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HER Number:MDV853
Name:Castle House, Barnstaple


Site of Castle House and gardens that formerly stood to the north of Barnstaple Castle.


Grid Reference:SS 555 333
Map Sheet:SS53SE
Admin AreaDevon
Civil ParishBarnstaple
DistrictNorth Devon
Ecclesiastical ParishBARNSTAPLE

Protected Status

Other References/Statuses

  • Old DCC SMR Ref: SS53SE/56
  • Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division: SS53SE14 + 20

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • MANSION HOUSE (Early Medieval to XXI - 1066 AD to 2009 AD (Between))

Full description

Wood, J., 1843, Plan of the Town of Barnstaple from Actual Survey (Cartographic). SDV91852.

Castle House with substantial building attached to north side is shown on a town plan of 1843 within the bailey of Barnstaple Castle.

Ordnance Survey, 1855-1895, First Edition 1:500 Town Map (Cartographic). SDV338879.

Castle house marked on 1855-1895 1:500 town map to the north of Barnstaple Castle and set within wooded gardens. A large irregular but broadly rectangular building with an attached range of buildings off the western end of the north elevation. There is another range opposite flanking an entrance. To the south-east of the house is a large greenhouse.

Unknown, 1917, Proceedings at the Fifty-Sixth Annual Meeting, 18 (Article in Serial). SDV78799.

Some of the ancient masonry encased within the walls of the present mansion formed part of the castle gatehouse.

Oliver, B. W., 1928, The Castle of Barnstaple, 215-223 (Article in Serial). SDV73002.

The present Castle House has many features of an early 17th century mansion, mainly the roof and chimneys. Walls closely corresponding with the keep could be traced, probably the remains of the castle chapel.

Timms, S. C., 1979, Castle House (Personal Comment). SDV78801.

Although excavations were undertaken by Barnstaple Excavation Committee against the walls of this building prior to demolition, there is no known record of the building itself. The County Council dropped plans to build a library on the site after meeting opposition from the Department of Environment, Royal Fine Arts Commission and others in 1979. The site of the demolished building has not been included within the scheduled area of Barnstaple Castle although the Department of Environment indicated in 1979 that this would be done.

Exeter Archaeology, 2003, Barnstaple Castle Car Park Scheme: Phase 1: Archaeological Assessment, 4, 5, 16 (Report - Assessment). SDV319631.

The buildings footings were breaking the surface of the ornamental garden in 2003. 'Castle House' is referred to in leases from 1684 and may originally have been the site of the C15 chapel of St Sabinus. When the house was extended in 1790, a skeleton was excavated under the building. C19 sales notices mention various garden features, stables and a coach house. Other details: Fig 11.

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

The site of Castle House is included within the scheduled area for Barnstaple Castle. A mansion, known as Castle House, was built on the area of the bailey in the 19th century and the surrounding area, including the motte, was landscaped and planted with trees. A spiral path up the mound was also created in this period. The mansion was demolished in 1976. See list entry for full details of the scheduling.

Unknown, 24/04/1976, Unknown (Article in Serial). SDV78796.

Some of the ancient masonry of Barnstaple Castle is encased within the walls of the present mansion, in the course of demolition in 1976. Originally a part of the gatehouse, it was built in the 19th Century by the Hiern family. Turreted and castellated, it housed the offices of the old Barnstaple Borough Council. It was much vandalised prior to demolition.

Ordnance Survey, Unknown, SS53SE14 + 20 (Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card). SDV78798.

Site visit 21st August 1953. Thick walls and Tudor type chimneys have been incorporated into the modern building, now council offices.
Site visit 7th April 1976. Typical brick construction. Victorian. No evidence of earlier features.

Sources / Further Reading

SDV319631Report - Assessment: Exeter Archaeology. 2003. Barnstaple Castle Car Park Scheme: Phase 1: Archaeological Assessment. Exeter Archaeology Report. 03.62. A4 Stapled + Digital. 4, 5, 16.
SDV338879Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 1855-1895. First Edition 1:500 Town Map. First Edition 1:500 Town Map. Map (Digital). [Mapped feature: #108629 ]
SDV348729National Heritage List for England: English Heritage. 2012. National Heritage List for England. Website.
SDV73002Article in Serial: Oliver, B. W.. 1928. The Castle of Barnstaple. Transactions of the Devonshire Association. 60. A5 Hardback. 215-223.
SDV78796Article in Serial: Unknown. 24/04/1976. Unknown. Express & Echo. Newspaper/Magazine Cuttin.
SDV78798Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card: Ordnance Survey. Unknown. SS53SE14 + 20. Card Index.
SDV78799Article in Serial: Unknown. 1917. Proceedings at the Fifty-Sixth Annual Meeting. Transactions of the Devonshire Association. 49. A5 Hardback. 18.
SDV78801Personal Comment: Timms, S. C.. 1979. Castle House. Not Applicable.
SDV91852Cartographic: Wood, J.. 1843. Plan of the Town of Barnstaple from Actual Survey. Unknown.

Associated Monuments

MDV14592Related to: Barnstaple Castle (Monument)
MDV14594Related to: Barnstaple Castle Inner Bailey (Monument)
MDV70642Related to: Prehistoric flints from Castle Green, Barnstaple (Monument)
MDV14597Related to: Saxon Cemetery at Barnstaple Castle (Monument)
MDV14596Related to: Well in Barnstaple Castle (Monument)

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events

  • EDV1378 - Barnstaple Castle Car Park Scheme Archaeological Assessment

Date Last Edited:Sep 20 2013 1:41PM