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Latitude: 50.8148 / 50°48'53"N
Longitude: -3.1945 / 3°11'40"W
OS Eastings: 315946
OS Northings: 102372
OS Grid: ST159023
Mapcode National: GBR LX.XVZW
Mapcode Global: FRA 466Y.7B4
Entry Name: The Chantry
Listing Date: 22 February 1955
Source: Historic England
Source ID: 1098020
English Heritage Legacy ID: 87131
Location: Combe Raleigh, East Devon, Devon, EX14
District: East Devon
Civil Parish: Combe Raleigh
Traditional County: Devon
Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Devon
Church of England Parish: Combe Raleigh
Church of England Diocese: Exeter
COMBE RALEIGH COMBE RALEIGH
SY 10 SE
6/130 The Chantry
Chantry priest's house, built for a priest serving a chantry founded by William and
Joan Deniss in about 1463 (Pantin, citing Oliver). Late C15 with repairs of the
1920s and 1930s and a 1930s addition. Local flint rubble; slate roof, gabled at ends
(thatched until the 1920s); projecting end stacks with Beerstone weatherings to the
set-offs and flint rubble shafts with moulded Beerstone cornices.
Plan: The house is sited below the church, about 80 metres to the north-east and
faces west-south-west, say west. It is a 2 cell plan, the higher end to the south
divided from the lower end and passage by a transverse partition that now rises
almost to the apex of the roof and may originally have risen fully to the apex. The
higher (south) end of the building is 2 storeys, the north end is 3 storeys and the
transverse partition is tiered as a series of plank and muntin screens according to
the ceiling heights of the various rooms, the uppermost tier is a framed partition
with plaster infill. The higher right (south) end consists of a remarkably fine,
tall heated, hall, rich in carpentry. On the first floor above it, there is a heated
chamber with a high status 2 bay arch braced roof and a garderobe in a projection
off the rear (east) wall. On the ground floor the lower left end consists of a cross
passage with a newel stair in a turret at the rear (east). The services were divided
axially between a kitchen to the rear and a buttery to the front. The passage,
kitchen and buttery are now one room but evidence of the former partitions survives.
On the first floor of the lower end a richly carpentered, heated room may have
functioned as a bed chamber and there is a plainer, unheated room on the second
floor which was originally open to the arch braced roof which has a chamfered finish
over the lower end. A small closet, possibly a second garderobe, opens off the newel
stair between the ground and first floor, and a flight of 4 steps leads from the
newel into the chamber over the hall. Pantin compared the ingenious planning of the
house with the vicar's lodgings at Lincoln and Wells, the Old Court at King's
College, Cambridge, the houses built by Abbot Selwood at Mells and the retainer's
lodgings at Thornbury (Gloucestershire). There are 2 rather puzzling features of the
plan: the first is the somewhat cramped stair and narrow doorframe leading into the
grand chamber over the hall where one might have expected a more generous entrance.
The second oddity is the comparatively plain character of the upper tier of the
transverse partition, which would have formed with north end wall of the chamber over
the hall and constrasts with the richness of the moulded roof timbers - perhaps it
was originally concealed by a hanging or decorated in some way: there are traces of
red colouring on the studs. In the 1920s and 30s the chantry house was repaired:
this work is well-documented in a letter from one of the craftsmen to the present
owner, Mrs Hatch. Most of the windows were replaced with new timber casements with
square leaded panes. Ties were introduced, these may have been removed subsequently.
In the 1930s the house was extended by a block adjoining at the north-west corner.
The position of the addition has preserved the integrity of the original building.
Exterior: 2 storeys at the south end, 3 storeys at the north. Asymmetrical 3 window
west front with the door to the cross passage to left of centre. The 1920s doorframe
has moulded jambs of re-used timbers, the front door with shallow-moulded planks and
studs was also introduced at the same time. The original doorframe was moved back to
form an internal porch in the passage: it is chamfered with a slightly pointed head.
