A RARE opportunity to look inside one of Tavistock’s grandest late 18th century homes was held recently.

A total of 37 people visited Mount Tavy House on August 31 to take a close look inside the historic building.

Tavistock Heritage Trust, in collaboration with Mount Kelly School, held the special open day where local experts spoke about the building’s history and architecture.

Originally built for the Carpenter family, owners of the large Taviton estate, the property had a number of interesting owners and tenants when the Carpenters moved away in 1881.

During the First World War the house was used as a neurological hospital treating up to 1,000 patients until its closure in 1919. On the death of the then owner, in 1928, the estate was divided.

In 1930 when Captain Robert Geoffrey Featherstonhaugh bought Mount Tavy House, he acquired the Georgian mansion with its magnificent countryside views.

On the ground floor of the house there were various rooms for family living and additional rooms such as a library and the billiards room.

Three staircases led to 14 bedrooms. Elsewhere on the 42-acre estate were cottages, tennis courts, fish ponds and a swimming pool.

Featherstonhaugh sold the estate in 1934 and in 1940 the property was bought by a Plymouth-based school, originally founded in 1881, and became Mount House School upon the move to Tavistock.

In 2014 it merged with Kelly College to form Mount Kelly, a co-educational independent day and boarding school for pupils from three to 18 with approximately 600 pupils.

This event, organised by the Tavistock Heritage Trust, offered two sessions to view the house and grounds in the company of William May Somerville, an old boy of the school and current governor, and Sue Spackman, past chair of the Devon Historic Buildings Trust, who highlighted the historic features of the house.