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HER Number:MDV1928
Name:Farmhouse, Membury Court

Summary

Six phases of development have been identified at Membury Court, from late 14th, early 15th century hall house to 19th century improvements. Screen in hall and oak ceilings.

Location

Grid Reference:ST 264 037
Map Sheet:ST20SE
Admin AreaDevon
Civil ParishMembury
DistrictEast Devon
Ecclesiastical ParishMEMBURY

Protected Status

  • Listed Building (II*) 1170743: MEMBURY COURT
  • SHINE: Site of Iron Age and Roman enclosures, Roman villa, remains of a medieval chapel, a linhay part dating from the 14th/15th century, 18th century stables, 18th/19th century barn, pigsty and site of orchard of 19th century date or earlier at Membury Court

Other References/Statuses

  • Old DCC SMR Ref: ST20SE/2
  • Old Listed Building Ref (II*): 88040
  • Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division: ST20SE6
  • Royal Albert Memorial Museum Accession Number: 453/2007
  • SHINE Candidate (Yes)

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • HOUSE (Unknown date)
  • MANOR HOUSE (Unknown date)
  • FARMHOUSE (XIV to XIX - 1350 AD to 1900 AD (Between))

Full description

English Heritage, 15/01/2015, Survey to Amend and Update Membury Court and Surrounding Buildings and Structures (Correspondence). SDV357671.

English Heritage are undertaking a survey to look at amending and updating the entries for Membury Court and surrounding buildings and structures on the National Heritage List for England.


Langdon, F. E. W., 1907, The Church of Membury, 134 (Article in Serial). SDV337303.


Wilkin, W. H., 1928, Notes on Membury. Part 3, 161-171 (Article in Serial). SDV337300.

Membury Court, a site of considerable importance since earliest times. Building itself Manor House of Manor of Membury, but also Roman villa in field just behind house. One room in the house has a fine oak ceiling, probably 16th century, similar to ceiling of the Yarty aisle in the church. Behind the house stands an old chapel, now a cider cellar, but stonework of the decorated east window and a piscina are still in situ. Dovecote. Initials 'W. C. 1568' for W. Chase, are cut on the coping stone at court.


Pevsner, N., 1952, The Buildings of England: South Devon, 206 (Monograph). SDV336217.


Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division, 1953 - 1979, ST20SE6 (Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card). SDV337302.

Membury Court is an L-shaped house of which the south wing is a later addition. The north block retains some mullioned windows, one original doorway and the usual large chimney stacks, now topped by modern brick chimneys. In good condition. A mounting block at the northwest corner of the house incorporates a datestone of 1568 at its base. This appears genuine and is much weathered whereas the rest of the mounting block is of unweathered stone. It seems possible that the datestone was originally on some part of the house and subsequently re-used when the mounting block was constructed.


Hoskins, W. G., 1954, A New Survey of England: Devon, 434 (Monograph). SDV17562.

One room contains fine oak ceiling of early 16th century date.


Seymour, D. J., 1955 - 1958, The Smaller Manor Houses of Medieval Devon, 13 (Article in Serial). SDV6523.

Splendid medieval screen in hall and fine oak ceilings.


Rigold, S. E., 1957, Untitled Source (Correspondence). SDV337305.


Everett, A. W., 1961, Untitled Source (Record Office Collection). SDV337304.


Wood, M., 1965, The English Medieval House (Monograph). SDV337307.


Department of Environment, 1967, Membury (List of Blds of Arch or Historic Interest). SDV337331.

Membury Court. Farmhouse. Circa early 16th century hall house with circa late 16th/early 17th century inserted floor and south west wing added at lower end. Stone rubble. Slate roof with gabled ends. South west wing has corrugated asbestos roof with hipped end. Three room and through passage plan with later wing at right angles at lower end. Two storeys. Three window range. First floor circa 18th century three and four-light casements with glazing bars. Ground floor four-light hall window with olovo moulded stone mullions and king mullion with round shaft on inside. 20th century door to through passage on left hand. Stone aseil stack backing onto through passage and end stacks heightened in brick. Ovolo moulded wooden mullion window at rear. South west wing also has ovolo moulded wooden windows. Semi circular oven projecting at west end.

