About Us

The story of Thorne Carter and Aspen unfolds across three centuries of estate agency, auctioneering and surveying in the Culm Valley.

The practice was originally founded in the mid 1800s in Willand by William Thorne. When he retired towards the end of the century his son, Bill Thorne, was too young to take over the practice and so there was a gap of some years until Bill Thorne restarted the firm, again in Willand in 1911.

In the 1930s Bill Thorne relocated the practice to the larger town of Cullompton and on his retirement in 1950 the practice was acquired by the late Ken Carter and had by then moved offices to Church Street.

The changing face of estate agency later necessitated the move to 29 High Street, a large three storey Victorian property. Ken Carter in partnership with his son Stephen ran a thriving multi-disciplined chartered surveyors practice specialising in residential sales, surveys, farm sales and associated agricultural work, with the firm even having its own livestock market based at Tiverton Junction in Willand.

At the end of 1988 Ken Carter retired and his son Stephen formed a new partnership with Clive Madge, who had been specialising in the agricultural and professional side of the practice, together with John Parkin who had been handling the residential sales.

Throughout the 1990s steady growth in the residential sales resulted in increased staff and emphasised the need for even larger premises in a more prominent and central High Street position. With this in mind the partners acquired 11 & 13 High Street fondly known locally as the “Old Police Station”.

During much of the autumn of 1999 the premises underwent a complete refurbishment and remodelling including the former “cells” being integrated into the company’s boardroom.

Following his retirement from the partnership Stephen Carter continued as a consultant for several years before retiring fully.

John and Clive continue in partnership with their long standing experienced team in both the residential and professional departments.

The firm has recently welcomed Henry Parkin to the residential department bringing youth and many new ideas whilst being the third father/son combination in the practice.

A nostalgic inspection of the archives reveals that the first property sold under the Thorne and Carter partnership was near Taunton in February 1951 selling for £3,500 and earned the company the princely sum of £29 in commission! Interestingly the same property sold in 2012 for £320,000. This at the time when a gallon of petrol cost 3 shillings 6 pence (17½p), a loaf of bread was 6 pence (2½p) and a brand new Morris Minor car would set you back £520 whilst the internet was not even a distant dream!

The story of Thorne Carter and Aspen unfolds across three centuries of estate agency, auctioneering and surveying in the Culm Valley.


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