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Exeter Golf and Country Club has a long history as one of the leading establishments in Exeter. Here’s a timeline spanning the history of the club and our location, Wear Park.
The Manor of Weare Park belongs to the Buckenton family in the reign of Henry III.
The land was passed via female heirs through the families of Bathe, Medstead.
The Duke of Exeter, John Holland was the first person to settle building the original property on the site of Wear Park house.
Wear Park was passed through the families of the Foulkes, Rodds and then the Spicers.
Sir John Duckworth purchased the house and estate, making significant improvements to the property, as it currently stands today. He died in 1817, with his body brought back to Wear Park house until his funeral in Topsham Church.
Exeter Golf Club opens with 96 founder members at Stoke Wood Farm in the Pennsylvania area of the city, with panoramic views to Exmouth, Woodbury, Sidmouth, Dartmoor and Crediton.
Captain George Henry James Duckworth-King sold the estate.
Ernest Charles Eveleigh and his wife resided in the house until his death. He is buried in Topsham Church.
Exeter Golf and Country Club open the city’s first 18 hole golf course at Wear Park designed by acclaimed golf architect, James Braid, famous for designing the Gleneagles course. The club also offers tennis courts and accommodation in the house with 420 members.
US Navy Supply Depot occupies part of the golf course, with the largest such facility of its kind in the south of England. Wear Park house accommodated American Army personnel who were wounded and recuperating.
The house and part of the land were returned to the golf club while a large area was retained by the MOD as a Naval Store – now a housing development.
The golf course was re-designed by James Braid according to the new land boundaries.
Dutch Elm Disease changes the tree line of the course.
The first Pro Am takes place.
Storms kill another 20 trees changing the landscape again.
Golf course architect Donald Steel redesigns parts of the course taking into account developments in technology and the changes to the course from the loss of trees.
The ‘Twenty Sixteen’ Golf Course opens after a significant redesign of the 9th, 10th, 17th and 18th holes by international golf architects Mackenzie and Ebert, following issues with the course boundary and neighbouring housing developments. The new course is highly acclaimed, more challenging and offers the region’s best 18th hole with new pond and fountain directly in front of Wear Park house.
Exeter is renowned as one of England’s most haunted cities. Wear Park certainly plays its part in this claim. Many of our senior members have been visiting the club since childhood and their parents the same. We have team members who have worked here over 30 years spending time in their early days here with staff who had worked the 30 years previous. Ghost stories are passed down through generations of staff and members like an inheritance. Ghostly encounters are regularly reported by our current team members…would you fancy locking up in the dark? Below are some of the spooky stories we know of…do you know of more?
Many a tale is told of hauntings in the old cottage to the right of the main car park. The snooker balls were often sent rolling across the table out of the triangle in the middle of the night. An old man and woman guarding the doorway of the property were seen by visitors when the occupiers were out and no one was home.
Legend has it that tunnels exist beneath the basement of the club leading outside of the estate and to the river. We’d love to investigate!
A story which has been reported many times is that of a ghostly horse and carriage pulling up to the front of Wear Park house. There were two original entrances to the house from Topsham Road – guarded by gate houses, still there now.
The ghostly silhouette of a woman in flowing clothes has been seen standing in the doorway at the entrance to what is now the spa. It is claimed she was the servant mistress of an owner from the 1800s who was pregnant with his child when she hung herself in the stable block, which is now the location of the swimming changing room, with the Mews Suite above.
A team member was stocking up the fridge in the Sports Bar years ago and a picture flew off the wall above her head. It had been propelled through the air and the hanging string was still in tact.
There are many reports of doors inexplicably swinging open or banging shut, but the best was in the middle of the night when the club was closed and empty. The alarm went off at 3.15am, caused by movement in the main kitchen, directly above the basement corridor. When the CCTV was checked, the kitchen door went from being closed and still to suddenly swinging open violently.
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