David Lee

December 2020

David is standing down as our Secretary, a role that he has undertaken so well since the beginning of the Trust in 2003. We are very grateful for his hard work and commitment over the years and are pleased that he will remain as a Trustee. He will continue to host our meetings in his dining room and we look forward to his generous supply of coffee and biscuits once COVID is no longer a threat!

Please note the change of mailing address now David is no longer Secretary - see the Applying for a Grant section for details.

Bystock Court

December 2020

We are pleased to say that Bystock Court is under new management and will again give support for people in need. It is being refurbished to provide accommodation for adults with learning disabilities and is also the registered address of Agency Assistance. This organisation provides personal care and support for people living in their own homes. We wish the whole enterprise every success.

A History of Bystock and Marley : The Twentieth Century and Beyond.

December 2020

Exmouth Local History Group have once again produced an excellent book which brings the history of these two mansions up to date. It follows on from the first volume: ‘The Elusive Bryce Family’ which was published in 2013. It is a wealth of information, not only about the particular history of Bystock, but also of Exmouth and the way of life in many a grand house in the early part of the twentieth century.

It is highly recommended!

Copies are available from mdclaredale@tiscali.co.uk, or contact Mike Tracey 01395 260442

Bystock Reunion

December 2020

Sadly, because of the corona virus, any thoughts of organising another Bystock Court Association reunion are on hold. However, we continue to receive occasional emails from people who were in some way connected to Bystock when it was a thriving community.

We’ve recently received these memories from Christine:

Bystock Remembered

I was one of a group of students invited to a meeting at a house in Topsham to hear about the plan to buy Bystock. I think this may have been before the house was bought, probably in 1964 or early in 1965? When the sale was complete we were invited to see the house and able to explore the main rooms but not the service wing.

I remember the panelled entrance hall with stuffed animal heads around the walls, including I believe a gnu (Flanders and Swann songs were popular at the time). There was a flower room with a ‘twin’ WC off to the right and a grand staircase. The bathroom had a wooden panelled bath with a wooden shower hood at one end and an array of controls. Then there was a large bedroom with a wall of fitted wardrobes to the right of the door. The doors opened to reveal mirrored backs and in one there was a dress uniform, perhaps for a colonial governor? I think this room was above the ballroom and had views over the garden.

In the garden I remember a pergola that formed a wisteria (?) tunnel, a cave or grotto by a lake, and a terrace along the back of the house looking out over very neglected gardens.

We started having student working parties to clear the overgrown shrubs and plants and I also remember working on improving a track to a field north-east of the house. I quite enjoyed swinging a pickaxe! At the time I was a student at Rolle College and had a scooter. I still remember going back in the evening along the Withycombe road with the bats caught in my headlights.

Bystock Court

October 2019

Bystock Court as seen from the airSince the Bystock Court reunion in 2015 it has been great to hear from several more past residents. The community made such a difference to so many lives and it is so fondly remembered that it has been suggested that we might hold another reunion in 2020 - if you would like this to happen, please let us know!

We see that the property was finally sold in September last year, 2018, for £1,475,000 and we are keen to find out what it will be used for.

New Trustees

October 2018

We are very pleased that two new Trustees were elected at our AGM in October. Both Trustees bring considerable experience to the role - Anne as a teacher of basic skills and John as a senior social worker. We are grateful for their time and interest.

Application procedure

Please be aware that we have amended our application form and the new version is attached on the Applying for a Grant page. We are asking organisations, to whom we have previously given a grant, to let us know briefly how the money was spent. We would also remind applicants to email a Word version of the application and recent accounts as well as sending a paper copy by post to our Secretary.

Ruth Dyke

In February this year, we were saddened to learn of the death of Ruth Dyke aged 97. For fifteen years she was a much loved and respected Health Visitor visiting and supporting many of the families that passed through Bystock. We are very grateful to her for the love and help she gave and we pass our condolences to her family and to Tim, in particular, who is now one of our Trustees.

Bystock Court

The house was put up for sale for £1,750,000 by Devon Sheltered Homes in the summer of 2016. We understand that it is under offer and are curious to know what it will be used for. A description of the building may be found on the estate agents website.

It has been listed at Grade 11 by Historic England and the reasons for this, together with a history of the building, may be found at historicengland.org.uk.

A History of Bystock

In 2013 Exmouth Local History Group published a splendid book entitled 'A History of Bystock and Marley’.

It explores the fascinating story of the elusive Bryce family who owned Bystock and the adjacent, luxurious, though briefly lived in, mansion of Marley. It follows the lives of key figures and uncovers the family’s links to the lucrative trade in guano in the mid-nineteenth century. This involved the transportation of people, known as ‘coolies’, from China to Peru to mine the guano in dreadful conditions, few of whom survived longer than three years.

With illustrations, maps and old photographs the book provides an intriguing picture of life for the wealthy during the late Victorian and Edwardian period.

The Exmouth Local History Group has plans to explore the history of Bystock on through the 20ieth century and we eagerly await the results.

