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HER Number:MDV3884
Name:Morwell Barton, Gulworthy


A former Tavistock Abbey grange. The present house appears to have been first built in the late 15th century. The wings were added in the early 16th century, creating a courtyard. The open hall was floored and chimneys added in the early 17th century . Attached is a late 18th century barn which was rebuilt in the 19th century. The interior was also greatly altered in the 19th century. Structurally, the building has been described as 'one of the most perfect quadrangular houses of the period in the county'.


Grid Reference:SX 445 707
Map Sheet:SX47SW
Admin AreaDevon
Civil ParishGulworthy
DistrictWest Devon
Ecclesiastical ParishTAVISTOCK

Protected Status

Other References/Statuses

  • Old DCC SMR Ref: SX47SW/512
  • Old Listed Building Ref (I): 94044

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • FARMHOUSE (Built, XV to XIX - 1401 AD to 1900 AD (Between))

Full description

Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV240803.

Kelly, a. /directory of devonshire/(1935)72.

Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV240804.

Finberg, h. P. R. /tda/77(1945)163/morwell.

Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV240805.

Alexander, j. J. /tda/71(1939)225-227/tavistock in the 13th century.

Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV240806.

Doe/hhr:tavistock r. D. /(-/2/1960)23-24/provisional list.

Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV240807.

Seymour, d. J. /ttnhs/12(1955-1958)13/the smaller manor houses of medieval devon.

Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV240808.

Higham, r. A. /the castles of medieval devon/(1979)53/phd thesis, exeter university.

Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV240809.

Doe/hhr:tavistock hamlets/(23/1/1987)96-97.

Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV240810.

Des=os 6"(1907)105sw.

Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV240811.

Cherry, b. + pevsner, n. /buildings of england:devon/(1989)579.

Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV240812.

Hoskins, w. G. /devon/(1946).

Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV240813.

Des=dyer, m. J. + manning, p. T. /objective 5b: lower tamar valley recreation and land management initiative: cultural heritage appraisal/(oct 1998)37/ea report 98.60.

COPELAND, Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV33318.

Morwell barton. In 1391 abbot thomas cullyng obtained a licence from bishop brantynham for a private chapel at morwell, see sx47sw/502. The present building appears to have been erected or rebuilt in the late 15th, early 16th century and subsequently altered to meet the requirements of a farmhouse. The house is variously known as old morwell house, morwell priory, and morwell barton. A country seat of the abbots of tavistock. The chief feature of the nw front is the gatehouse incorporated in the centre of the side in which it stands. The embattled turrets and their pinnacles almost identical with those flanking the chapel porch at the rear of the bedford hotel, and those at the north gatehouse in bedford square, tavistock. The passage thru the gatehouse has a fine vaulted roof springing from round shafts in the angles between the walls. Bosses cover the points of the intersection of the vaulting ribs. These formerly bore shields with heraldic devices, but now only a greek cross upon one of them is decipherable. What may have been the exterior doorway to the chapel now admits to the staircase hall of the present dwelling house. Three different kinds of stone have been used for the window and doorway dressings; granite, morwell elvan, and hurdwick. Structurally it ranks as one of the most perfect quadrangular houses of the period in the county (copeland).

Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV1907.

15th century gatehouse and other remains of tavistock abbey grange (higham).

ALEXANDER, Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV219470.

Evidence from lists of hundred jurors suggests there was a farm here in the 13th century (alexander).

DOE 1960, Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV240798.

Unknown (do. E) 15th century manor house built round central court. Rubble with slate roofs and stone stacks. Some windows originally from leigh barton (sx74nw/1). Hall was in east range and has 2-storeyed porch. Chimney stacks post-medieval. Position of chapel uncertain (doe 1960).

DOE 1987, Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV240800.

