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HER Number:MDV283
Name:Beaford, Woolleigh Barton


Barton and adjoining former chapel. A very fine example of a late medieval manor house.


Grid Reference:SS 531 168
Map Sheet:SS51NW
Admin AreaDevon
Civil ParishBeaford
Ecclesiastical ParishBEAFORD

Protected Status

Other References/Statuses

  • Old DCC SMR Ref: SS51NW/5
  • Old Listed Building Ref (II*)

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • MANSION HOUSE (XI to XXI - 1001 AD to 2009 AD (Between))

Full description

Ordnance Survey, 1880s, Ordnance Survey (Cartographic). SDV848.

Woolleigh Barton. Remains of mansion.

Cresswell, B. F., 1928 - 1929, Woolley, Beaford, 178-181 (Article in Serial). SDV21144.

Woolley was the lesser of the two domesday manors in beaford parish. It was mentioned by milles in the 18th century. The present house is now divided into two floors, stone stairs which have been inserted, have obliterated all trace of an east window. An original doorway and two small lancet lights survive to the south.

Reichel, O. J., 1928 - 1938, The Hundred of Shebbear in Early Times, 543,566,567,581 (Article in Monograph). SDV7713.

Woolleigh as Oluelia in Domesday. It was held by Colvin of Baldwin the Sheriff. Before the conquest it was held by Alsi. In 1400 and 1426 licences were granted to the occupants to hold divine service in their chapel of Woolleigh. Early descents given.

Hoskins, W. G., 1954, A New Survey of England: Devon, 330 (Monograph). SDV17562.

Still contains early 17th century work, but has been modernised. There are remains of 15th century chapel.

Masson Phillips, E. N., 1959, Supplementary Notes on the Ancient Stone Crosses of Devon (Fifth Paper), 84 (Article in Serial). SDV21157.

Department of Environment, 1959, Torrington RD Provisional List (List of Blds of Arch or Historic Interest). SDV118.

Badly modernised. Stone rubble. Slate roof and turret. Arched doorway in SE wing. Remains of chapel. Saxon estate meaning "wolves' clearing". Other details: Provisional List.

Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division, 1973, SS51NW2 (Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card). SDV21158.

Considerable external modern alteration Other details: Photos.

Hulland, C., 1984, Devonshire Farmhouses. Part III. Moorland and Non-Moorland Long-Houses, 56 (Article in Serial). SDV21166.

Gallant, L., 1986, Deer Parks and Paddocks of England (Un-published). SDV656.

Risdon, writing in 1630, gives 'Woolley' as the lands of the Murdakes - one of whom was Archbishop of York. It then passed to Hatch, and by marriage to Baldwin Mallet. Speed's map of 1610 shows a fenced park just to the W of the house.

Department of Environment, 1989, Beaford, 23 (List of Blds of Arch or Historic Interest). SDV321165.

