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The Old Post Office

A Grade I Listed Building in Tintagel, Cornwall

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Latitude: 50.6634 / 50°39'48"N

Longitude: -4.7517 / 4°45'6"W

OS Eastings: 205627

OS Northings: 88467

OS Grid: SX056884

Mapcode National: GBR N1.7H8L

Mapcode Global: FRA 07YB.0NF

Plus Code: 9C2QM67X+88

Entry Name: The Old Post Office

Listing Date: 19 January 1952

Grade: I

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1143438

English Heritage Legacy ID: 68841

Location: Tintagel, Cornwall, PL34

County: Cornwall

Civil Parish: Tintagel

Built-Up Area: Tintagel

Traditional County: Cornwall

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Cornwall

Church of England Parish: Tintagel

Church of England Diocese: Truro

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SX 08 NE
4/180 The Old Post Office

Manor house or steward's house, later post office and now the property of the
National Trust and open to public. Probably C15, repaired in 1896 by Detmar Blow and
restored in 1971. Local slate stone rubble. Rag slate roof with gable ends with
lower roof over inner room on left. Stone rubble stacks on gable ends, both with
cloam oven projections. Projecting front lateral hall stack with cloam oven
projection. The stacks were rebuilt in the early C20.
The original plan of the building was possibly that of a 2-room and through passage;
the 3 bay hall on the left has possible evidence of smoke-blackening on the
principals, the collars having been partly replaced. It is therefore possible that
the hall was heated by an open hearth although the scanty evidence of sooting
prevents an estimation of the position of the hearth. The hall was probably divided
from the passage by a low screen which has subsequently been removed. On the lower
side of the passage the stone rubble cross wall continues up to the apex. The 2-bay
lower room was possibly originally unheated and floored with a chamber above; the
original position of the stair is uncertain.
Unless the hall originally had a stack the early-mid C16 improvements involved the
insertion of a front lateral stack with a possibly coeval and integral single storey
hall bay on its higher left hand side. Probably slightly later a 2-bay inner room
was added to the higher side of the hall, heated by a gable end stack; the first
floor chamber above was approached via a turreted stair, added in a semi-circular
projection to the rear of the higher side of the hall. The gabled 2-storey bay
projection at the front of the inner room was probably added in the late C16 or early
C17. Possibly sometime in the C17 a fireplace was inserted in the lower room which
became a kitchen. In circa C19 a stone-rubble cross wall was inserted at the higher
side of the passage, probably replacing a hall screen and a small chamber was
inserted above the passage; this chamber was subsequently remodelled to form a
gallery, probably in the early C20. In 1844 a Letter Receiving Office was set up and
the building served as the village post office for nearly 50 years. In 1892 the
building was to be sold for redevelopment and in 1895 was put up for auction. The
Old Post Office was bought by Catherine Johns and in 1896 was repaired by Detmar
Blow, according to the principals laid down by the Society for the Protection of
Ancient Buildings; the money having been raised with the sale of pictures by a group
of local artists. In 1900 the National Trust agreed to buy the building for a
nominal £100, raised by public appeal.
1 and 2 storeys. Asymmetrical 2 window front with front lateral hall stack to left
of centre and inner room on left with slightly lower roof. Gabled stone rubble porch
with roughly chamfered segmental arch. To right, the lower side has a narrow single
light greenstone window lighting the stair to the first floor chamber and a 2-light
casement lighting the lower room. A 2-light casement lights the chamber above. To
the left of the entrance a single-storey hall bay, lit by a C20 2-light casement,
adjoins the front lateral hall stack with its cloam oven projection. The inner room
to left has a 2-storey gabled bay projection with a 2-light casement lighting the
inner room and a slightly hollow chamfered 2-light granite mullion window lighting
the first floor chamber. To the left of this bay is a low single storey outshot with
possibly inserted separate entrance to the inner room which may date from the 1840s
when the room became the Letter Receiving Office for the General Post Office.
Left hand gable end of inner room with cloam oven projection to stack and 2-light
narrow greenstone window lighting recess adjoining fireplace. 2-light casement on
first floor. The gable end has been partly rebuilt, probably in the 1970s and has a
row of pigeon holes. The semi-circular stair turret on the rear elevation is lit by
2 narrow single light greenstone windows.
Interior : entrance with circa C17 oak door frame with cyma reversa moulded lintel
and jambs with stepped hollow stops. Circa C19 door of 3 planks with raised moulded
rim and chamfered ledges. Slate flag floors throughout.
Lower end. Circa C16 shouldered oak door frame in lower side of passage, the right
hand jamb altered when the entrance was widened. Secondary partitions have been
inserted into the lower room to accommodate a probably C19 stair. Large unmoulded
slate lintel to fireplace in gable end. The floor joists are roughly cut with 1
axial beam and slightly chamfered cross beams with run-out stops. The first floor is
heated by a small fireplace with a slate arched lintel. 2 bay roof structure which
appears to be clean. The raised cruck truss has curved feet and the collar is
cranked and morticed into the principals. The apex is partly obscured by a secondary
truss which has been inserted to provide extra support. However, the principals
appear to be halved, lapped and pegged and carry a diagonal ridge. 2 tiers of
threaded purlins. The common rafters have been replaced on the rear slope.
Hall is partitioned from the passage by an inserted stone rubble cross wall which
continues up to first floor level. Above the passage is a narrow chamber, lit by a
narrow 1-light greenstone window. The chamber was probably inserted and converted to
form a gallery in the early C20. The 3-bay open hall is flanked by cross walls which
continue up to the apex on the lower side of the passage and on the higher side of
the hall. Heated by a possibly inserted front lateral stack with slate fireplace
lintel supported on 2 large slate corbels. Stack cement rendered internally in late
C20. Chimney bar, cloam oven and grate with spit and hobs. Slate cill above
fireplace lintel. The hall bay adjoining the fireplace is lit by a narrow 1-light
greenstone window in the side wall and a renewed 2-light casement on the front. A
small blocked opening is visible on the higher side of the projection.
The 3-bay roof structure above the hall appears to indicate evidence of soot-deposit
on the principals in spite of the 2 raised cruck trusses having been partly restored
and also having some remains of dark stain. The feet of the principals are curved
and the cranked collars are morticed into the principals. The joint at the apices is
particularly interesting and unusual; the principals are apparently stepped and
abutted with no visible indication of a mortice or lap-joint. It was not possible to
see whether they were held in place by a slip-tenon, by means of face pegging or that
the mortice was obscured although a mortice and tenon would seem to be the most
likely joint. Threaded diagonal ridge, 2-tiers of threaded purlins and common
rafters partly replaced.
Inner room; probably added in circa late C16 although the evidence of straight joints
on the front and rear walls are obscured and the cross wall between the hall and
inner room is not very thick. The ground floor room has roughly cut ceiling beams
and an unchamfered lintel to the fireplace. A slate winder stair in a semi-circular
stair turret to the rear of the higher side of the hall provided access to the first
floor chamber.
2-bay roof structure which appears to be clean although has some evidence of dark
staining. The raised cruck truss has curved feet and the cranked collar is morticed
into the principals. The principals are halved, lap-jointed and pegged at the apex
and carry a diagonal ridge. 2 tiers of treaded purlins. A secondary truss of
similar construction provides additional support.
The Old Post Office is a particularly interesting and for Cornwall a rare survival of
a hall house with a most picturesque exterior.
Chesher, V. M. and F. J. The Cornishman's House 1968
Trinick, M The Old Post Office, Tintagel 1985

Listing NGR: SX0562788467

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