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HER Number:MDV2730
Name:Tetcott House


Former manor house of 16th century origin, and with complex development. Now sub-divided into three occupations.


Grid Reference:SX 331 965
Map Sheet:SX39NW
Admin AreaDevon
Civil ParishTetcott
Ecclesiastical ParishTETCOTT

Protected Status

Other References/Statuses

  • Old DCC SMR Ref: SX39NW/502
  • Old Listed Building Ref (II*): 435310
  • Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division: SX39NW5

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • MANOR HOUSE (XVI to XX - 1501 AD to 2000 AD (Between))

Full description

Ordnance Survey, 1880-1899, First Edition Ordnance 25 inch map (Cartographic). SDV336179.

’Manor House (site of)’ shown at SX33189659.

Hawker, R. S., 1903, Untitled Source, 259 (Monograph). SDV337653.

Hawker, R. S., 1904, Untitled Source, 30 (Monograph). SDV337654.

Other details: Illustration.

Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division, 1951 - 1977, SX39NW5 (Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card). SDV9694.

Present house contains reused material of much earlier date, probably from the former manor house which stood a few yards to the east of the present building. There is a fishpond, probably 18th/19th century landscape feature.

Tetcott House is an interesting building of 1603 and circa 1700.Of the latter building, much has been pulled down. The earlier building has several mullioned windows and an enclosed courtyard.

Early building foundations were exposed some years ago during pipe laying in the area now occupied by the walled garden.

Pevsner, N., 1952, The Buildings of England: North Devon (Monograph). SDV336196.

An interesting building of 1603 and circa 1700. Of the latter building much has been pulled down. The earlier building has several mullioned windows and an enclosed courtyard.

Hoskins, W. G., 1954, A New Survey of England: Devon, 493 (Monograph). SDV17562.

Ministry of Housing and Local Government, 1955, Holsworthy RD, 8 (List of Blds of Arch or Historic Interest). SDV20521.

Built in 1603 by the Arscott family. Description given. Other details: Provisional List.

Seymour, D. J., 1955 - 1958, The Smaller Manor Houses of Medieval Devon, 15 (Article in Serial). SDV6523.

Nothing to add.

French, K. + French, C., 1957, Devonshire Plasterwork, 134 (Article in Serial). SDV4676.

Tetcott House. Ceiling of period three (1650-1700). Central amorini are featured.

Williams, H. F. F., 1964, Notes on the parish of Tetcott, Devon, 2 (Un-published). SDV337650.

Unknown, 1976 - 1984, Development Control Consultations (Un-published). SDV346248.

Visited 1988 by Pam Egeland. Other details: Photos 672/1-7.

Delderfield, E., 1977, Tetcott Manor (Article in Serial). SDV337651.

Department of Environment, 1986, Tetcott, 38 (List of Blds of Arch or Historic Interest). SDV9663.

