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HER Number:MDV1366
Name:Great House of St George, Tiverton


Great House of St George in St Peter's Street in Tiverton was built in the early 17th century, with later alterations and additions


Grid Reference:SS 954 125
Map Sheet:SS91SE
Admin AreaDevon
Civil ParishTiverton
DistrictMid Devon
Ecclesiastical ParishTIVERTON

Protected Status

Other References/Statuses

  • National Monuments Record: 36472
  • Old DCC SMR Ref: SS91SE/17
  • Old Listed Building Ref (II*): 485409
  • Old SAM County Ref: 236
  • Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division: SS91SE31

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • HOUSE (XVII - 1601 AD to 1614 AD (Between))

Full description

Ministry of Public Building and Works, The Great House, Peter Street, Tiverton (Schedule Document). SDV345485.

The Great House at 1 St Peter's Street in Tiverton is of Tudor and Queen Anne periods. Originally a wool house and the Offices of Tiverton Rural District Council in 1947.

Ordnance Survey, 1880-1899, First Edition Ordnance 25 inch map (Cartographic). SDV336179.

Building shown on 19th century map.

Adams, M., 1919, Proceedings at the 58th Annual Meeting, 37 (Article in Serial). SDV55584.

Department of Environment, 1972, Tiverton, 43 (List of Blds of Arch or Historic Interest). SDV52494.

Said to have been built by G Slee in early 17th century. Gabled stone building, mullioned windows relieving arches. Round arched opening to screens passage - retains original doors, panelling etc.

Devon County Council, 1975, Tiverton Town Trails, 65 (Article in Monograph). SDV352466.

Timms, S. C., 1976, The Devon Urban Survey, 1976. First Draft, 201 (Report - Survey). SDV341346.

Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division, 1978, SS91SE31 (Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card). SDV345483.

The Great House of St George in St Peter's Street was built in the early 17th century and adjoins Slee's almshouses.

Laithwaite, M., 1978, Town Houses up to 1700, 31 (Article in Monograph). SDV338241.

Great House of St George erected circa 1613 by Slee. Some early features have been removed. Rainwater head has date of 1614. Subsequent alterations noted and life of Slee (Tiverton wool merchant) described. Now a grand 17th century town house with broad street facade in stone. Other details: Photograph.

Authers, W. P., 1980, The Great House (Leaflet). SDV345487.

Weston, S., 1983, List of Field Monument Warden Visits 1982 (Un-published). SDV342456.

Department of Environment, 1992, Untitled Source (Correspondence). SDV345488.

Mid Devon District Council, 1995, Tiverton Conservation Area Partnership Scheme. Preliminary Application, 4 (Un-published). SDV346055.

An important surviving merchant's house.

Department of National Heritage, 1995, Untitled Source (Correspondence). SDV345494.

Schedule Monument Consent granted for the re-rendering of the chimney stacks using putty lime.

Department of National Heritage, 1996, Untitled Source (Correspondence). SDV345493.

Schedule Monument Consent granted for repairs to the St George's room.

Department of National Heritage, 1997, Untitled Source (Correspondence). SDV345491.

Schedule Monument Consent granted for minor works which are beneficial to the presentation and public enjoyment of the monument.

Department of National Heritage, 1997, Untitled Source (Correspondence). SDV345492.

Schedule Monument Consent granted concerning the insertion of a new steel member to support the existing structure over the window opening of the St George's room.

Department of Environment, 1998, Untitled Source (Correspondence). SDV345489.

Schedule Monument Consent granted for repairs to the rear façade.

Department of National Heritage, 1998, Untitled Source (Correspondence). SDV345490.

Schedule Monument Consent granted for works concerning various repairs.

National Monuments Record, 2010, 36472 (National Monuments Record Database). SDV345486.

The building adjoins Slee's Almshouses and is said to have been built by George Slee in the very early 17th century. It is a two storey, rubble stone building of cross passage plan, much altered during the 20th century. The building may originally have served as a Guildhall as well as Slee's residence. It was later converted into a doctor's surgery and housed council offices from 1974.

English Heritage, 2010, Historic Houses Register (List of Blds of Arch or Historic Interest). SDV154869.

