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HER Number:MDV12507
Name:Horwood's Almshouses, Church Lane, Barnstaple


Seventeenth century almshouses.


Grid Reference:SS 558 331
Map Sheet:SS53SE
Admin AreaDevon
Civil ParishBarnstaple
DistrictNorth Devon
Ecclesiastical ParishBARNSTAPLE

Protected Status

Other References/Statuses

  • Old DCC SMR Ref: SS53SE/180
  • Old Listed Building Ref (II)
  • Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division: SS53SE16

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • ALMSHOUSE (XVII - 1659 AD to 1674 AD (Between))

Full description

Lysons, D. + Lysons, S., 1822, Magna Britannica, 39 (Monograph). SDV323771.

Ordnance Survey, 1855-1895, Towns 1855-95 1:500 (Cartographic). SDV348147.

Map object based on this source.

Pevsner, N., 1952, The Buildings of England: North Devon, 48 (Monograph). SDV336196.

Department of Environment, 1973, Barnstaple, 21 (List of Blds of Arch or Historic Interest). SDV89941.

Eight dwellings of colour washed stone with original mullioned windows and door frames, built around three sides of an internal court.

Timms, S. C., 1976, The Devon Urban Survey, 1976. First Draft, 74 (Report - Survey). SDV341346.

North Devon District Council Rescue Archaeology Unit, 1991, North Devon Archaeological Site Code Index, Site 65 (Report - non-specific). SDV63429.

Horwood School, Church Lane. Evidence of 19th century internal modifications. Recorded in 1986

Ordnance Survey, 2012, MasterMap (Cartographic). SDV348725.

Map object based on this source.

English Heritage, 2012, National Heritage List for England (National Heritage List for England). SDV348729.

Horwood's Almshouses.
Almshouses. 1674 (old list description). Started under the patronage of Thomas Horwood, completed for his wife, Alice: thoroughly renovated. Painted stone rubble, elevation to Church Lane roughcast; natural slate roof with terracotta ridge tiles; stacks mostly dismantled; cast-iron rainwater goods; pitched stone paving to courtyard. Originally 8 dwellings for 16 inmates. L-plan range, the longer block backing onto Church lane, with an entrance through it to a courtyard. Smaller, 2-unit block behind, also parallel to Church Lane. 2 storeys. Street elevation blind except for courtyard entrance which has moulded timber doorway with elaborate ramshead stops with carved foliage detail. Slate plaque, a copy of a more worn plaque inside the courtyard records `This Alms Hous was founded & endowed by y worll Thomas Horwood merchant twice mayor of this towne who was a worthy benefactor and began it in his life, finished by his wife Mrs Alice Horwood after his death who of her owne accord added the adioying free school and endowed it for 20 poore children forever 1659 abi et tu fac similiter'. Inside the courtyard the main block has a regular 4-window range with 4 double ovolo-moulded door frames with blind scroll stops and stud and cover strip doors, mostly renewed, 2 on either side of the courtyard entrance, which has a similar door frame. Doors and windows have timber lintels. 3-light ovolo-moulded mullioned timber windows, glazed with diamond leaded panes, the opening casement hung on cockshead hinges. Ground-floor windows have lead drip ledges on moulded brackets. The shorter block of the L-shaped range has 2 doorways and one 2- and one 3-light window on the ground floor and two 3-light windows, with a very worn inscription tablet, copied on the exterior. The smaller, detached block has a brick stack at the right end and a symmetrical 2-window range with a central doorway matching the others and 2 ground- and 2 first-floor windows, also matching the others.
Interior: not inspected but said to be modernised. Bench with turned legs mentioned in 1973 list description said not to be on site. The almhouses are adjacent to Horwood's School of 1659.
Date listed: 19th January 1951.

Unknown, July 1975, Barnstaple Municipal Charities Historic Almshouses (Leaflet). SDV82108.

Horwood Almshouses is an amalgamation of three separate 17th century charity foundations, Horwood, Paige and Harris almshouses which in turn replaced earlier buildings. Thomas Harris gave money for the building of one house here in 1646 and ten years later, Elizabeth wife of Gilbert Paige, Mayor of Barnstaple, established four almshouses adjoining that of Thomas Harris. In 1665 Thomas and Alice Horwood founded eight more houses in the same place. The original deed refers to the location as Whitpit Lane, now Church Lane. Some alteration to the original layout has led to the thirteen almshouses becoming twelve.

Friends of Archaeology ND, Unknown, Historic Barnstaple (Leaflet). SDV356772.

Griffiths, D. M., Unknown, Houses + Lands (Worksheet). SDV357948.

The Devon Record Office has a book of plans of c1779 of various houses and lands in and around Barnstaple including Horwoods Almshouses (DRO TD 146).

Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division, Unknown, SS53SE16 (Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card). SDV82104.

Horwood's Almshouses and school. Thomas Horwood gave land in 1658 for building eight dwelling houses for two paupers each. Erected and endowed 1659.
Site visit 13th October 1953. Eight almshouses are still in use and administered by Barnstaple Municipal Trust.
Site visit 1st April 1976. They apparently replace earlier almshouses on this site. Each is occupied and well preserved.

Sources / Further Reading

SDV323771Monograph: Lysons, D. + Lysons, S.. 1822. Magna Britannica. Magna Britannica: A Concise Topographical Account of The Several Counties o. 6: Devonshire. Unknown. 39.
SDV336196Monograph: Pevsner, N.. 1952. The Buildings of England: North Devon. The Buildings of England: North Devon. Paperback Volume. 48.
SDV341346Report - Survey: Timms, S. C.. 1976. The Devon Urban Survey, 1976. First Draft. Devon Committee for Rescue Archaeology Report. A4 Unbound + Digital. 74.
SDV348147Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 1855-1895. Towns 1855-95 1:500. Towns 1855-95 1:500. Digital.
SDV348725Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 2012. MasterMap. Ordnance Survey. Map (Digital).
SDV348729National Heritage List for England: English Heritage. 2012. National Heritage List for England. Website.
SDV356772Leaflet: Friends of Archaeology ND. Unknown. Historic Barnstaple. Leaflet + Digital.
SDV357948Worksheet: Griffiths, D. M.. Unknown. Houses + Lands. Worksheet + Digital.
SDV63429Report - non-specific: North Devon District Council Rescue Archaeology Unit. 1991. North Devon Archaeological Site Code Index. North Devon District Council Report. A4 Stapled + Digital. Site 65.
SDV82104Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card: Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division. Unknown. SS53SE16. Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card.
SDV82108Leaflet: Unknown. July 1975. Barnstaple Municipal Charities Historic Almshouses. Leaflet + Digital.
SDV89941List of Blds of Arch or Historic Interest: Department of Environment. 1973. Barnstaple. Historic Houses Register. A4 Comb Bound. 21.

Associated Monuments

MDV4491Related to: Alice Horwood's School, Church Lane, Barnstaple (Building)
MDV12508Related to: Paige's Almshouses, Church Lane, Barnstaple (Building)

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events: none recorded

Date Last Edited:Apr 30 2021 7:56AM