History The house was built in 1847, based on designs by theatre architect Samuel Beazley. It was styled in the late-Georgian manner, with red brick and Portland stone walling. Hillersdon soon developed a reputation for wild parties and extravagant events. After the Exeter Ball one year four gentlemen decided to settle a bet by taking off their clothes and swimming across the lake. It is said that, after they had left the lake, they washed themselves clean in baths filled with champagne. During the mid-19th century Hillersdon House saw the addition of the fern garden, shell grotto and Grant gardens. The garden layout, by William Grant, is a culmination of his tastes for the natural, formal and contemporary. Today, the house is owned by Michael and Annabelle Lloyd and the beloved 19th century gardens have been fully restored. A new wildflower meadow has planted to encourage plants and insects to flourish on the grounds, and the walled garden provides seasonal fruit and cut flowers for the house.