Morwell barton (formerly listed as morewell farmhouse). House, built around courtyard and including gatehouse, secondary living accommodation and barn. Late c15 origin, house and gatehouse, early c16 alterations including formation of wings right and left to enclose courtyard. Early c17 alterations, probably when open hall floored and stacks built. Late c18 barn range rebuilt, probably early c19 re-roofing over original structure and through c19 considerable alterations to interior, late c20 alterations. Courtyard plan, with gatehouse front to north west, front of house at outer side to south east. Originally open-hall house of 3 room and through passage plan, little internal evidence remaining; gatehouse originally separate, connected to main house by wing possibly originally of 3 cells of accommodation, each with granite stair (now removed); barn wing completely rebuilt in late c18, may originally have been stabling or have courtyard, separate chapel. Two storey entrance porch set in angle to rear right in courtyard, probably of late c17. South west wing of two storeys. See doe list for full details (doe 1987).

Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV240801.

Copeland, g. W. /tda/69(1937)17/proceedings at the 76th annual meeting.

Seymour, D. J., Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV4302.

Interior much altered (seymour).

Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division, 1977, SX47SW8 (Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card). SDV240802.

Morwell, remains of 15th century mansion.
Morwell appears in a Pipe Roll of 1194 but, it could be earlier under another name. The house was rebuilt between 1451 and 1490. Hoskins and Finberg, 1952.

A notable fifteenth century, two storey manor house, built round a central court, it is approached by a pinnacled embattled, two storey gatehouse. Built of rubble with a slate roof, it has stone mullioned windows with cusped lights and some contemporary windows brought from Leigh Barton. The interior has been much altered and modernised. DOE (HHR) Tavistock RD Devon 23/02/1960.

House is restored and in good condition. The Gatehouse is in the cntre of the northwest side of the quadrangle. Oral - owner of Morwell Barton. 11/07/1950.

Cornwall Archaeological Unit, 2017, South Cornwall Rapid Coastal Zone Assessment Survey Desk-Based Assessment, 993 (Interpretation). SDV360825.

A courtyard arrangement of buildings to the rear of Morwell House was recorded on the first and second edition 1:2500 Ordnance Survey maps. The buildings are Grade I Listed (List entry 1105738).

Ordnance Survey, 2018, MasterMap 2018 (Cartographic). SDV360652.

Morwell House marked, comprising a large square building of four wings ranged around a courtyard orientated broadly north-west to south-east with an additional wing extending south-east from the eastern corner. To the north-east are further ranges of buildings. It is shown as being the remains of a mansion with the site of a chapel.

Historic England, 2018, National Heritage List for England, 1105738 (National Heritage List for England). SDV360653.

