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HER Number:MDV12044
Name:Kingsnympton Park

Summary

Mid 18th century country house built for James Buller. It is considered a particularly important building both in terms of its setting and its design and retains many original 18th century features.

Location

Grid Reference:SS 672 195
Map Sheet:SS61NE
Admin AreaDevon
Civil ParishKing's Nympton
DistrictNorth Devon
Ecclesiastical ParishKINGS NYMPTON

Protected Status

Other References/Statuses

  • Old DCC SMR Ref: SS61NE/12
  • Old Listed Building Ref (I)

Monument Type(s) and Dates

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

Full description

Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV68763.

Kings nympton park on site of tudor manor house.


OR INTENDED TO BE, Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV68767.

Country house.1746 - 50 with minor c19 additions. Red brick e front with ashlar dressings, the other elevations are local stone rubble with brick bands and moulded stringcourses, the house was probably originally (or intended to be) stuccoed. Asbestos tile pyramid hipped roof with a leaded finial and weathercane at the apex. The 2 symmetrically situated rendered axial stacks have been rebuilt. A palladian villa based on marble hill (1728) in twickenham. Plan: double depth almost square plan. On the w entrance front there is the large stairhall at the centre to the left of which is the servant's stair and to the right a parlour. Behind the stairhall a larger hall facing the main e garden front, with a library to the right and parlour to the left. The services and kitchen were in the cellar and the principal rooms were probably on the first floor. In circa mid c19 a portico was added to the main w entrance and in the late c19 a small single storey wing was built on the n side probably as a cloakroom. In the c20 the roof was repaired and modified by carrying it over the blocking course to aneaves gutter. Exterior: 2 storeys, attic and basement. The principal e garden front 1:3:1 bays, the centre 3 bays broken forward with a rusticated ashlar ground floor with giant ionic engaged columns on the first and second floors supporting an entablature with a pulvinated frieze and large pediment containing the buller arms (the pediment has been rebuilt). All the original sash windows have thick glazing bars. The 3 central windows in the rusticated ground floor have very large key-stones and the central opening has the original glazed garden double doors. The s and n elevations are similar to each other, 3 symmetrical bays of original sashes. The outer windows on the n side are blind. The n elevation has a small late c19 single storey flat roof addition with a moulded cornice and sash windows. The w entrance has a symmetrical 1:3:11 bay elevation, the centre 3 bays advances; all original sash windows with thick glazing bars; this elevation is built of stone rubble with bands of red brick. Central doorway in a rusticated stone gibb's surround and probably c19 glazed double doors. The large portico is probably also c 19; it has tuscan columns and piers supporting an entablature which breaks forward at the centre with a pediment; the sides of the portico have wrought iron lattice spandrels. The basement area is covered but has light wells over each window and steps down to the side of the main entrance portico; there is a reused c16 window at the bottom of the steps which has 2 4-centred arched lights. Interior: was not inspected but it is apparently virtually unaltered. The entrance hall has a fine stone cantilevered staircase with a wrought iron balustrade and a modillion cornice. The hall has 2 pairs of tuscan columns. The parlour to the right-hand side of the entrance (sw) has dado panelling and an original moulded chimneypiece. The library is fitted out with original shelves. There is no large first floor saloon but references are made in the building accounts to a cube room which was not carried out. The suite of first floor rooms on the n side are complete and have chimneypieces, the ne room was a bedchamber. The second floor bedchambers are also complete and have simple box cornices. What is now the kitchen on the ne corner of the ground floor was the housekeeper's room next to the back stairs which has an original framed staircase; but the cantilevered stone flight down to the cellar has a later wooden balustrade. The cellars are intact and virtually unaltered; the brick groin vaults are on square piers with stone imposts; incorporated into the cellars are 2 c16 moulded stone doorframes; the kitchen has a large fireplace, smoking chamber and bread ovens.


Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV68768.

The former list refers to "some nice contemporary fireplaces" and many other interior features not described here are most likely to have survived intact.


Untitled Source (Report - Survey). SDV68769.

Vis=kings nympton park was formerly known as new place; it was the seat of the bullers who bought it from the northcotes. The park was first enclosed by sir lewis pollard in the late c15, but the earlier house, situated nearby, no longer exists except for a few fragments reused in the cellar of the present house. A piece of lead taken from the roof during repairs has an outline of a hand and initials and date ck 1747.


Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV68771.

Osa=ss61ne3/photograph.


Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV68772.

Des=doe/hhr:south molton/(march 1964)34.


Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV68773.

White, w. /history,gazeteer and directory of devonshire/(1850).


Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV68774.

Doe/hhr:kings nympton/(25/10/1995)99.


Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV68775.

Des=gallant, l. /deer parks/(1986)/manuscript in smr.


Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV68776.

Des=cherry, b. + pevsner, n. /the buildings of england:devon/(1989)522-3.


Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV68777.

English heritage/(4/9/2003)/description + plan.


RCHM, Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV7666.

A palladian villa, rare in devon. The mid-18c laundry, including workhouse and servants accommodation, immediately nnw of house is listed grade ii* (rchm).


