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:MDV64425
Name:Chapel of Ease, Fenacre Farm


Disused private chapel, subsequently converted to cider house. Circa 15th century; altered circa late 18th century; extended 19th century. A good example of a small private chapel of ease.


Grid Reference:ST 069 178
Map Sheet:ST01NE
Admin AreaDevon
Civil ParishBurlescombe
DistrictMid Devon
Ecclesiastical ParishBURLESCOMBE

Protected Status: none recorded

Other References/Statuses

  • Old DCC SMR Ref: ST01NE/23/4
  • Old Listed Building Ref (II): 488427

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • CHAPEL OF EASE (Early Medieval to XIX - 1066 AD to 1900 AD (Between))

Full description

Child, P., 2002, Fenacre Farm, Burlescombe (Un-published). SDV55053.

Visited 11th January 2002. A small stone building interpreted as a medieval chapel. The original 7 metre x 4 metre structure is of partly squared and coursed limestone rubble. The north door has a chamfered segmental arched head with a limestone relieving arch over the doorway. The east end appears originally to have contained a large east window with internally splayed jambs. There are two small 'keeping holes' or 'putlogs' on the interior north wall and one in the west wall. High up on the inside of the west wall is a blocked or reused 4-light stone mullioned window. The roof is a shallow pitched 18th- or early 19th century structure with a thin layer of thatch under the corrugated iron. The building was converted to a cider house at a later date and still contains the remains of the large press. Map object based on this Source.

Ordnance Survey, 2011, MasterMap (Cartographic). SDV346129.

Map object based on this Source.

English Heritage, 2011, National Heritage List for England (National Heritage List for England). SDV347072.

Disused private chapel; now outbuilding. Circa 15th century; altered circa late 18th century; extended 19th century. Stone rubble. Corrugated-iron roof with gabled ends.
Plan: Small single-cell chapel, aligned east-west; doorway towards west end of north side. Roof replaced circa late 18th century, probably when a floor was inserted and external stairs constructed to loft doorway on north side. Outshut built at east end in 19th century.
Exterior: 2 storeys [originally single storey]. North side has doorway on right with chamfered sandstone rounded arch and jambs and arched timber doorframe inside; external stone stairs to left of doorway to loft door. West end has blocked window in gable; south side, window at centre with relieving arch over; large round arch east window now enclosed within 19th century outshut with double-Roman tile roof. Interior: Walls have remains of plaster. Small square niches in north and south walls. The stone frame of the large east window is missing and the cill lowered. 3-bay roof with two lapped and pegged collar-trusses, halved, crossed and pegged at apex, common-rafters, thatching battens and remains of thatch. Inserted floor replaced 20th century.
Note: Fenacre was occupied by the Lamprey family in the 12th century, before it was granted to Canonsleigh Abbey in 1177. The former chapel at Fenacre is a good example of a small private chapel of ease.

Steinmetzer, M., 2015, Historic Building Appraisal at Fenacre, Farm, Burlescombe (Report - Assessment). SDV360057.

Oakford Archaeology were commissioned by Property Plans Southwest Ltd in August 2015 to undertake an archaeological buildings appraisal at the site of Fenacre Farm, Burlescombe, Devon (ST 0696 1784). The archive and documentary research indicates that the site has been in continuous occupation probably since the late 11th century and that the farmhouse was probably laid out in the late-17th century.

The chapel is a small, originally single storey building situated along the southern edge of the
courtyard in front of the main house. Constructed of coursed stone rubble the building is aligned approximately WSW-ENE.

The chapel is entered through a door to the west of the north elevation with chamfered segmental sandstone arch and jambs and a depressed relieving arch over. This would originally have opened onto a small single cell interior. To the left of the doorway is the remains of a later stone stair and doorway providing access to the first floor. This was probably inserted in the 18th or 19th century when the first floor structure was inserted. Light is provided by a single small square-headed window in the south elevation. Closer inspection of the elevation suggests that this window is a later insertion within an earlier opening with a depressed segmental relieving arch over. The east elevation contains a large central opening with a depressed relieving arch. The masonry at the base of the wall has been removed, probably in the 19th century, to provide access between the outshut and the chapel. The lower remains of a further blocked window are visible in the west elevation although the western gable has been partly rebuilt and there is therefore no evidence for a relieving arch.

No evidence of the original window tracery for the windows was found, either in the chapel or any of the other buildings, and very little dateable evidence survives within the building. Although depressed arches are generally assumed to be late medieval or even post-medieval in character, these forms can also occur in the 13th and 14th centuries both in church and vernacular architecture (Parker et al. 2016). It is suggested that these depressed arches, rather than reflecting the form of the openings below, might just as easily have served as relieving arches over groups of two or more lancets or over larger plate or early bar tracery openings just as easily as over square-headed late-medieval lights (Richard Parker pers. comm.). The use of red sandstone rather than Beer stone over the arch of the doorway and the absence of drip-stones might indicate a 13th- or 14th-century rather than a late-medieval date (Richard Parker pers. comm.).

Originally a small chapel, by the 18th century the building was functioning as an agricultural outbuilding. By the 19th century it had been converted into a cider house; the remains of the cider press are still visible on the ground- and first-floor. The ground-floor was accessed through a doorway with red stone dressing forming a segmental arch, but behind this the door was hung an internal arched timber doorframe, located in the west side of the north elevation. This may well be to original door frame. This lead to a large single room lit by a small window in the south wall. This would originally have been a larger window, before being partly blocked in the 18th or 19th century. The large opening in the east wall, originally the location of the east window, had been widened at the base to form a doorway opening upon the 19th-century outshut. A small niche, originally for a holy water stoup, is located to the right of the entrance. A number of putlog holes are visible in both the north and western
elevations, while traces of plaster survive on parts of the internal walls. No areas of original flooring were identified during the visit and it must be assumed that the cobbled floor now visible is of 18th- or 19th-century date. (See report for full details of the chapel).

Sources / Further Reading

SDV346129Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 2011. MasterMap. Ordnance Survey. Map (Digital).
SDV347072National Heritage List for England: English Heritage. 2011. National Heritage List for England. Website.
SDV360057Report - Assessment: Steinmetzer, M.. 2015. Historic Building Appraisal at Fenacre, Farm, Burlescombe. Oakford Archaeology. 15-10. Digital.
SDV55053Un-published: Child, P.. 2002. Fenacre Farm, Burlescombe. File Note. A4 Stapled.

Associated Monuments

MDV15691Part of: Fenacre (Monument)

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events

  • EDV7213 - Historic Building Appraisal at Fenacre Farm, Burlescombe (Ref: 15-10)

Date Last Edited:Feb 14 2017 2:24PM