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HER Number:MDV14341
Name:Margells, Branscombe Street, Branscombe


Margells is a 16th century house which was once part of a larger house and retains many original features. Owned and restored by the Landmark Trust


Grid Reference:SY 188 888
Map Sheet:SY18NE
Admin AreaDevon
Civil ParishBranscombe
DistrictEast Devon
Ecclesiastical ParishBRANSCOMBE

Protected Status

Other References/Statuses

  • National Monuments Record: 512123
  • National Trust SMR: 100354
  • Old DCC SMR Ref: SY18NE/28
  • Old Listed Building Ref (II*)

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • HOUSE (Built, XVI - 1501 AD to 1600 AD (Between))

Full description

Gover, J. E. B. + Mawer, A. + Stenton, F. M., 1932, The Place-Names of Devon: Part Two, 621 (Monograph). SDV337894.

Family name of Marcle, Marckell and Markel documented in parish registers of 1680.

Cherry, J., 1976, Untitled Source, 170 (Article in Serial). SDV340403.

Margels. Recorded by M Laithwaite. A two-storeyed stone house, gable end onto street. Probably originally the southeast cross wing of a larger house long since demolished. Wing probably 16th century, containing 2 ground floor rooms separated by a lobby each room has a ceiling, probably inserted, of intersecting heavily moulded beams. Fireplaces added 17th century.

Beacham, P., 1978, Devon's Traditional Buildings, 75 (Article in Monograph). SDV340405.

16th century house with rich interior decoration. Owned and restored by Landmark Trust Other details: Fig 59.

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

A picturesque cottage with a fine and ancient oak ceiling. The name is from a personal name: Marcle, Marckell or Markel recorded in 1680.

Alcock, N. W., 1981, Cruck Construction: An Introduction and Catalogue, 109 (Report - non-specific). SDV342504.

Jointed crucks recorded at Margells.

Richardson, D., 1982, Untitled Source, 66-7 (Monograph). SDV337867.

Margells contains magnificent coffered ceiling, screens, jointed cruck and collars, roof trusses, oak partitions with wattle and daub infilling, etc. In west upper room are remains of a wall painting (illustrated). Probably the house originally had an open hall. Repair work by Landmark Trust described. Other details: Photos.

Timms, S. C., 1983, List of Devon buildings in NMR Recorded Buildings Index, London (Un-published). SDV337271.

Record deposited in NMR in London.

Exeter Archaeology, 2003-2004, East Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty Archaeological Survey, 113 (Archive - Survey). SDV351568.


Pink, F., 2014-2015, South Devon Coast Rapid Coastal Zone Assessment Survey Desk-Based Assessment (Interpretation). SDV357736.

Ordnance Survey, 2019, MasterMap 2019 (Cartographic). SDV362729.

Margells marked.

Historic England, 2019, National Heritage List for England, 1104149 (National Heritage List for England). SDV362730.

Margells. House, once a parlour wing of a larger house. Late C16, carefully restored circa 1975 by the Landmark Trust. Exposed local stone rubble with Beerstone ashlar dressings; Beerstone ashlar stack and chimneyshaft extended with C20 brick; thatch roof. Plan: 2-room plan house with central through passage. It is built on a south-west north-east axis gable-end onto the lane. The former principal parlour at the front has a projecting lateral stack with projecting stair turret alongside on the outer (south-east) end. The rear room has a projecting gable-end stack. The quality of the rooms here suggests that this is only the parlour wing of a larger house. The rest of the house is thought to have been converted to Shute Cottage, Fern Cottage and Wayside Cottage (q.v.) adjoining at right angles to north-west of the rear room. There is in fact a small lobby belonging to Margells intruding into this cottage block. 2 storeys. Exterior: all the windows are C20 casements with glazing bars except for an original window at first floor level to rear; it is a Beerstone 2-light window with ovolo-moulded mullion and hoodmould. In the front end there is a single window each floor. On the inner (north-west) side there is a-single window above the passage doorway which contains a C19 plank door. To right of the window, under the eaves a short cruck post is exposed standing on an oak plate. On the outer (south-east) side the parlour stack has weathered offsets and the stair has a tiny window. To right the passage doorway contains a C19 door and the window to right of it has an original Beerstone hoodmould. The roof is gable-ended. Good interior: all the carpentry detail is original and it has been expertly restored. Each side of the passage is lined with oak plank-and-muntin screens, the muntins chamfered with diagonal cut stops. Each one contains a Tudor arch doorway although the head of the parlour doorway has been restored. The screen headbeams are independent and do not align with the first floor partitions. The rear room has a 4-panel ceiling of moulded intersecting beams. The front room has a higher quality 16-panel intersecting beam ceiling also of moulded intersecting beams. Here the panels are not plastered and the sets of 3 plain joists are set at right angles to those in the adjoining panels. Both ground floor fireplaces are surprisingly modest; stone rubble with plain chamfered oak lintels. The newel staircase has been rebuilt. There are 3 unheated first floor bedchambers of approximately the same size. They are divided by 2 closed trusses filled with small-panelled framing nogged with plaster. The rear one contains a Tudor arch doorway and the front one contains a round-headed doorway (maybe converted from a Tudor arch). A corridor between these doorways from the head of the stairs is a low partition of similar small panel framing and it contains another Tudor arch. All 3 rooms are open to the roof which is carried on clean side-pegged jointed crucks. The front chamber contains a fragment of a rich mural painting; it is probably original. The dominant colours are red and black and it features foliage (although it does contain a human head) and a frieze. The standard of craftsmanship in the renovation of this house is exemplary and has left one of the best late C16 interiors in Devon. The house also forms part of an exceptionally good group of mostly thatched traditional buildings which make up the attractive hamlet of Street. Source: a measured ground plan with manuscript notes by N W Alcock in N M R. Alcock thought the building earlier. Also there is a folder containing a collection of reports on the building at Margells.
Date first listed: 22nd February 1955

Sources / Further Reading

SDV337271Un-published: Timms, S. C.. 1983. List of Devon buildings in NMR Recorded Buildings Index, London. Typescript.
SDV337867Monograph: Richardson, D.. 1982. Devon's Heritage: Buildings and Landscape. Paperback Volume. 66-7.
SDV337894Monograph: Gover, J. E. B. + Mawer, A. + Stenton, F. M.. 1932. The Place-Names of Devon: Part Two. The Place-Names of Devon: Part Two. IX. A5 Hardback. 621.
SDV340403Article in Serial: Cherry, J.. 1976. Post-Medieval Archaeology. 10. Unknown. 170.
SDV340405Article in Monograph: Beacham, P.. 1978. Devon's Traditional Buildings. The Conservation of the Heritage. Unknown. 75.
SDV342504Report - non-specific: Alcock, N. W.. 1981. Cruck Construction: An Introduction and Catalogue. Council for British Archaeology Research Report. 42. Photocopy. 109.
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. 113.
SDV357736Interpretation: Pink, F.. 2014-2015. South Devon Coast Rapid Coastal Zone Assessment Survey Desk-Based Assessment. AC Archaeology Report. Digital.
Linked documents:1
SDV362729Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 2019. MasterMap 2019. Ordnance Survey Digital Mapping. Digital. [Mapped feature: #117919 ]
SDV362730National Heritage List for England: Historic England. 2019. National Heritage List for England. Historic Houses Register. Digital. 1104149.
SDV363022Pamphlet: Butters, F. C.. 1980. Branscombe and the Parish and the Church. Paperback Volume. 10, 12, photo.

Associated Monuments: none recorded

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events: none recorded

Date Last Edited:May 23 2019 11:25AM