Rill House as it is now called 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, Old Walls where the curate lived from the 1760s. 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 photo was taken a few meters up from the house in the early 1900’s, before that time Brook Street was locally known as The Rag or Rag Street. The nickname is thought to commemorate a very violent fight between two ladies living there or that the name related to the Workhouse (Rill House) as the residents were made to pick rags for their keep.
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. At this time the house was known as Rock Garden.
This photo was also made into a postcard
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 details can be found here
“Exercise Tiger” was one of several assault rehearsals conducted at Slapton Sands and 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 details can be found here and here
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