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Philham Water Cottage


Built over 500 years ago and rumoured to be the oldest cottage of its kind in Devon, Philham Water Cottage is a listed building, typical of the kind that must have always existed in the Devon countryside. Smallholders’ and labourers’ cottages were built of the local materials most easily available, and developed over the centuries from humble single-storey dwellings into two-storey cottages such as we have here. The materials most readily to hand were rubble stone, cob (mud mixed with straw) and thatch, and it is of these that Philham Water Cottage is built, with brick for the chimneys, made as tall as possible to provide a draft in this sheltered place.

Painting by Michael Lee, at a time when Lord Thurlow, Miranda’s father, would visit to plant roses in the garden.

In the 1930’s Miranda’s mother bought this cottage, sight unseen, from her teacher at Chelsea Art College in London, having fallen in love with a painting of it.  In those days it took a whole day to journey here from London and water had to be drawn from a spring in the hedgerow (still there) and cooking was done on the open hearth.   Although  modern conveniences have been added, the family has resisted the temptation to gentrify it so it still retains the rustic charm of latched doors, low beams and ceilings, flagged floors, plus a large fireplace into which an efficient wood-burning stove has been installed. Roses and honeysuckle grace the exterior wall.

Nature is rampant, and needs to be cut back from time to time.

Since the death of Miranda’s father aged 101, protection of this heritage has been passed to Miranda.  When you come here to share the beauty and the healing qualities of this unique place,  your rental cost will be a vital contribution towards its ongoing upkeep.

Questions?        You may email Miranda at mirvanya@gmail.com