Interior. Two jointed cruck trusses at lower end with smoke-blackening. Roof over hall and higher end altered. Plank and muntin screen at upper end of hall with step stops and 17th century panelling applied over on hall side and continued around hall. Good intersecting moulded beams to inserted hall ceiling. Inserted hall stack backing onto through passage, the fireplace lintel said to have been removed. Plank and muntin screen to lower side of through passage. Chamfered ceiling beams to lower room with step stops and large chamfered kitchen fireplace beam at lower end. Section of plank and muntin screen in lower room and wooden newel stairs rising from front of lower room with Tudor arch doorway at head.

Other details: LBS 88040.


Alcock, N. W., 1981, Cruck Construction: An Introduction and Catalogue, 110 (Report - non-specific). SDV342504.

Jointed cruck recorded.


Keystone Historic Buildings Consultants, 1993, Membury Court, Devon. Medieval House and Chapel (Report - Survey). SDV337301.

Six phases of development identified from late 14th-early 15th century medieval hall house to mid 19th century improvements. Full details in report.


Keystone Historic Buildings Consultants, 1993, Membury Court. Interim Report (Report - Survey). SDV337306.


English Heritage, 20/02/2015, Membury Court, Membury, Axminster (Correspondence). SDV357893.

English Heritage has completed an initial assessment of Membury Court to consider whether its entry on the List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest should be revised.

At Domesday (1086), Membury Court was the manor house of the Manor of Membury, forming part of the lands of William Cheivre or Capra. Soon afterwards it was given to Robert de Chandos by Henry I, and de Chandos gifted the manor to Goldcliff Priory in Monmouthshire in 1113. From this time it was farmed by various individuals, possibly including Benedictines. A tax survey of Membury in 1324 noted a manor court house and two mills, and payment to a ‘clerik’ although there was no mention of a chapel. The first reference to a chapel on the site is in a 1560 survey, which states “cum capella adiacent” (“with adjacent chapel”), although investigation has shown that the structure probably dates to the early C14. The Manor reverted to the Crown in 1414 when the alien priories were suppressed, and subsequently it was granted to the Duke of Warwick who annexed it to the Abbey of Tewkesbury. The Manor of Membury was presented by the Crown to the Dean and Chapter of Windsor in 1474, and
continued in their possession until it was transferred to the Ecclesiastical Commissioners in 1867. The earliest surviving fabric within Membury Court, parts of a medieval hall house roof, probably dates to the late C14 or early C15. The hall was extended to the east in the later medieval period. At least one farm building a linhay (qv), was established on the site by the early C15. The Chace or Chase family held Membury Court, on a freehold separate from the Windsor tenure, from c.1550 to 1726. The inscription W C 1586 (probably for William Chase) is cut in a reused stone that forms part of a C18 or C19 mounting block next to the house. The stone is apparently a remnant of the major rebuilding of the house in c.1580-1650, when the medieval hall was enclosed in the existing stone building, floored over, divided at ground floor level, and fireplaces and stacks were inserted. The later medieval extension to the east was demolished and rebuilt. The service wing was also built during this phase (although the end room was added in the mid-late C17). John Chase (died 1674) served as bailiff to the Manor, and the manor court may have met at Membury Court, hence its name, although there is no documentary evidence for this. In the C18 a small addition was made to the rear, and a stable added to the end of the service
wing. Membury Court passed to the Griffin family in 1799. At the 1852 census the house had been divided into two units. It is shown on an 1840 tithe map as being U-plan, with an additional north/south wing attached to the east end of the main block. This wing is absent by the First Edition Ordnance Survey Map of 1889, and no visible trace of a building at this location remains. The parlour end was re-ordered in the mid-C19, and the façade raised by circa 1m. A trap-house was added to the end of the service wing by 1889. By 1926 the Warren family were at Membury Court, in which year a number of improvements were made to the house and farm buildings. The site was in farming use until 1993.

