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HER Number:MDV1467
Name:Canonsleigh Abbey Gatehouse

Summary

Former gatehouse, 15th century, originally had a large double gateway with chamber over reached by a newel stair turret at the north end.

Location

Grid Reference:ST 066 173
Map Sheet:ST01NE
Admin AreaDevon
Civil ParishBurlescombe
DistrictMid Devon
Ecclesiastical ParishBURLESCOMBE

Protected Status

Other References/Statuses

  • Old DCC SMR Ref: ST01NE/2/2
  • Old Listed Building Ref (I): 95853
  • Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division: ST01NE 4

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • GATEHOUSE (XIV to XV - 1301 AD to 1500 AD (Between))

Full description

Ministry of Works, Canonsleigh Abbey (Schedule Document). SDV343188.

Two arches of about equal size, the southerly one perhaps a later insertion, and chamber above. The arches are partly blocked, and the whole used as a barn. Stair turret at north-west corner. Two-light ogee windows, suggesting a late 14th century date, but the heads on the arch ring of the southerly arch (possibly inserted) suggest mid 15th century. Rubble, with limestone dressings.


Clements, H. A., Report on Buildings at Risk in the Devon Part of the Blackdown Hills, 20, 61, 108 (Report - non-specific). SDV344049.

Risk level 3. Poor condition (B.A.R. 2.2.3). Other details: Photos.


Swete, J., 1880, 564 M/F 17 Devon Tour, volume 20 (Record Office Collection). SDV343205.

An ancient gateway, blocked on western side by a shed of "modern date" for cattle. At south end of this, a portion "of greater elevation" with doorway similar to windows of the gateway. On "its few remaining battlements" an embossed sculpture consisting of "letters of an ancient date". Swete's watercolour shows gatehouse with pitched roof, battlements at north end four small projecting "dormer" presumably above stairs. Other details: Illustration; notes in parish file.


Tanner, T. C., 1892, Canonsleigh Abbey, 350 (Article in Serial). SDV343189.

The entrance to the abbey is described in 1892 as falling rapidly into decay. The west front formed the boundary to the farmyard. The gateways had been walled up for ages, with the exception of the upper part of the large gateway, approached by stone steps. Underneath is a richly ornamented Early English arch "in a very perfect state", studded with quatrefoils, oak leaves, and other devices, and coloured. In the turret is a winding freestone staircase, leading to a chamber with ancient chimney and hearth at the south end. Tradition asserts that this chamber was used for making malt, but it is more likely a cell for the priest, or schoolroom, or chapel.


Office of Works, 1924, Canonsleigh Priory (Schedule Document). SDV343187.

The south Gatehouse is in good preservation and portions of domestic buildings at north end are all that remain. Cottages have been built on the site of former parts of the monastery.


Stephan, J., 1935, The Ancient Religious Houses of Devon. Adapted from the 'Historic Collections' and the 'Monasticon Dioec. Exoniensis' of George Oliver, D.D., 67 (Monograph). SDV343186.

An illustration shows the gatehouse in poor condition, having no roof, and part of the walls missing. Other details: Illustration.


Copeland, G. W., 1938, Seventh Report of the Plymouth and District Branch, 164 (Article in Serial). SDV343215.

Gatehouse still stands to the west. Had separate archways and doors side by side. South door was for carriages; north for pedestrians. A red sandstone doorway leads to a staircase on the left and the porter's lodging. Square-headed 14th century windows in upper storey. Now converted cartsheds. Medieval roof.


Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division, 1955 - 1967, ST01NE 4 (Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card). SDV343202.

Site visit 6th March 1967. The building described as 'Chapel' on Ordnance Survey 25 inch map is the gatehouse. There are no other remains. Other details: Photo.


Department of Environment, 1959, Tiverton RD, 7 (List of Blds of Arch or Historic Interest). SDV54004.

Sate roof. Remains of an embattled parapet on west. Windows on east and west, and vaulting in upper storey is 15th century.


Unknown, 1965, The Cartulary of Canonsleigh Abbey (Monograph). SDV343210.


Griffiths, D. M., 1982, Canonsleigh Abbey (Worksheet). SDV343216.

