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Edge Barton Manor

A Grade II* Listed Building in Branscombe, Devon

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Latitude: 50.7033 / 50°42'11"N

Longitude: -3.1549 / 3°9'17"W

OS Eastings: 318536

OS Northings: 89932

OS Grid: SY185899

Mapcode National: GBR PB.MCP8

Mapcode Global: FRA 4786.YHC

Plus Code: 9C2RPR3W+82

Entry Name: Edge Barton Manor

Listing Date: 22 February 1955

Grade: II*

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1104129

English Heritage Legacy ID: 88678

Location: Branscombe, East Devon, Devon, EX12

County: Devon

Civil Parish: Branscombe

Traditional County: Devon

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Devon

Church of England Parish: Branscombe St Winifred

Church of England Diocese: Exeter

Tagged with: Manor house

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7/6 Edge Barton Manor
House, former manor house. Parts are as old as the late C13-early C14, most is late
C15 and c16, the house was reduced in size and altered a little in the C18 and c19,
restored circa 1935 by Captain Frank Masters and modernised circa 1951. Parts are
coursed blocks of Beerstone ashlar, the rest is local flint and Beerstone rubble;
Beerstone stacks, the older chimneyshafts are Beerstone ashlar; slate roof, most
was originally thatch.
Plan and development: basically a U-plan house. The main block faces west and is
built down the hillslope with a 3-room plan. Uphill at the left (north) end is (or
was) a small unheated room but this has been long filled with rubble up to first
floor level. The central room is the largest in the house and has a massive axial
stack backing onto the rubble-filled northern room. This is now the dining room but
was formerly the hall. Downhill, at the right (south) end, is a parlour with a
front projecting lateral stack. The north wing projects at right angles, and
overlaps slightly, the rear of the unheated north room. A great stone newel stair
in the angle of these wings gives access only to the upper rooms of the front end
room and those of the north wing. The north wing has a 2-room plan and is unheated
(except for a C20 rear lateral stack serving the top floor only). The south wing
projects at right angles to rear of the parlour and it has a 2-room plan. The small
room towards the front has now been united with the parlour. The rear room is
heated by an axial stack. In the C20 the space between the 2 wings was infilled
providing a new main stair and service rooms.
The historic development of the house is difficult to determine due to the extent of
C18, C19 and C20 alterations and also it is likely that some of the medieval house
has been demolished. The earliest recognisable fabric is found in the south wing
where there appears to be a fragment of the late C13-early C14 chapel (maybe built
by Bishop Walter Branscombe). Here the axial stack is blocking a rose window in the
west wall of the chapel and there is a jamb of a doorway through the north wall.
The chapel was disused long before the end room of the wing was rebuilt on its site
in the C19. The dining room and parlour of the main block occupy a probably late
C15 open hall which was heated by an open hearth fire and included a smoke bay. In
the mid-late C16 it was divided into a smaller hall and parlour, it was floored over
and the fireplaces were inserted. The chambers over were probably the principal
chambers. The C16 doorway at the rear of the hall could have led to a stair turret
up to these chambers. The north end room of the main block and the north wing are
mid-late C16 service rooms as they are now arranged but there are several blockings
and features here which prove that the buildings are older, probably late C15-early
C16. Since the building includes no historic kitchen facilities it is clear that
the house was once larger. The large fireplace in the south wing may have been a
C16 or C17 kitchen fireplace which was adapted in the C19 but a full courtyard plan
is suspected. New discoveries may alter this interpretation which must be regarded
as provisional. Problems remain such as was there a through or cross passage, why
do most of the older doors appear to lead out into the courtyard, and is the front
door in its original position?
Most of the house is now 2 storeys but the north wing has attic rooms too.
Exterior: the main west front has an irregular 4-window front. Like all the
windows these are C20 replacement Beerstone windows with hollow-chamfered mullions
and they contain rectangular panes of leaded glass. A straight join shows between
the ashlar of the hall/dining room and the left (north) room. This north end
