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Watermouth Castle, Including Front Retaining Wall and Rear Courtyard Walls

A Grade II* Listed Building in Berrynarbor, Devon

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Latitude: 51.2133 / 51°12'47"N

Longitude: -4.0691 / 4°4'8"W

OS Eastings: 255576

OS Northings: 148041

OS Grid: SS555480

Mapcode National: GBR KQ.3WGJ

Mapcode Global: VH4M5.FR5S

Entry Name: Watermouth Castle, Including Front Retaining Wall and Rear Courtyard Walls

Listing Date: 9 March 1953

Grade: II*

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1168686

English Heritage Legacy ID: 97006

Location: Berrynarbor, North Devon, Devon, EX34

County: Devon

District: North Devon

Civil Parish: Berrynarbor

Traditional County: Devon

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Devon

Church of England Parish: Berrynarbor St Peter

Church of England Diocese: Exeter

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Listing Text

SS 54 NE
1/31 Watermouth Castle, including front
- retaining wall and rear courtyard
9.3.53 walls
- II*
Country house, built to resemble a castle. 1825-6, completion of interior and
alterations to north front in 1845 by George Wightwick; later C19 and C20 alterations,
but earlier concealed foundations said to survive in cellars. Unrendered stone rubble
with ashlar dressings. Embattled parapets conceal roof. Tall stacks with crenenated caps.
The plan hinges on the large impressive entrance stairhall which runs axially
through the length of the north-west facing range, which is of 4 bays flanked by
projecting turrets, the left-hand turret embellished with an additional smaller
polygonal turret at its outer angle. The entrance stairhall, which divides 3 rooms
in parallel to front and rear, terminates in entrance doorways at each end, the left
(north-east) side being treated as the principal entrance front. Projecting square
turrets with small polygonal turrets at their inner angles flank the entrance
doorway. To the left, and only a single room deep, is a 3-bay range, the narrow
central bay breaking forward to form a clock turret and incorporating postern
doorway. This range terminates at the left end in a projecting square turret. To
the rear, a parallel range forms an overall 3-sided rear courtyard plan.
Originally, this rear courtyard was entirely enclosed but the range on the south-
east side, including the square turret at the corner with the parallel rear range,
was demolished probably in late C19. Turreted curtain walls at the right end of the
north-west range form an additional courtyard incorporating main carriage entrance
archway, and are carried round as the buttressed front retaining walls to the castle
promontory. Castellated Gothic style.
2 storeys with cellars. All fenestration to the 2 principal fronts have 4-centred
arched lights and hoodmoulds with returned ends.
The 2 turrets flanking the main porch to the principal entrance front have 3-light
windows on each floor and single light windows to the polygonal turrets at the inner
angles with stone crests above. The central entrance 4-centred archway, built out
in line with the turrets, has a heavily moulded surround with quatrefoil and
mouchette decoration to the spandrels and gargoyles flanking the hoodmould. Stone
balustrade above pierced with long-lobed quatrefoils. Main door of 2 leaves with Y-
bar ribbing. In the recess above the porch is 3-light transomed window with Y-
glazing bars, the hoodmould carried up over 2 quatrefoil stone insets. Large stone
heraldic crest over. To the left, 2-light windows on each floor flank the
projecting clock turret with clock face over a single light window and a central
quatrefoil clasping a shield over 4-centred arched doorway with moulded surround and
studded door reached by a flight of stone steps. At the left end, the projecting
square turret has a 3-light window over a canted bay window of 3 lights with single
sidelights and stone parapet pierced by long-lobed quatrefoils. North-west facade
has 4-window range of 2-light windows, the ground floor windows transomed except 2nd
bay from left which has a canted bay window of 3 lights with single sidelights and
stone parapet pierced with quatrefoils. The left-hand turret has a single light
window one each floor, the ground floor transomed, and right-hand turret has stone
crest above a 2-light over a transomed 3-light window. The opposing rear entrance
has a moulded 4-centred arch with crest and stepped gable above. The main carriage
entrance incorporated in the rear courtyard walls which have polygonal corner
turrets, has a 4-centred arch with quatrefoil decoration to the spandrels, heavy
studded doors with portcullis grille above. Over the archway is an heraldic stone
panel over a lozenge-shaped stone crest flanked by quatrefoils.
Interior: the C19 Gothic decoration of the impressive entrance hall with grand
staircase to rear remains intact including trabeated ceiling with carved bosses at
the intersections of the moulded beams, dado panelling, Devon marble fireplace and
fire basket, and doorcases with crenellations over the panelled cornices and engaged
colonnettes flanking 4-centred arched doorways. The central staircase at the rear
breaks into 2 flights and has heavy fluted balusters and massive carved newels. The
staircase is screened from the rest of the hall by a 3-bay open-traceried screen,
the side bays of 6 trefoil-headed lights with quatrefoil traceried heads. The
screen supports a minstrels gallery with fluted balusters and crenellated top rails.
The balconies to each side have 4-centred arches and balustrades with slender
balusters and crenellated hand rails. Principal room to left of hall has ornate
geometrical plaster ceiling with acanthus-leaf decoration to the cornice,
chinoiserie-style dado panelling, chimneypiece with enriched marble festoon to the
mantel and original doors and doorcases. Principal room to right has trabeated
ceiling with bosses at the intersections, while the room adjoining has an elaborate
plaster ceiling composed of an oval band of oak leaves with inner and outer shaped
ribs and crests at the 4 corners.
Watermouth Castle was built by the Basset family and remained in the occupation of
their descendants until 1946.

Listing NGR: SS5557648041

This text is from the original listing, and may not necessarily reflect the current setting of the building.

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