle buys Wildercombe House.
14 July 1942 – Mary Nest Chichele Curre Simmonds buys Wildercombe House.
1 March 1943 – Mary Simmonds sells to Edith Borland.

1943 – 1968

1943-1945 – Local hearsay suggests that Wildercombe House was requisitioned by the military during WWII for the recuperation of soldiers and was also a maternity unit at some stage.
30 May 1945 – Edith Borland sells to Bryant Wackley Heal.
26 March 1947 – Bryant Heal sells to Winifred Ida Boundy, who then renames Wildercombe House ‘Seacroft Hotel’.
27 Sept 1968 – Winifred Boundy sells ‘Seacroft Hotel’ to Ronald and Sheila Saunders, who change the name back to Wildercombe House.

1972 – 2001

4 July 1972 – Ronald Saunders sells to Edward James, who had sold their bakery in Appledore to become first time hoteliers.
1980 – 1986 – Edward James sells Wildercombe House to an unknown buyer in 1980, purchasing Heanton Court public house in Braunton. Possibly one or two different owners during this period, names unknown.
11 July 1986 – A fire certificate issued to a new owner, suggesting that Mr and Mrs Maurice Cook and Mr and Mrs J Aston had recently purchased Wildercombe House. After February 1988, Mr and Mrs Aston no longer appear on any documentation.
30 June 1995 – Mr and Mrs Cook cease to trade Wildercombe House as a hotel.
5 June 1996 – Mr R J Synyard was in the process of purchasing Wildercombe House. In July 1998, Mr M N Clarke of Diamond Hill, Camberley, applied for change of use from hotel to residential care home. Application refused in October 1998.
28 April 1999 – Mr Synyard sold Wildercombe House to Mr M Callaghan and Miss J Sharp.
23 September 2003 – Mr Callaghan sells to Mr and Mrs Michael and Ellen Jones.

2009 – present

2009 – Mr and Mrs Jones put Wildercombe House up for sale. Barry and Anne-Marie Marsh view and enter in to negotiations to purchase Wildercombe House.
May 2010 – The Marsh family move from Bedfordshire to Wildercombe House.
June 2010 – Architects submit planning application to North Devon Council for renovation works.
August 2010 – Planning approved, and a building company is appointed to start works.
Jan 2011 – Renovation works commence.
5 May 2012 – Wildercombe House renovation works are finished and handed back to the Marsh family.
1 June 2012 – Wildercombe House re-opens for business.

Wildercombe House Awards


TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence
TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence Hall of Fame 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018
Booking.com Guest Review Awards 9.7/10


TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence
Booking.com Guest Review Awards 9.6/10
LateRooms Top Rated Award


TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence
Booking.com Guest Review Awards 9.5/10


TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence
TripAdvisor Service Excellence winner
Booking.com Award of Excellence 9.5/10
Hotels.com Outstanding Guest Review Award 4.8/5


Visit England Five Star Guest Accommodation
Visit England Gold Award for exceptional quality of accommodation and customer service
VisitEngland Breakfast Award
TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence
Booking.com Award of Excellence 9.5/10


Visit England Five Star Guest Accommodation
Visit England Gold Award for exceptional quality of accommodation and customer service


Visit England Breakfast Award
TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence


Visit England Five Star Guest Accommodation
Visit England Gold Award for exceptional quality of accommodation and customer service
Visit England National Accessible Scheme