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HER Number:MDV1457
Name:Ayshford Court, Burlescombe


Manor house, now divided into two houses. The main historic house dates from the late 15th-early 16th century with major later 16th and 17th century improvements and includes plasterwork dated 1631. The house together with its chapel and farmbuildings form an attractive group of buildings.


Grid Reference:ST 048 152
Map Sheet:ST01NW
Admin AreaDevon
Civil ParishBurlescombe
DistrictMid Devon
Ecclesiastical ParishBURLESCOMBE

Protected Status

Other References/Statuses

  • Old DCC SMR Ref: ST01NW/4
  • Old Listed Building Ref (II*)

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • MANOR HOUSE (VIII to Post Medieval - 701 AD to 1750 AD (Between))

Full description

REICHEL, 1898, Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV38916.

Reichel includes the settlement in the post-domesday hundred of uffculm (reichel, 1898).

HARCOURT, Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV40680.

According to risdon writing in the c17 the original name was esseford. The house, outbuildings + chapel are described by copeland (harcourt).

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

Nothing to add (seymour).

Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV56136.

Ayshford barton, burlescombe.

PSANHS,1912, Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV56143.

Ashford, alias ashford street, was aiseforda in domesday. It was held by walter the sewer under walter de clavil. Before the conquest it belonged to oluard or ulward. Early descents of the manor given (reichel, 1928-1938). Though much altered the development of the building is clear. The earliest remains suggest a common late medieval plan, probably of nicholas ayshford who died in 1557. The earliest addition was probably a block built on to the south by roger ashford who died in 1610. Alterations attributed to arthur ayshford carried out in 1631 included remodelling the old hall, new plasterwork, and a new kitchen. The architectural aspects are described in some detail (radford). Plasterwork in upstairs rooms mentioned. Only fragmentary remains unaltered (psanhs,1912).

DOE 1988, Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV56144.

Listed grade ii*. See doe list for full details (doe 1988).

Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV56146.

French, k. + c. /tda/89(1957)129,132 pl.8/devonshire plasterwork.

Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV56147.


Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV56148.

Pevsner, n. /buildings of england, north devon/(1952)44.

Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV56149.

Des=mhlg tiverton r. D. /(june 1959)8.

Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV56150.

Finberg, h. P. R. /tda/103(1971)19-24 fig.1/ayshford and boehill.

Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV56151.

Reichel, o. J. /tda/30(1898)453/the domesday hundreds of devon, part 6: the hundred of witheridge.

Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV56152.

Hoskins, w. G. /devon/(1954)358-359.

Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV56153.

Seymour, d. J. /t. T. N. H. S. /12(1955-58)9/the smaller manor houses of medieval devon.

Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV56154.

Reichel, o. J. /hundreds of devon/(1928-1938)47,49,50,54,58,59,62,183,257, 354/the hundred of halberton in early times.

Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV56155.

Radford, c. A. R. /dcnq/27(1956-1958)196-198/ayshford court, burlescombe/copy in parish file.

Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV56156.

Anon/psanhs/58 part i(1912)47-49/ayshford chapel and manor house.

Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV56157.

Des=photo in parish file.

Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV56158.

Cherry, b. + pevsner, n. /buildings of england:devon/(1989)146.

Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV56159.


Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV56160.

Copeland, g. W. /aysford(burlescombe)/().

Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV56161.

Des=harcourt, j. /friends of friendless churches: ayshford chapel repairs: archaeological report (august 2001)/copy in smr.

Finberg, H. P. R., Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV1533.

Vis=6/3/1967 (os) a 16th century wooden window is the only external feature of interest. A private chapel is occassionally used for religious services. The name ayshford is mentioned in a charter dated 958, describing the bounds of a saxon estate at "escforda" and "byohylle" (boehill), perhaps suggesting earlier settlement in this area (finberg).

Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV177625.

Pevsner records that part of the manor is preserved and dates it to the 17th century describing "a stone front facing south with several three light windows" (pevsner).

FRENCH, Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV25481.

Vis=-/-/1959 (doe) irregular plan, 2 storeys. Early 16th century and later. Rubble with slate roofs. Front roughcast. Stone and wood mullions, stone stacks, one lateral. Ceiling with single moulded ribs of period two, dated 1631. Overmantel displays armorial bearings of 16th century and later (french).

Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV335.

Seat of the ayshfords from the time of henry 1st to 1689. Was a domesday manor (hoskins).

Humphreys, C. + Wapshott, E. + Green, T., 2013, Barns at Higher Ayshford Farm, Burlescombe, Devon: Results of a Desk-Based Assessment and Historic Building Recording (Report - Survey). SDV351661.

First mentioned in a Saxon land charter, Ayshford probably became the seat of the Ayshford family in the 12th century. It had a private chapel from at least the 13th century. It remained in the Ayshford family until the late 17th century and then joined by marriage to the Sandford family. It was leased to farming tenants although the landowners took responsibility for the development of the farm buildings well into the 19th century. The building of the Grand Western Canal altered the topographical relationship between the Court and the farm. The property remained in the hands of the Sanford family until the 1920s. See report for more details.

