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HER Number:MDV10051
Name:Oxton House


Small country house, built late 18th century by John Swete, replacing an earlier manor house. Altered early 19th century, divided into apartments in late 20th century.


Grid Reference:SX 928 825
Map Sheet:SX98SW
Admin AreaDevon
Civil ParishKenton
Ecclesiastical ParishKENTON

Protected Status

Other References/Statuses

  • Old DCC SMR Ref: SX98SW/1
  • Old Listed Building Ref (II): 85877

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • COUNTRY HOUSE (XVIII to XIX - 1701 AD to 1900 AD (Between))

Full description

Swete, J., 1792-1801, Watercolour Views of Oxton House and Grounds (Record Office Collection). SDV342751.

Illustrations by Swete. Other details: 564M/2/3,7.

Unknown, 1902-1903, Sir Nicholas Martyn of Oxton and Netherex, Knight, 65 (Article in Serial). SDV342749.

Bingham, W. P. S., 1904-1905, Oxton House, 16 (Article in Serial). SDV342747.

Oxton house was rebuilt circa1782 by the Rev John Swete, a prebendary of Exeter.

Williams, M., 1904-1905, Oxton House, 55-6 (Article in Serial). SDV342748.

Unknown, 1904-1905, Oxton House, 93 (Article in Serial). SDV342750.

Reichel, O. J., 1915, The Early History of the Principal Manors in Exminster Hundred, 218 (Article in Serial). SDV40360.

Also known as Oxton Barton, it was an estate which paid a freehold rent to Kenton manor.

Department of Environment, 1949, Kenton, 78 (List of Blds of Arch or Historic Interest). SDV342752.

Originally the seat of the Oxtons, Martyns and Swetes. Possibly built in 1781 by Prebendary Swete but looks later. Two storey stucco with hipped slate roof, sash windows, low parapet and cornice. The Doric portico has fluted columns and two pilasters. The frieze is ornamented with triaglyphs. A late 18th or early 19th century hermits cave in grounds is of red sandstone rock with gothic arch and two Gothic windows.

Pevsner, N., 1952, The Buildings of England: South Devon, 223-4 (Monograph). SDV336217.

The house lies in landscaped grounds laid out before 1803, and the drive approaches the house over a cast iron bridge with short Doric columns as main posts.

Hoskins, W. G., 1954, A New Survey of England: Devon, 419 (Monograph). SDV17562.

Oxton is an ancient estate probably dating from the 12th century. Before passing to Swete it belonged to the families of Wilford, Martin and Hurst. In 1954 it was a girls' school.

English Heritage, 2000, Oxton House (Register of Parks and Gardens in England). SDV338310.

Oxton House was built between 1781 and 1791, replacing a 16th century manor house on the same site. Swete's house was a plain, two-storey stuccoed building with two canted bay windows on the east façade. The house was altered circa 1830 when Greek Revival details including the single storey Doric portico on the east façade and a further portico on the south or garden façade (removed, late 20th century) were added. Further alterations were made in the late 20th century, principally to the interior of the house, when it was divided into apartments. The stable block lies to the north of the house and has the remains of a pediment and round-headed recess on its east façade. It was also converted to domestic use in the late 20th century. Other details: GD2288.

English Heritage, 2009, Kenton (List of Blds of Arch or Historic Interest). SDV342754.

Small country house, divided into flats. 1781-91 by the Reverend John Swete with alteration of circa 1830 in the Greek Revival style. Late 20th century alterations associated with the division of the house into flats. Rendered, with a slate roof behind a parapet; stacks with rendered shafts with moulded cornices.
Plan: Deep rectangular plan, three rooms wide with a central entrance into a heated hall with flanking principal rooms. Stair hall to rear right, off the entrance hall, service rooms to rear left.
Exterior: two storeys. Symmetrical front (east) elevation with two storey canted bays to left and right (three windows to each) and three windows to the centre with a five-bay Greek portico with fluted Doric columns with a triglyph frieze. Nineteenth century panelled two-leaf front door with deep reveals flanked by 12-pane 18th or 19th century sash windows; other windows identical sashes. The left return, which formerly had a second Greek portico overlooking the garden, also has sash windows and two later battlemented ground floor bays. Eighteenth or 19th century sashes to the right return which has one 20th century ground floor and one first floor French window. The former stable block at the right has round-headed recesses and the remains of a pediment above a dentil frieze in the east end.
Interior: Not thoroughly inspected, but the principal rooms retain plaster cornices, marble chimney-pieces (ground floor right has a late 19th century marble chimney-piece) shutters, panelled doors and deep skirting boards, although there are a number of late 20th century Georgian style doors and cornices. Fine open well stair and stair balustrade with ornamental iron balusters and a wreathed handrail; a pair of Ionic columns in the stair hall are of uncertain date.
The Reverend Swete describes his ten year programme of building Oxton House in his 'Picturesque Sketches of Devon' in manuscript in the Devon Record Office, including watercolours of the house before the Greek Revival alterations. Other details: LBS 85877.

Sources / Further Reading

SDV17562Monograph: Hoskins, W. G.. 1954. A New Survey of England: Devon. A New Survey of England: Devon. A5 Hardback. 419.
SDV336217Monograph: Pevsner, N.. 1952. The Buildings of England: South Devon. The Buildings of England: South Devon. Paperback Volume. 223-4.
SDV338310Register of Parks and Gardens in England: English Heritage. 2000. Oxton House. Register of Parks and Gardens of Special Historic Interest in England. A4 Unbound.
SDV342747Article in Serial: Bingham, W. P. S.. 1904-1905. Oxton House. Devon and Cornwall Notes and Queries. 3. Unknown. 16.
SDV342748Article in Serial: Williams, M.. 1904-1905. Oxton House. Devon and Cornwall Notes and Queries. 3. Unknown. 55-6.
SDV342749Article in Serial: Unknown. 1902-1903. Sir Nicholas Martyn of Oxton and Netherex, Knight. Devon and Cornwall Notes and Queries. 2. Unknown. 65.
SDV342750Article in Serial: Unknown. 1904-1905. Oxton House. Devon and Cornwall Notes and Queries. 3. Unknown. 93.
SDV342751Record Office Collection: Swete, J.. 1792-1801. Watercolour Views of Oxton House and Grounds. Devon Record Office Collection. Unknown.
SDV342752List of Blds of Arch or Historic Interest: Department of Environment. 1949. Kenton. Historic Houses Register. Unknown. 78.
SDV342754List of Blds of Arch or Historic Interest: English Heritage. 2009. Kenton. Historic Houses Register. Website.
SDV40360Article in Serial: Reichel, O. J.. 1915. The Early History of the Principal Manors in Exminster Hundred. Transactions of the Devonshire Association. 47. A5 Hardback. 218.

Associated Monuments

MDV75901Related to: Gateway at Pier Lodge north of Mamhead Park (Monument)
MDV72984Related to: Mamhead Cottage formerly The Cottage and Maraylya (Building)
MDV54845Related to: Oxton House Park and Garden (Park/Garden)
MDV75900Related to: Pier Lodge north of Mamhead Park (Building)

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events: none recorded

Date Last Edited:Aug 12 2009 3:22PM