Cullompton is an old settlement.  The name “culm” is a celtic word for stream and “ton” is an English word for settlement or farmstead.  Vespasian’s II Augusta Legion built a fort here on St. Andrew’s Hill and Shortlands Lane, which means the rear boundary of the Walronds property is probably the Roman road leading to the fort.  This has been made more likely by the discovery of Roman burial urns beside the lane, and finds of Roman pottery in the trial pits dug in the lane area as part of the Walronds project. The wall on the North side of the Walronds property leads directly from Fore Street to Shortlands Lane and is 440 yards long.  The frontage on Fore Street is still about 22 yards which shows that the original plot enclosed 2 acres of land.  This is a very early and important example of a burgage plot.

Cullompton was named in the will of King Alfred.  After Exeter was taken by the Conqueror in 1068, the manor of Cullompton was given to the the Earl of Devon.  The wife of the seventh Earl founded Buckland Abbey and gave the manor of Cullompton to the Abbey as part of its foundation.  At the dissolution of the monasteries the abbey lands were sold off in several lots.

The Walronds

In 1564 the property now known as the Walronds was bought by a local merchant and land-owner, Henry Parish.  He left it to his son Humphrey who in turn left it to his daughter Emilyn.  Emilyn married a lawyer from Marldon called John Peter or Petre, a member of an influential family which included a Secretary of State and a Mayor of Exeter.  Emilyn died in 1602 having borne her seventh child.  This was the year of a great fire which destroyed the properties standing at 2, 4, 6 and 8 Fore Street.  These were rebuilt between 1602 and 1605 and now comprise one of Devon’s best townscapes.

The Manor and Merchant’s houses were built with wooden frames and showy fronts as business premises.  John Peter built his house as a gentleman’s residence in stone, possibly to house his mother-in-law because of a condition in Humphrey Parish’s will.  The property passed through the family for some generations but came into the ownership of the Portman family at about the time of the Civil War.  it was leased to the Walronds for 3 lifetimes and during that period acquired its name.  It has always been used as a residence.  In the 19th Century the occupants were members of the Sydenham family.  In 1890 the Rev. George Sydenham died owing a mortgage to the lawyer Mr Burrow who then owned the adjacent Merchants’ House.  Mr Burrow foreclosed and spent a great deal of money in saving the building from collapse.  Extensive repairs to the roof of the North range make this evident.  The Burrow family sold the property after the Second World War.

In 1954 Miss I V Yeoman bought the north range and moved in with her niece, Miss June Severn.  In 1956 she bought the remainder of the property.  June inherited the property from her aunt but had insufficient funds of her own to maintain it.  During the long period of her occupancy she was obliged to sell off three lots of land at the North West end, which now house Laurel Dene and Little Walronds, and then to sell off the South range and part of the garden to the twin sisters, Beatrice and Daphne Reeves.  These ladies bequeathed the property to the Cullompton Walronds Preservation Trust, which has now brought about its restoration, giving it a further long lease of life in the service of the local community.