Latest News

Latest News from Fairlynch Museum



Posted 6 Nov 2018

Triumphant 2018 Season for Fairlynch
















The Lord Lieutenant of Devon, David Fursdon with ‘The Boyhood of Raleigh’


The return of Sir John Everett Millais’ painting ‘The Boyhood of Raleigh’ to Tate Britain marks the end of a highly successful season for Fairlynch, which closed

its doors for the winter on 31 October.


The Museum welcomed over 7,000 visitors, a 40% increase on recent years. £7,500 was raised from entry fees, and £1,050 was received in donations.


Raleigh 400 was the main event, running for five months from 28 May, when the exhibition was opened by Lord Lieutenant of Devon David Fursdon.

















Wedding dresses from the Fairlynch collection


Other displays were much praised by visitors, including the Costume Department’s ‘100 Years of Devon Weddings’ and the Quilts and Textiles exhibition.


Among the experts who had visited Fairlynch during the year were historian Anna Beer, author of a recent biography of Sir Walter Raleigh, and costumes writer

Jill Salen, who is preparing material for a book about the Museum’s collections.


There was a marked increase in the number of group visits to Fairlynch, including those organised by local schools.


Thanks to a Heritage Lottery Fund grant, enabling the services of Education Outreach officer Lizzie Mee, the Museum was able to engage with a good

number of schools. A total of 2,685 children benefitted from the Raleigh 400 teaching programme, including receiving leaflets and other promotional materials.














Powderham Castle’s State Dining Room


The Museum’s successful season culminates in a special Raleigh 400 dinner on Thursday 29 November in the State Dining Room of Powderham Castle for Friends of Fairlynch and their friends and guests. The Guest of Honour will be the Earl of Devon.



Pic: HLF logo 2018.139a


The Lord Lieutenant of Devon, David Fursdon
Wedding dresses from the Fairlynch collection
Powderham Castle’s State Dining Room

Posted 3 Aug 2018

Carrying on with Raleigh

Visitor numbers at Fairlynch’s Raleigh 400 exhibition have doubled over the summer, and now by popular demand our tribute to East Devon’s greatest historical figure

is being extended until the end of the season. Sir John Millais’ masterpiece ‘The Boyhood of Raleigh’ will continue to be on display.

‘It’s excellent news,’ commented Fairlynch Chairman Trevor Waddington. ‘We’re very grateful to Tate London for approving the loan until 31 October. This means we'll be

able to take full advantage of the Heritage Lottery Fund grant and extend our education outreach programme into the Autumn term.’

The news means that Raleigh 400 will coincide with Budleigh Salterton's 2018 Literary Festival when historian Anna Beer will review her latest book on Sir Walter Raleigh.

The exhibition will also cover the date of Raleigh’s death, which took place on 29 October 1618.


















Cllr Tom Wright, Mayor of Budleigh Salterton, admires Sir John Millais' 1870 masterpiece 'The Boyhood of Raleigh' at our Raleigh 400 exhibition

 Cllr Tom Wright, Mayor of Budleigh Salterton

Posted 3 May 2018

PRESS RELEASE - 2 May 2018


RALEIGH 400 – celebrating the life of Sir Walter Raleigh


Fairlynch Museum wins National Lottery support


Fairlynch Museum, Budleigh Salterton, has received £15,400 from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) for Raleigh 400, an exhibition and events celebrating the life of Sir Walter Raleigh in this year, the 400th anniversary of his death.


Made possible by money raised by National Lottery players, the exhibition will include Sir John Everett Millais’ famous painting ‘The Boyhood of Raleigh’ on loan from the Tate, London. The exhibition will open on 28 May and run until 31 August.


Alongside the exhibition there will be a recreation of the painting of ‘The Boyhood of Raleigh’ on 28 May as part of Budleigh’s Gala Week on the spot beside the Raleigh wall on the sea front where Millais painted the picture in 1870.


Thanks to National Lottery players, the Raleigh 400 project will also enable local young people to discover more about Sir Walter, his life and times in Devon and his dramatic career as a courtier and favourite of Queen Elizabeth, an adventurer and a poet; and his execution on the order of King James. Volunteers will play a key role in the creation of the exhibition and people of all ages will be able to get involved in events.