A late-C16/ early-C17 farmhouse incorporating a medieval hall house, with C18, C19 and later additions and alterations. MATERIALS: constructed of rubble stone with dressings, and local chert stone. Some red brick is associated with C18 improvements. The historic roof timbers are oak, and the roofs are covered in thatch.

PLAN: an L-plan of two storeys with the main range on an east-west axis and a service wing projecting southwards from the west end, adjoined by a former stable and trap-house. Themain range has a three-room-and-cross-passage plan.

EXTERIOR: the principal elevation to the main range faces south. It is of three bays with a door to the left. The central ground-floor opening (to the hall) has late-C16/ early-C17 ovolo-moulded stone mullions with a king mullion. The other openings have three and four-light metal casements with glazing bars and slender timber mullions. The frames are possibly reused and of C18 date. The front wall was raised by about 1m in the mid-C19. The adjoining late-C16/ C17 service wing to the left has irregular fenestration with casements and some timber mullions, and two sealed door openings. To the gable end is an adjoining stable and trap-house with opposing door openings and some C18 brick infill in the mainly random rubble/chert walls. The west elevation of the service wing has irregular fenestration and a door to the left of centre. To the left of the door is a projecting semi-circular bread oven. To the left of the oven is a C18/C19 mounting block incorporating a date stone of 1586. The rear
elevation is of five bays with a C18 projecting central bay under a leant-to roof. To the right is a door and the right bays have an uneven elevation, including sections of coursed, dressed ashlar blocks that may be of early medieval date. The four-light kitchen window is late-C16/ early-C17 and has timber ovolo-moulded mullions. The kitchen chamber window above and the opening to the right have three-light timber casements. The openings to the left hand bays have timber casements, that to the left of the lean-to having ovolo-moulded mullions. The east flank has a large projecting stone stack with offsets. The roof to the main block has three stacks. The service wing has two stacks and the south gable is hipped.

INTERIOR:
Main Range: the through passage has a C16/ C17 plank and muntin screen to the left (lower end) with step stops, masons mitres and carpenter’s marks. The rear of an inserted axial hall stack of the same period is to the right. A door to the right of the stack leads into the former hall which was partitioned in the C16/C17 to create a parlour at the east end. The east and south (front) walls are lined with oak small-field panelling. That to the east wall is not in situ and probably covers an original doorway through the partition. There are later doors at each end, above which are the remains of a former plank and muntin screen. Some of the panelling to the south wall, the window reveals, and around the window seat appear to be C16/C17 and in its original position. The window has ovolo-moulded stone mullions and a king mullion with a half-engaged shaft and moulded capital. Below is an internal window seat. The fireplace in the west wall has a broad bressumer of late-C20 date. The rear window has timber ovolo-moulded mullions, and to its left a room was built into the hall in the C18, and partly
projects out beyond the rear wall. The room has a cupboard built into the hall stack, with a fielded panel door and shaped shelf. The 12-bay hall ceiling is late-C16/ early-C17, panelled with mouldings and intersecting beams. The parlour to the east has boxed in beams, mid-C19 doors and a modern chimneypiece. The stairs to the first floor in the north-east corner are mid-C19. To the left of the through passage is the lower end of the hall, now a kitchen at ground floor level, two steps lower than the passage. The kitchen door has a C19 architrave applied over the C16/C17 doorway. There is a six-petal charm on the northern jamb. The kitchen has two crossbeams, chamfered with step stops. At the east end the joists are set in the headbeam of the passage screen. The east and west walls have chamfered plank and muntin panelling with step stops. The south wall has a C18 pantry to the right and an iron grille above the panelling to the left, which has a blocked doorway and encloses a staircase lobby, accessed from the passage. At the west end is an inglenook with large bressumer with a low-cranked arched head and chamfer. There is a bread oven door behind left, and a small, low opening, behind right, possibly a former curing chamber. The bread oven itself is converted to a bathroom and
is accessed from a rear hall where the lower end is opened out into the service wing.