Morwell Barton (formerly listed as Morewell Farmhouse).
House, built around courtyard and including gatehouse, secondary living accommodation and barn. Late C15 origin, house and gatehouse, early C16 alterations including formation of wings right and left to enclose courtyard. Early C17 alterations, probably when open hall floored and stacks built. Late C18 barn range rebuilt, probably early C19 re-roofing over original structure and through C19 considerable alterations to interior, late C20 alterations. Granite and slatestone rubble with granite and Hurdwick dressings, slate roofs with raised coped verges to house, with 3 ridge and gable end stacks in granite ashlar with cornices and shaped tops with roll- mouldings. Gable end stack to right rebuilt, originally constructed as dummy for symmetry. Courtyard plan, with gatehouse front to north west, front of house at outer side to south east. Wing to south west (right) and barn range to north east (left). Originally open-hall house of 3 room and through passage plan, little internal evidence remaining; gatehouse originally separate, connected to main house by wing possibly originally of 3 cells of accommodation, each with granite stair (now removed); barn wing completely rebuilt in late C18, may originally have been stabling or have contained separate chapel. 2-storey entrance porch set in angle to rear right in courtyard, probably of late C17. Remodelling created 2 rooms to each side of former passage, with lower end to right unheated, formerly dairy. House of 2 storeys, 5-window front, all windows in granite surrounds, hollow- chamfered, with C20 leaded lights, some windows entirely C19 and C20 replacements. Bay to left has 2-light windows with 4-centred arched heads with hood-moulds at ground and first floor, of C17 at first floor. Central bay has gable over, with large 3-light replacement window with 4-centred arched heads at ground floor, first floor has 3-light window with tall 4-centred arched lights, with trefoils in spandrels and hood-mould, above a blocked single 2-centred arched light with hood- mould. Bay to right has granite 4-centred arched doorway and 2-light 4-centred arched granite window above. Single storey outhouse projects to right, with internal access from lower end, has door with ventilation slits under eaves, gable end with reset late C15/early C16 single cusped granite light with hood-mould, blocked with ventilation slit inserted. Rear of outhouse has 4 open bays with square granite piers. End bay to right has at first floor a 2-light granite window with pointed arches, not chamfered, with hood-mould, blocked. At the upper end, remains of 2 relieving arches at ground floor, possibly original window openings to hall and inner room, arches in Hurdwick stone, also Hurdwick stone eaves cornice, granite quoins left and right, indicating originally separate building. The cornice may indicate alterations to the front of the building in the second phase, also carried round wings on inner courtyard side. Granite quoins at gable end to left indicate house range was originally separate building. Gable end to right has C19 door and window with granite lintels, loading door at first floor, probably put in when barn range was rebuilt at that side; above, at attic level, a single light with 4-centred arched lights. To rear, 2 bays to left, with 2-light windows at ground floor with pointed arched heads and hood-mould, not chamfered, probably of first phase of building; at first floor 2-light windows with 4-centred arched heads, hood-mould and relieving arch in Hurdwick stone, both with recessed spandrels; Hurdwick stone eaves cornices. 2-storey porch block set in angle to right, with granite quoins and raised coped verges, gable end to left; front has tall 4-centred arched granite doorway, roll- moulded with trefoils in spandrels and hood-mould, C19 lancet to right and 2-light 2- centred arched granite window; left gable end has 2-light C20 granite window with pointed arched lights at ground floor, single C20 hollow-chamfered light at first floor. South west wing of 2 storeys (now separate accommodation), appears to have been rebuilt at various stages on inner courtyard side of 6 bays; there are 3 blocked door openings, 2 with 4-centred arched heads and one to right with pointed arch, all hollow-chamfered; second from right a 2-light granite window with 2-centred arched heads at ground and first floor, with hood-moulds, a replacement at first floor, central bay has 2-light window with cusped heads and hood-mould at ground and first floor, hollow-chamfered mullions replaced, end bay to left has C20 replacement 2- light 4-centred arched window at ground and first floor with ventilation door below. Wall curved round inner corner to end right and corbelled out, at the site of former stair with trefoil-headed stair light at upper level, blocked, and blocked lancet. Wing is continued at right angles to form junction with gatehouse, with hollow- chamfered 4-centred arched granite doorway with C20 window inserted and Tudor-arched light with recessed spandrels and hood-mould; stone work alters at junction with gatehouse. The wing has 3 ashlar ridge stacks heating each cell, and Hurdwick stone eaves cornice along whole side. Outer side of south west wing has all replacement granite windows, four 2-light windows at first floor, alternating 2-centred and 4- centred heads, ground floor has 4 doors, hollow-chamfered, with 4-centred arched heads, windows as at first floor in same bays. Gable end (to north west) has former opening at ground floor, 3-light granite window at first floor with 4-centred arched heads and hood mould; bay to left of gable end (forming junction with gatehouse) has 2-light 4-centred arched window at ground and first floor, C20 at ground floor and original at first floor, Hurdwick stone eaves cornice. North east barn range at inner courtyard side shows rebuilding to right, 2 stepped joints and uneven junction with house, possibly former chapel. To right, a pointed arched doorway, roll and hollow-moulded, with hood-mould, and blocked 2-light cusped window above with rebuilt jambs. To left, barn inserted, with 2 sets of 3 ventilation slits and small rectangular openings under eaves, quoins to left. 2 bays connecting barn to gatehouse have single 2-centred arched light at first floor. Interior of these 2 bays, separate from barn, with remains of a cambered granite door head at upper level, stair removed, 2-bay C20 roof. Outer side of barn range has single storey C19 shed attached to right with 3 doors at eaves height and ventilation slits, shed range terminating in 2-storey later C19 stabling with central segmental- headed door, door and ventilation slit to right and 4 windows under eaves; attached to rear of this building, a hexagonal round-house with granite piers infilled with concrete, plate roof, gable end of building has rebuilt cart entry with ventilation slit right and left. The single storey shed partially conceals remains of wide 4- centred arched Hurdwick stone gateway, of first phase of building of this wing; to left a C20 cart entry to barn and 3 C19 doors with cambered heads, one blocked, ventilation slits, loading door and single light under eaves to end left. Gable end of barn has 3-light granite 4-centred arched window, blocked with ventilation slits set behind; bay connecting barn to gatehouse also rebuilt, with 2-light window with 4-centred arched lights, also blocked with ventilation slits inserted. Gatehouse of 2 storeys, with polygonal stair turret right and left, each with first floor string course and embattled crocketted pinnacles, small lancet to left of central wide 2-centred arched gateway, roll and hollow-moulded, with quatrefoils in spandrels and hood-mould with square carved stops, repaired studded doors with strap hinges; 3-light window above with 4-centred arched lights, blocked with ventilation slits, gable over with raised coped verges and finial. Courtyard side of gatehouse has similar opening, with plain outer and chamfered inner order to arch, single chamfered trefoil-headed light above, blocked, with 6-pane light inserted, gable over, and 2 ashlar stacks heating rooms at first floor. Interior of gatehouse has 2 quadripartite vaults in Hurdwick stone, springing from ribbed granite shaft on moulded base at each corner, hollow-chamfered ribs with central corbels, shields at intersections along principal rib and at outer sides. Hollow-chamfered 4-centred arched door to front right and left, blocked to right, leading to granite winder stair. Chamber at first floor has chamfered granite fireplace with oven to rear, garderobe shaft with 4-centred arched wooden doorframe, blocked doorway to south west wing and pointed arched doorway at top of stair. C20 roof, shape of partition wall indicated former arched-brace roof. Interior of house. This is much altered, fireplace at gable end, possibly former inner room, is in granite, roll-moulded with cambered head and recessed spandrels. Fireplace beneath ridge stack also roll-moulded and hollow-chamfered with flat head, probably heating original lower end room. Room at far lower end, formerly dairy, has 4-centred arched hollow-chamfered granite doorway. In roof, 3 bays only remain of early date over former hall, trusses with chamfered arched-braces, chamfered and cambered collars, remains of brattished wall-plate, 3 rows of purlins, some chamfered, halved principals. Preserved in house, further remains of wall-plate with fine carved foliage. Morwell Barton was the country residence of the Abbots of Tavistock. The Abbot received a license for a chapel in 1391, and the core of the building may date from this time. (Sources: Pevsner, N.: Buildings of England: South Devon 1952).
Date first listed: 14th June 1952

