Built in early 17th Century, Badlake House was part
of a small farm, with a few acres around the house and some fields
opposite the house and further up the hill. The earliest known tenant
was Robert Painter in 1722. He died in 1816 and the Pensons took over
the farm. The family were still there in 1852, when a fire in the barn
killed a horse, two pigs and some chickens. It had probably been caused
by a spark from a lantern, when the farmer checked his animals before
going to bed.
From the mid 1860s, the house was occupied by a series of curates and
was known as Myrtle Cottage. And in 1882, the Rev. James Kavanah lived
there. He married a local girl and moved away. Sadly, their first and
second child died in infancy and the children’s mother soon after. All
are buried in Dawlish Churchyard.
By 1909, the house, owned by Robert Hambly, was a farm again but in bad
condition. A sanitary inpector’s report said: “water from a spring
above, rubbish in the garden, 8 rooms, 2 adults, roof of thatch, no
slate or downpipes.” Mr Hambly owned all nine houses up Badlake Hill. In
1945, numbers 7, 9 and 11 were demolished.
In 1919, Hambly sold Badlake House (still called Myrtle Cottage) to Miss
Cavendish-Bentinck of The Cottage at the end of Weech Road. A relation
of the late Queen Mother, Mis Cavendish-Bentinck’s chauffeur, Henry
Negus, lived here. And later, his widow until she died in 1932.
Later, Weech Road was widened and the house reduced by one room width.