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HER Number:MDV17597
Name:Kittery Court, Kingswear


Kittery Court has a complex structural history dating back to the late 15 or early 16th century. The earliest element is the north range which was initially a warehouse and probably that referred to in 16th century documents. The south range, a two storey house, was probably built in late 16th century. The two buildings were brought together in the 18th century to form Kittery Court with the addition of a third floor on the south range. There have also been subsequent extensions and alterations.


Grid Reference:SX 881 509
Map Sheet:SX85SE
Admin AreaDevon
Civil ParishKingswear
DistrictSouth Hams
Ecclesiastical ParishKINGSWEAR

Protected Status

Other References/Statuses

  • Old DCC SMR Ref: SX85SE/58
  • Old Listed Building Ref (II): 100586

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • MANSION HOUSE (Unknown date)

Full description

Hine-Hancock, A. L., 1933, Kittery, 185-7,234-6 (Article in Serial). SDV176860.

The house was leased to the "Vittery's" as early as 1580. Later it was leased to the Champernownes and Shapleighs. The name 'Kittery' first appears in 1635. Various documents of 16th to 18th century date relating to the house and estate were published in an American newspaper in 1916.

Russell, P. + Yorke, G., 1953, Kingswear and its Neighbourhood, 66 (Article in Serial). SDV176862.

Kittery Court, Kingswear. Comprises at least ten separate properties brought together since 1717, including houses and warehouses and the site of manorial property cleared for a garden in 1875. The house itself was bought by John Fownes of Nethway in 1717, then called Kittery House or Barnes House.

Department of Environment, 1985, Kingswear (List of Blds of Arch or Historic Interest). SDV336924.

Kittery Court including wall and gateway adjoining to the northwest. Detached house on the edge of the estuary of the River Dart. Late 18th or early 19th century, extended and remodelled mid 19th century, and with early 18th century wing to the north. Stuccoed. Bitumenised slate roof with gabled and hipped ends. Paired brackets to eaves soffit. Three storeys. Four bays. The original late 18th century or early 19th century house is three bays. Sash windows with glazing bars ground floor tri-partite sashes, centre first floor and second floor replaced by casements but in original openings. All windows have louvred shutters. Central glazed door with side lights and 20th century semi-circular porch on columns. Right hand (south) mid 19th century one bay extension with two-storeyed bay windows. Early 18th century wing to north was probably built by John Fownes of Nethway House in 1717 when he purchased the property. Partly stuccoed stone rubble, gabled and hipped bitumenised slate roof, at right angles to main range, lower two storeys and attic with casement windows. Including section of stone rubble garden wall adjoining north west with 18th century brick round arch doorway with keystone and moulded stone imposts and bases to the responds. Other details: LBS No 100586.

Weddell, P. J. + Turton, S. D., 1992, Preliminary Archaeological Assessment of Dartmouth Sewage Treatment Works, 6 (Report - Assessment). SDV176861.

Kingswear Manor House once stood in the grounds, adjoining Beacon Lane. A drawing of 1839 shows a large 3-gabled building here.

The House Historians, 2003, Kittery Court, Kingswear, Devon (Report - Survey). SDV337916.

The area where Kittery Court is located seems to have belonged to a monastic house in the Middle Ages and part of it may be built on earlier foundtions. Foundations of older buildings also probably remain under the current Kittery Court, a cellar was discovered beneath one of the lawns in the early 20th century. Early documentary references to 'a waterside building at Kittery' in 1578 and in 1635 to 'a Messuage, tenament, palace and quay called Kittery'. The main house consists of three principal buildings, Barnes House or Kittery House, the main part of the house given a Georgian frontage circa 1740 and a building to the rear which links the main house with a higher level of the garden. Engravings of 1799 and 1830 shown that the main house had three storeys by late 18th century. Barnes House and the main part of the house were joined when the former was converted to a service wing circa 1830. History of ownership, description of house and analysis of Kittery Court through the centuries given. See report for full details.

Passmore, A. J., 2006, Archaeological Recording of the Sea Wall at Kittery Court, Kingswear, 1 (Report - Watching Brief). SDV337578.

Kittery Court on the east bank of the River Dart to the south of the Lower Kingswear Ferry. It is set back from the river with substantial gardens mainly to the south. The lower garden at Kittery Court is bounded by a sea wall that extends northwards to a slipway called Kittery Quay at the western end of Priory Street. The sea wall is within the curtilage of the house and is therefore part of the Listed structure.