section rises higher and has a gable with shaped kneelers and coping. It also
includes a tiny restored lancet at second floor level. The front doorway into the
hall (right of centre) is a C20 Beerstone Tudor arch. There is an irregular patch
of blocking alongside to left and over the hall window is an arch-headed relieving
arch, maybe from a C15 hall window. The wall top was raised in flint rubble when
the roof was changed from thatch to slate. The hall stack has a circular Beerstone
ashlar chimneyshaft. The parlour stack has divided chimneyshafts, one of them is
ashlar. The south gable end has shaped kneelers and coping. The first floor window
here is a large and impressive 4-light mullion-and-transom window with hoodmould. A
rough butt join shows between the 2 rooms of the south wing. The south side of the
north wing has a 2-window front and shows evidence of 2 blocked doorways, one of
them was a large 2-centred arch. There are a couple of other blockings which appear
to pre-date the late C16-early C17 fenestration. Across the back there is said to
have been a dry moat but only a short section at the end of the main block now
remains. In more sheltered places around the house some of the Beerstone quoins are
decorated with a herringbone pattern and same have ancient graffitis featuring
sailing boats.
Interior: the earliest fabric appears to be in the south wing. The wall between
the 2 rooms here is thought to have been the west wall of the late C13-early C14
chapel. The evidence is the remains of a rose window of that date in the former
gable; the tracery contains 4 cusped trefoils. The moulded jamb of an arch-headed
doorway in what would have been the north wall may be contemporary. So too is a
cusped ogee-headed piscina which has been reset in the present entrance hall.
Around the house there are various blocked or disused architectural fragments,
notably fragments of arches in the back of the hall stack and a curious half-engaged
shaft on the top floor of the north wing.
The C15 hall occupied the present hall/dining room and parlour. It was open to the
roof which still survives. It is 5 bays. The southernmost bay was originally
closed with oak framing providing a smoke bay indicating that there was originally
an open hearth fire against the south wall. This bay is heavily smoke-blackened and
the sooting fades out north of it. The next 2 trusses are arch-braced jointed
crucks. The plain side-pegged jointed cruck at the north end of the hall maybe C16.
This hall was divided, floored and provided with fireplaces in the mid-late C16.
The hall/dining room has an enormous Beerstone ashlar fireplace with low Tudor arch
head and chamfered surround. The 3-bay ceiling here and 2-bay ceiling of the
parlour have chamfered and step-stopped crossbeams. Above are 2 master chambers
with a smaller unheated room between. These are separated by oak-framed crosswalls,
one still containing its original crank-headed doorway. The Beerstone fireplace in
the northern chamber has been reduced in size; it had a chamfered surround. The
southern chamber was the best chamber on the evidence of the good Beerstone
fireplace; it has a Tudor arch with angular corners, a moulded surround and carved
shields in the spandrels.
The newel stair in the angle of the north wing is thought to be associated with the
mid-late C16 refurbishment of the wing since it ascends to the second floor. Even
so it looks earlier with 2-centred arch doorways. The ceiling beams on the ground
floor are chamfered with step stops. Those above and those in the end section of
the main block are plainly finished and are probably C19 replacements. The roof is
a C19 replacement although there is a cruck post in the end wall of the main block.
Some of the window embrasures of this wing have interesting early graffitis,
particularly those on the first floor. Amongst the many initials.(the earliest
dated 1610) are representations of sailing ships, animals and an Elizabethan lady.
The end room of the south wing appears to be a complete C19 rebuild and has plain
carpentry detail. The large kitchen fireplace however maybe adapted from a C17 one.
Edge Barton Manor is most attractively positioned on the steep side of a valley with
views looking towards the sea. It also forms a good group with its farmbuildings
and is surrounded by a series of terraces. The house was the home of the Branscombe
family from the C11-C14 and the Wadham family from C14-late C16. It was occupied by
tenant farmers 1618-1933.
Sources: H Dalton Clifford A Manor House Restored Country Life, August 30 1962 :
Devon SMR.

Listing NGR: SY1853689932

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