HeritageGateway - Home
Site Map
Text size: A A A
You are here: Home > > > > Devon & Dartmoor HER Result
Devon & Dartmoor HERPrintable version | About Devon & Dartmoor HER | Visit Devon & Dartmoor HER online...

See important guidance on the use of this record.

If you have any comments or new information about this record, please email us.

HER Number:MDV63006
Name:The Ship Inn, Morwellham Quay


The Ship Inn, probably of 16th century origins with a number of additions and alterations during the following centuries. The dining room at the rear of the building is now a museum.


Grid Reference:SX 446 697
Map Sheet:SX46NW
Admin AreaDevon
Civil ParishGulworthy
DistrictWest Devon
Ecclesiastical ParishTAVISTOCK

Protected Status

Other References/Statuses

  • Old DCC SMR Ref: SX46NW/585
  • Old Listed Building Ref (II): 507910

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • INN (XVI to XIX - 1501 AD to 1900 AD (Between))

Full description

Ordnance Survey, 1904 - 1906, Second Edition Ordnance Survey 25 inch Map (Cartographic). SDV325644.

Map object based on this Source.

Gaskell-Brown, C., 1977, Morwellham: An Archaeological Survey, 33-35 (Report - Survey). SDV344219.

Two storeyed building of random rubble, now rendered and painted. The building formerly exteded circa 30 feet further east, and the partially demolished walls of the eastern end contain a fireplace. Roof timbers and the basic structure of the building point to 16th century date, with gable stacks and sash windows inserted in the late 18th century. The present portch and bay windows date to the mid 19th century. The date at which the building was first used as an inn is not known. Other details: Photograph 2.53.

Cherry, B. + Pevsner, N., 1989, The Buildings of England: Devon, 580 (Monograph). SDV325629.

Dyer, M. J. + Manning, P. T., 1998, Objective 5B: Lower Tamar Valley Recreation and Land Management Iinitiative: Cultural Heritage Appraisal, 40 (Report - non-specific). SDV319814.

Nineteenth century Ship Inn at Morwellham Quay.

Gaskell Brown, C., 2003, The Ship Inn, Morwellham, Devon (Correspondence). SDV352238.

Gaskell Brown now considers the inn to be older than suggested in her report of 1977. The building has a fine vernacular roof structure probably dating to the last quarter of the 15th century, stud and plank partitions on the first floor, and a complete door and window, including window glass, ceiling mouldings and back block of the 17th century. There is also much relating to its later use as an inn from the 18th century onwards.
Gaskell Brown comments that the focus at Morwellham Quay has been on the 18th and 19th centuries. It was, however, the port for the Abbey of Tavistock. The inn, a long building, may originally have been a first floor hall with storage for goods beneath. A building is recorded on this site as being the 'house on the quay' in 1240.

Waterhouse, R., 2005, The Ship Inn, Morwellham: An Archaeological Survey (Report - Survey). SDV344220.

In the 19th century the building was known as the Ship Inn, though it has at various times been a quaymaster's house, a private residence, a farmhouse and separate cottages.The front range of the present building appears to date from the early 16th century, consisting of a long 12 bay structure with an open hall for at least 8 bays from the west end, and an open hearth on the floor in the fourth bay with a smoke louver in the ridge above. In the later 16th to early 17th century the hall appears to have been divided and at least partly floored over, and a chimney stack inserted against the west wall. In the later 17th century a narrow two-storey wing was added to the rear of the building, towards the west end, possibly for a staircase at the south end with storerooms to the north. In 1714 the Gill family became tenants of Morwellham Quay, and early 18th century changes include the re-positioning of the front door (to its present location) to enter a small lobby and the insertion of a good qualily staircase at the rear of this. Also at this time a single storey lean-to appears to have been added to the north of the building, towards the east end. This was incorporated into a remodelling of the rear part of the building in the late 18th to mid 19th century, culminating in the construction in circa 1857 of a large rectangular two-storeyed building to accommodate a new dining room. The porch was also added and flanking bay windows inserted during the 1850s. The inn appears to have remained a public house until at least the 1930s, doubling as a farmhouse for part of that period. The eastern end of the front range was demolished in the 1920s, but parts of the south and east wall survive, up to 2.3 metres high in places, while the rear wall of the early 18th century lean-to survives almost to its full height. At this time the remaining buildings appear to have been divided into three dwellings, one of which, Higman's Cottage, was occupied until 1990. The Ship Inn re-opened as a public house in 1972, and a restaurant was added on the acquisition of Higman's Cottage in 1990. The19th century dining room has been used as a museum since the early 1970s. Other details: Plans, photographs.

