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Latitude: 50.7875 / 50°47'14"N
Longitude: -3.1169 / 3°7'0"W
OS Eastings: 321366
OS Northings: 99252
OS Grid: SY213992
Mapcode National: GBR M0.ZQ67
Mapcode Global: FRA 47C0.7KH
Entry Name: Widworthy Barton
Listing Date: 22 February 1955
Source: Historic England
Source ID: 1164128
English Heritage Legacy ID: 88824
Location: Widworthy, East Devon, Devon, EX14
District: East Devon
Civil Parish: Widworthy
Traditional County: Devon
Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Devon
Church of England Parish: Widworthy St Cuthbert
Church of England Diocese: Exeter
SY 29 NW WIDWORTHY WIDWORTHY
4/151 Widworthy Barton
House, former manor house. Part is early C16 but most was rebuilt in the late C16
and early C17; some C20 modernisations of various qualities. Local stone and front
rubble with Beerstone dressings and detail; stone rubble stacks topped with C19 and
C20 brick; slate roof, probably thatch originally.
Plan and development: courtyard plan house. The main front block faces north-east
and it has a 2-room plan with through-passage between and 2-storey front porch. The
larger room is that to right (north-west); it is the Great Hall with a rear lateral
stack. The left room (the dining room) was probably some kind of service parlour,
its large projecting gable-end stack has been partly rebuilt in the C20. The left
(south-east) wing overlaps the end of the main block. This was service rooms
originally and now houses the present kitchen. It has a stack backing onto the
dining room/service parlour of the main block. The rear (south-west) wing is the
original kitchen wing with a large gable-end stack at the south-east end. The right
(north-west) wing also overlaps a short distance the end of the front block. This
appears to have been a parlour wing although there are no original fireplaces here.
There is, at the upper end of the hall, an alcove between the hall and parlour wing
with a first floor "minstrels gallery". Behind the putative parlour, the first room
of the wing is a through-passage and the unheated end room of the wing was probably
a buttery or dairy adjoining the original kitchen. The first floor is one long
room, presumably the principal chamber. There is some evidence that there was a
newel stair turret in the angle of the hall and parlour but this has been replaced
by a C20 stair block across the back of the passage and hall.
The oldest part of the house appears to be the rear kitchen range. Here part of an
early C16 roof structure remains. It is smoke-blackened indicating that this block
was originally open to the roof and heated by an open hearth fire. It might have
been a detached kitchen or even the original open hall house before the front block
was built. In the mid or late C16 (either when the main block was built or
refurbished) it was converted to a kitchen with its new kitchen stack and it was
floored over. There is no internal stair to the first floor here and up until circa
1960 there was an external stair on the back. The main block appears to be a mid
C16 build. It appears to have had a 3-room-and-through-passage plan. The roof
structure shows that there was once an inner room at the right (north-west) end with
a full height crosswall between hall and inner room. The roof is clean and
therefore the hall fireplace is probably original. The hall, passaage and service
end were open to the roof. In the late C16 the parlour block was built and the main
block converted to its present layout. The porch was added at this time and the
fenestration seems to be contemporary. The attic over the hall and the gallery is
also late C16. It is not clear whether the service end room was floored over at
this time. This might have happened in the early C17. The floor goes across the
tall front window. The south-east also could be as late as the early C17. Much of
early structural history and development of the house has been confused by the C20
modernisations which have involved moving some features round the house and
The hall is full height with attics over; the rest is 2 storeys.
Exterior: regular but not symmetrical 1:1:2 - window front of restored late C16
windows. The main windows are tall full height 4-light Beerstone windows with
ovolo-moulded mullions and central transom. There is a 3-light version over the
porch and small 2-light window in the right side of the porch. There is a secondary
first floor window left of the porch. A continous hoodmould is carried round the
porch and the right end. The outer arch of the porch is a Beerstone Tudor arch with
moulded surround and directly above it is a panel containing a carved armorial
bearing. The passage front doorway is a another Tudor arch with moulded surround
(and yet another to the rear doorway) which contains its original studded plank door
with moulded coverstrips making a panelled front and it is complete with original
ferramenta. There is, on the main front, the remains of a Beerstone ashlar
chamfered plinth. There are Beerstone ashlar quoins to the porch and main block.
The gable ends of the main block and porch have shaped kneelers and coping, and the
porch and right end of the main block have apex finials.