Passmore, A. J. + Jones, P., 2007, Archaeological Recording at Kittery Court, Kingswear, Devon (Report - Survey). SDV341783.

Kittery Court is a large waterside house within extensive grounds at the south end of Priory Street adjacent to Kittery Quay. From the exterior, Kittery Court appears as a grand 18th or early 19th century residence but its façade and modern interiors mask the building's origins. Recording by Exeter Archaeology showed the building to have a long and complex structural history dating back to the 15th or 16th century. The core of the building is dominated by two early structures - a north range (Barnes House Hall) fronting Priory Street and a south range fronting the gardens and foreshore. Most of the building is constructed of local slates, although brick and limestone were used during the 18th and 19th centuries for lining and refacing earlier stone walls and for some architectural features. The earliest part of the building is the north range, which can be interpreted as a ware house. The large open spaces on the ground and first floors, which lack fireplances and internal divisions, are likely to have been used for storage; the smaller heated western rooms may have housed accommodation. The roof is comparable with other Devon examples dating to the late 15th or early 16th century. The north range may, therefore, represent the cellar owned by the Gale family in 1564 or the waterside building acquired by Thomas Shapleigh in 1578. It is also likely to represent the building owned by the Champernownes during the early 17th century. The south range was constructed by or in the late 16th century. It was designed as a two storey house and was probably the property built by William Rowe in 1617.
The industrial nature of Kittery declined in the 18th century. Two of the buildings were amalgamated by the Fownes family to create Kittery Court which was transformed with the addition of a third floor on the south range into a large gentrified waterfront residence. The south range was subsequently extended which necessitated the demolition of the east end of the north range. The north range was used as servants quarters and kitchen with the south and east ranges housing the main domestic rooms. The conversion of the kitchen into a dining room in 1981 resulted in the loss of much historic fabric. See report for full structural history and historical background.

Meller, H., 2011, Down and Out, Some Lost and Forgotten Devon Country Houses, 25 (Article in Serial). SDV347477.

Set on fire accidently during renovation work in 2007.

Sources / Further Reading

SDV176860Article in Serial: Hine-Hancock, A. L.. 1933. Kittery. Devon and Cornwall Notes and Queries. 17. Unknown. 185-7,234-6.
SDV176861Report - Assessment: Weddell, P. J. + Turton, S. D.. 1992. Preliminary Archaeological Assessment of Dartmouth Sewage Treatment Works. Exeter Museums Archaeological Field Unit Report. 92.56. A4 Stapled + Digital. 6.
SDV176862Article in Serial: Russell, P. + Yorke, G.. 1953. Kingswear and its Neighbourhood. Transactions of the Devonshire Association. 85. A5 Hardback. 66.
SDV336924List of Blds of Arch or Historic Interest: Department of Environment. 1985. Kingswear. Historic Houses Register. Website.
SDV337578Report - Watching Brief: Passmore, A. J.. 2006. Archaeological Recording of the Sea Wall at Kittery Court, Kingswear. Exeter Archaeology Report. 06.98. A4 Stapled + Digital. 1.
SDV337916Report - Survey: The House Historians. 2003. Kittery Court, Kingswear, Devon. The House Historians Report. A4 Stapled + Digital.
SDV341783Report - Survey: Passmore, A. J. + Jones, P.. 2007. Archaeological Recording at Kittery Court, Kingswear, Devon. Exeter Archaeology Report. 07.50. A4 Stapled + Digital.
SDV347477Article in Serial: Meller, H.. 2011. Down and Out, Some Lost and Forgotten Devon Country Houses. Devon Buildings Group Newsletter. 29. A4 Stapled + Digital. 25.

Associated Monuments

MDV53830Related to: Gateway at The Priory, Kingswear (Building)
MDV8520Related to: Gomerock Tower, West of Castle Road (Monument)
MDV17598Related to: Kingswear Manor House (Monument)
MDV8573Related to: Kittery Quay (Monument)
MDV73081Related to: Sea Wall at Kingswear (Monument)
MDV17599Related to: Shapleigh Quay (Monument)

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events

  • EDV4423 - Archaeological Recording at Kittery Court

Date Last Edited:Jan 27 2014 12:05PM