Site visit with S. C. Timms on 10th September 1982. Two large roundheaded gateways on ground floor, both now walled up on west side. The north of the gateways is open on the east side, and from this access is gained to the stair turret, and upper floor. The south gateway has had a floor inserted at a later date. Above the gateways is a chamber, which has a fireplace in the centre of the south wall, with garderobe ito the east of it. Of the three remaining windows, the ogee beerstone tracery of two survives. The gable has been raised, probably in a post-medieval period, and it is thus unlikely that the roof mentioned in various articles was medieval. The roof of the gatehouse was apparently removed in the winter of 1981/2, and some damage has occurred. There are cracks in the walls and the lintel of the south-west window is collapsing. Now in use as storage. Other details: Photographs in slide collection.


Devon County Council, 1982, Canonsleigh Abbey (Ground Photograph). SDV343208.

Other details: Film 539/20-21.


Timms, S. C., 1982, Gatehouse (Worksheet). SDV343220.

The gatehouse was visited by the Inspector of Ancient Monuments in autumn 1981 and again in september 1982. The Department of Environment is currently considering an emergency temporary repair.


Timms, S. C., 1983, Canonsleigh Abbey (Personal Comment). SDV343221.

Site visit 14th September 1983. Building is still standing and no shoring has been done. Masonry from south window on west front fell out earlier this year. Other details: Photographs.


Timms, S. C., 1983, Canonsleigh Abbey (Personal Comment). SDV343222.

Site visits 14th April and 12th August1983. Site meetings between the Department of Environment, District Council and owner.


Devon County Council, 1983, Canonsleigh Abbey Gatehouse, Interim Repairs (Ground Photograph). SDV343209.

Other details: Film 591/30-31.


Griffiths, D. M., 1983, Canonsleigh Gatehouse (Personal Comment). SDV343223.

Site visit 10th November 1983. Interim repairs completed. Photographs taken.


Devon County Council, 1983, Canonsleigh Gatehouse (Ground Photograph). SDV343226.

Other details: Film 586.


Griffiths, D. M., 1985, An Archaeological Survey of Canonsleigh Abbey, Burlescombe, Devon (Report - Survey). SDV343199.


Devon County Council, 1985, Canonsleigh Abbey (Ground Photograph). SDV343197.

Other details: Film 622.


Devon Religious Houses Survey, 1986-7, Devon Religious Houses Survey 1986/87. Premilinary Assessment Form. Canonsleigh Abbey (Un-published). SDV358420.


Devon Religious Houses Survey, 1986-7, Devon Religious Houses Survey. Canonsleigh Abbey (Archive - Survey). SDV358421.


Department of Environment, 1988, Burlescombe, 2 (List of Blds of Arch or Historic Interest). SDV50563.

Former Priory Gatehouse, 15th century. Local stone rubble with mostly Beerstone ashlar detail but also some Hamstone and some red sandstone ashlar.
Plan: large double gateway with chamber over. The original outside front faced west-south-west, say west. A newel stair turret projects from the left (north) end and the chamber probably had a right gable-end stack.
Exterior: on the front both gateways are blocked. Nevertheless the right one shows as a flattened Tudor arch. Only the right half of the left arch shows. It was apparently smaller than the other even though the vaulted roofs of the carriageways are of equal height. The chamber above has a Hamstone square-headed 2-light window with moulded mullion, ogee heads and carved spandrels. A collapsed gap at the right end may have contained another window. Between this and the window is a large Hamstone image-niche with an ogee-head, and towards the right end an quatrefoil-shaped ventilator. Along the top at the left end is the remains of a moulded Beerstone cornice with the remains of an embattled parapet. The roof is missing but each end there are low pitch gables, the right one containing an 18th century brick-lined oculus. The original cornice this end is better preserved. The rear elevation (originally inside the Priory enclosure) contains a pair of similar large plain segmental-headed carriageway arches, the left (south) one partly blocked with 20th century concrete blocks.
Interior: the southern carriageway has an inner front arch of high quality craftsmanship; a Tudor arch with a broad moulded surround enriched with a regular series of carvings featuring fourleaf motifs, masks, birds etc. This carriageway appears to have been walled off in the late 16th - early 17th century since the inserted floor is carried on moulded oak beams. The inside of the northern vault is plain. A red sandstone 2-centred arch leads off from the carriageway to the newel stair. The chamber is now open to the sky. There is a collapsed alcove in the southern end which might have been a fireplace and an alcove alongside it was probably a garderobe.
This is an interesting relic of monasticism although its poor state of preservation creates concern over its future. Other details: LBS 95853.


