History of the house and the area

Rill House was built as the old parish workhouse and is dated 1822, it is said to have been built from the rent of the curate's house. It probably closed after the Kingsbridge Poor Law Union built a new union workhouse in Kingsbridge in 1837. It was converted into a house in the early 20th century.

This is the earliest picture of the house we have found from 1925, so not long after the building was converted into a house. We have this picture in the front porch of the house for guests to enjoy.

In November, 1943, Devon County Council was informed by the War Cabinet that the Slapton Sands area was to be totally evacuated, to permit part of the South Hams to be used for practice assault landings. This was one of the most traumatic episodes in the area’s history, involving the clearance of 30,000 acres and three thousand men, women and children who were evacuated at the end of 1943, taking their belongings, livestock, pets and in many cases, farm equipment with them. These local people, some of whom had never left their homes and villages, had just six weeks to pack up and move away. Many had friends and relatives nearby who accommodated them. Farmers doubled up their land and some moved away from the area, never to return. They made way for 15,000 U.S. troops, who over the following months engaged in battle exercise, often involving live ammunition. More detail can be found here

“Exercise Tiger” was one of several assault rehearsals conducted at Slapton Sands.

It turned out to be one of the great tragedies of World War II. Hundreds of American soldiers and sailors died needlessly due to confusion and incompetence. It was one of the military’s best kept secrets until it was revealed to the world almost 40 years later.

This memorial can be found in the car park almost opposite the turning up into the village from the beach road by Slapton Sands

More detail can be found here and here