GALLANT, Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV943.

Shown as 'new place' on donn's map of 1763 + called 'kingsnemet' in c17 (gallant).


Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division, Untitled Source (Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card). SDV24.

Vis=24/9/1973(os) present house is well preserved and recent replacement of roof revealed lead impression dated 1749. No extant evidence of earlier structure. Park enclosed and original mansion erected in reign of henry vii by sir lewis pollaard (os).


Department of Environment, Untitled Source (Report - Survey). SDV326923.

Vis=estimated -/-/1963(doe) grade ii*. Mid 18th century on site of tudor house.


Clark, J. + Richardson, D., 2013, Kingsnympton House (Un-published). SDV357874.

Kingsnympton Park is a Palladian villa; a rarity in Devon. Built in 1746 for James Buller by Francis Cartwright, master builder and architect. The design is based on Marble Hill, Twickenham.


Cruikshank, D., 2017, Kingsnympton Park, Devon (Report - Survey). SDV361722.

Kingsnympton Park, an 18th century villa built for James Buller, is considered remarkable both in terms of its design and its setting. It occupies a commanding site with distant views of Dartmoor. Listed Grade I, the house retains many of its original 18th century features. The design of the house, construction of which began in 1746, is inspired by Marble Hill House, Twickenham. It is essentially an Anglo-Palladian villa, a small, well-designed, ornamental house. Unlike most such houses though which were primarily built for show, for occasional use and entertaining, Kingsnympton House was built as a home and the functional centre of a working estate. It is suggested that the design of the house was much influenced by Lord Bathurst, an amateur architect and father of James Buller’s second wife, Jane. The building of the house was part of the marriage contract, which refers to 'New Place'. Buller bought the estate with money provided by Lord Bathurst in 1744 and commissioned architect Frances Cartwright to oversee the work.
The main architectural feature of the interior is the generous stone staircase rising from the hall to the first floor. Two styles of decoration are evident in the ground floor rooms, early 18th century English Baroque and mid 18th century English Rococo. The finest room in the house is considered to be the library, a novelty in the 1740s (Marble Hill House does not have a library) and a good example of the emerging rococo style.
The vaulted kitchen in the basement retains a number of early details and includes a stone-built boiler used to prepare sauces.
The first floor comprises two apartments, one for James Buller, the other for his wife separated by the landing and the Cube Room. The Cube Room at the head of the main staircase is presumed to have been intended as the main social room of the house but for some reason was left unfinished during Buller’s lifetime.
Accommodation on the second floor also appears to have been arranged as two apartments and includes the nursery. In the third floor garret are three bedrooms, in one of which is a door leading to the roof space. Within the roof space is a large timber, lead-lined water tank to collect rainwater from the roof for use in the house, a rare survival.
A number of the rooms including the library, staircase hall and James Buller’s bedroom are considered particularly important in terms of the high quality of their decoration and their exceptional state of preservation. The kitchen is also considered to be an outstanding museum quality room.
See report for full details.


Ordnance Survey, 2018, MasterMap 2018 (Cartographic). SDV360652.


Historic England, 2018, National Heritage List for England, 1152957 (National Heritage List for England). SDV360653.