Tetcott Manor, Tetcott Barton + Manor Cottage (formerly listed as Old Tetcott House).
Manor house sub-divided into 3 occupations. Sixteenth- and 17th century with substantial 18th-, 19- and 20th century alterations. Stone rubble with granite dressings, some walls flemish bond brick, scantle slate roofs hipped and gabled, stone and brick chimneys, some early crested ridge tiles.
A complex house with several building phases which are not easy to distinguish owing to the re-siting of external features and the re-use of old materials. A small central courtyard is surrounded by 4 irregular picturesque ranges: the core of the west range may be an early hall range although there is little evidence of the early plan and considerable piecemeal addition and alteration, mostly of the 18th century. The single depth through passage south range has a re-sited datestone of 1603 and a 2 storey porch. It may have been a service wing upgraded in the mid and late 17th century, the date of a fine first floor room with panelling and a plaster ceiling is circa late 17th century. It was later in agricultural use, at least in part. The 2 storey porch appears to post date one of the sash windows of the s range and is likely to have been rebuilt or to be an antiquarian addition of the 19th century or 20th century but it may genuinely be c17th century. The E range contains a fine first floor 'court room' with late 17th century and early 18th century plasterwork. The north range is mostly brick and incorporates a double depth block that could be late 17th century or alternatively, might represent the re-use of early brick, or it could well be contemporary with the building of 'new' Tetcott, ie circa 1700.
The sub-division of the house is also complex, for example the circa.mid 17th century stair in the west range that serves the present manor house is said originally to have been the stair of the barton before the partition walls were altered.
The south elevation has an asymmetrical stone rubble 9 window front with sash windows and an approximately central 2 storey gabled porch with a rounded outer stone doorway with a keystone below a re-sited datestone, a 16 pane boxed sash and a large, probably 18th century, slate sundial in the gable. The inner doorway of the porch has a cranked arch and massive late 16th-/early 17th century door with studs and staples. To the left of the porch the range has regular fenestration of 12 pane horned sashes, these date from 1936. The rear wall of the left end of the range is brick and was upgraded from a shippon in 1936 (see interior). To the right of the porch the range has 10, 12, and 18 pane sashes. The upper floor sashes are later 18th century but set in openings with brick jambs of apparently circa 1900. The lower floor sashes date from 1936. A straight joint indicates that the right hand bay is an addition and that the axial stack at the right end was originally a gable end stack.
The west elevation has a picturesque asymmetrical 4 plus 2 window front, the right hand end set back with 2 gabled dormers, the left hand end with a massive brick end stack and 1 gabled dormer on the front to the left. In the centre the eaves rise to form a separately roofed block with a steep hipped roof and a stack on the front with a tall chimney shaft. The set back right hand block has one 12 pane sash and three 3 light stone mullioned windows with hoodmoulds and label stops. The gabled dormers have attractive decorative slate hanging in the gables. The block in the centre with a hipped roof has a probably 17th century chamfered rounded doorway on the right return, a further entrance on the front to the left under a wide slated porch canopy carried on timber posts, one 3 light stone mullioned window to the right of the door, 3 first floor 12 pane sashes. To the left of the hipped block 2 and 3 light casements with glazing bars.
The north and east elevations show considerably more alteration and rebuilding with features of the several periods. The chief interest here is the interior. The courtyard retains several granite mullioned windows.
Interior: 17th century features in the S range include several moulded stopped doorways, some with unusual heart stops and unconventional carved stops and fine 17th century doors with moulded battens forming panels, some of the doorways have been re-sited. The principal room to the right of the through passage has large roughly chamfered cross beams, at least one of which is reused and closely spaced exposed joists, 20th century grate. This room was reinstated from a cider store in 1936. A small section of 17th century plaster frieze to the rear of the passage is decorated with thistles, roses and fleur-de-lis. Features of the early 17th century includes a dog-leg stair and turned balusters and newel posts with barrel finials, some of the treads are solid timber baulks. The principal first floor room in the south range has a coved plaster ceiling with moulded panels of circa late 17th century with co-eval timber panelling on the walls. The present fireplace has chamfered granite jambs and lintel. The roof above this shows much alteration and reconstruction with some reused smoke blackened timbers, one cranked collar and evidence over the coved ceiling of a previous plaster barrel ceiling of the early 17th century. The west end of this range has a presumably 19th century scissor brace roof whitewashed throughout, evidence that it was indeed an open cowshed until division into rooms in 1936 and post war. The "court room" in the e range has an armorial plaster overmantel of circa late 17th century and a central plaster ceiling motif of a trumpeting angel, possibly of early 18th century date. The roof of this range is partly of principal rafter type and partly of couples with a ridge piece.
The interior of the west range is less rich in visible early features but there may be chimney pieces and beams concealed behind the modern plaster. Barrel vault ceiling on the first floor. The disused upper floor rooms in the NW corner remain little altered from the early 18th century with a simple turned baluster staircase and 2 panel doors. The roofs in this section are partly principle rafter with dovetailed collars and halved and pegged apices and partly coupled rafters with halved and pegged apices.
The kitchen in the north range has a massive partly-blocked fireplace that may be 16th century or 17th century in origin with a high granite lintel. Tradition has this room as the hall but it is likely to have been the kitchen of the manor.
History: the manor was bought in c.1550 by the first John Arscott of Tetcott and he commenced building a house which may in part still survive but very heavily disguised. The quadrangular plan, characteristic of Tudor houses, appears to be more the result of chance than deliberate design, and the original purpose of the different ranges remains very ambiguous. Features both external and internal survive from all periods, while the roof structure mostly appears to be 17th century. The house was downgraded from the manor in circa 1700 when a new brick Tetcott in the Baroque style was constructed immediately to the east. In effect this meant that the old buildings became service ranges and the home farm, and this situation continued until the estate was inherited by the Molesworths of Pencarrow in 1788 and the family seat moved there. This led to the demolition of 'new' Tetcott in 1831 and the further downgrading of 'old' Tetcott. It still continues in use as a farmhouse in the north-west corner of the courtyard; but the s range was brought back from agricultural to domestic use in 1935 by Sir John Molesworth-St Aubyn and it continues in use by the family today. Much history and legend surround the life of the Arscotts in this house, including several curious tales concerning their late 18th century jester 'Black John'.
The hunting prowess of the last of the Arscotts is celebrated in a west country ballad and Hoskins suggests that the Arscott family and their house "epitomise all the ancient Devonshire squires and their homes". Tetcott manor has a long and intriguing building history, the irregular exterior is extremely picturesque and forms a fine group with Tetcott church and a number of associated buildings of different dates. Other details: LBS number 435310.

Department of Environment, 1987, Tetcott (List of Blds of Arch or Historic Interest). SDV9707.

Cherry, B. + Pevsner, N., 1989, The Buildings of England: Devon, 802 (Monograph). SDV325629.

Torridge District Council, 2006, Attic Conversion (Planning Application). SDV336820.

Other details: 1/1842/2006/LBC.

Blaylock, S. R., 2006, Method Statement for Archaeological Bulding Recording and Watching Brief at Tetcott Barton, Tetcott, Devon (Un-published). SDV337649.