The newel stair is in a stone turret that rises from the staircase lobby. It has solid timber baulks for steps and at the first floor there is a Tudor arch and exposed framing. The first-floor rooms have some C17 and C18 fittings including cockshead hinges on a cupboard in the hall chamber, and other door catches, strap hinges and latches. The wall between the two principal chambers may contain a C16/C17 frame encapsulated in C19 plaster. The kitchen chamber has a C19 fireplace in the east end wall, to the right of which is an alcove with a small oak doorway, probably a closet for a garderobe. The medieval roof is probably of late-C14 or early-C15 date. Most of the front was removed when the façade was heightened in the mid-C19. There are the remains of three medieval smoke-blackened roof trusses and a plaster cross-wall, defining a three-bay hall at lest 11.8m long over the present passage, hall and parlour. Two open trusses survive as fragments, but the closed truss is intact. It is a jointed cruck sitting on large timber plates above ground level. The elbow joint has an unusually long scarf fixed with three face pegs and locked by a slip tenon, side-pegged above and below the rafter. A cambered collar is mortised and tenoned to the principals, which are held by a yoke at their apex. The top ends of the principals are shaped to hold a diagonally-set ridge piece. The upper part of a framed crosswall survives
along with some wattle and daub infill, with the lower section replaced by the existing C16/ C17 screen. The bay to the west (above the passage and hall) retains a windbrace in the rear pitch. The clean face at the lower end of the closed truss (with a smoke-blackened face on the hall side), along with the early exterior stonework around the kitchen, indicates a solar (chamber) above a service room at the lower end. The vestigial surviving fabric of the two open trusses indicates that they were arch-braced. The hall was probably a two-room-and cross-passage plan with a large open hall heated by an open hearth fire. There is no evidence that the hall was physically connected to the adjacent chapel (qv), of earlier medieval date. An additional truss to the east, which is a fragmentary remain, indicates a later medieval, single-bay extension to the hall. Evidence of a former full-height framed crosswall indicates a two-storey height for the extension. A date of circa 1450-1550 for the extension is contemporary with alterations to the chapel. In addition, there is a jointed cruck truss of C16/C17 date in the centre of each end bay. Only the west end truss has been examined and is side-pegged with a pegged, dovetail-shaped lap-jointed collar and a pegged mortise-and-tenon joint at the apex. C16/C17 first-floor ceilings survive over the passage chamber, the eastern bay of the kitchen chamber, and over the stair corridor. Service Wing: the ground floor was formerly arranged as two small, unheated rooms with a two-bay heated room at the south end. The original partition walls have been moved, and an
additional unheated room was added to the south end in the mid-late C17. The two-bay room to the south has a chamfered crossbeam with step stops, a fireplace with dressed stone jambs and a low Tudor arch in an oak lintel, and a C16/C17 window in the west wall with three ovolo-moulded mullions (three mullions in between have been removed). The later-C17 room to the south has a chamfered crossbeam with scroll stops, a rustic stair with plain newels and handrails, probably of C17 date, and an inserted C19 fireplace. The first floor has two C17 crosswalls. The southern crosswall includes an oak doorframe with segmental-arched head and chamfered surround that has been adapted to an internal window. The room to the north has a barrel-vaulted plaster ceiling. The roof of this wing is C20, although cruck posts survive on the east side.


Devon and Somerset County Councils, 2000-2002, Historic Farmsteads Database, BH150H (Machine readable data file). SDV349681.