Barton and adjoining former chapel, now divided. Probably c15 (possibly earlier) and probably altered or enlarged in the early c16. Various c17 internal alterations and possible additions of the same date or of the c18. Mid to late c19 remodelling and possible minor additions of the same ate or of the early c20. Uncoursed stone rubble and some roughly squared and coursed stone with some ashlar dressings to chapel, rendered wing to rear. C19 rear addition of gault brick and uncoursed stone rubble. Some c19 alterations and additions with red brick dressings. Gable ended Welsh slate roofs, hipped over left hand end of hall range. Some c20 asbestos slates to rear of cross wing. Stone lateral stacks to rear of hall and to cross wing, mostly rendered and red brick axial stack off centre to left and later red brick integral corner stack to cross wing.
Plan and development: three room and through passage plan hall range, probably of the c15 facing S (ground falls to left). Hall with external lateral stack to rear, through passage to left and former service room beyond to left with former end stack. Hall formerly open to the roof with an open hearth (remains of smoke-blackening in roof) with the rear stack probably added in the c17. Hall ceiled at eaves height, probably also in the c17, when the whole hall range was completely re-roofed. Probably mid to late c17 2-roomed addition at the left hand end of the hall range. Gabled solar cross wing at the upper (right hand) end of the hall range, consisting of slightly projecting tall front block with external lateral stack to right and lower projecting rear block with integral end stack (truncated). The front block contained a first floor great chamber (since partitioned and ceiled) heated by fireplace in lateral stack and the rear block formerly had a first floor great bed chamber (also since divided). The ground floor of the front part of the cross wing (below the great chamber) was the kitchen and dairy at a later date, probably in the c19. The cross wing appears to be a later alteration (probably early c16) and probably replaced a former smaller upper end of the late c14/early c15 hall range. Chapel probably of c.1400 (Pevsner dates it to the c15) projecting at right angles to the front of the cross wing, re-roofed in the late c17, and has a later inserted floor (probably a c19 insertion when the chapel became a store with a loft approached by external steps to front). Staircase inserted at rear of former service end to left of passage probably in the early c19. Wing at rear of c17 addition to left was probably also added in the early c19. The late c19 remodelling of the house probably included the addition of rebuilding of the lean-to porch to the through passage (it appears to incorporate some earlier fabric either from an earlier porch or from elsewhere) and the insertion of a second through passage/staircase hall at the upper (right hand) end of the hall (possibly an earlier insertion). Ground floor bay window added to former service room in the late c19 too. Late c19 addition in angle of cross wing at rear. Right hand side wall of front block of cross wing probably partly rebuilt in c19, which might explain the absence of an internal moulded wall plate on this side now. Two storeys but retaining one storey hall.
Exterior: large late c19 three light wooden mullioned and transomed hall window with brick segmental arched head. Probably early c19 first floor boxed glazing bar sash to left of porch at former service end with small panes to upper leaf, large panes to lower leaf (altered in the late c19). Window opening has been reduced, probably when sash was inserted. Late c19 ground floor projecting bay to left of porch with canted left hand corner, brick dressings and lean-to slate roof, and 4-pane sash to front and 2-pane sash to left hand corner, both with chamfered wooden lintels and stone cills. Passage doorway has pair of probably early c19 3 panelled doors with nail studding, probably late c19 beaded tudor-arched wooden frame, beaded wooden reveals and wooden lintel. C19 stone porch with lean-to slate roof and interior with plastered ceiling, probably reused chamfered cross beam and lintel, c19 wooden side benches with dado and c19 tiled floor. Doorway to right of hall window (leading to inserted passage) has c19 boarded door with c19 chamfered wooden frame, 3 part rectangular overlight and brick segmental arched head. Wide stone buttress between hall window and right hand door. Probably c17 addition at left hand end of hall range has 2 window front; early c19 boxed 16 pane glazing bar sashes, the ground floor one to right with brick segmental arched head and those on ground and first floors to left with c20 concrete lintels. Two stone buttresses with brick dressing and chamfered offsets. Small c19 square wooden bellcote on ridge at right hand end of hall with square posts, shingle hung sides, tented cap and still retaining bell. Row of pigeon nesting holes below eaves at rear of left hand end of hall range.
Cross wing: evidence of blocked window in gable to front. Left hand return front of wing has first floor late c19 tow light wooden casement (lighting dairy) with brick segmental arched head and internal wrought iron bars. Also blocked window below eaves in left hand return front. Right hand return front (ne side) of solar cross wing has large central stone stack with semi circular lean-to bread oven at base (probably an addition). Two window front; late c19 two light small paned wooden casements with brick segmental arched heads, the left hand ground floor window (lighting dairy) with stone segmental arched head and internal wrought iron bars and the right hand ground floor window (lighting kitchen) replaced and widened in the late c20. Probably inserted first floor small c19 four pane casement to right with brick segmental arched head. Lower rear block of cross wing to right has first floor 2 light wooden casement to right with wooden lintel, nw side of rear block of cross wing (onto service court) has 2 first floor c19 small paned 2-light wooden casements with brick segmental arched heads and ground floor with central c19 casement flanked by c19 boarded doors. Gable end of wing to rear with external steps up to first floor boarded door.
Former chapel adjoining front of cross wing; former E (liturgical) window in gable end to front with dressed stone pointed arch, now loft doorway with c19 boarded door and approached by external flight of 8 stone steps. Left hand return front (sw side) has c.1400 continuously chamfered arched stone doorway with broach stops and old boarded door with wrought iron strap hinges. Probably inserted louvred loft opening above. Two large blocked windows to right of doorway. Right hand return front of former chapel has inserted loft window to right, inserted loft doorway to left and ground floor boarded door off-centre to right with brick segmental arched head.
Interior: hall range much remodelled in the late c19, including 6 panelled doors throughout and tiled floor to through passage. High ceiling hall has small probably c17 cupboard in front wall with one panelled door. Probably early c19 staircase at rear of former service end to left with stick balusters and open string with cut brackets. Late c19 staircase in inserted passage to upper end of hall. Roughly chamfered ceiling beams in kitchen. First floor rear room in cross wing (former bedchamber, now divided by later partitions) has blocked early c16 stone fireplace to rear wing with deep lintel. Early c16 garderobe in corner of right of stack, consisting of a circular turret in the thickness of the wall, with wooden seat; small blocked window with splayed jambs and c16 mortice and tenoned round arched rebated door frame with old plank door.
Roofs: c17 seven bay roof over hall, passage and former service room with trusses consisting of principal rafters crossed at apices, notched lapped collars and staggered purlins. Late medieval closed truss at upper end of hall with principals removed and partly bricked up but with some smoke-blackened timbers, including vertical studs with mortices for former longitudinal curved braces in the vertical plane (possibly to support a former canopy).3 or 4 bay c17 roof over c17 addition at left hand of hall range, with trusses consisting of principal rafters and lapped collars. Very fine unblackened early c16 arched braced truss roof over former great chamber in cross wing (now only visible in attic). Seven trusses (one against front wall) with ogee - and cavetto-moulded arched bracing and cavetto moulding to underside of principals and collars. Straight principals, collars with cambered tops, paris of threaded (or possibly butt) purlins, one tier of upcurved wind braces with hollow moulded top side, and diagonally set ridge piece. C16 moulded wooden wall plate survives on left hand side (sw) wall (2 roll mouldings with 2 slanted mouldings between) with gaps at foot of each principal, probably formerly to take wooden corbels (possibly carved heads, since removed). Undecorated c16 truss against rear wall (collar removed). A section of arched bracing had come away from the front truss at the time of survey (dDecember 1987) and was resting on the attic floor. Walls of attic plastered including ashlar area above wall plate on left hand side wall. Two small blocked windows in front gable of wing and one blocked window in left hand side wall. Roof over former bedchamber in wing to rear of former great chamber was replaced in the late c19. Stone cross wall between each chamber, rising up into roof space.
Interior of chapel: chamfered jambs to former e window. Square headed piscina in s wall with chamfered jambs and corbelled quatrefoil bowl. C17 3 bay roof with 3 trusses consisting of straight principals and halved lapped curved collars (one truss against rear wall). Evidence of line of former (higher) probably c15 or c16 roof (see curved recess of former truss against end wall).
There is a small service courtyard at the rear of the house enclosed by an attached service range which might formerly have incorporated a medieval kitchen (smoke blackened roof).
The owners report that the medieval font from the chapel is now in the grounds of Trevilla, a nearby house, and there is an old font base in the garden there. Woolleigh Barton is a very fine example of a late medieval manor house and deserves further study.