There has been a house at Tetcott from at least the mid 16th century when a junior branch of the Arscott family of Dunsland built the core of the present house. The house has a long and complex history, involving numerous rebuilding operations, through the 16th and 17th centuries. This culminated at the end of the 17th century, or round about 1700, in the reconstruction of the kitchen forming the core of the north range and the (re)construction of the adjacent block to the north (here called the north-west range). This is built of brick on rubble stone plinths, with striking use of burnt headers (the short ends of the bricks used alternately with the longer sides in Flemish bond) to achieve a chequerwork pattern to the wall surfaces.
At or about the same time a grand new brick mansion house was built to the east of the present house. For the duration of this house’s existence (it was demolished in 1831) the present house seems to have served as subsidiary and service accommodation. Splendid farm buildings also survive to the west from this and later periods.
In 1935 the house, and especially the south range, which had been disused for domestic purposes for many years, was refurbished and brought back into use as a dwelling; much of the fenestration and possibly the roof date to this period of major repairs. The building is now subdivided into three dwellings (Tetcott Manor’, ‘Tetcott Barton’ and ‘Manor Cottage’). Tetcott Barton, comprising the north and north-west ranges ahas served as a farmhouse since the 1930s

Gaimster, M., 2011, Post-Medieval Fieldwork in Britain and Northern Ireland in 2010: Devon (Article in Serial). SDV361542.

TETCOTT, TETCOTT BARTON (SX 3315 9657). S. R. Blaylock undertook historic building recorded during alterations to the house. The building has 16th-century origins; a roof structure pre-dating a late 17th-century phase of alterations was recorded (citing Exeter Archaeology Report 10.01).

Devon Gardens Trust, 2014, Tetcott Manor (Un-published). SDV358184.

Description of Tetcott Manor house and grounds, including two photographs.

Sources / Further Reading

SDV17562Monograph: Hoskins, W. G.. 1954. A New Survey of England: Devon. A New Survey of England: Devon. A5 Hardback. 493.
SDV20521List of Blds of Arch or Historic Interest: Ministry of Housing and Local Government. 1955. Holsworthy RD. Historic Houses Register. Unknown. 8.
SDV325629Monograph: Cherry, B. + Pevsner, N.. 1989. The Buildings of England: Devon. The Buildings of England: Devon. Hardback Volume. 802.
SDV336179Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 1880-1899. First Edition Ordnance 25 inch map. First Edition Ordnance Survey 25 inch Map. Map (Digital).
SDV336196Monograph: Pevsner, N.. 1952. The Buildings of England: North Devon. The Buildings of England: North Devon. Paperback Volume.
SDV336820Planning Application: Torridge District Council. 2006. Attic Conversion. Torridge District Council Planning Application. Digital.
SDV337649Un-published: Blaylock, S. R.. 2006. Method Statement for Archaeological Bulding Recording and Watching Brief at Tetcott Barton, Tetcott, Devon. A4 Stapled.
SDV337650Un-published: Williams, H. F. F.. 1964. Notes on the parish of Tetcott, Devon. Typescript. 2.
SDV337651Article in Serial: Delderfield, E.. 1977. Tetcott Manor. Western Morning News. Unknown.
SDV337653Monograph: Hawker, R. S.. 1903. Footprints of Former Men in Far Cornwall. Unknown. 259.
SDV337654Monograph: Hawker, R. S.. 1904. Cornish Ballads & Other Poems. Unknown. 30.
SDV346248Un-published: Unknown. 1976 - 1984. Development Control Consultations. Devon County Council Conservation Section Collection. A4 Unbound.
SDV358184Un-published: Devon Gardens Trust. 2014. Tetcott Manor. Devon Local Register of Parks and Gardens of Local Historic Interest. Digital.
SDV361542Article in Serial: Gaimster, M.. 2011. Post-Medieval Fieldwork in Britain and Northern Ireland in 2010: Devon. Post-Medieval Archaeology. 45. A4 Stapled + Digital.
SDV4676Article in Serial: French, K. + French, C.. 1957. Devonshire Plasterwork. Transactions of the Devonshire Association. 89. A5 Hardback. 134.
SDV6523Article in Serial: Seymour, D. J.. 1955 - 1958. The Smaller Manor Houses of Medieval Devon. Transactions of the Torquay Natural History Society. 12. Unknown. 15.
SDV9663List of Blds of Arch or Historic Interest: Department of Environment. 1986. Tetcott. Historic Houses Register. A4 Spiral Bound. 38.
SDV9694Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card: Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division. 1951 - 1977. SX39NW5. OSAD Card. Card Index + Digital.
SDV9707List of Blds of Arch or Historic Interest: Department of Environment. 1987. Tetcott. Historic Houses Register Amendment. Unknown.

Associated Monuments

MDV2731Parent of: Tetcott Manor House Sundial (Monument)
MDV105712Related to: Earthworks of Former Hunting Lodge in Tetcott Park (Monument)
MDV35857Related to: Gatepiers to Tetcott Manor (Building)
MDV106867Related to: Site of 'Old Tetcott House' (Monument)
MDV12623Related to: Tetcott Barton (Monument)

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events

  • EDV1481 - SX39NW5

Date Last Edited:Jul 19 2018 9:39AM