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HER Number:MDV10920
Name:Hole House, Branscombe


Hole House is first documented in 1249 but the present farmhouse dates to the early to mid 16th century with 17th century improvements. It was modernised circa 1960.


Grid Reference:SY 191 894
Map Sheet:SY18NE
Admin AreaDevon
Civil ParishBranscombe
DistrictEast Devon
Ecclesiastical ParishBRANSCOMBE

Protected Status

Other References/Statuses

  • Old DCC SMR Ref: SY18NE/17
  • Old Listed Building Ref (II*)

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • FARMHOUSE (Built, XVI to XVII - 1501 AD to 1700 AD (Between))

Full description

NMR CITING DOE AND CHERRY + PEVSNER, Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV123796.

Hole farmhouse, including gate-piers adjoining e end. Early-mid 16c 3-room- and-through-passage plan developed into a courtyard plan house in the 17c. Grade ii* (nmr citing doe and cherry + pevsner).

Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV123797.


Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV123798.

Hoskins, w. G. /devon/(1954)344.

Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV123799.

Doe/hhr:honiton rd/(-/7/1950)5/provisional list.

Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV123800.

Seymour, d. J. /t. T. N. H. S. /12(1955-1958)12/the smaller manor houses of medieval devon.

Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV123801.


Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV123802.

Cherry, b. + pevsner, n. /the buildings of england:devon/(1989)205.

Department of Environment, Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV326814.

Originally a hall house xvii century, original window at rear. Two wings at rear almost joined by kitchen block. Xvii century gate piers (doe).

Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV335.

Hole house. 'recorded in 1249. The present house is late 16th century' (hoskins).

Seymour, D. J., Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV4302.

Medieval roof timber survives (seymour).

Butters, F. C., 1980, Branscombe and the Parish and the Church, 10, 12 (Pamphlet). SDV363022.

Once home to the Holcombe family. It has a fine Elizabethan fireplace on which are carved the names of Gylbart Holcombe (born 1594), Elyzabeth Holcombe (born 1590) and Josias Holcombe (married 1593). A Ralph de la Hole is documented in 1248.

Exeter Archaeology, 2003-2004, East Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty Archaeological Survey, 173 (Archive - Survey). SDV351568.

Hole House. Hole was probably the home of Ralph de la Hole, documented in 1249 (Gover et al). The present house is early-mid 16th century, developed in the 17th century. A series of 17th century jugs was found at Hole.

Ordnance Survey, 2013, MasterMap (Cartographic). SDV350786.

Historic England, 2019, National Heritage List for England, 1333291 (National Heritage List for England). SDV362730.

Hole Farmhouse including gate piers adjoining east end. Farmhouse. Early-mid C16, with C17 improvements, modernised circa 1960. The front is of coursed blocks of Beerstone ashlar; the rest is also Beerstone ashlar but not so neat and includes patches of stone rubble, the east wing includes a section of chequer pattern walling made up of small Beerstone blocks and knapped black flint; stone stacks with Beerstone ashlar chimneyshafts tile roof, formerly thatch. Plan: courtyard plan house. The main block faces south-south-east, say south, and is built down the hillslope. it has a 3-room-and-through-passage plan. The uphill left (west) end is terraced into the hillslope. It is an inner room with a gable- end stack. Next to it is the hall with an axial stack at the upper end backing onto the inner room. Below the passage there is a lower end room (maybe a parlour) with a gable-end stack. A rear block projects at right angles behind each end room. The left or west wing has a gable-end stack and is thought to be the kitchen block. There is a lower north wing which nearly encloses the courtyard and this has been converted to a 2-room plan cottage. Since no internal inspection was available at the time of this survey it is not possible to interpret the layout of the house and its historical development in detail here. Nevertheless it is clear that the hall at least was originally open to the roof and the Devon SMR records the survival of the original "medieval" roof. Smoke-blackening from an open hearth fire is not mentioned but might be expected if the house is early C16 (or maybe late C15). The present house appears to be largely the result of a major mid or late C16 renovation and the rear wings might date from this time. The rear passage doorway is blocked by the east Wing. The rear (north) block was probably service rooms but all external evidence was removed or disguised in its conversion to the present cottage. The house is now 2 storeys throughout. Good exterior: irregular 3-window front. The ground floor left end window is a C20 casement containing diamond panes of leaded glass. The first floor windows are circa 1960 plate glass half dormers with hipped roofs. The other windows are C16; 3-light Beerstone windows with Tudor arch heads and hoodmoulds, they contain rectangular panes of leaded glass. The passage front doorway is right of centre and is a C16 Beerstone Tudor arch; it contains a C20 door. Directly above is a Beerstone plaque bearing the arms of the Holcombe family. The roof is gable-ended . To rear of the hall is a C16 full height 5-light window with moulded Beerstone mullions Tudor arch headed lights and sunken spandrels, all except the 1 blocked light containing rectangular panes of leaded glass and iron glazing bars. There are other smaller versions in both rear wings and a couple of probably C17 ovolo-moulded mullion Beerstone windows. The courtyard (northern) side of the east wing has an attractive chequer face of small cream-coloured Beerstone blocks and black flint. The present main doorway has been inserted into the right (east) end of the main block and contains a C20 door. Interior was not available for inspection at the time of this survey although a Tudor arch fireplace with moulded surround and sunken spandrels was seen in the hall. The beam flooring the hall was roughly squared and is probably C19 or C20. Devon SMR reports a "medieval" roof here and the former list description reports "old ceiling beams etc. within". Also the parish guide reports "a fine Elizabethan fireplace on which are carved the names of Gulbart Holcombe (born 1594) Elizabeth Holcombe (born 1590) and Josias Holcombe (married 1593)." It would seem that the interior is as well preserved as the exterior. Therefore, before a full internal survey is undertaken, great care should be taken with any modernisation work here lest C16 or C17 features be disturbed. Against the east end of the main block there is a gateway, Beerstone gateposts with ball finials. Although this has been restored the gateway is probably C17. The first documentary reference to Hole dates from 1249. It was the home of the Holcombe family during the C15, C16 and C17. It next passed to the Bartletts and then, by marriage, to the Stuckeys. Sources: Devon SMR. F C Butters, Branscombe, The Parish and the Church (1949), p 10.
Date first listed: 22nd February 1955

Unknown, Unknown, Hole House, Branscombe (Ground Photograph). SDV354988.

Sources / Further Reading

SDV123797Migrated Record:
SDV123798Migrated Record:
SDV123799Migrated Record:
SDV123800Migrated Record:
SDV123801Migrated Record:
SDV123802Migrated Record:
SDV326814Migrated Record: Department of Environment.
SDV335Migrated Record:
SDV350786Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 2013. MasterMap. Ordnance Survey Digital Mapping. Digital. [Mapped feature: #68537 ]
SDV351568Archive - Survey: Exeter Archaeology. 2003-2004. East Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty Archaeological Survey. East Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty Archaeological Survey. Digital + Mixed Archive Material. 173.
SDV354988Ground Photograph: Unknown. Unknown. Hole House, Branscombe. Slide.
SDV362730National Heritage List for England: Historic England. 2019. National Heritage List for England. Historic Houses Register. Digital. 1333291.
SDV363022Pamphlet: Butters, F. C.. 1980. Branscombe and the Parish and the Church. Paperback Volume. 10, 12.
SDV4302Migrated Record: Seymour, D. J..

Associated Monuments: none recorded

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events: none recorded

Date Last Edited:May 23 2019 12:03PM