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Fursden House

A Grade II* Listed Building in Cadbury, Devon

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Latitude: 50.8313 / 50°49'52"N

Longitude: -3.5328 / 3°31'58"W

OS Eastings: 292149

OS Northings: 104649

OS Grid: SS921046

Mapcode National: GBR LG.WSZN

Mapcode Global: FRA 36HW.TS5

Entry Name: Fursden House

Listing Date: 5 April 1966

Grade: II*

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1253940

English Heritage Legacy ID: 437254

Location: Cadbury, Mid Devon, Devon, EX5

County: Devon

District: Mid Devon

Civil Parish: Cadbury

Traditional County: Devon

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Devon

Church of England Parish: Cadbury St Michael and All Angels

Church of England Diocese: Exeter

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Listing Text

SS 90 SW

Fursdon House


Country house, the seat of the Fursdon family since at least 1259. C17 or earlier
origins, thoroughly remodelled in 1732 by Richard Strong of Minehead for George
Fursdon, alterations of 1792 ; library, principal stair and colonnade added 1813-18
by James Green of Exeter for George Sydenham Fursdon, 1970s and 80s modifications for David Fursdon.
Probably stone, cement-rendered and blocked out to the front
elevation, roughcast to the rear elevation ; slate hipped roof behind parapet ;
rendered stacks.
Plan: Georgian in appearance and many of its details but there is an early core to
the house and much of the fabric may be C17 or earlier. The present plan consists of
a H shaped south facing main range with west and east crosswings with a 1 room plan
library addition at the west end and 4 irregular rear wings. The present entrance is
into a heated entrance hall immediately to the right of the left (west) crosswing
which is divided between the great parlour to the front and an open well stair to the
rear. The right hand (east) crosswing is divided between a kitchen at the front and
service rooms and a service stair to the rear.
Documentary evidence and C17 carpentry details uncovered during recent renovations
indicate that the 1732 remodelling preserved the scale and general outlines of an
earlier building. A will of 1652 suggests that the house was H shaped at that date
with an open hall in the centre and storeyed wings, presumably the parlour wing to
the west and a kitchen wing to the east. Carpentry details suggest the possible
position of a cross or through passage to right of centre and also indicate a cruck
construction for the building. In 1732 the front wall was rebuilt, a central
entrance created and the east wing rebuilt, presumably to match the parlour wing and
provide a symmetrical front elevation. The house was refenestrated with sash
windows. A drawing of the house in 1774 shows a pedimented doorcase to the central
The next phase of important alteration was between 1813 and 1818 with James Green,
the Country Surveyor, as architect. He added a fashionable severe Greek Doric 5-bay
colonnade on the front between the crosswings, moved the main entrance to left of
centre into a small entrance hall, presumably releasing the 1732 entrance hall for
use as a principal room, and adder the library at the west end. The open well stair,
to the rear of the west crosswing also appears to be early C19. There have been
minor modifications in the 1970s and 1980s including the conversion of rear service
rooms to a small museum.
2 storeys. Symmetrical 9-bay front elevation with an additional slightly set back 2-
bay block at the left end, parapet with dentil cornice. The 5 central bays of the
main range are recessed between the left and right 2-bay crosswings with a 5-bay
Greek Doric portico with fluted columns and a plain entablature to the central 5-
bays. Symmetrically placed doorways to left and right under the portico. The first
floor windows are 3 over 6-pane sashes with thick glazing bars, the ground floor
windows 12-pane sashes. The library block at the left has 3 over 3-pane first floor
sashes and 18-pane ground floor sashes.
The rear elevation is irregular with 4 gabled and hipped rear wings. The westernmost
wing is the stair wing for the principal stair with a large tripartite sash stair
window ; the easternmost wing contains the servants stair and has a paired sash
window, 24 panes per sash with thick glazing bars. Most of the rear elevation
windows are C18 and C19 sashes except for 2 ground floor circa C18
3-light casements with sqaure leaded panes and ornamental iron handles.
Interior Visible features from the pre-C18 building include some ground floor
carpentry in the east end of the house including what appear to be cruck feet ; an
ovolo-moulded C17 doorframe and several stopped beams. The great parlour, in the
left hand crosswing, is entirely lined with grained Jacobean panelling with reeded
Ionic pilasters and a deep strapwork frieze. The panelling is probably not in situ
and although the chimneypiece is dated 1601, which may be the date of the carved
figures in the overmantel the design of the actual surround is probably C18. There
is a probably C16 roll-moulded chimneypiece in the entrance wall which was revealed
in the late C19. The living room in the main range - the 1732 entrance hall - is
finely proportioned with a plaster cornice and pair of doors on the west and east
walls and an C18 chimneypiece with carving of fruit and an integral surround to a
mirror in the overmantel. The entrance hall, with 2 Doric columns and a plaster
cornice and the library are by James Green. The library is very complete with a
plaster cornice, a black marble chimneypiece with Doric columns and recessed book-
cases. The principal stair is open well and may also be Green's work, with stick
balusters and a wreathed handrail. The service stair also has stick balusters but
has turned newels and a ramped handrail. Other features of interest include first
floor chimneypieces and joinery and a small first floor room overlooking the rear
garden with early c18 bolection-moulded panelling.
The Fursdon family have lived at Fursdon since at least 1259. The house is a good
example of a modestly scaled gentleman's house, very complete externally and
internally, with considerable landscape value. James Green's contribution to the
house is also important; he is best known as an engineer and his 2 previously
recorded works as an architect were Buckland Filleigh House, Devon and St Davids
Church, Exeter (demolished 1897). Both these buildings were designed in the Greek
Doric manner and "give Green a place after Harrison of Chester as an early prophet of
the Greek Revival in the provinces" (Colvin).
The Fursdon archive contains a numerous documents relating to the building history of
the house.
Colvin, H., A Biographical Dictoriary of British Architects, 1600 - 1840 (1978)
Fursdon, D., Fursdon (1984)

Listing NGR: SS9214904649

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

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