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HER Number:MDV72984
Name:Mamhead Cottage formerly The Cottage and Maraylya


18th century cottage known as The Cottage, Maraylya and Mamhead Cottage in Mamhead Big Wood


Grid Reference:SX 933 819
Map Sheet:SX98SW
Admin AreaDevon
Civil ParishKenton
Ecclesiastical ParishKENTON

Protected Status

Other References/Statuses

  • Old Listed Building Ref (II)

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • COTTAGE NON SPECIFIC (XVIII to XXI - 1701 AD to 2009 AD (Between))

Full description

Ordnance Survey, 1880-1899, First Edition Ordnance 25 inch map (Cartographic). SDV336179.

'The Cottage' shown on 19th century map as a rectangular building with a central extension on the south side with an irregular shaped enclosure to the east.

Ordnance Survey, 1963, SX98SW (Cartographic). SDV337358.

Shown as 'Maraylya' on 1963 map in Mamhead Big Wood

English Heritage, 1988, Kenton (List of Blds of Arch or Historic Interest). SDV337361.

Mamhead Cottage, shown as Maraylea on the Ordnance Survey map. Garden house to Oxton House (q.v.), designed in 1792 by the Reverend John Swete who rebuilt Oxton House, 1781-1782. Swete used the building as a rustic retreat and displayed his watercolours in it (Gentlemans Magazine 1793, pages 592-593). Altered and extended in the 1970s, repair in progress at time of survey (1987). Whitewashed rendered stone rubble, outshuts said to be cob ; slate peaked roof to main block (formerly thatched); one stack with a modern brick shaft. Idiosyncratic Picturesque style, reflecting Swete's personal enthusiasm for Picturesque landscapes and buildings which prompted his 'Picturesque Sketches of Devon'. Plan: The original arrangement is still discernible, although wrapped round on 2 sides by 1970s additions. It was a 2-storey 1 room plan cottage, commanding spectacular views, with an external stair on the west side, rising between 2 outshuts. The first floor room has large windows on all sides except the west. The external stair, originally with a thatched pentice roof on an open arcade and narrow open gallery on the west side, has been glazed in and the thatch replaced with slate. There was a door on the north side, now converted to a window. A small single-storey wing on the south side is not shown in the original watercolours but has a Gothick window very similar to those in the main block. Single storey additions, one partly enclosing the wing on the south side, one on the east side. Exterior: 2 storeys with single-storey additions. The main 2-storey block has diagonal buttresses at each corner and canted oriel windows on the north, south and east sides, with the remains of diamond leaded panes and ornamental glazing in the Gothick heads of the lights. The north side has a timber arched doorway with moulded shafts to the jambs, converted to a window. The gabled wing on the south side also has a pretty Gothick window. Interior: The gallery on the west side has a coved plaster ceiling with plaster vaulting. The first floor room preserves the original coved plaster ceiling and original polished Babbacombe limestone chimney-piece with mouldings in white Italian marble and a Babbacombe limestone hearthstone. The windows retain some coloured glass, some 20th century replacement, some fragments of very pretty painted 18th or early 19th century glass including naturalistic painted flowers, and some pieces of figures. The account of the building to the Gentleman's Magazine describes Swete's inscription over the door "Sibi et fuis amicis IS 1792 Hic licet incertibus horis ducere follicitae jucunda oblivia vitae". Swete illustrates the building in his 'Picturesque sketches of Devon'. The Gentleman's Magazine (1793), p. 592-593. Swete, J., 'Picturesque sketches of Devon' (1792-1801). Vol. 11, MS held in Devon Record Office. Other details: LBS No 85874.

Sources / Further Reading

SDV336179Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 1880-1899. First Edition Ordnance 25 inch map. First Edition Ordnance Survey 25 inch Map. Map (Digital).
SDV337358Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 1963. SX98SW. Ordnance Survey 6 inch map. Map (Paper).
SDV337361List of Blds of Arch or Historic Interest: English Heritage. 1988. Kenton. Historic Houses Register. A4 Comb Bound.

Associated Monuments

MDV10051Related to: Oxton House (Building)
MDV54845Related to: Oxton House Park and Garden (Park/Garden)

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events: none recorded

Date Last Edited:Oct 5 2009 9:14AM