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Fairlea Residential Home

A Grade II Listed Building in Northam, Devon

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Coordinates

Latitude: 51.036 / 51°2'9"N

Longitude: -4.221 / 4°13'15"W

OS Eastings: 244376

OS Northings: 128644

OS Grid: SS443286

Mapcode National: GBR KJ.H0HG

Mapcode Global: FRA 261C.WZ8

Entry Name: Fairlea Residential Home

Listing Date: 15 March 2010

Grade: II

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1393715

English Heritage Legacy ID: 505700

Location: Northam, Torridge, Devon, EX39

County: Devon

Civil Parish: Northam

Built-Up Area: Northam

Traditional County: Devon

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Devon

Church of England Parish: Northam St Margaret

Church of England Diocese: Exeter

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Listing Text

NORTHAM

846/0/10029 CHOPE ROAD
15-MAR-10 Fairlea Residential Home

II
Detached house, circa 1870s, of two storeys and attics and a basement, built on rising ground overlooking Northam. Architect unknown. It is constructed of dark two-tone local limestone with Bath stone dressings and a grey slate roof, in a picturesque late medieval idiom.

PLAN: the house is irregular in plan, oriented north-east to south-west. The main entrance is in a two storeyed porch to the north east. The house has been planned with a two storey central staircase hall with the accommodation arranged to either side. The principal chambers overlook the garden to the south-east. The service range to the north-west was later replaced by extensive kitchens further to the north-west. To the south-west are large modern extensions providing additional accommodation. These are not of special interest.

EXTERIOR: the north-east elevation is dominated by a central two-storeyed entrance tower with a pyramidal spire roof. The Bath stone frontispiece has a moulded stone doorway within a depressed arch, set within a decorative ogee surround, flanked by engaged half-columns (partly twisted) and shields. To either side of the porch are single-storey canted bays with pierced stone parapets and gargoyles, in a matching late medieval manner.

The south or garden elevation has a large, two-storey canted bay at the south-eastern corner with window openings set in carved Bath stone panels rising to the carved eaves cornice. Adjacent to the west is a second, smaller, two storey canted bay with a spire roof and simpler decoration. To the far west on the ground floor are two full-height mullioned and transomed windows; above them are square windows in hipped dormers. Prominent chimneys and a complex roof arrangement contribute to a picturesque effect.

The western elevation is largely concealed by C20 extensions, although the two-storey staircase window with an angled stone transom stair string is visible. The north or rear elevation is relatively plain and includes the original service range with backstairs and servants' quarters in the roof space. There is a large, later kitchen and service extension. The extensions to the west of the original house are not regarded as having special interest.

INTERIOR: Internally the house retains much of its floor plan and a number of features of note. The hall retains its decorative scheme including a good polychrome tiled floor, dado rail and carved wooden cornice as well as the closed-string staircase with swept and ramped handrail, turned balusters, turned finials and lantern-shaped pendants. The staircase window is mullioned and transomed, in a four-centred arch with eight lights retaining decorative floral stained glass. The doors and door cases have individually detailed architraves. The hall has an impressive open trussed roof supported on carved corbels, with pierced trelliswork inserted above the collars, creating a dramatic entrance to the house. The principal rooms retain their decorative timbered ceilings and interconnecting doors with detailed architraves, although other original fittings (such as fireplaces) have been removed. In the north-west a stone stair leads to basements. On the first floor the original doors and door cases survive to the landing, although the bedrooms have been subdivided by inserted partition walls and have lowered ceilings. In the north-west angle a timber winder stair, with Gothic revival details, gives access to the attics.

HISTORY: Fairlea was constructed between 1872 and 1877; it is not recorded in the 1871 census. The Architect is not known, although by 1878 the house was occupied by the family of Mr Tom Sawyer, a retired surgeon, and remained with the family until 1902. The property was extended in the 1930s with the addition of kitchens and later a post-war extension provided an additional accommodation block. The house, during the Second World War, was first used as an orphanage and later as an officers' mess for American forces stationed nearby. It was later used as a council-run retirement home.

Fairlea was acquired by Devon County Council in 1945 for use as a children's home. In 1957 the property was converted for use as a residential home for the elderly and was extended in the 1970s and modernised in the 1990s. The house is currently used as a residential nursing home for the elderly.

SOURCES: Smith, M, 'A look into the history of Fairlea' (unpublished pamphlet 1996).

REASONS FOR DESIGNATION:
Fairlea is designated at Grade II for the following principal reasons:
* Architectural interest: as an ambitious, carefully designed villa of the 1870s which achieves a picturesque effect through its elevations, ornamentation and massing.
* Decorative qualities: the ornamentation is late gothic in inspiration, which is unusual, and is carried through the buildings, both though the external masonry and the internal joinery. A number of notable features are retained in the interior.
* Representivity: as a good example of an elaborate, middling sized villa in a suburban setting, showing High Victorian developments in house design.
* Intactness: in spite of enlargement and some alterations, the most important elements of the house remain in their original configuration.

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

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