Great House of St George on the east side of St Peter Street in Tiverton was Listed on 12th February 1952. It is a large and historically important town house, said to have been built by George Slee who built Slee's Almshouses, St Peter's Street the adjoining range to the south. It was later used as a doctor's surgery and as council offices since 1974. The house is believed to have incorporated guild facilities as well as functioning as Slee's residence and place of business. Bult circa 1613 with later alterations, particularly following a fire of 1731. Built of purple slatestone rubble with freestone dressings, heavily repaired on the front elevation, some of the dressings replaced with concrete; natural slate roof; stacks with rendered shafts with coved cornices and terracotta pots; cast-iron rainwater goods. Plan: Three room and cross passage plan range, on a north to south axis, fronting west onto the street, cross passage to left of centre. Outer rooms heated by end stacks, centre room now divided between parlour at the front with a front corner stack and stair hall to the rear. Rear right wing at right angles heated from lateral stack on south wall. The house has a rear courtyard (now a garden) and access to Fore Street at a low level round the south end of the adjoining almshouses. The house was evidently refurbished in the early 18th century and the stair is a 20th century replacement. The position of the original kitchen is unclear: the room to north of the cross passage, technically (although not topographically) the lower end, is over a cellar but the rear wing seems a better candidate. This has an axial passage running along the north side, linked to the stair hall and a separate doorway into the passage from the rear courtyard. The partition to the passage incorporates a Tudor arched doorway. The north wall has a shallow gabled projection, possibly a former stair or closet. There have been considerable 20th century alterations to the house, including re-roofing and it is possible that some of the internal features, particularly plank and muntin partitions, are not in their original positions. Exterior: two storeys and attic with cellar under north end. The front (west) elevation is symmetrical above the ground floor, apart from the left of centre front stack, which rises behind the parapet. Deep plinth with coped gables to front left and right, with kneelers. Coped parapet between the gables rises in centre with nowy head. Round-headed doorway to through-passage to left of centre, with moulded dripmould; two-leaf arched timber door. Moulded strings at first floor sill and lintel level, the upper string forming a continuous dripmould to the first-floor windows. Stone ovolo-mullioned windows with hoodmoulds and king mullions, glazed with square leaded panes. All windows six-light except ground floor left, which is four-light; ground-floor windows have relieving arches. Two-light stone mullioned attic windows, one to each gable and one one-light stone window in the centre. North end of rear (east) elevation gabled to the rear. Classicised rear passage doorway with moulded piers (very repaired) with capitals and egg and dart moulding and lion's head. To north of the passage doorway there is a separate entrance to the ground floor room at the north end and a doorway with steps down to the cellar - both doorways with continuous hoodmoulds and relieving arches and the cellar doorway with a two-light stone overlight. First floor room is lit by a very large five-light stone mullioned window with high transoms to the outer pairs of lights and an arched central light. Stair window to the south is also stone mullioned with a high transom. The north elevation of the wing has a small gabled projection in the centre with a coped gable with kneelers and small two and one-light stone windows. To its right (east) there is a Tudor arched doorway containing a 19th or 20th century studded door with a four-light stone mullioned window alongside, sharing a continuous hoodmould; both openings have relieving arches; six-light mullioned window to first floor. To right of the projection the wall is blind. The end wall of the wing is gabled with one ground and one first floor stone mullioned window with relieving arches. A second small first-floor window and the attic window in the gable are probably secondary additions. The rear elevation of the wing is partly obscured by foliage and the yard to the rear of Slee's almshouses. It has a Beerstone band at the sill level of the ground-floor windows; an internal shouldered stack; two first floor stone mullioned windows and a 20th century attic dormer and probably 20th century ground-floor window to the right. The coach house, at the east end of the wing has been renovated and joined to it in the last ten years. It retains the arms of the Owen family, who were wool staplers and provided two mayors of Tiverton and who occupied the house. Interior: retains important fittings from the 17th and 18th century, which have survived remarkably well for a town house, including attractive detail (eg window furniture with vertical rods linking the opening mechanism.) The following is not a comprehensive list of all the items of interest. The through-passage has a flagged floor and is lined with plank and muntin screens, now painted, the north side screen truncated. The muntins are moulded with scroll stops and a five-petal motif, a folk magic symbol, is inscribed below several of the stops. The roof is carried on moulded crossbeams with scroll stops. The north side has a Tudor arched doorway with carved spandrels and a two-leaf door and a lead rainwater hopper has been re-sited over the doorway. It is dated 1614 with the initials 'J S' probably for Joan Slee, George Slee's wife. The south side of the passage has two similar Tudor arched doorways, one blocked, with plain and stud doors. The north end room, which occupied the full depth of the range, has been modernised and is plain - the fireplace, if it exists, to the north end stack, is concealed. The first floor room over has been subdivided and panelled in the late 19th or 20th century but was originally one early 18th century room, judging from the ceiling. The cellar has a pitched stone floor and a round-headed volcanic archway. The small parlour in the centre front has a Jacobean chimney-piece with carved terms and a date of 1622 and late 17th or early 18th century panelling. The south end room in the front range has a boxed-in crossbeam; early 18th century panelling an 18th century grey and white marble chimney-piece with an integral overmantel painting of John the Baptist. 20th century open well stair with a flat-handrail and slender turned balusters, simple plaster rose to stair hall ceiling. The rear wing retains 17th century scroll-stopped chamfered crossbeams and the axial passage on the north side is a plank and muntin screen incorporating a Tudor arched doorway. The fireplace to the large south side stack is not visible, but may be concealed behind later wall plaster. The first floor of the wing has moulded beams to the passage and some moulded beams to the rooms off. The attic storey of the wing has small rooms, probably servants' rooms in the 18th century, with some two-panel doors and fielded panelled cupboards. Roofspace of 20th century roof construction. The first floor ceiling of the north room has been lowered and an early 18th century plaster cornice and ceiling roundel survive in the attic. Other features include the tall stone rubble walls to the rear garden.
History: George Slee born about 1555, died 1613, was the son of a yeoman farmer of Coldridge and is buried in the chancel of the Church of St Peter. He was related by marriage to the other major wool merchants with Tiverton links. He married Joan Chilcot who was the niece of Peter Blundell. The Great House is of national importance as a good example of an early 17th century town house in a provincial market town. It is of especial importance to Tiverton as the only surviving house in the town erected by one of the wealthy wool merchants who ran Tiverton in the 17th century and who are known from the charitable buildings they founded. Other details: LBS Number 485409.

