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Abbots View, Bell Tower, Chantry, Chapter House, Cloisters, Matins, Monks Retreat, Vespers at Wood Barton

A Grade II Listed Building in Woodleigh, Devon

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Latitude: 50.3333 / 50°19'59"N

Longitude: -3.7727 / 3°46'21"W

OS Eastings: 273932

OS Northings: 49655

OS Grid: SX739496

Mapcode National: GBR QH.7GK1

Mapcode Global: FRA 28Z5.416

Plus Code: 9C2R86MG+8W

Entry Name: Abbots View, Bell Tower, Chantry, Chapter House, Cloisters, Matins, Monks Retreat, Vespers at Wood Barton

Listing Date: 11 August 2000

Last Amended: 1 October 2010

Grade: II

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1382041

English Heritage Legacy ID: 482406

Location: Woodleigh, South Hams, Devon, TQ7

County: Devon

District: South Hams

Civil Parish: Woodleigh

Traditional County: Devon

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Devon

Church of England Parish: Woodleigh St Mary

Church of England Diocese: Exeter

Tagged with: Bell tower

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This list entry was subject to a Minor Amendment on 26/09/2017


Abbots View, Bell Tower, Chantry, Chapter House, Cloisters, Matins, Monks Retreat, Vespers at Wood Barton



Monastery, now apartments. 1902-4; by Scoles and Raymond.

MATERIALS: The monastery range is constructed of clearly defined sections of yellow/brown local stone and a grey/red stone brought from Plymouth. There are yellow brick and granite dressings and a clay tile roof. New brick, such as that used for replaced window architraves, is from Derby. The internal stairs are granite supported by reinforced concrete. Handrails are pitch pine with steel balusters. Roof timbers are pitch pine. The church is pre-fabricated oak timber-framed and clad in timber.

PLAN: The structure is L-shaped in plan. The monastery range stands on an East-West axis with cross-wings at either end. The building is subdivided in eight apartments. The church to the south-west is on a North-South axis.

EXTERIOR: The monastery range is two-storey plus attic and basement, in a 2:9:2 bay arrangement to the north face. The two end bays are slightly projecting gabled cross-wings. There is a stone plinth and low stone buttresses. Doorways and windows with segmental-headed yellow brick dressings are refurbished and have four-pane sashes. The large round-arch doorways with fanlights are modern replacements. The south elevation has catslide roof between cross-wings with six gabled dormers and a bell turret.

The former church is attached at right-angles to the west cross-wing. It is a large timber clad building with east and west aisles, two-light cusped Gothic windows and a clerestorey with straight-headed windows. The chancel has a narrower clerestorey and a three-light window in the north gable-end.

INTERIOR: The monastery range has an austere interior, walls are either of bare brick or new plaster, and floors and cills are timber. The granite staircases at either end of the range have iron balustrades with pitch pine handrails. There is a pine collar-rafter roof with iron ties. The church has a seven-bay nave with inserted swimming pool, and jacuzzi and sauna at the chancel end. There are narrow aisles and tall arcades with pointed arches, all in timber. The roof is supported on lattice-girder trusses and has early-C20 painted decoration at the chancel end.

HISTORY: The monastery was constructed in 1902-4 by a Trappist community that moved here from France because of anti-Catholic legislation by the Third Republic. The monks adapted and added to the buildings already on the estate. The pre-fabricated timber church was previously located at sites occupied by the community. It was built at Appuldurcombe, Isle of Wight, in 1903 and then moved to Quarr in 1908 before its second removal to Woodleigh in 1912. Designed by Dom Mellet it was based on the chapter house at Solesmes in France, the original home of the community.

The monastery was designed by Scoles and Raymond, a prominent architectural practice of Catholic church design in the early C20. Canon Alexander Joseph Cory Scoles (1844-1920) was the third son of Joseph John Scoles (1798-1863), the influential C19 Gothic Church architect and founding fellow of the Royal Institute of British Architects. The house to the north, known as Wood Barton Farm is listed separately and has some C16 structure. It was the former family seat of the Fortescue family.

The Monastery comprised a large group of buildings but was vacated in 1914, at the outbreak of World War One. Few Monks returned to Wood Barton after 1918, and the community closed in 1921. A period of disuse followed and during the 1940s there may have been a military use for the buildings. After World War Two, the estate was given over to farming and the monastery buildings received some adaptation as a result.


Matins, Chapter House, Monks Retreat, Vespers, Chantry, Bell Tower, Cloisters, Abbots View and the former church, Wood Barton is listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons:

* A good example of an architecturally appealing early-C20 monastery with attached church by the noted architectural practice of Scoles and Raymond.
* A strong historic interest as a former rural religious community.

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