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HER Number:MDV8313
Name:Almshouses, Cross Street, Moretonhampstead

Summary

Late medieval block of eight almshouses remodelled in 1637. They were restored in 1938 and are now converted into two cottages. They were given to the National Trust in 1952.

Location

Grid Reference:SX 755 860
Map Sheet:SX78NE
Admin AreaDartmoor National Park
Civil ParishMoretonhampstead
DistrictTeignbridge
Ecclesiastical ParishMORETONHAMPSTEAD

Protected Status

Other References/Statuses

  • Old DCC SMR Ref: SX78NE/31
  • Old Listed Building Ref (I): 85057

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • ALMSHOUSE (Built, Late Medieval - 1401 AD to 1539 AD (Between))

Full description

Crossing, W., 1892, Old Stone Crosses of the Dartmoor Border, 124 (Monograph). SDV279564.

Arcade with ten small arches, five on each side of the entrance. These are supported by granite pillars resting on a low wall. Over the entrance is a slab inscribed 'AN - DO 1637'.


British Archaeological Association, 1952, Bulletin of the British Archaeological Association, 1 (Report - non-specific). SDV296551.


Department of Environment, 1952, Newton Abbot RD, 82 (List of Blds of Arch or Historic Interest). SDV304573.

Built 1637, of two storeys. The ground floor has arcade of small granite columns on parapet wall. Built of large granite blocks. Thatched roof and original granite chimneys. Blocked arch at first floor level to west may have given access to a balcony.


Pevsner, N., 1952, The Buildings of England: South Devon, 208 (Monograph). SDV336217.

Two storeyed. The ground floor opened into a loggia of eleven bays of which the middle one is the entrance. Crudely turned columns quite primeval looking on first floor. Low, wide windows above 2nd, 6th and 10th bays.


Hughes, G. W. G., 1954, Moretonhampstead, 82 (Article in Serial). SDV314001.


National Trust, 1973, Properties of the National Trust, 62 (Monograph). SDV296555.


Department of Environment, 1987, Moretonhampstead, 84-85 (List of Blds of Arch or Historic Interest). SDV337636.


Sinclair, E., 2005, 17th Century Oak Screen. 1, The Almshouses, Moretonhampstead, Devon (Report - Survey). SDV352390.

Site visit 30th August 2005, at the request of the National Trust, in order to ascertain if any early decoration survives on the 17th century oak plank and muntin screen in the living room. The screen was revealed behind horizontal pine cladding and has for many years been covered in layers in limewash and wallpaper. The bottom half of the planks are now missing presumably having rotted away on the damp earth floor. Horizontal pine cladding, overlaid with wallpaper, fills in the missing sections.
Close inspection and analysis revealed extensive traces of black paint, applied in several coats, which appears to belong to the earliest decoration. The paint proved to be lamp black with an organic binder, probably glue. A 17th century screen in a private house near Cullompton was also painted with black paint, although here traces of a more elaborate decoration over the black were also found. Suggested that at 1 Almshouses the layers of limewash and paper be removed from the screen


Ordnance Survey, 2013, MasterMap (Cartographic). SDV350786.

Almshouses marked.


English Heritage, 2013, National Heritage List for England (National Heritage List for England). SDV350785.