Department of Environment, 1988, Canonsleigh Abbey (Schedule Document). SDV343211.

The Gatehouse has been descheduled - but remains protected as a Grade I listed building.


Nenk, B. S. + Margeson, S. + Hurley, M., 1993, Medieval Britain and Ireland 1992, 251 (Article in Serial). SDV275415.


Blaylock, S. R., 1993, Salvage Recording at Canonsleigh Abbey, Burlescombe, Devon 1992 (Report - Survey). SDV343225.

Short programme of salvage recording carried out in 1992 on the ruins of the late medieval gatehouse of the abbey. The recent history of the gatehouse structure has been one of severe decline. Sketch by Swete in 1800 shows it roofed with slate and abutted to west by stables which must have blocked the entrance archways. Re-roofed sometime in 19th century. This roof removed in 1981/2. Demolition threatened in 1983 because of dangerous condition, but emergency repairs carried out. By 1991 considerable deterioration had occurred, although new owner taking steps to support the endangered fabric. Primary fabric is of one build, of local limestone rubble with Beer stone and some reddish (?) sandstone used for ashlar dressings. From the west it appears to have one high entrance passage on south side and a low pedestrian passage on north (arch of which is partly cut away by modern rebuild). Within, and from east, it can be seen that both passages constructed to same height and width, the northern one being lowered only on the end of the west wall. Both passages are of plain segmental barrel vaults. No sign of a gateway survives on north passage. South passage has ornamented moulded Beer stone arch marking position of gates. Positions of hanging-pins detected in rebate on rear side. North passage presumably gated at west end, in the lowered arch. Immediately within the archway, on north side of passageway, is entrance to newel stair leading to first floor room spanning full width of building. This was furnished with fireplace and garderobe in south wall, two two-light windows in west wall and a two-light window in east wall. Remnants of a crenellated parapet above a moulded string course survived at north end of west elevation. The cresting was of heavily weathered Beer stone. Quoins on return of north end of building show that the parapet did not return onto north wall. Swete's watercolour suggests that the third merlon (at south end, now fragmentary) was complete in 1800, but that the rest had already been removed. At south end of west elevation (and in equivalent position on east wall) a Beerstone corbel survives. The end walls suggest that, behind the front facade, the parapets were not crenellated. In the interval between the 1991 photogrammetric work and 1992 emafu work, the fragment of crenellated parapet was removed. End walls show that the gatehouse was integral with buildings to north and south. Viewed from west the facade of the gatehouse would have appeared as recessed between two flanking buildings with pitched roofs running north-south. Swete's watercolours show a pointed arch which could relate to the west wall of the south buildings, to south of the 18th century stables. Atop each end elevation are projecting weathering lines - probably reflecting the line of the gatehouse roof. Gatehouse clearly late medieval, probably mid-15th century.


Department of Environment, 26/02/1987, Proposed Works at Canonsleigh Abbey Gate House, Burlescombe, Devon (Correspondence). SDV343227.

Consent granted in respect of proposed repair works urgently required due to structure being in a dangerous condition.