Ordnance Survey, 2014, MasterMap (Cartographic). SDV355681.

English Heritage, 2014, National Heritage List for England (National Heritage List for England). SDV355683.

Ayshford Court. Manor house, now divided into 2 houses. The main historic house was built by various members of the Ashford/Aysford family. Late C15-early C16 with major later C16 and C17 improvements (the parlour wing possibly 1607 according to a secondary datestone) and it includes plasterwork dated 1631, some agricultural additions of circa 1910. The original section has plastered walls, probably cob on stone rubble footings, the early C17 parlour wing is of coursed blocks of local chert with Beerstone detail, C19 extensions of stone rubble and brick, much of it plastered; stone stacks and chimneyshafts, 2 of them Beerstone ashlar; slate roofs. Plan and development: essentially an L-plan house. The main block faces east- south-east, say east. At the left (north) end is a 2-room plan former service extension of circa 1910. There is an axial stack between the 2 rooms and a third room projecting at right angles to rear. Part of this extension was probably servant accommodation but some was in agricultural use and it includes a first floor granary. The rest of the main block is the historic house. Adjoining the extension is a kitchen with its large axial stack backing onto the extension. Next an unheated dairy between the kitchen and through passage. At the right (south) end the former hall with a gable-end stack. Parlour block projecting at right angles to rear of the hall and it has an end stack (the chamber above has an outer lateral stack). To rear the passage was extended through a probably C17 stair block built in the angle of the 2 wings and alongside (behind the dairy) is a small brick extension of circa 1910. Now the house is divided; the main block in one occupation, the parlour wing and stair in another. This is a house with a long and complex structural history. Disregarding the circa 1910 extensions the house is essentially that of circa 1650, maybe even circa 1610, although the stairs were renewed in the C19. The roof of the main block is smoke- blackened from end to end indicating that the late C15-early C16 house was an open nall house divided by low partitions and heated by an open hearth fire. However there is not enough evidence exposed to determine the precise layout of the original house. Nor is there sufficient evidence to chart the evolution of the house to its present form. It may once have been a larger house. Indeed one jointed cruck truss does survive in the circa 1910 'extension' suggesting that part at least was included in the C16 house. The house is 2 storeys with disused attics over the parlour wing. Exterior: the main block (including the extension) has an irregular 5-window front of mostly C19 casements with glazing bars. There is however, just right of centre to the dairy, a Hamstone 3-light window with ovolo-moulded mullions and a hoodmould, mid or late C17 in date. The passage front doorway is right of centre and it contains a C19 6-panel door behind a late C19-early C20 slate-roofed porch containing a round-neaded timber outer arch. The roof is gable-ended. The right gable-end is blind and a straight join shows in the exposed masonry between the main block and parlour wing. The parlour wing is taller and has irregular fenestration; 2 ground floor windows and 3 first floor windows. The ground floor right one has been enlarged to a C20 French window. The rest however are early C17 Beerstone 3- light windows with ovolo-moulded mullions and all except first floor right have hoodmoulds. The lateral chimneyshaft on this side is Beerstone ashlar with a frieze of carved quartrefoils and it is inscribed to the effect that it was built in 1607 and rebuilt in 1910. The roof is steeply-pitched and is hipped each end. The end chimneyshaft is ashlar with moulded coping. The rear elevation includes a couple of late C17 oak flat-faced mullion windows containing rectangular panes of leaded glass (one of them on the stairblock). Also the ground floor window of the kitchen is mid C16 oak 2-light window with moulded mullion, Tudor arch headed lights and sunken spandrels. It also has its original vertical glazing bars and saddlebars. The passage rear doorway (in the stairblock, contains a C19 6-panel door). Alongside it is a stone inscribed with the date 1594. It may date the stairblock but, since it is set close to the ground, it is thought to be reset. Good interior: the oldest feature is the roof of the main block which is carried on a series of side-pegged jointed cruck trusses with cambered collars which is smoke- blackened from the original open hearth fire. The oak arch-headed doorframe in the corridor alongside the dairy may well be original also but is not thought to be in situ. The other structural features exposed are thought to be early C17. The kitchen and dairy have a continuous ceiling, carried on 3 crossbeams of large scantling; all soffit-chamfered with lambstongue stops. The large kitchen fireplace has been altered a little but still has a massive chamfered and step- stopped oak lintel. The hall which was refurbished in the C19 when the fireplace was blocked with a grate. The soffit-chamfered and scroll-stopped crossbeam looks suspiciously like a Cl7-style replacement. The parlour was refurbished about the same time and has been subdivided. The fireplace too has been blocked. The parlour chamber has also been rearranged. Originally it seems there was a closet (a narrow unheated room) across the outer end but this has been enlarged to a bedroom by encroaching on the main chamber. This parlour now has its original fireplace off centre; a pretty Beerstone fireplace with moulded surround and Tudor arch head with sunken spandrels. This room also contains the remains of a good ornamental plasterwork ceiling probably of 1631. It has an enriched rib design around an ornate centrepiece and is enriched with moulded angle sprays. The finest feature of the house is the coved ceiling of ornamental plasterwork in the chamber over the hall. It is a particularly fine example and is dated 1631. Tnere is a projecting moulded frieze around the room. The coved ceiling has a single rib design enriched with moulded patterns in square panels. Above the frieze on each end wall, is a moulded plasterwork arcade featuring the Ashford arms and floral sprays. The fireplace here is blocked but the oak doorframe into the room is contemporary with the ceiling. From the left end of the main block front a tall rubble wall projects forward between the lane and garden. Ayshford was mentioned in a charter dated 958. It is the Domesday manor of Aiseforda. For most of its history it was the home of the Ayshford/Ashford family and. the parlour wing was probably built by Roger Ashford (died 1610) and the plasterwork was probably commissioned by Arthur Ayshford. The refurbished kitchen may be contemporary. The owners have a transcript of a fascinating inventory of the place dated 1689 which shows the great wealth of the family at that time. The description of the rooms suggests that the house was a little larger then. Also it is difficult to identify the rooms mentioned with those there now. Nevertheless identification of the Great parlour and kitchen seems obvious. Much of the fabric is still hidden and great care should be taken during renovation work. The inventory for instance mentions a "painted chamber". Ayshford Court, with its chapel (q.v.) and farmbuildings form a most attractive group of buildings.

