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Old Court

A Grade II* Listed Building in Bickleigh, Devon

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Latitude: 50.8507 / 50°51'2"N

Longitude: -3.5123 / 3°30'44"W

OS Eastings: 293639

OS Northings: 106772

OS Grid: SS936067

Mapcode National: GBR LH.VL1X

Mapcode Global: FRA 36JV.HHK

Plus Code: 9C2RVF2Q+73

Entry Name: Old Court

Listing Date: 24 October 1951

Grade: II*

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1106959

English Heritage Legacy ID: 96627

Location: Bickleigh, Mid Devon, Devon, EX16

County: Devon

District: Mid Devon

Civil Parish: Bickleigh

Traditional County: Devon

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Devon

Church of England Parish: Bickleigh St Mary

Church of England Diocese: Exeter

Tagged with: Building

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5/8 Old Court
House, formerly south range of courtyard complex at Bickleigh Castle. Circa early
C16 with late C16/C17 remodelling, C19 addition and renovations of the 1930s. Local
volcanic stone rubble with some stone dressings ; wooden shingle roof, gabled at ends
(formerly thatched) ; front lateral stack to left of centre with tall stone shaft,
axial stack. The right gable end is weather-boarded.
Plan: Evidently a survival from a larger building which may have been linked to the
gatehouse of Bickleigh Castle (q.v.). There is evidence that the present range
originally extended further to the right (east) and may also have had a front left
wing at right angles to it. The present arrangement is a single depth main range, 2
large rooms, with a through passage between the rooms. A gabled rear wing, at right
angles to the main range, is a C19 rebuilding or addition, forming an overall T plan.
A lower-roofed building, adjoins at the left end.
The surviving building was originally an open hall of high quality. The precise
extent of the hall is not clear ; there is smoke-blackening on the main trusses on
either side of the axial stack but the use of wood preservative and some replacement
timbers make it difficult to establish whether the roof was open from end to end of
the present range. The flooring over occured in the late C16/early C17, possibly in
2 phases. The right hand room, heated from the axial stack was probably used as a
kitchen, the function of the left end room is less clear : the room above it was a
grand first floor chamber with an axial corridor behind it. The present through
passage is narrow and it is not clear whether it is part of the original arrangement.
Colonel Henson, the owner of Bickleigh Castle in the 1930s was probably responsible
for most of the stone-dressed windows on the ground floor.
2 storeys. Asymmetrical 4 window front with 2 moulded stone 2-centred doorways on
the front, 1 leading into the through passage ; the second, to the right, blocked and
replaced by a window. The stump of a crosswall at the left end and wall foundations
uncovered recently (1986) suggest the possibility of a missing wing at right angles
to the front at the left. 4 ground floor 1, 2 and 3-light ground floor stone windows
with trefoil-headed lights. Four 3-light timber first floor windows with diamond
leaded panes, mostly renewed except for the first from the right which has a moulded
frame and mullions.
The rear elevation shows considerable signs of rebuilding. There is a chamfered
round-headed C16 timber doorway, probably re-sited, to the lower-roofed block at the
rear. The rear wing has C19 Gothic 3-light casements with arched heads.
Interior: Roof: The remains of 5 arch braced jointed cruck trusses with cranked
collars, 3 tiers of threaded purlins diagonally set ridge and wind braces. There is
a strengthening piece below the ridge. The trusses are not complete and new rafters
have been added. The top of a former screen projects into the roof to the right of
the axial stack, the left hand truss was formerly closed. The truss immediately to
the left of the stack is puzzling. It has no arched braces but never seems to have
been closed.
On the ground floor the right hand room, with a very high ceiling, has 2 massive
cross beams with chamfers and runout stops. The open fireplace to the axial stack is
massive, with ashlar jambs and a lintel that extends over the present doorway into
the passage, the right hand jamb has been moved to the left. The left hand room has
a small open fireplace to the lateral stack and 2 massive unchamfered cross beams.
On the first floor above this room a grand chamber has the remnants of a plaster
cornice and 1 cross beam and 2 half beams with chamfers and scroll stops. The
Beerstone fireplace has hollow-chamfered jambs and lintel. The stud partition wall
at the left end of this room has a moulded doorframe (doorway blocked) with scroll
stops leading into a small room at the left end of the range. This small room has
the remains of a fireplace, blocked behind the wall plaster, and traces of painted
plaster were found during renovations and are in the possession of the owners. The
axial corridor on the first floor has a large niche in the rear wall which may have
been garderobe.
A high status house, formerly part of the Bickleigh Castle complex, although its
original function is difficult to determine from the architectural detail. If it
were the hall range its position, to the south of the gatehouse range would be very

Listing NGR: SS9363906772

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