The north-west end has a 1:3 window front in the same style as the front block
although not all the windows still contain rectangular panes of leaded glass. The
end hall window is the largest in the building; 6 lights with central king mullion
(with an internal moulded shaft inside) and transom. The parlour block passage
front doorway is another Tudor arch with moulded surround. It and the window of the
left have hoodmoulds and the continuous hoodmould of the front block was carried
across the front of this block as a dripcourse (although it is now mostly cut back
flush with the wall face). There is, in the angle of the front and parlour blocks
an ornate lead rainwater head inscribed with the initials R and A S with the date
1724. The south-west facing gable-end of the parlour block contains a first floor
4-light Beerstone mullion-and-transom window and a ground floor late C16 oak 4-light
window with ovolo-moulded mullions. The rest of this side (the original kitchen)
contains only one late C16 window, the rest are C20 casements and one towards the
left end is blocking a former doorway. The south-east side also contains mostly C20
casements. The inside of the courtyard contains some original windows including a
Beerstone one restored with Hamstone to rear of the main block and some oak windows
with ovolo-moulded mullions. The courtyard side of the original kitchen shows a
number of blockings.
Interior: the upper (hall) side of the passage is an oak-panelled screen. It is
late C16 in style but was built in the C20 incorporating one bay of original
panelling. On the passage side the small panels are painted to appear like fielded
panelling. The close-studded crosswall above the screen has a sill beam over the
screen as if it were built on top of an existing screen. The roof shows that the
upper crosswall is secondary (late C16). The hall fireplace is Beerstone with a
Tudor arch head. The flat ceiling was created in the late C16 probably for
ornamental plasterwork. The gallery alcove preserves a remnant of late C16
ornamental plasterwork but otherwise is mostly C20 although, at ground floor level,
there is an ovolo-moulded jamb of a Beerstone doorway. The gallery front is C20
made to look like an old arcade by using C19 carved poppyheads from church pews.
The plasterwork however is good and includes 2 fine brackets moulded as female
angels. In fact these angels are dressed as fashionable young ladies of the period
1600 - 1605 and most interesting is that their hairstyles are Italian.
The lower (service parlour) side of the passage is an oak large-framed screen and
the first floor crosswall jetties into the parlour, the upper part is another large-
framed crosswall closing an arch-braced truss. The service parlour/dining room has
a 3-bay ceiling carried on chamfered and step-stopped crossbeams and the fireplace
here is a C20 rebuild. The chamber above is lined with small-field oak panelling,
some of it late C16 - early C17 and some of it C20. Some of the oak panels of the
frieze have a simple geometric panel of inlaid marquetry including a fragment of an
inlaid Latin inscription recording the death of one John Chichester (surely not the
one who died in 1485 as a C20 plaque in the room suggests). This panelling was
reset here in the C20; it came from the parlour wing. Also it is unlikely that the
room over the porch was ever a chapel. The mid C16 roof over the main block is
substantially intact. It is 7 bays, originally the north-west 2 bays were divided
off by a closed truss. The rest were side-pegged jointed cruck trusses with
chamfered arch braces.
Little early detail remains in the parlour wing. The fireplaces are C20 and no
carpentry shows in the parlour. In the long chamber above there is a fine
ornamental plasterwork overmantel; it is a strapwork cartouche enriched with flowers
and with rustic squirrels each side sitting on top of scrolls. In the centre is an
armorial bearing, Bluett impaling Rowe, under a date of 1591. This was moved here
from a "farmhouse on the Shute estate, about 5 miles from Widworthy" (see Iris Brook
- Sources). The roof is mostly C19 except for the single truss nearest the main
block which is late C16; it is an A-frame truss with slots for missing arch braces.
The south-west service wing is late C16 - early C17. The ground floor room (present
kitchen and C20 stair) has chamfered and step-stopped crossbeams and Beerstone
fireplace with chamfered oak lintel (the fireplace appears to have been partly
rebuilt in the C20). The chamber above has a small Beerstone fireplace with Tudor
arch head, the only early first floor fireplace. The oak plank-and-muntin screen
partition here is probably not in situ. The roof of this wing is carried on clean
side-pegged jointed cruck trusses.
The rear wing contains the late C16 kitchen. The large fireplace here is Beerstone
with a chamfered and step-stopped oak lintel and includes a large oven to right.
The lintel continues across an alcove to left (its head here is also chamfered with
step stops). This was probably a walk-in curing chamber. The ceiling is carried on
a series of chamfered and step-stopped crossbeams. The roof structure is mostly C19
but includes one original early C16 truss: it is a side-pegged jointed cruck truss
with chamfered arch braces and it is heavily sooted from the original open hearth
The house was owned by the Chichester family in the C15, C16 and C17. In the early
C18 it was acquired by Benedictus Marwood.
Sources: Devon SMR. Iris Brooke, Riddle of the Devon Plasterers, Country Life,
Dec 29, 1950, pp. 2214 - 2216.
Listing NGR: SY2136699252
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