Sources / Further Reading

SDV275415Article in Serial: Nenk, B. S. + Margeson, S. + Hurley, M.. 1993. Medieval Britain and Ireland 1992. Medieval Archaeology. 37. Unknown. 251.
SDV343186Monograph: Stephan, J.. 1935. The Ancient Religious Houses of Devon. Adapted from the 'Historic Collections' and the 'Monasticon Dioec. Exoniensis' of George Oliver, D.D.. The Ancient Religious Houses of Devon. Adapted from the 'Historic Collections' and the 'Monasticon Dioec. Exoniensis' of George Oliver, D.D.. Hardback Volume. 67.
SDV343187Schedule Document: Office of Works. 1924. Canonsleigh Priory. The Schedule of Monuments. Foolscap.
SDV343188Schedule Document: Ministry of Works. Canonsleigh Abbey. The Schedule of Monuments. Foolscap.
SDV343189Article in Serial: Tanner, T. C.. 1892. Canonsleigh Abbey. Proceedings of the Somerset Archaeological and Natural History Society. 38. Unknown. 350.
SDV343197Ground Photograph: Devon County Council. 1985. Canonsleigh Abbey. Devon County Council Conservation Section Collection. Photograph (Paper).
SDV343199Report - Survey: Griffiths, D. M.. 1985. An Archaeological Survey of Canonsleigh Abbey, Burlescombe, Devon. Devon County Council Report. A4 Stapled.
SDV343202Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card: Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division. 1955 - 1967. ST01NE 4. Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card. Card Index.
SDV343205Record Office Collection: Swete, J.. 1880. 564 M/F 17 Devon Tour, volume 20. Devon Record Office Collection.
SDV343208Ground Photograph: Devon County Council. 1982. Canonsleigh Abbey. Devon County Council Conservation Section Collection. Unknown.
SDV343209Ground Photograph: Devon County Council. 1983. Canonsleigh Abbey Gatehouse, Interim Repairs. Devon County Council Conservation Section Collection. Photograph (Paper).
SDV343210Monograph: Unknown. 1965. The Cartulary of Canonsleigh Abbey. The Cartulary of Canonsleigh Abbey. New Series 8. Unknown.
SDV343211Schedule Document: Department of Environment. 1988. Canonsleigh Abbey. Amendment to Scheduled Area of Monument. A4 Stapled.
SDV343215Article in Serial: Copeland, G. W.. 1938. Seventh Report of the Plymouth and District Branch. Transactions of the Devonshire Association. 70. A5 Hardback. 164.
SDV343216Worksheet: Griffiths, D. M.. 1982. Canonsleigh Abbey. Devon County Sites and Monuments Register. Worksheet.
SDV343220Worksheet: Timms, S. C.. 1982. Gatehouse. Devon County Sites and Monuments Register. Worksheet.
SDV343221Personal Comment: Timms, S. C.. 1983. Canonsleigh Abbey.
SDV343222Personal Comment: Timms, S. C.. 1983. Canonsleigh Abbey.
SDV343223Personal Comment: Griffiths, D. M.. 1983. Canonsleigh Gatehouse.
SDV343225Report - Survey: Blaylock, S. R.. 1993. Salvage Recording at Canonsleigh Abbey, Burlescombe, Devon 1992. Exeter Museums Archaeological Field Unit Report. 93.18. A4 Stapled + Digital.
SDV343226Ground Photograph: Devon County Council. 1983. Canonsleigh Gatehouse. Devon County Council Conservation Section Collection. Unknown.
SDV343227Correspondence: Department of Environment. 26/02/1987. Proposed Works at Canonsleigh Abbey Gate House, Burlescombe, Devon. Scheduled Monument Consent Letter. A4 Stapled.
SDV344049Report - non-specific: Clements, H. A.. Report on Buildings at Risk in the Devon Part of the Blackdown Hills. Devon County Council Report. A4 Comb Bound + Digital. 20, 61, 108.
SDV358420Un-published: Devon Religious Houses Survey. 1986-7. Devon Religious Houses Survey 1986/87. Premilinary Assessment Form. Canonsleigh Abbey. Devon Religious Houses Survey. A4 Stapled + Digital.
SDV358421Archive - Survey: Devon Religious Houses Survey. 1986-7. Devon Religious Houses Survey. Canonsleigh Abbey. Devon Religious Houses Survey. A4 Unbound + Digital.
SDV50563List of Blds of Arch or Historic Interest: Department of Environment. 1988. Burlescombe. Historic Houses Register. A4 Spiral Bound. 2.
SDV54004List of Blds of Arch or Historic Interest: Department of Environment. 1959. Tiverton RD. Historic Houses Register. Unknown. 7.

Associated Monuments

MDV1465Part of: Canonsleigh Abbey (Monument)
MDV11469Related to: Reredorter at Canonsleigh Abbey (Building)
MDV1466Related to: Well at Canonsleigh Abbey (Monument)

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events

  • EDV4580 - Buildings at Risk Survey

Date Last Edited:May 29 2015 1:19PM