Ordnance Survey, 2010, MasterMap (Cartographic). SDV344030.

'DC Offices' shown on modern mapping.

Sources / Further Reading

SDV154869List of Blds of Arch or Historic Interest: English Heritage. 2010. Historic Houses Register. Historic Houses Register. Website.
SDV336179Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 1880-1899. First Edition Ordnance 25 inch map. First Edition Ordnance Survey 25 inch Map. Map (Digital).
SDV338241Article in Monograph: Laithwaite, M.. 1978. Town Houses up to 1700. Devon's Traditional Buildings. Unknown. 31.
SDV341346Report - Survey: Timms, S. C.. 1976. The Devon Urban Survey, 1976. First Draft. Devon Committee for Rescue Archaeology Report. A4 Unbound + Digital. 201.
SDV342456Un-published: Weston, S.. 1983. List of Field Monument Warden Visits 1982. Lists of Field Monument Warden Visits. Unknown.
SDV344030Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 2010. MasterMap. Ordnance Survey. Map (Digital). [Mapped feature: #80980 ]
SDV345483Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card: Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division. 1978. SS91SE31. Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card. Card Index.
SDV345485Schedule Document: Ministry of Public Building and Works. The Great House, Peter Street, Tiverton. The Schedule of Monuments. Foolscap.
SDV345486National Monuments Record Database: National Monuments Record. 2010. 36472. National Monuments Record Database. Website.
SDV345487Leaflet: Authers, W. P.. 1980. The Great House. Leaflet.
SDV345488Correspondence: Department of Environment. 1992. Scheduled Monument Consent Letter. Letter.
SDV345489Correspondence: Department of Environment. 1998. Scheduled Monument Consent Letter. Letter.
SDV345490Correspondence: Department of National Heritage. 1998. Scheduled Monument Consent Letter. Letter.
SDV345491Correspondence: Department of National Heritage. 1997. Scheduled Monument Consent Letter. Letter.
SDV345492Correspondence: Department of National Heritage. 1997. Letter.
SDV345493Correspondence: Department of National Heritage. 1996. Scheduled Monument Consent Letter. Letter.
SDV345494Correspondence: Department of National Heritage. 1995. Scheduled Monument Consent Letter. Letter.
SDV346055Un-published: Mid Devon District Council. 1995. Tiverton Conservation Area Partnership Scheme. Preliminary Application. Mid Devon District Council Report. A4 Stapled + Digital. 4.
SDV352466Article in Monograph: Devon County Council. 1975. Tiverton Town Trails. Devon Town Trails: European Architectural Heritage Year. Paperback Volume. 65.
SDV52494List of Blds of Arch or Historic Interest: Department of Environment. 1972. Tiverton. Historic Houses Register. Unknown. 43.
SDV55584Article in Serial: Adams, M.. 1919. Proceedings at the 58th Annual Meeting. Transactions of the Devonshire Association. 51. A5 Hardback. 37.

Associated Monuments

MDV12363Related to: Slee's Almshouses, St Peter Street, Tiverton (Building)
MDV78990Related to: St. Peter Street, Tiverton (Monument)

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events: none recorded

Date Last Edited:Feb 18 2015 3:46PM