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Great House of St George

A Grade II* Listed Building in Tiverton, Devon

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Latitude: 50.9031 / 50°54'11"N

Longitude: -3.4889 / 3°29'20"W

OS Eastings: 295399

OS Northings: 112571

OS Grid: SS953125

Mapcode National: GBR LH.RKXN

Mapcode Global: FRA 36LQ.6L6

Plus Code: 9C2RWG36+6C

Entry Name: Great House of St George

Listing Date: 12 February 1952

Grade: II*

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1384950

English Heritage Legacy ID: 485409

Location: Tiverton, Mid Devon, Devon, EX16

County: Devon

District: Mid Devon

Civil Parish: Tiverton

Built-Up Area: Tiverton

Traditional County: Devon

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Devon

Church of England Parish: Tiverton St Peter

Church of England Diocese: Exeter

Tagged with: Building

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SS9512 ST PETER STREET, Tiverton
848-1/6/307 (East side)
12/02/52 Great House of St George


Large and historically important town house, said to have been
built by George Slee (qv Slee's Almshouses, St Peter's Street,
the adjoining range to the south). Later used as a doctor's
surgery, used as council offices since 1974. The house is
believed to have incorporated guild facilities as well as
functioning as Slee's residence and place of business. c1613
with later alterations, particularly following a fire of 1731.
MATERIALS: purple slatestone rubble with freestone dressings,
heavily repaired on the front elevation, some of the dressings
replaced with concrete; natural slate roof; stacks with
rendered shafts with coved cornices and terracotta pots;
cast-iron rainwater goods.
PLAN: 3 room and cross passage plan range, on a north south
axis, fronting west onto the street, cross passage to left of
centre. Outer rooms heated by end stacks, centre room now
divided between parlour at the front with a front corner stack
and stair hall to the rear. Rear right wing at right angles
heated from lateral stack on south wall.
The house has a rear courtyard (now a garden) and access to
Fore Street at a low level round the south end of the
adjoining almshouses. The house was evidently refurbished in
the early C18 and the stair is a C20 replacement.
The position of the original kitchen is unclear: the room to
north of the cross passage, technically (although not
topographically) the lower end, is over a cellar but the rear
wing seems a better candidate. This has an axial passage
running along the north side, linked to the stair hall and a
separate doorway into the passage from the rear courtyard. The
partition to the passage incorporates a Tudor arched doorway.
The north wall has a shallow gabled projection, possibly a
former stair or closet.
There have been considerable C20 alterations to the house,
including re-roofing and it is possible that some of the
internal features, particularly plank and muntin partitions,
are not in their original positions.
EXTERIOR: 2 storeys and attic with cellar under north end. The
front (west) elevation is symmetrical above the ground floor,
apart from the left of centre front stack, which rises behind
the parapet. Deep plinth with coped gables to front left and
right, with kneelers. Coped parapet between the gables rises
in centre with nowy head. Round-headed doorway to
through-passage to left of centre, with moulded dripmould;
2-leaf arched timber door. Moulded strings at first floor sill
and lintel level, the upper string forming a continuous
dripmould to the first-floor windows. Stone ovolo-mullioned
windows with hoodmoulds and king mullions, glazed with square
leaded panes. All windows 6-light except ground floor left,
which is 4-light; ground-floor windows have relieving arches.
2-light stone mullioned attic windows, one to each gable and
one one-light stone window in the centre.
North end of rear (east) elevation gabled to the rear.
Classicised rear passage doorway with moulded piers (very
repaired) with capitals and egg and dart moulding and lion's
head. To north of the passage doorway there is a separate
entrance to the ground floor room at the north end and a
doorway with steps down to the cellar - both doorways with
continuous hoodmoulds and relieving arches and the cellar
doorway with a 2-light stone overlight. First floor room is
lit by a very large 5-light stone mullioned window with high
transoms to the outer pairs of lights and an arched central
light. Stair window to the south is also stone mullioned with