Almshouses. Block of 8 almshouses, now converted into 2 cottages. Late medieval, remodelled 1637; restored 1938. Granite ashlar front; left side-wall of granite rubble, right side-wall of coursed and squared granite rubble. Rendered rear wall, described by tenant of No 2 in 1991 as cob; upper part largely rebuilt in C20 brick. The tenant says ashlar at front is merely a facing-up of cob. Thatched roof with gabled ends; brought down to lower eaves level at front. Chimney stacks at gable ends and central axial stack, all with granite ashlar shafts and chamfered cornices, and with rendered tapered caps. The central axial stack has pair of shafts linked by the cornices. Plan: 2 pairs of mirror-image, 1-room plans in each storey; fireplaces in side-walls for the outer almshouses and in centre stack for the inner ones. Access to lower storey by an open gallery at front. Upper storey has an enclosed gallery at front (now annexed as store-rooms for the cottages) with doorway in the left side-wall; no evidence remains of the staircase up to it. The structure behind the front galleries seems to be the remains of a medieval cob building, possibly the hospital reputed to have been established in the town in 1451; the roof structure suggests it had low partitions like a Devon farmhouse, although the inserted axial stack has destroyed the conclusive evidence for this. Garrets were inserted in the C18 or C19. Exterior: 2 storeys. The ground floor is an arcaded loggia of 11 bays, the centre bay a moulded 3-centred arch entrance with cavetto and rounded-moulding, indeterminate stops and chamfered on the inside; hook-hinges for former double-doors. The other arcade arches are segmental and have low relief carved armorial devices in the spandrels and the arches have a continuous roll moulding carried over the abaci of the capitals of the squat tapered monolithic granite columns with astragals and square moulded bases. The arcade stands on a continuous ashlar pedestal with a cavetto moulded cornice and chamfered plinth moulding. The pedestal and voussoirs of the arcade arches are large granite blocks. Over the arcade arches a continuous straight hoodmould terminating in square label stops with single 4-petalled flower carving. Above the central entrance arch is the datestone AN = DO 1637 On the first floor 3 symmetrically and widely-spaced small 3-light cavetto moulded granite mullion windows with later iron-frame leaded casements. Inside the loggia 2 symmetrical pairs of doorways left and right, flanked by a window, the inner doorway of each pair has been blocked to form a window. Wooden lintels, the windows chamfered, the doorways ovolo-moulded, all with hollow stops with grooved bar. The doorways have ovolo and fillet moulded frames with carpenter's mitres and rather worn stops like shield shapes. The windows are C20 2-light casements with leaded panes. The ceiling of the loggia is plastered between chamfered cross beams with hollow step stops which rest on a chamfered wall plate. Right side-wall has a 2-light cavetto-moulded granite window in upper storey; similar to those in front wall, but with a chamfer rather than a fillet framing the moulding. In left side-wall the upper storey doorway has chamfered granite 3-centred arch frame and section of dripstone above and to the left of it; possibly it related to a former staircase. To left is a C20 window with unusual splays matching those in-the right side-wall, although the staircase would probably have blocked it. There are no other openings on either end. The rear has various C20 2- and 3-light casements with glazing bars, but because this wall is rendered it is uncertain which are original openings. Interior now has a 4-roomed cottage at either side of the axial stack; straight-flight inserted staircase against the centre wooden partition of each cottage. The partitions take the form of a stud-and-panel screen on each floor; studs chamfered and having step-stops with grooved bar. At No 2 the screen is visible only on the upper floor. A curiosity of the upper-floor partitions is that they rise to a height of only about 1.80m, with no evidence that they originally continued to the ceiling. There are no old ceiling-beams at this level, nor signs of partitioning in the roof. On the ground floor each room has a cross beam with ovolo and fillet moulding with hollow step stops with double bars, and similar half beam, some of them mutilated. Fireplaces have monolithic granite jambs with either a cavetto moulding or a flat chamfer; wood lintels with ovolo and fillet moulding with grooved bar hollow step stops. The widest fireplaces are in the left ground storey side-wall of each cottage; that at No 2 is particularly wide with the left-hand end separated off by a chamfered granite monolith. The right-hand ground-storey fireplace at No 1 has been mutilated, and that in the right-hand upper-storey room at No 2 is now plastered over. 2 of the doorways leading out of the upper- storey gallery have ovolo-moulded wooden lintels with hollow step stops with grooved bar. The roof trusses are smoke-blackened jointed crucks, each with 2 face-pegs and a slip-tenon; 2 tiers of threaded purlins and ridge; straight halved collars with dovetail joints. The size of the wall-post section of the cruck varies considerably from truss to truss. A large number of common rafters survive. The gable details are not clear, probably because both gable-walls were rebuilt in C17. The almshouses are believed to have been built near a medieval hospital of 1451 and may well be a remodelling of the building itself. Unfortunately their history is largely undocumented. They were acquired by the National Trust in 1952. They are famous especially for the remarkable arcaded loggia. In spite of C20 alterations the interior features are also largely complete.


Laithwaite, M., 28/05/1991, Moretonhampstead Almshouses (Un-published). SDV296558.