For more information the Group can be contacted through Mike Tracey 01395 260442 or via email: mdclaredale@tiscali.co.uk


During 2017 we have sadly lost 3 long serving Trustees. Kate Lovell was the longest serving of all, having moved into Bystock with her family when it first started in 1965. She served as Secretary to the Association for many years and contributed tirelessly to the general running of the community as well as working as a district nurse. She became a Trustee when it started in 2003 and resigned due to ill health in October 2016. We regret that she passed away in February this year. Her love and enthusiasm and generosity of spirit will be sorely missed. Graham Lockley also lived and worked in the community and has been a Trustee for ten years. Maria Onley has served fourteen years. We are indebted to both of them for bringing their invaluable wisdom,experience and enthusiasm to further the aims of the Trust.

Bystock Reunion

On Friday 25th September 2015 we returned to the ballroom at Bystock to celebrate the founding of the community 50 years ago. Old friends, former residents and their children came from near and far to reminisce about the happy times we had shared together and the help people had received.

Laura Brooks, who lives in Japan sent a message - 'I'm sooooo very sorry that I can't join you all today. I would love to meet you all again, to see Bystock, have a ride in the old mini-bus, eat fish and chips in the ballroom after the coffee-morning, find Father Christmas on the roof, fall off the tyre swing into the lake-and, of course, climb a few trees, play "war" and kick the can in the grounds ! Hope you all get to do that today!'

Well, we didn't stretch to playing kick the can but we shared photos, drank tea, ate huge amounts of cake and happily recalled people and events. We remembered absent friends and family and acknowledged our deep gratitude the founders and the many people who had worked so hard to make Bystock Court the loving and very special home that it was.

We hope to stay in touch with each other and if there are other people out there who would like to be included in any further contact, we look forward to hearing from you.

Bystock in the Exmouth Journal

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50th Anniversary!

In 1965  four families left their individual homes and moved together to a mansion on the edge of Exmouth. Formally registered as a charity and limited company, the families with the help of hundreds of other people, set about turning the house into a home that would provide and refuge and warm welcome for so many. 

Residents and friends invited to get in touch

Now 50 years later we would like to recognise this achievement and we invite anyone who had any link to Bystock to get in touch and to join us for a celebration. So, if you stayed in the house or helped or supported the work in anyway, please ring or email us and we’ll let you know when and where we’ll be gathering. 

Applications welcome

It is because of the Bystock community that the Jamieson-Bystock Trust exists and so, in this special year, we are particularly interested in receiving applications for new and innovative projects. We would also consider a larger application for a specific proposal that furthers the spirit of the original community. 


In 2013 the Trustees carried out a review of investments and consulted experts from several companies. Some new funds were chosen being more in line with the Trust's ethical principles. Since its foundation in 2003 to the end of April 2014 the Trust has made a total of £247,345 in awards. In the last year it made 15 awards totalling £23,360.

Trustee Meetings

Please note that we have decided to return to holding three meetings a year which provides more opportunity for organisations to submit applications for funds.

Our next meeting will be held in June so applications should be emailed to us before the end of May together with your latest set of accounts.  The next meeting is in October. A paper version of the application and accounts should also be sent by post to our Secretary.

We are surprised that, despite the current difficult economic climate, we have not seen an increase in applications. So, if the work of your organisation is similar to our aims and is in need of funds, we would be interested to hear from you. If you are unsure about applying, you are welcome to ring and discuss this further.

Albert Streat

Sadly Albert Streat passed away in May 2012. He had been a prominent figure in Exmouth, very involved in the Exmouth Welfare Trust and a Trustee with the Jamieson-Bystock since 1998. We are very grateful to have received the benefit of his knowledge, experience and expertise as an accountant and we now miss his clear guidance, his warmth and strong commitment to helping others less fortunate.

Trustees's 45 Year Service

In July 2010 we paid tribute to one of our Trust's founder-members. Former head teacher of Withycombe Raleigh Primary School and then 85 years old, Mervyn Williams, had decided it was time to step down after having been involved for over 45 years with this Trust and its predecessor.

Mervyn receives a long service gift from fellow trustee Mrs Kate LovellWe were pleased to be able to acknowledge our debt to him and give him a small retirement gift which was presented by fellow trustee, Mrs Kate Lovell.

When the Bystock Court Association opened a Christian community in 1965 Mr Williams joined as a Council Member. The community was developed to help families and individuals experiencing homelessness, family break-up, disability, addiction and social isolation. Throughout Mervyn played an important role, particularly in taking the children of these families into his school and providing them with support and understanding.

Even when Bystock Court was taken over by a different charity in 1980 which provided care for people with learning difficulties, Mervyn continued to give his time and expertise.

Since 2003, when the Jamieson-Bystock Trust was set up to give grants to needy local organisation using the proceeds from the sale of Bystock Court, Mervyn had been a committed trustee. We were very sorry to see him go but most grateful for his long and valuable contribution.