Also known as Old Shute House, Shute Barton is an embattled 14th century manor house with the addition of a late 15th century wing. There was also a Tudor block, but this was demolished around 1785. The house was built around 1380, and consists of two wings in a L shape. The house is approached through a 15th century three-storey gatehouse.
Shute Barton, located at Shute, near Axminster, Devon, is a medieval manor house, today a property of the National Trust. Shute Barton is one of the most important non-fortified manor houses of the Middle Ages still in existence. It was commenced in approximately 1380 and finally completed in the late 16th century, before being partly demolished in the 17th century. Only two wings of the original 1380 building now remain, including a kitchen with the largest Tudor fireplace in Britain, with a span of 24 feet. The great hall with its beamed ceiling and the kitchen with its large open fireplace have survived and the house displays battlemented turrets, two garderobes, late Gothic windows and a Mock Tudor gatehouse. The changes made to the Shute Barton Manor have not disguised the ancient origins of the building. This can be particularly seen in the large hall at the top (where the kitchen staff used to sleep).
Adjacent to St. Michael’s Church sits the ancient manor house of the Parish of Shute, built in 1380 by Sir William Bonneville, a Norman from Bonneville, Sheriff of Devon, Somerset, and Dorset. It remained in his family for five generations. Lord William Bonneville (The Builder’s grandson who served in France under Henry V was knighted there in 1417) was beheaded and his two sons killed in the Wars of the Roses, and so his grand daughter Cecily inherited it. She married Thomas Grey who became the first Marquess of Dorset. During the 15th century the building was extended by the Grey family who remained at Shute Barton until 1554, when the entire family fell from favour following their failed attempt to install Lady Jane Grey on the throne of England. Lady Jane Grey The 'Queen for Nine Days' was beheaded in 1554, as was her father, by Edward VI. The house passed to one of Queen Mary's advisers, Sir William Petre, who sold it to a successful lawyer, William Pole in 1560: he built the Gatehouse; he and his family extended and ornamented the house.

Interestingly, all three families to own it were related, the Poles being descended from the brother of Sir William, the builder. Each family contributed equally to its building. In 1730 the Rev. Carolus, a younger brother of Sir William Pole, Master of Queen Anne’s Household (his statue is in the Church, nearby), who owned Shute, inherited the Antony Estate in Cornwall from a Carew kinsman, and so added Carew to his surname. In 1870, Sir John William Pole pulled down two thirds of the house to provide foundations for a smart new house, a quarter of a mile up the drive, to impress his friend, the Prince Regent. It cost £50,000 a huge sum in those days (about £3M plus today), and the Prince Regent stayed there for one night! The original house, in fact, was in none too good shape by then. The Poles had been Royalists; their main home Colcombe Castle, outside Colyton, was totally destroyed, and Shute, which was not a fortified house, was 'distressed', that is it was damaged by the Roundheads sufficiently thoroughly to make it a misery to live in, but not so badly that the owner could claim exemption from taxes - a practice they had learnt from Henry VIII when he dissolved the Monastries!

Shute is now run by the National Trust: it was given to them in 1959 by Sir John Carew Pole, whose plaque is on the wall of the courtyard . He stipulated that it was to be kept as a dwelling house, and that the Pole family had right of first refusal on the lease whenever it came available. As a result, in 1988, Christopher and Gillian Pole-Carew came to live at Shute, the first Poles to live there since 1780, and of their own direct line since 1730. The house is currently (2010) empty and being restored. The National Trust has plans to make it into a holiday let, although with opportunities for the Pole family to return.

Shute parish contains 683 souls, 2738 acres of land and several scattered houses. It is believed that there may have been a Saxon Church on this site, but as there are no written records to confirm this prior to the year 1205, the history of St. Michael’s must start there. The earliest record of the church is a Deed of Bishop Marshall (1194-1206) which refers to ecclesia de Colinton et Cappella de Schieta proving the early foundation of the chapel.
In the year 1205 the men of Devon paid 5000 marks to King John to have the County “disafforested” all but Dartmoor and Exmoor, and sometime afterwards the Manor of Shute was created out of the waste land, and given to Lucas de la Shute (or Schiete) who built a Manor House and Church. The builders of Shute Chapel, taking as their model the mother church of Colyton, erected a cruciform building with an Early English centre tower. The stone used is dressed flint, and the exterior features of the building are mainly of perpendicular style. In the 15th Century the South Transept was widened, and the Lady Chapel erected on the North side of the Chancel, the wall being replaced by an arcade. In 1811 the North Aisle was added, and the arcade replaced the Nave wall.
The font is fifteenth century, probably later re-dressed. There is “Devonshire” foliage on the fifteenth century capitals in the side chapel, and the heraldic glass in the same chapel is early seventeenth century. There were three bells in the tower in 1553 which survived until 1760 when a licence was granted to cast three bells into four, and add another to make a peal of five. A sixth bell was added in 1923. In 1967 the sanctuary was refashioned and the Lady Chapel (which had been dismantled in the 16th Century) refurnished and re-consecrated.
The church has several handsome monuments of the Poles, one of which has a fine marble statue of Sir William Pole in full dress, as master of Queen Anne's household. Another member of the dynasty, Margaret Pole, is commemorated with a 19th-century alabaster sculptured panel depicting her greeting her daughters at the gates of heaven.

Mousa Al Kordi M.A., a Moslem Artist and Lecturer at Exeter University, created the Millennium Plaque on the South Chancel Wall. The work was inspired by both the 15C Grunewald crucifixion and the nave window in Coventry Cathedral.