The higher end (to the right) has 2 windows on the front, a 2-light 1920s timber
casement to the ground floor and a similar transomed casement to the first floor.
The lower end, to the left of the front door, has one window to each floor, 4-light
to the ground floor, 3-light to the first, 2-light to the second. On the first floor
the old house is linked to the new wing by a projection. The right return has a
1920s 2-light casement to the first floor. The rear (east) elevation has the
garderobe projection with a catslide roof to the left and the gabled stair on the
outer return. Between the projections a blocked window opening for the hall window;
parts of the original window may have been re-sited on the first floor to the right
of the stair projection where a partly-blocked 2-light transomed window survives,
apparently made up of several different moulded timbers, the central moulded mullion
probably a sill or lintel. The first and ground floor windows to the right of the
stair are C20 timber casements. The right (north) return has a bread oven bulge
adjacent to the projecting stack.
Interior: The hall, to the south, has a splendid ceiling of intersecting richly-
moulded beams forming 9 panels with cross-joisting. 4 carved bosses at the
intersections of the centre panel survive, 3 of the bosses are 1920s replacements
(informationfrom owner), one is original. Barber's pole painting on the moulded
beams is re-coloured, but said to follow original paint. The axial beams are
supported on timber corbels at the south end. At the north end the bottom tier of
the transverse partition rises as a plank and muntin screen with chamfered muntins
with straight cut stops and an original doorframe into the cross passage. A narrow
gap between the head beam of the screen and the ceiling is filled by a brattished
timber plate which may be part of the 1920s repairs. The fireplace has a massive
chamfered Beerstone lintel and chamfered jambs, the plaster has been removed from the
wall exposing a relieving timber lintel above the fireplace, which has been partly-
blocked by a C20 chimney-piece. The rear (east) wall of the room has a blocked
recess with a timber lintel high up below the ceiling, presumably the position of the
original window. On the passage side, where the ceiling is lower, the transverse
partition has a moulded head beam completing the plank and muntin screen. The lower
side partition of the passage has been removed, except for a short section forming
the internal porch. The screen between kitchen and buttery has also disappeared but
mortices and peg holes indicate the former positions: the buttery was probably
entered via the passage only. At the rear of the passage an original doorframe to
the stair turret exists. The kitchen fireplace is also Beerstone with a chamfered
lintel, jambs and a bread oven. The stair is a newel of solid timber baulks with
some repair. Original doorframes survive to the lower end rooms opening off the
stair. The first floor chamber over the hall retains an original doorframe to the
garderobe and an original door with a heart-shaped handle. The chimney-piece is
blocked. The first floor room over the lower end has a fine ceiling of moulded
intersecting beams, forming 6 panels, all painted white this century. The ceiling
has been given extra support on the north and east sides: posts on the north side and
a chamfered curved brace to the east. The transverse partition forms a low tier of
plank and muntin screen on the south wall, the muntins chamfered and stopped, the
headbeam at the level of the floor of the higher end chamber over the hall. The
second floor room was been re-partitioned. It is unheated and the transverse
partition has a tier of plank and muntin screen with chamfered stopped muntins rising
about 1 metre above the floor level. Above this,there is a framed partition which
rises through the roofspace stopping short before the apex. A mortise in the
headbeam, which has a birdsmouth joint with the purlins, suggests that the partition
was originally full height. It is limewashed on the south-side but traces of red
colour show on the timbers.
Roof: An outstanding survival. 3 arch braced trusses over the higher end, the end
truss butting the south wall, with moulded braces, moulded purlins and elaborate
moulded 'X' wind braces, which survive to the east of the ridge only. The lower end
trusses are also arch-braced but chamfered, with chamfered purlins. There is a gap
of about half a metre between the last moulded truss and the transverse partition.
An outstanding survival.
The building is described with a ground plan and sections in W.A. Pantin's article,
"Chantry Priest's Houses and Other Medieval Lodgings", in Medieval Archaeology., vol.
3 (1959) pp. 241 - 243 fig. 87.
Listing NGR: ST1594602372
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