An early 16th century hall house with late 16th/early 17th century adaptations and additions. L-shaped, thatched, and constructed from stone rubble. Rubble stone walls. Thatch roof.


Thorp, J., 2003, Membury Court, BH150018 (Ground Photograph). SDV352186.


Thorp, J., 2003, Membury Court, BH150021-BH150024 (Un-published). SDV352187.


Devon Buildings Group, 2005, Devon Buildings Group 2005 Conference. Farms in the Blackdown Hills (Un-published). SDV340140.

Membury Court is a grand farmstead which has evolved over centuries to include a late 14th century linhay, a 13th century domestic chapel, and a large threshing barn. There is a 19th century pigsty to the south and a stable and trap house attached to the house. The house has a medieval roof with a lower end solar and high quality 16th and 17th century improvements.


Tyers, C + Hurford, M. + Arnold, A. + Howard, R.E. + Thorp, J., 2009, Dendrochronological Research in Devon: Phase II (Report - Interim). SDV348234.


Ordnance Survey, 2013, MasterMap (Cartographic). SDV350786.


English Heritage, 2013, National Heritage List for England (National Heritage List for England). SDV350785.

Membury Court.

Farmhouse. Circa early 16th century hall house with circa late 16th century/early 17th century inserted floor and south west wing added at lower end. Stone rubble. Slate roof with gabled ends. South west wing has corrugated asbestos roof with hipped end. Three room and through passage plan with later wing at right angles at lower end. Two storeys. Three window range. First floor circa 18th century three and four-light casements with glazing bars. Ground floor four-light hall window with olovo moulded stone mullions and king mullion with round shaft on inside. 20th century door to through passage on left hand. Stone aseil stack backing onto through passage and end stacks heightened in brick. Ovolo moulded wooden mullion window at rear. South west wing also has ovolo moulded wooden windows. Semi circular oven projecting at west end.

Interior. Two jointed cruck trusses at lower end with smoke-blackening. Roof over hall and higher end altered. Plank and muntin screen at upper end of hall with step stops and 17th century panelling applied over on hall side and continued around hall. Good intersecting moulded beams to inserted hall ceiling. Inserted hall stack backing onto through passage, the fireplace lintel said to have been removed. Plank and muntin screen to lower side of through passage. Chamfered ceiling beams to lower room with step stops and large chamfered kitchen fireplace beam at lower end. Section of plank and muntin screen in lower room and wooden newel stairs rising from front of lower room with Tudor arch doorway at head.


Historic England, 2015, National Heritage List for England (National Heritage List for England). SDV358087.

See listing description for full details.


Historic England, 22/06/2015, Membury Court Project Decision Notifications: Membury Court (Correspondence). SDV358637.

After examining all the records and other relevant information and having carefully considered the
architectural and historic interest of this case, Membury Court continues to merit listing at Grade II*, and an amended description should be issued.
REASONS FOR DESIGNATION DECISION
An amendment to the List entry for the Grade II* listed Membury Court, a medieval hall house partly rebuilt in the late C16 or early C17, is recommended for the following principal reason:
* Clarity: to more fully describe the building and articulate its special interest in line with current
practice. See advice report for full details.

