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HER Number:MDV4491
Name:Alice Horwood's School, Church Lane, Barnstaple


An exceptionally well-preserved small 17th century charity school. Subsequently used as a coffee house.


Grid Reference:SS 558 331
Map Sheet:SS53SE
Admin AreaDevon
Civil ParishBarnstaple
DistrictNorth Devon
Ecclesiastical ParishBARNSTAPLE

Protected Status

Other References/Statuses

  • Old DCC SMR Ref: SS53SE/116
  • Old Listed Building Ref (II)
  • Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division: SS53SE19

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • SCHOOL (XVII - 1601 AD to 1700 AD (Between))

Full description

Ordnance Survey, 1855-1895, Towns 1855-95 1:500 (Cartographic). SDV348147.

Free School marked on 1855-1895 1:500 town map.

Harper, S., 1910, History of Barnstaple (Monograph). SDV342351.

Lomas, J., 1967, The Old doors and Doorways of Barnstaple, 40, plate III (Article in Serial). SDV85818.

Alice Horwood's school in Church Lane. Stuart 12-panelled door. Building dates from 1659, retaining much of 17th century as do the 12 almshouses adjoining it with interesting doorways. The doorways incorporate ovolo-moulding with finely carved stop-chamfers at the bases of the jambs, portraying the 'fern' pattern. Chamfer made by cutting off the square angle of the opening for a door. Chamfer ends with a carved chamfer-stop. Almshouses and school appear to be by the same builder.

Department of Environment, 1973, Barnstaple, 22 (List of Blds of Arch or Historic Interest). SDV89941.

Inside is a Tudor stone fireplace, with the initials AH and the date 1659 above.

Timms, S. C., 1976, The Devon Urban Survey, 1976. First Draft, 74 (Report - Survey). SDV341346.

Ordnance Survey, 2012, MasterMap (Cartographic). SDV348725.

English Heritage, 2012, National Heritage List for England (National Heritage List for England). SDV348729.

Old School Coffee House, formerly Horwood's School (Formerly Listed as: Church Lane (East side) The Former Horwood's School).
School, now in use as restaurant. 1659, restored 1917 (date plaque). Local stone rubble; slate gable-ended roof; left end stack with old brick corner shaft. Seventeenth century plan intact. Single schoolroom on the ground floor, heated at left end, with cross passage entrance to right. Stair in rear projection rises from end of passage. First floor divided into 2 rooms, the left one heated from the same stack, the right one unheated.
Exterior: 2 storeys. Asymmetrical 2-window range, one window to the ground floor. Fine doorway to right with original moulded frame with elaborate carved stops and original panelled studded door. 4-light window to left, probably 1917, with ovolo-moulded timber mullions, original chamfered stone cill and the remnants of the original stone hoodmould. 2 first-floor original 3-light ovolo-moulded mullioned windows, all windows glazed with 20th century diamond-leaded panes. Slate plaque over door carved "A H 1659" with coat of arms and inscription: "this school was founded and built for 20 poor maids by Alice Horwood, restored 1917".
Interior: schoolroom divided from passage by original screen with moulded planks. Original moulded doorway with elaborate stops blocked and replaced with new doorway. Schoolroom has fine moulded segmental-headed stone fireplace with plaster decoration above: the initials AH, Tudor Rose and Prince of Wales' feathers. 3-light mullioned window on rear wall (now internal) is probably 1917. Narrow moulded plaster cornice breaks forward slightly on rear wall. Heavy moulded timber attached to screen retains some large pegs for coats and hats and may be original. Stair with turned newels, probably 1917. Ovolo-moulded doorway with bar stops to doorway at top of stairs. Larger upper room has apparently original internal porch. Upper rooms divided by original moulded plank screen with original moulded stopped doorway and plank door with strap hinges, similar door with closet adjacent to fireplace. Coved plaster ceiling over both rooms with slender moulded cornice to match the one downstairs. Recess next to stack may have contained original cupboard.
Historical Note: the building stands adjacent to Horwood's almshouses in Church Lane. The school was founded by Alice Horwood's will of 1652 in buildings erected together with the almshouses. A new building was erected for this school and the Blue Coat Boy's School in 1844 at North Walk, and the two schools were amalgamated. In 1882 the girls were moved to the new National School (Bovett). This is an exceptionally well-preserved small 17th century charity school. Date listed: 19th January 1951. Date of most recent amendment: 29th September 1999.

Unknown, July 1975, Barnstaple Municipal Charities Historic Almshouses (Leaflet). SDV82108.

The Alice Horwood School for Girls, adjacent to Horwood Almshouses, was found in 1659 for 20 poor children. The building is now in commercial use but remains structurally unchanged.

Friends of Archaeology ND, Unknown, Historic Barnstaple (Leaflet). SDV356772.

Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division, Unknown, SS53SE19 (Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card). SDV70634.

Site visit 1st April 1976. Alice Horwood's school for girls was endowed as a free school for 20 poor maids in 1659. It was discontinued in 1814. Now an antique shop.

Sources / Further Reading

SDV341346Report - Survey: Timms, S. C.. 1976. The Devon Urban Survey, 1976. First Draft. Devon Committee for Rescue Archaeology Report. A4 Unbound + Digital. 74.
SDV342351Monograph: Harper, S.. 1910. History of Barnstaple. History of Barnstaple. Unknown.
SDV348147Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 1855-1895. Towns 1855-95 1:500. Towns 1855-95 1:500. Digital.
SDV348725Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 2012. MasterMap. Ordnance Survey. Map (Digital). [Mapped feature: #92329 ]
SDV348729National Heritage List for England: English Heritage. 2012. National Heritage List for England. Website.
SDV356772Leaflet: Friends of Archaeology ND. Unknown. Historic Barnstaple. Leaflet + Digital.
SDV70634Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card: Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division. Unknown. SS53SE19. Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card. Card Index.
SDV82108Leaflet: Unknown. July 1975. Barnstaple Municipal Charities Historic Almshouses. Leaflet + Digital.
SDV85818Article in Serial: Lomas, J.. 1967. The Old doors and Doorways of Barnstaple. Transactions of the Devonshire Association. 99. Paperback Volume. 40, plate III.
SDV89941List of Blds of Arch or Historic Interest: Department of Environment. 1973. Barnstaple. Historic Houses Register. A4 Comb Bound. 22.

Associated Monuments

MDV12507Related to: Horwood's Almshouses, Church Lane, Barnstaple (Building)

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events: none recorded

Date Last Edited:Apr 30 2021 7:56AM