a high transom.
The north elevation of the wing has a small gabled projection
in the centre with a coped gable with kneelers and small 2 and
one-light stone windows. To its right (east) there is a Tudor
arched doorway containing a C19 or C20 studded door with a
4-light stone mullioned window alongside, sharing a continuous
hoodmould; both openings have relieving arches; 6-light
mullioned window to first floor. To right of the projection
the wall is blind. The end wall of the wing is gabled with one
ground and one first floor stone mullioned window with
relieving arches. A second small first-floor window and the
attic window in the gable are probably secondary additions.
The rear elevation of the wing is partly obscured by foliage
and the yard to the rear of Slee's almshouses. It has a
Beerstone band at the sill level of the ground-floor windows;
an internal shouldered stack; 2 first floor stone mullioned
windows and a C20 attic dormer and probably C20 ground-floor
window to the right.
The coach house, at the east end of the wing has been
renovated and joined to it in the last ten years. It retains
the arms of the Owen family, who were wool staplers and
provided two mayors of Tiverton and who occupied the house.
INTERIOR: retains important fittings from the C17 and C18,
which have survived remarkably well for a town house,
including attractive detail (eg window furniture with vertical
rods linking the opening mechanism.) The following is not a
comprehensive list of all the items of interest. The
through-passage has a flagged floor and is lined with plank
and muntin screens, now painted, the north side screen
truncated. The muntins are moulded with scroll stops and a
5-petal motif, a folk magic symbol, is inscribed below several
of the stops. The roof is carried on moulded crossbeams with
scroll stops. The north side has a Tudor arched doorway with
carved spandrels and a 2-leaf door and a lead rainwater hopper
has been re-sited over the doorway. It is dated 1614 with the
initials I S, probably for Joan Slee, George Slee's wife. The
south side of the passage has 2 similar Tudor arched doorways,
one blocked, with plain and stud doors. The north end room,
which occupied the full depth of the range, has been
modernised and is plain - the fireplace, if it exists, to the
north end stack, is concealed. The first floor room over has
been subdivided and panelled in the late C19 or C20 but was
originally one early C18 room, judging from the ceiling. The
cellar has a pitched stone floor and a round-headed volcanic
archway. The small parlour in the centre front has a Jacobean
chimney-piece with carved terms and a date of 1622 and late
C17 or early C18 panelling. The south end room in the front
range has a boxed-in crossbeam; early C18 panelling an C18
grey and white marble chimney-piece with an integral
overmantel painting of John the Baptist.
C20 stair open well stair with a flat-handrail and slender
turned balusters, simple plaster rose to stair hall ceiling.
The rear wing retains C17 scroll-stopped chamfered crossbeams
and the axial passage on the north side is a plank and muntin
screen incorporating a Tudor arched doorway. The fireplace to
the large south side stack is not visible, but may be
concealed behind later wall plaster. The first floor of the
wing has moulded beams to the passage and some moulded beams
to the rooms off.
The attic storey of the wing has small rooms, probably
servants' rooms in the C18, with some 2-panel doors and
fielded panelled cupboards.
Roofspace of C20 roof construction. The first floor ceiling of
the north room has been lowered and an early C18 plaster
cornice and ceiling roundel survive in the attic.
SUBSIDIARY FEATURES: tall stone rubble walls to rear garden
are included in the listing
HISTORY: George Slee born about 1555, died 1613, was the son
of a yeoman farmer of Coldridge and is buried in the chancel
of the Church of St Peter. He was related by marriage to the
other major wool merchants with Tiverton links. He married
Joan Chilcot (qv Chilcot's School, St Peter's Street) who was
the niece of Peter Blundell (qv Blundell's school).
The Great House is of national importance as a good example of
an early C17 town house in a provincial market town. It is of
especial importance to Tiverton as the only surviving house in
the town erected by one of the wealthy wool merchants who ran
Tiverton in the C17 and who are known from charitable
buildings they founded.

Listing NGR: SS9539912571

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