Sources / Further Reading

SDV17562Monograph: Hoskins, W. G.. 1954. A New Survey of England: Devon. A New Survey of England: Devon. A5 Hardback. 434.
SDV336217Monograph: Pevsner, N.. 1952. The Buildings of England: South Devon. The Buildings of England: South Devon. Paperback Volume. 206.
SDV337300Article in Serial: Wilkin, W. H.. 1928. Notes on Membury. Part 3. Transactions of the Devonshire Association. 60. A5 Hardback. 161-171.
SDV337301Report - Survey: Keystone Historic Buildings Consultants. 1993. Membury Court, Devon. Medieval House and Chapel. Keystone Historic Buildings Consultants Report. K431. A4 Stapled + Digital.
SDV337302Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card: Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division. 1953 - 1979. ST20SE6. Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card. Card Index.
SDV337303Article in Serial: Langdon, F. E. W.. 1907. The Church of Membury. Transactions of the Devonshire Association. 39. A5 Hardback. 134.
SDV337304Record Office Collection: Everett, A. W.. 1961. 3116Z/20. Unknown.
SDV337305Correspondence: Rigold, S. E.. 1957. Letter to Lady Fox. Letter.
SDV337306Report - Survey: Keystone Historic Buildings Consultants. 1993. Membury Court. Interim Report. Keystone Historic Buildings Consultants Report. 427/1. A4 Stapled + Digital.
SDV337307Monograph: Wood, M.. 1965. The English Medieval House. The English Medieval House. Unknown.
SDV337331List of Blds of Arch or Historic Interest: Department of Environment. 1967. Membury. Historic Houses Register. Website.
SDV340140Un-published: Devon Buildings Group. 2005. Devon Buildings Group 2005 Conference. Farms in the Blackdown Hills. A4 Stapled + Digital.
SDV342504Report - non-specific: Alcock, N. W.. 1981. Cruck Construction: An Introduction and Catalogue. Council for British Archaeology Research Report. 42. Photocopy. 110.
SDV348234Report - Interim: Tyers, C + Hurford, M. + Arnold, A. + Howard, R.E. + Thorp, J.. 2009. Dendrochronological Research in Devon: Phase II. English Heritage Centre for Archaeology Report. A4 Unbound + Digital.
SDV349681Machine readable data file: Devon and Somerset County Councils. 2000-2002. Historic Farmsteads Database. BH150H.
SDV350785National Heritage List for England: English Heritage. 2013. National Heritage List for England. Historic Houses Register. Digital.
SDV350786Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 2013. MasterMap. Ordnance Survey Digital Mapping. Digital. [Mapped feature: #82453 ]
SDV352186Ground Photograph: Thorp, J.. 2003. Membury Court. Blackdown Hills Historic Farmstead Survey. Digital. BH150018.
SDV352187Un-published: Thorp, J.. 2003. Membury Court. Blackdown Hills Historic Farmstead Survey. Digital. BH150021-BH150024.
SDV357671Correspondence: English Heritage. 15/01/2015. Survey to Amend and Update Membury Court and Surrounding Buildings and Structures. Asssess Building for Amending. Digital.
SDV357893Correspondence: English Heritage. 20/02/2015. Membury Court, Membury, Axminster. Completed Assessment.
SDV358087National Heritage List for England: Historic England. 2015. National Heritage List for England. Website.
SDV358637Correspondence: Historic England. 22/06/2015. Membury Court Project Decision Notifications: Membury Court. Notification of Designation Decision. Digital.
SDV6523Article in Serial: Seymour, D. J.. 1955 - 1958. The Smaller Manor Houses of Medieval Devon. Transactions of the Torquay Natural History Society. 12. Unknown. 13.

Associated Monuments

MDV104858Part of: Membury Court (Building)
MDV73004Related to: Datestone on Mounting Block, Membury Court (Monument)
MDV27190Related to: Footbridge, Membury Court (Building)
MDV5621Related to: Former Chapel and Cider House, Membury Court (Building)
MDV11585Related to: Iron Age-Roman Farmstead to the north of Membury Court (Monument)
MDV53858Related to: Linhay, Membury Court (Building)
MDV73003Related to: Mounting Block, Membury Court (Monument)
MDV27188Related to: Open Fronted Shelter, Membury Court (Monument)
MDV53860Related to: Pigsty, Membury Court (Monument)
MDV53859Related to: Riding Horse Stable and Trap House, Membury Court (Monument)
MDV27189Related to: Threshing Barn, Membury Court (Building)

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events

  • EDV5623 - Dendrochronological Research in Devon, Phase II

Date Last Edited:Sep 24 2015 8:35AM