Castle Drogo was designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens between 1910 - 1913 for Sir Julius Drewe. Sir Julius was a self-made millionaire whose chain of Home and Colonial Stores enabled him to retire in 1899 at the age of 33. He had discovered that a Norman baron named Drogo de Teigne was his ancestor and was determined to build a castle on the acres that had once belonged to the baron. Sir Julius choose a dramatic site, 900 feet above the Teign gorge as the site of his castle. The foundation stone was laid on Sir Julius' 55th birthday in 1911. The original plans were for a more grandiose house but Sir Julius and his wife decided that the rooms were too large for comfort and in 1912 made a last-minute revision. The scaled down Castle Drogo admirably fulfilled his plans. The construction of the building took 20 years. The castle was built from granite and every block had to be specially quarried and then laid by two masons. Sadly, Sir Julius died only one year after the castle was completed in 1930. The medieval style interior at first seems to be as forbidding as the outside of the castle with bare stone walls and unpainted woodwork. However, Castle Drogo is a country house masquerading as a fortress. The castle has many changes of level, huge passages and a magnificent staircase.
Castle Drogo is now owned by the National Trust and is open to the public in March: Sat & Sun, pre-season guided tours only; tel. for details. 1 April to 31 Oct: daily except Fri (but open Good Fri) 11–5.30. The telephone number for further details is 01647 433306.