Kings Nympton Park. Country house. 1746 - 50 by Francis Cartwright for James Buller, with minor C19 additions. Red brick east front in English bond with ashlar dressings, the other elevations are local stone rubble with brick bands and moulded stringcourses, the house was probably originally (or intended to be) stuccoed. Asbestos tile pyramid hipped roof with a leaded finial and weathervane at the apex. The 2 symmetrically situated rendered axial stacks have been rebuilt. A Palladian villa based on Marble Hill (1728) in Twickenham. Plan: double depth almost square plan. On the west entrance front there is the large stairhall at the centre to the left of which is the servant's stair and to the right a parlour. Behind the stairhall a larger hall facing the main east garden front, with a library to the right and parlour to the left. The services and kitchen were in the cellar end the principal rooms were probably on the first floor. In circa mid C19 a portico was added to the main west entrance and in the late C19 a small single storey wing was built on the north side probably as a cloakroom. In the C20 the roof was repaired and modified by carrying it over tne blocking course to an eaves gutter. Exterior: 2 storeys, attic and basement, the first floor a piano nobile. The principal east garden front 1:3:1 bays, the centre 3 bays broken forward with a rusticated ashlar ground floor with giant Ionic engaged columns on the first and second floors supporting an entablature with a pulvinated frieze and large pediment containing the Buller arms (the pediment has been rebuilt). A deep ashlar frieze below the first floor windows and a modillion eaves cornice, its blocking course above removed when the roof was repaired. All the original sash windows with thick glazing bars, 9 panes on the ground floor, 12 panes on the first floor and 6 panes on the second floor; the first and second floor outer windows are in moulded stone architraves, the first floor with pulvinated friezes and cornices. The 3 central windows in the rusticated ground floor have very large key-stones and tne central opening has the original glazed garden double doors. The left-hand (south) and right-hand (north) elevations are similar to each other, 3 symmetrical bays of original sashes. The outer windows on the north side are blind, the first floor has a brick frieze and moulded stone stringcourses and the window openings have flat arches with projecting keystones. The right-hand (north) elevation has a small late C19 single storey flat roof addition with a moulded cornice and sash windows. The west entrance front has a symmetrical 1:3:1 bay elevation, the centre 3 bays advanced; all original sash windows with thick glazing bars; this elevation is built of stone rubble with bands of red brick, the wide first floor band (frieze) has stone stringcourses; the window openings have flat stone arches with keystones. Central doorway in a rusticated stone Gibb's surround and probably C19 glazed double doors. The large portico is probably also C19; it has Tuscan columns and piers supporting an entablature which breaks forward at the centre with a pediment; the sides of the portico have wrought iron lattice spandrels. The basement area is covered but has light wells over each each window and steps down to the side of the main entrance portico; there is a reused C16 window at the bottom of the steps which has 2 4-centred arched ights. Interior: was not inspected but it is apparently virtually unaltered. The entrance hall has a fine stone cantilevered staircase with a wrought iron balustrade and a modillion cornice. The hall has 2 pairs of Tuscan columns. The parlour to the right-hand side of the entrance (south-west) has dado panelling and an original moulded chimneypiece. The library is fitted out with original shelves. There is no large first floor saloon but references are made in the building accounts to a cube room whicn was not carried out. The suite of first floor rooms on the north side are complete and have chimneypieces, the north-east room was Mr Buller's bedchamber. The second floor bedchambers are also complete and have simple box cornices. What is now the kitchen on the north-east corner of the ground floor was the housekeeper's room next to the back stairs which has an original framed staircase; but the cantilevered stone flight down to the cellar has a later wooden balustrade. The cellars are intact and virtually unaltered; the brick groin vaults are on square piers with stone imposts; incorporated into the cellars are 2 C16 moulded stone doorframes, one with carved spandrels; the kitchen has a large fireplace, smoking chamber and bread ovens, each with keyblocks to their segmental arches. The former list refers to 'some nice contemporary fireplaces" and many other interior features not described here are most likely to have survived intact. Historical note: Kings Nympton Park was formerly known as New Place; it was the seat of the Bullers who bought it from the Northcotes. The park was first enclosed by Sir Lewis Pollard in the late C15, but the earlier house, situated nearby, no longer exists except for a few fragments reused in the cellar of the present house. Francis Cartwright, the architect, based his design on Roger Morris's Marble Hill (circa 1728), the plan and form of whicn it closely resembles. A piece of lead taken from the roof during repairs has an outline of a hand and intials and date CK 1747. Sources: Colvin H., Biographical Dictionary of British Architects, 1600 - 1840, page 201. Hoskins, W.G. Devon, page 240. Information on the interior provided by Nicholas Thompson.
Date first listed: 9th June 1952


Adam Architecture, 2018, Park House and Laundry Cottage, Kings Nympton. Interior Condidition Survey/Schedule of Work (Report - Survey). SDV361725.

Interior condition survey undertaken in November 2017, part of wider proposals for the restoration of the buildings. Description of architectural features given with photos.

Sources / Further Reading

SDV24Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card: Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division. Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card. Card Index.
SDV326923Report - Survey: Department of Environment.
SDV357874Un-published: Clark, J. + Richardson, D.. 2013. Kingsnympton House. Devon Local Register of Parks and Gardens of Local Historic Interest. Digital.
SDV360652Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 2018. MasterMap 2018. Ordnance Survey Digital Mapping. Digital. [Mapped feature: #79681 ]
SDV360653National Heritage List for England: Historic England. 2018. National Heritage List for England. Historic Houses Register. Digital. 1152957.
SDV361722Report - Survey: Cruikshank, D.. 2017. Kingsnympton Park, Devon. Adam Architecture. Digital.
SDV361725Report - Survey: Adam Architecture. 2018. Park House and Laundry Cottage, Kings Nympton. Interior Condidition Survey/Schedule of Work. Adam Architecture. HP5953. Digital.
SDV68763Migrated Record:
SDV68767Migrated Record: OR INTENDED TO BE.
SDV68768Migrated Record:
SDV68769Report - Survey:
SDV68771Migrated Record:
SDV68772Migrated Record:
SDV68773Migrated Record:
SDV68774Migrated Record:
SDV68775Migrated Record:
SDV68776Migrated Record:
SDV68777Migrated Record:
SDV7666Migrated Record: RCHM.
SDV943Migrated Record: GALLANT.

Associated Monuments

MDV4527Related to: Dovecote or Gazebo in Kingsnympton Park (Building)
MDV67874Related to: King's Nympton Park (Park/Garden)
MDV67872Related to: Laundry, Kingsnympton Park (Building)

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events

  • EDV7586 - Historic Building and Interior Condition Surveys of Kingsnympton Park

Date Last Edited:May 20 2019 9:33AM