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Latitude: 51.0793 / 51°4'45"N
Longitude: -4.0463 / 4°2'46"W
OS Eastings: 256754
OS Northings: 133104
OS Grid: SS567331
Mapcode National: GBR KR.D8RK
Mapcode Global: FRA 26D8.KFP
Entry Name: Ravelin Manor House and Little Ravelin
Listing Date: 31 December 1973
Last Amended: 29 September 1999
Source: Historic England
Source ID: 1385344
English Heritage Legacy ID: 485806
Location: Barnstaple, North Devon, Devon, EX32
District: North Devon
Civil Parish: Barnstaple
Built-Up Area: Barnstaple
Traditional County: Devon
Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Devon
Church of England Parish: Barnstaple Holy Trinity
Church of England Diocese: Exeter
SS5633 SOWDEN LANE
684-1/3/222 (South side (off))
31/12/73 Ravelin Manor House and Little
(Formerly Listed as:
Large house, now subdivided. Probably c1893. By Alexander
Lauder of Barnstaple. Red brick and terracotta. Patterned
tiled roof with pierced crested ridge-tiles; hipped and
decorated with terracotta finials. Patterned round terracotta
chimneys in early Tudor style.
Stair hall with 2 principal rooms to left and one to rear.
Reached from an entrance passage with large service wing to
EXTERIOR: eclectic Domestic Revival style. 2 storeys. Mixture
of Gothic and Tudor styles, 3-window entrance front with large
projecting chimney at each end. Doorway flanked by buttresses
with Gothic niches containing high-relief male and female
figures. Frieze of naked male figures holding swags above.
Chimney-breasts decorated with terracotta flowers. Windows
segmental-headed; sashes with margin-panes. Other 3 sides
similar in character: 2 canted bay windows to left, 1 to rear.
INTERIOR: open-well wood staircase with turned balusters and
newels, the latter with pendants; ribbed, barrel-vaulted wood
ceiling. On walls of compartment large low-relief cement
panels by Lauder depicting scenes from 'A Midsummer Night's
Dream'. In N wall a white terracotta Gothic chimneypiece with
heavily-moulded ogee arch and flanking niches; cast-iron grate
with patterned coloured tiled surround. In W wall a large
stone mullioned-and-transomed window with coloured leaded
glass, including circular panels depicting birds and flowers.
The 3 main ground-floor rooms have moulded beamed wooden
ceilings. SE and NE rooms have ornate wooden surrounds and
The 4 first-floor rooms (including that over entrance passage)
have ribbed wooden barrel-vaulted ceilings and remarkable
coloured glazed pottery chimneypieces by Lauder. That in the S
room decorated with frogs; tiled hearth with birds; cast-iron
basket grate. That in SE room has vines with bunches of
grapes; cast-iron grate with surround of patterned tiles
probably reused from hearth. That in NE room has round-arched
flanking recesses containing female figures; frieze with bat,
owl, frog, cat, and lizard; cast-iron basket grate. That in
north room decorated with vines, bunches of grapes and
lizards; cast-iron basket grate.
HISTORICAL NOTE: the house is not shown on the 25-inch
Ordnance Survey map of 1890 (surveyed in 1887-8), but is on
the 1904 edition. On 9.6.1892 A Lauder applied for consent to
erect villa residence in Sowden Lane. It is first referred to
by name (then simply Ravelin) in Kelly's Directory for 1897,
when Alexander Lauder was already in occupation. The 1893
edition shows him at Bridge Buildings in The Square and does
not mention Ravelin, although there is a local tradition that
the latter was built for somebody else originally, perhaps
under another name.
Lauder is notable on 2 counts: the Arts and Crafts architect,
William Lethaby, was first articled to him; as the co-founder
of the Devon Art Pottery at Pottington in 1876. The
chimneypieces, stair panels and chimneys at Ravelin are
outstanding examples of its work.
(Thomas E: Victorian Art Pottery: London: 1974-: 107;
Barnstaple Castle Records, Plans Committee Minute Book,
Listing NGR: SS5675433104
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