Dignitaries formally open Penrose Almshouses in Barnstaple

Lady Arran, the Countess of Arran, planted a plum tree to celebrate the event

Lady Arran, the Countess of Arran, planted a plum tree to celebrate the event - Credit: BTC

The sun shone down on dignitaries, residents, families, friends and trustees at Penrose Almshouses on Tuesday this week as everyone celebrated the ability to get together again post covid for the formal opening of the new gardens by Lady Arran VLL, MBE. 

Joining the celebrations were Lord and Lady Teverson who attended as an ambassador for the Almshouse Association, the Mayor and Mayoress of Barnstaple, Alan and Sue Rennles and Chairwoman of North Devon Council Councillor Julie Hunt. Lady Arran planted a plum tree in the grounds which was donated by the mayor. 

This historic Almshouse charity was established in 1624 to provide housing for the folk of Barnstaple and is run by a group of trustees who act as guardians of the Grade 1 listed heritage site.

The backdrop of shrubs and flowers have been carefully designed to provide all year-round interest and perfume

The backdrop of shrubs and flowers have been carefully designed to provide all year-round interest and perfume - Credit: BTC

Chairman Mike Ford said: “It is a pleasure to provide this garden for the residents of Penrose and we all hope that they gain much enjoyment from them.” 

The new gardens provide a mixture of large allotments, a communal allotment area with summer house and tool shed, plus three lawned areas for either quiet reflection or larger parties. 


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Unveiling a commemoration plaque Lady Arran, the Countess of Arran said: “Ladies and gentlemen, it is the happiest day possible for the Almshouses, to be here be with you all together and to see people all under a beautiful Devon blue sky. Penrose really is a sanctuary in Barnstaple and has the most extraordinary spiritual feel. This new garden really is just the icing on the cake. I cannot congratulate you all enough.” 

“There has been a lot of tender loving care in the creation of the garden and I’m sure there’s going to be an enormous amount of pleasure within this happiest area. Please enjoy every minute of it and thank you all so much for the incredible hard work that’s gone into it.” 

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Mayor Alan Rennles said: “It really is so wonderful to see the transformation of this garden. I know that this space is going to bring much joy to the residents here. It’s a marvellous achievement and I am delighted to be here today to see the official opening.”

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