Cherry, B. + Pevsner, N., 1989, The Buildings of England: Devon, 161 (Monograph). SDV325629.

Sources / Further Reading

SDV118List of Blds of Arch or Historic Interest: Department of Environment. 1959. Torrington RD Provisional List. Historic Houses Register. Unknown.
SDV17562Monograph: Hoskins, W. G.. 1954. A New Survey of England: Devon. A New Survey of England: Devon. A5 Hardback. 330.
SDV21144Article in Serial: Cresswell, B. F.. 1928 - 1929. Woolley, Beaford. Devon and Cornwall Notes and Queries. 15. Unknown. 178-181.
SDV21157Article in Serial: Masson Phillips, E. N.. 1959. Supplementary Notes on the Ancient Stone Crosses of Devon (Fifth Paper). Transactions of the Devonshire Association. 91. A5 Hardback. 84.
SDV21158Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card: Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division. 1973. SS51NW2.
SDV21166Article in Serial: Hulland, C.. 1984. Devonshire Farmhouses. Part III. Moorland and Non-Moorland Long-Houses. Transactions of the Devonshire Association. 116. 56.
SDV321165List of Blds of Arch or Historic Interest: Department of Environment. 1989. Beaford. Historic Houses Register. A4 Spiral Bound. 23.
SDV325629Monograph: Cherry, B. + Pevsner, N.. 1989. The Buildings of England: Devon. The Buildings of England: Devon. Hardback Volume. 161.
SDV656Un-published: Gallant, L.. 1986. Deer Parks and Paddocks of England. Deer Parks and Paddocks of England. Manuscript.
SDV7713Article in Monograph: Reichel, O. J.. 1928 - 1938. The Hundred of Shebbear in Early Times. The Hundreds of Devon. A5 Hardback. 543,566,567,581.
SDV848Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 1880s. Ordnance Survey. 25".

Associated Monuments

MDV14504Parent of: Beaford, Woolleigh Barton Chapel (Building)
MDV64345Related to: Beaford, Woolleigh Barton Deerpark (Monument)
MDV58462Related to: Beaford, Woolleigh Barton Garden Wall (Building)
MDV74464Related to: Threshing Barn and Stable at Woolleigh Barton (Monument)

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events

  • EDV1531 - SS51NW2

Date Last Edited:Aug 12 2008 1:34PM