Passmore, A. J., 2009, Archaeological Recording at Morwellham Quay 2008-9, 6 (Report - Survey). SDV344217.

The Port Museum is housed on the first floor of the former Ship Inn Dining Room, constructed in 1857. The ground floor houses visitor toilets. The museum is entered via a door on the north elevation, in which there are also three 6-pane sash window openings. On the north elevation a record was made of the opening prior to repairs, and it was observed that the door has been inserted into a former window opening, with the sill reused as a lintel. On the west elevation removal of the render exposed an opening that on investigation was demonstrated to be blind rather than a blocked window. Internally, the building has two first-floor fireplaces, although these are presently blocked up. The chimney stacks above the roof are constructed of frogged red bricks and are probably replacements. During the repairs the southern stack was raised to match the height of the eastern stack. Internally, removal of the modern false ceiling exposed laths from an earlier, possibly original, ceiling. Other details: Figure 12; Plate 6.

Department for Culture, Media and Sport, 2010, Gulworthy (List of Blds of Arch or Historic Interest). SDV344547.

Public House, originally a house or lodgings. First half of 16th century, extended in the 17th and 18th centuries with further mid-19th century additions and alterations; considerably remodelled as an inn in the 19th century and also in the 20th century. It occupies a sloping site and is a multi-phase building with an acretional plan. Originally a 16th century open hall house aligned west-east, of which the eastern four or five bays have largely been demolished. Subsequently ceiled in. there is a 17th century cross wing to rear, possibly incorporating a former stair, and a second rear wing of 18th century date. A catslide extension alongside the crosswing continues north to link with a mid-19th century single storey block (former dining room) with semi-basement built into the slope. The ruined walls of the demolished eastern end of the front range survive as boundary walls and provide evidence for the original extent of the building. See list description for full details.

Ordnance Survey, 2010, MasterMap (Cartographic). SDV344030.

Map object based on this Source.

Sources / Further Reading

SDV319814Report - non-specific: Dyer, M. J. + Manning, P. T.. 1998. Objective 5B: Lower Tamar Valley Recreation and Land Management Iinitiative: Cultural Heritage Appraisal. Exeter Archaeology Report. 98.60. A4 Stapled + Digital. 40.
SDV325629Monograph: Cherry, B. + Pevsner, N.. 1989. The Buildings of England: Devon. The Buildings of England: Devon. Hardback Volume. 580.
SDV325644Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 1904 - 1906. Second Edition Ordnance Survey 25 inch Map. Second Edition Ordnance Survey 25 inch Map. Map (Digital).
SDV344030Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 2010. MasterMap. Ordnance Survey. Map (Digital).
SDV344217Report - Survey: Passmore, A. J.. 2009. Archaeological Recording at Morwellham Quay 2008-9. Exeter Archaeology Report. 09.100. Digital. 6.
SDV344219Report - Survey: Gaskell-Brown, C.. 1977. Morwellham: An Archaeological Survey. A4 Stapled + Digital. 33-35.
SDV344220Report - Survey: Waterhouse, R.. 2005. The Ship Inn, Morwellham: An Archaeological Survey. A4 Stapled + Digital.
SDV344547List of Blds of Arch or Historic Interest: Department for Culture, Media and Sport. 2010. Gulworthy. Amendment to List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interes. A4 Stapled.
SDV352238Correspondence: Gaskell Brown, C.. 2003. The Ship Inn, Morwellham, Devon. Letters to/from P. Child. Digital.

Associated Monuments

MDV5435Related to: Morwellham Quay (Building)
MDV7160Related to: Morwellham Quay (Monument)

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events

  • EDV4589 - Archaeological Recording at Morwellham Quay 2008-9
  • EDV4590 - Archaeological Recording at Morwellham Quay 2008-9
  • EDV4591 - Archaeological Survey of The Ship Inn, Morwellham

Date Last Edited:Feb 26 2020 12:01PM