Taxidermy alligator set to go under the hammer in Honiton


The taxidermy alligator from the Sand house is in Honiton! - Credit: Chilcotts Auctioneers.

Most people driving from Honiton towards Sidmouth on the A3072 will have spotted the brown sign for historic house, Sand. 

The house, which has been in the Huyshe family since 1560, is now being sold. 

And Chilcott's Auctioneers in Honiton are auctioning off a variety of pieces from the house.

The auction, available for viewing from July 13, includes family portraits, an old sideboard and an unusual long-term resident - a taxidermy alligator.

Auctioneer Duncan Chilcott said: “It’s the first time that any of these items have left the house in many decades, if not centuries.

"It’s been fascinating peering into their history; they don’t all fit neatly into categories of antiques that we’re familiar with - especially not a certain reptile.”

east devon

The sideboard is believed to fetch between £1,500 and £2,000 at auction. - Credit: Chilcotts Auctioneers.

The sideboard is an enigma in itself; an earlier house was rebuilt in 1594 by Roland Huyshe who, it is believed, installed a grand fire surround featuring oak panels and carvings.

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The house was remodelled by one of his descendants in the mid-19th century.

At this time, the family presume, the overmantel was dismantled and the parts used to make the impressive sideboard, which has stood at one end of the Tudor Great Hall ever since.

It's being sold as a whole the value is in the carved panels rather than the sideboard itself. It is expected to sell for between £1,500 and 2,000. 

The three large family portraits are from the 19th century. One is of General Alfred Huyshe who served as a Brigade Major of Artillery in India during 1843 to 1844 .

Another is Alfred’s brother, Rev John Huyshe who was Rector of Clyst Hydon for 40 years and the third, John’s wife, Anne-Lydia Huyshe. These are estimated at between £150 and £300.

The taxidermy alligator has been nicknamed the ‘Sand Snapper’ by the auction team.

The Huyshe family understands that it was sent back from America in the 17th century by their ancestors - two brothers, One of the vendors observed that it was an American alligator that was “older than America itself".

This alligator is difficult to value and has been estimated at between £200 and 300.