Mills Whipp Projects Ltd., 2014, Westwood, Land Adjoining Junction 27 on M5: Archaeological Desk Based Assessment (Report - Assessment). SDV360955.

Mills Whipp Projects has been commissioned to prepare a desk based assessment of archaeology for the Westwood site on the eastern side of Junction 27 of the M5.

The manor originally belonged to the Claville family from the conquest but by about 1600 it had passed on to Henry Ayshford where it remained until the 19th century. The family seat, Ayshford Court, lay in the hundred of Halberton on
the north side of the Spratford Stream.

The manor belonged to the family of Claville from 1066 until about 1370. It was granted in 1398 to Richard Warre, as one of the heirs of Sir Henry Percehay, baron of the Exchequer. About the year 1600 it was sold by Richard Warre to Henry Ayshford from whom it has descended until about 1820. The lords of this manor had the power of inflicting capital punishment.

Sources / Further Reading

SDV1533Migrated Record: Finberg, H. P. R..
SDV177625Migrated Record:
SDV25481Migrated Record: FRENCH.
SDV335Migrated Record:
SDV351661Report - Survey: Humphreys, C. + Wapshott, E. + Green, T.. 2013. Barns at Higher Ayshford Farm, Burlescombe, Devon: Results of a Desk-Based Assessment and Historic Building Recording. Southwest Archaeology Report. 130128. A4 Bound + Digital.
SDV355681Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 2014. MasterMap. Ordnance Survey Digital Mapping. Digital. [Mapped feature: #81286 ]
SDV355683National Heritage List for England: English Heritage. 2014. National Heritage List for England. Historic Houses Register. Website.
SDV360955Report - Assessment: Mills Whipp Projects Ltd.. 2014. Westwood, Land Adjoining Junction 27 on M5: Archaeological Desk Based Assessment. Mills Whipp Projects Ltd.. Digital.
SDV38916Migrated Record: REICHEL, 1898.
SDV40680Migrated Record: HARCOURT.
SDV4302Migrated Record: Seymour, D. J..
SDV56136Migrated Record:
SDV56143Migrated Record: PSANHS,1912.
SDV56144Migrated Record: DOE 1988.
SDV56146Migrated Record:
SDV56147Migrated Record:
SDV56148Migrated Record:
SDV56149Migrated Record:
SDV56150Migrated Record:
SDV56151Migrated Record:
SDV56152Migrated Record:
SDV56153Migrated Record:
SDV56154Migrated Record:
SDV56155Migrated Record:
SDV56156Migrated Record:
SDV56157Migrated Record:
SDV56158Migrated Record:
SDV56159Migrated Record:
SDV56160Migrated Record:
SDV56161Migrated Record:

Associated Monuments

MDV16223Related to: Ayshford Chapel, Burlescombe (Building)
MDV66935Related to: Barn at Ayshford Court, Burlescombe (Building)
MDV62794Related to: Farm Mill at Ayshford Court, Burlescombe (Building)
MDV105860Related to: Gatehouse at Ayshford Court, Burlescombe (Building)
MDV105862Related to: Linhay and Open-Fronted Sheds at Ayshford Court, Burlescombe (Building)
MDV105863Related to: Pole Barn at Ayshford Court, Burlescombe (Building)
MDV77237Related to: Stables at Ayshford Court, Burlescombe (Building)
MDV105864Related to: Walls and Building Remains at Ayshford Court, Burlescombe (Building)

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events

  • EDV6191 - Historic Building Recording of Barns at Higher Ayshford Farm (Ref: BAC12)
  • EDV7600 - Desk Based Assessment: Westwood, Land adjoining Junction 27 on M5, Mid Devon

Date Last Edited:Sep 27 2018 9:51AM