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Wood House

A Grade II* Listed Building in South Tawton, Devon

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Latitude: 50.7482 / 50°44'53"N

Longitude: -3.9079 / 3°54'28"W

OS Eastings: 265498

OS Northings: 96019

OS Grid: SX654960

Mapcode National: GBR Q7.79WH

Mapcode Global: FRA 27P3.KCF

Plus Code: 9C2RP3XR+7R

Entry Name: Wood House

Listing Date: 28 January 1987

Grade: II*

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1106023

English Heritage Legacy ID: 94973

Location: Wood House, West Devon, Devon, EX20

County: Devon

District: West Devon

Civil Parish: South Tawton

Traditional County: Devon

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Devon

Church of England Parish: South Tawton St Andrew

Church of England Diocese: Exeter

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1/176 Wood House


Large country house. 1899 - 1905, on site of older house. Thomas Mawson prepared
the first ground plan of the house and its relation to the terraces and garden
scheme. The designed garden was laid out by the Lakeland Nurseries firm under
Robert Mawson, Thomas' brother. The house architect was Dan Gibson, the client was
William Lethbridge. The hall is coursed blocks of granite ashlar, the rest is
roughcast stone rubble or brick; granite ashlar detail; stone rubble or brick stacks
some with rectangular chimneyshafts of granite ashlar, others circular of roughcast
brick and a couple replaced with C20 concrete blocks; slate roof.
Plan: basically an H-shaped house. Main garden front faces south-east. Central
full height hall (articulated like a medieval hall and maybe on the site of the
original) with main stair behind. It is set between 2 crosswings which project
front and back each end. Both the front rooms are large parlours heated by
projecting outer lateral stacks. The right (north-eastern) one is probably the
dining room since the rear part of this wing contains the kitchen and service rooms
with servant accommodation over. The entrance hall is in the middle of the left
(south-western) wing with the library behind. More service rooms to rear. Both
rear blocks return a short distance- inwards and nearly enclose the rear courtyard.
A gatehouse projects south-westwards from the rear end of that wing. Most of the
rooms are heated by a series of prominent lateral and axial stacks. Most is 2
storeys with some attic servant accommodation. Restrained Arts and Crafts style in
Tudor style with some Voyseyesque touches.
Exterior: symmetrical 1:3:1 window section to the garden front. The recessed hall
section of granite has full height windows with a continuous hoodmould and across
the top an open parapet of granite balusters like those used around the front garden
terrace. The gabled fronts of the wings contain large mullion-and-transom windows
with hoodmoulds. Inner sides of the wings have small twin-gabled bays facing each
other across the paved courtyard. Nearly all the windows have barely-moulded
granite mullions, the larger ones transomed. Only a few have hoodmoulds, the rest
functional slate dripstones. Some of the rear windows are timber. All contain
rectangular panes of leaded glass: The entrance front has an irregular 1:2:1:2
window front. Gabled porch has a Tudor outer arch with ovolo-moulded surround and
urn stops. The gatehouse wing contains a large round arch to the carriageway, is
gabled above, and flanked by massive projecting stacks with circular chimney shafts.
The chimneyshaft on the entrance front was originally the same. The rear elevation
is continued in the same style and includes a 2-storey gabled bay window. The
service courtyard is shielded by woodsheds projecting out at right angles, the back
wall of which contains 2 round-headed granite niches. Rear and service sections are
more irregular and enlived by a series of gabled cross roofs. Style thoughout plain
relieved only by the prettily decorated lead gutters and down pipes.
Interior: is largely original. The hall is enclosed on 3 sides with bold exposed
timbering with an open (now glazed) gallery looking down from the stair landing.
The staircase rises round a solid framed wall in C16 style. The main rooms in the
wings have C17 style small field oak panelling and Tudor style fireplaces and
chimneypieces. The ornamental plasterwork of the ceilings is particularly worthy of
note. Jacobean vernacular in style. No two rooms are quite the same. The rear
rooms are more Arts and Crafts in style. The original detail extends to the door
fittings and Art Nouveau light fittings etc.
Wood House is a good, if unremarkable, Arts and Crafts Movement house. Its
importance however is as part of Mawson's formal landscaped scheme which is mostly
intact. Their interaction give the house its special character. It is a house
planted in a garden rather than a garden planted around a house. Mawson's
architectural features of the garden are also listed. Mawson himself saw Wood as
one of his major achievements. It is also one of the rare examples of his work in
Southern England.
Source. T. H. Mawson The Arts and Craft of Garden Making includes copious notes and
illustrations of Wood. Correspondence with Bridget Cherry and Harriet Jordan, who
is researching Mawson's works.

Listing NGR: SX6549896019

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