Walter Raleigh was born in about 1553 at Hayes Barton, East Budleigh. Arguably, he is one of the most significant historical figures from East Devon. With his pioneering attempts to establish the first English-speaking colony in the New World, well before the voyage of the Pilgrim Fathers in 1620, he contributed to the creation of the United States of America. Its founders were inspired by what many saw as his republican ideas. Millais’ painting celebrates his seafaring spirit and is an outstanding image from the national art collection.


Commenting on the award, Trevor Waddington, Chairman of Fairlynch, said: ‘We are very pleased to have received support from the National Lottery towards this ambitious project and plan to engage local people and visitors through our exciting exhibition and events’.


Fairlynch Museum was established in 1967 to serve Budleigh Salterton and the Lower Otter Valley. The museum is a charitable organisation run entirely by volunteers. It cares for significant local collections of geology, archaeology, local history, fine art and textiles. The museum is open to the public every day (except Mondays) from Easter to the end of October.


About the Heritage Lottery Fund


Thanks to National Lottery players, we invest money to help people across the UK explore, enjoy and protect the heritage they care about - from the archaeology under our feet to the historic parks and buildings we love, from precious memories and collections to rare wildlife. Follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and use #HLFsupported.

For further information, images and interviews please contact:


  • Trevor Waddington, Chairman of Trustees: 01395 443978
  • Michael Downes, Trustee and Press Officer: 01395 446407
  • Martyn Brown, Trustee: 01395 445171

Posted 25 Apr 2018

Matching the Millais














As you should know by now, a famous painting will be displayed at the museum when when Fairlynch opens its doors on 28 May for the Raleigh 400 exhibition.

But it’s also being staged on Budleigh beach.


Victorian artist Sir John Everett Millais painted his masterpiece in 1870, showing the young Walter Raleigh, the future favourite courtier of Queen Elizabeth I, and his half-brother Humphrey Gilbert listening to a sailor’s tales of exotic voyages. The painting, part of Tate Britain’s collection, will be on display for three months until 31 August.















Sir John Everett Millais, a self-portrait, as reproduced in the artist’s biography published by his son John Guille Millais who was also a successful artist


Adding to celebrations on the opening day of the exhibition, members of the town’s Art Club have set themselves the challenge of recreating the scene painted by Millais.

And a few additional characters will be making an appearance in the tableau, including the artist with his easel, an adult Sir Walter himself on horseback and his mother

Katherine Champernowne, all in period costume.














The part of Katherine Champernowne will be played by Rosemary Griggs, pictured, a retired senior civil servant who now has time to indulge a lifelong interest in history.

She regularly gives talks in costume and in character as Lady Katherine at Compton Castle, and also talks to other groups.


Rosemary has done much research into Katherine’s life in Devon, and her family and will be available to chat informally with visitors to the tableau and the museum.

‘I can also include details of my costume - people are often fascinated by it,’ she says.















The Queen Mother's carriage, surmounted by her crown, adorned with camellias from her own gardens and draped in her personal standard, travels down to

Westminster Abbey for her funeral on 30 March 2002



Sir Walter on horseback will be played by Rob Batson, of Budleigh Salterton Riding School. A former captain with the King's Troop Royal Horse Artillery, in 2002,

he led the guard which escorted the coffin of the Queen Mother on the George Gun from Westminster Hall to the service in nearby Westminster Abbey.


‘There will be reflections,’ he was quoted as saying at the time, after the funeral of such a much-loved member of the royal family.

‘I have some time off to get to grips with what has happened and being part of history.’


On this occasion, for the re-creation of the ‘Boyhood’ scene, Rob Batson will be riding Doughnut, his faithful 20-year-old mount who has the distinction of taking part in the

Trooping of the Colour.


The Budleigh Salterton event will be on a much smaller scale, but he will again be playing a historic role. Sir Walter Raleigh, among his many achievements and offices,

was a loyal Captain of the Guard for the first Queen Elizabeth.


