Benchams was (and remains) a large private house located between Newton Poppleford and Southerton.  It was built in about 1906 by Willoughby Statham Smith, who also owned considerable estate land and many residential and farm properties in the area.  The garden was enhanced by statuary and ornamental features  –  but sadly most of these were stripped out by a later owner who removed these to a new site.

Benchams and land z

Benchams and some its surrounding land.



There was  – until recently –  a very pretty cottage close to and associated with Benchams.  Sadly, a serious fire in April 2017 destroyed this lovely ‘Arts & Crafts’ style building, leaving only a chimney stack standing.  The owners intend to rebuild the cottage as close to the original design as possible.

Below you can the cottage in fine condition, then during the fire, and then all that is left:

If you have any photos of Benchams Cottage, from any angle  and taken at any time, please email a copy to   as soon as possible.  The owners will be very grateful for any help you can provide.




Benchams  –  estimated 1960s




Benchams dining room (2)

Dining Room

Benchams drawing room

Drawing Room


Willoughby Statham Smith died in 1946, and the house and estate lands were sold by auction in 1947; below is a ‘Plan B’ showing some of the properties sold at that time.  We have not as yet found a copy of ‘Plan A’ . . .

Benchams estate auction Plan B.JPG

W S Smith allowed his property to be used for various events, such as those illustrated below:

Meet at Benchams xN008Schoolboys at Benchams for partySchoolgirls at Benchams for party x



Willoughby Statham Smith on left, Daisy Bastyan (maid) on  right