Block of 8 almshouses, now converted into 2 cottages. Late medieval remodelled 1637; restored 1938. Granite ashlar front; left side way of granite rubble, right side wall of coursed and squared granite rubble. Rendered rear wall, described by tenant of No.2 in 1991 as cob; upper part largely rebuilt in 20th century brick. The plan consists of two pairs of mirror-image, 1 room plans in each storey; fireplaces in side walls for the outer almshouses and in centre stack for the inner one. Access to lower storey by an open gallery at front; upper storey has an enclosed gallery at front (now annexed as store rooms for the cottages) with doorway in the left side wall; no evidence remains of the staircase up to it. The structure behind the galleries seems to be the remains of a medieval cob building, possibly the hospital reputed to have been established in the town in 1451; the roof structure suggests it had low partitions like some Devon farmhouses although the inserted axial stack has destroyed the conclusive evidence for this. Even the 1637 work is not uniform, with fireplace widths varying considerably. Garrets were inserted in the 18th or 19th century with access through a newel staircase in one of the upper almshouses; these have now reverted to a disused roof space. The roof trusses are smoke-blackened jointed crucks, each with two face pegs and slip tenon; two tiers of threaded purlins and ridge; straight halved collars with dovetail joints. The size of the wall post section of the cruck varies considerably from truss to truss. A large number of common rafters survive. The gable details are not clear, probably because both gable walls were rebuilt in the 17th century. The history of the almshouses has been largely undocumented. They were acquired by the National Trust in 1952. In spite of the 20th century alterations the interior features are also largely complete. See notes for further details.


National Trust, July 1984, Moretonhampstead Almshouses (Report - Survey). SDV296556.

After the National Trust acquired the building a thatched roof, new eaves and water pipes were aded. The door lintels and those of the flanking windows were renewed. The rear of the building was much altered.


Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division, Unknown, SX78NE9 (Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card). SDV296550.

Site visit 12th March 1953. This old poor house has an arcade with ten small arches, five on each side of the entrance. These are supported by granite pillars resting upon a low wall. Over the entrances is a stone inscribed AN = DO 1637.
Site visit 1st May 1963. The almshouses which are still in use as such have a thatched roof with new eaves and water pipes. It is curious that in an otherwise granite constructed building the lintels of the door and the flanking windows should be of oak. The rear has been much reconstructed and the air of antiquity is much lost.
Site visit 19th November 1981. Almshouses, dated 1637, as described.

Sources / Further Reading

SDV279564Monograph: Crossing, W.. 1892. Old Stone Crosses of the Dartmoor Border. Old stone crosses of the Dartmoor border. Unknown. 124.
SDV296550Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card: Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division. Unknown. SX78NE9. Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card. Card Index.
SDV296551Report - non-specific: British Archaeological Association. 1952. Bulletin of the British Archaeological Association. British Archaeological Association. 49. Unknown. 1.
SDV296555Monograph: National Trust. 1973. Properties of the National Trust. Properties of the National Trust. Unknown. 62.
SDV296556Report - Survey: National Trust. July 1984. Moretonhampstead Almshouses. National Trust Archaeological Survey Report. A4 Stapled + Digital.
SDV296558Un-published: Laithwaite, M.. 28/05/1991. Moretonhampstead Almshouses. A4 Stapled.
SDV304573List of Blds of Arch or Historic Interest: Department of Environment. 1952. Newton Abbot RD. Historic Houses Register. A4 Single Sheet. 82.
SDV314001Article in Serial: Hughes, G. W. G.. 1954. Moretonhampstead. Transactions of the Devonshire Association. 86. Unknown. 82.
SDV336217Monograph: Pevsner, N.. 1952. The Buildings of England: South Devon. The Buildings of England: South Devon. Paperback Volume. 208.
SDV337636List of Blds of Arch or Historic Interest: Department of Environment. 1987. Moretonhampstead. Historic Houses Register. A4 Spiral Bound. 84-85.
SDV350785National Heritage List for England: English Heritage. 2013. National Heritage List for England. Historic Houses Register. Digital.
SDV350786Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 2013. MasterMap. Ordnance Survey Digital Mapping. Digital. [Mapped feature: #108355 ]
SDV352390Report - Survey: Sinclair, E.. 2005. 17th Century Oak Screen. 1, The Almshouses, Moretonhampstead, Devon. A4 Stapled.

Associated Monuments

MDV80160Related to: 44-50 Cross Street, Moretonhampstead (Building)

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events: none recorded


Date Last Edited:Oct 24 2014 4:16PM