Local families have been keen to respond to the challenge by providing models for the two children in the original painting. Eleven-year-old twins Frank and Henry Southan

from Budleigh Salterton had their heads shaved last year to raise funds for cancer charity Macmillan Cancer Support. Now the boys, pupils at St Peter’s Church of England

Primary School in Budleigh, are ready to help the museum project by taking part in the tableau and encouraging visitors to see the original painting at Fairlynch.














Playing the part of young Walter Raleigh, as he listens to the stories which supposedly inspired him to found the first English-speaking colony in the New World,

will demand real acting skills, thinks Henry. ‘Lots of people will be taking photos of the scene, so it’s important for us all to have the right expressions,’ he points out.


Gender will not be a limiting factor in the tableau. ‘Purists might object but I can’t see any reason why the children shouldn’t be girls, or a boy and a girl,’ said organizer and

Art Club member John Washington, who will play the part of Millais.


Budleigh Brownies are among the local groups who have been approached for candidates to play the part of Walter and his half-brother.


The original painting will go back to Tate Britain at the end of August, but Fairlynch volunteers and Art Club members organizing the tableau are sure that images of this

new Raleigh-inspired masterpiece will be treasured by the museum and by many proud parents.


A certain number of places are available for young persons aged 10-14 to play the parts of Walter Raleigh and Humphrey Gilbert in the Raleigh Wall tableau, from 14:00 to 16:00

on Monday 28 May. For further details and to book a place please email Fairlynch Museum Trustee Michael Downes via



The Boyhood of Raleigh
Sir John Everett Millais
Rosemary Griggs
The Queen Mother's carriage

Posted 8 Feb 2018

Raleigh 400















This year sees the 400th anniversary of Sir Walter Raleigh’s death. Budleigh Salterton’s Fairlynch Museum and Sherborne Castle in Dorset, built by Raleigh in 1594,

are two West Country places with ambitious plans for marking the quatercentenary.


The highlight of Fairlynch’s Raleigh 400 exhibition, opening on 28 May, will be the original painting ‘The Boyhood of Raleigh’ by the celebrated Victorian artist Sir John Everett Millais.

On loan from Tate Britain, this Pre-Raphaelite masterpiece, set on Budleigh beach and showing the young Walter and his half-brother Humphrey Gilbert, has been exhibited

locally only on two occasions in the last 50 years. A second painting by Millais will be on show, together with other period items including a pair of Sir Walter’s gloves.


You can find out more about Raleigh 400 on a blog specially set up by Fairlynch volunteer Michael Downes at It includes a calendar of

Raleigh 400 events taking place worldwide in 2018.

Posted 21 Nov 2017

We Need Your Help


Fairlynch Museum is making a display in 2018 to commemorate the centenary of the end of WW1

We are looking for any information, memories, documentation (letters etc.) and photographs that you may have from relatives and friends

who worked in the VAD Hospitals at Serai, Budleigh Salterton and Bicton House and also Work Parties - set-up to support the Hospitals.


The Hospitals functioned from 1914 - 1919.



The photo below may have been taken at Serai.

This photo below may have been taken at Serai

We have lists of the staff of those hospitals – and lists of people who were part of Working Parties to support the Hospitals - these can

be found online at Fairlynch Museum website:


or leave a message on the website contact page.

Posted 26 Apr 2017

The Making of a Museum












A long-awaited booklet about the history of Fairlynch is now available with the publication of The Making of a Museum, edited by Fairlynch Trustee Michael Downes. Based on

a 1987 study of the museum building itself, the new title has been brought out to mark Fairlynch’s 50th anniversary and chronicles the development of a much-loved

Budleigh institution from its beginnings up to the present day.


At over 50 pages and lavishly illustrated with almost 100 images, The Making of a Museum is a tribute to the original founders of Fairlynch as well as a story of determination

and vision. It was a story crowned by many achievements. One of the most notable was persuading the Tate Gallery to allow on two occasions the showing in Budleigh of

Millais’ original painting ‘The Boyhood of Raleigh’.


The booklet is available from the Museum shop, price £5.00. All profits go to Fairlynch.



© Fairlynch Museum & Arts Centre 2018 All Rights Reserved | Registered Charity 306636 | Cookie & Privacy Policy