Sources / Further Reading

SDV1907Migrated Record:
SDV219470Migrated Record: ALEXANDER.
SDV240798Migrated Record: DOE 1960.
SDV240800Migrated Record: DOE 1987.
SDV240801Migrated Record:
SDV240802Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card: Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division. 1977. SX47SW8. OSAD Card. Card Index + Digital.
SDV240803Migrated Record:
SDV240804Migrated Record:
SDV240805Migrated Record:
SDV240806Migrated Record:
SDV240807Migrated Record:
SDV240808Migrated Record:
SDV240809Migrated Record:
SDV240810Migrated Record:
SDV240811Migrated Record:
SDV240812Migrated Record:
SDV240813Migrated Record:
SDV33318Migrated Record: COPELAND.
SDV360652Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 2018. MasterMap 2018. Ordnance Survey Digital Mapping. Digital. [Mapped feature: #111307 ]
SDV360653National Heritage List for England: Historic England. 2018. National Heritage List for England. Historic Houses Register. Digital. 1105738.
SDV360825Interpretation: Cornwall Archaeological Unit. 2017. South Cornwall Rapid Coastal Zone Assessment Survey Desk-Based Assessment. RCZAS. Digital. 993.
SDV4302Migrated Record: Seymour, D. J..

Associated Monuments

MDV3860Related to: Chapel at Morwell Barton (Monument)
MDV121872Related to: Horse Engine House at Morwell House, Gulworthy (Building)
MDV3885Related to: MANOR in the Parish of Gulworthy (Monument)

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events: none recorded

Date Last Edited:Aug 1 2018 10:40AM