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HER Number:MDV858
Name:Golden Lion, Boutport Street, Barnstaple


Former town house of 3rd Earl of Bath, dating to 1620. Later a hotel and bank, now building society offices. Retains three fine original ceilings, including one that is probably the best piece of urban plasterwork of its period in Devon and has few rivals even in the country houses.


Grid Reference:SS 558 330
Map Sheet:SS53SE
Admin AreaDevon
Civil ParishBarnstaple
DistrictNorth Devon
Ecclesiastical ParishBARNSTAPLE

Protected Status

Other References/Statuses

  • Old DCC SMR Ref: SS53SE/52
  • Old Listed Building Ref (II*): 485502
  • Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division: SS53SE52

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • INN (XVI to XXI - 1501 AD to 2009 AD (Between))

Full description

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

Lion Hotel shown on town plan of 1843.

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

Golden Lion Hotel marked on 1855-1895 1:500 town map.

Amery, P. F. S., 1900-1901, A Tour across Dartmoor into North Devon by the Rev. John Swete 1789, 171 (Article in Serial). SDV18670.

Revd Swete states that there is a Golden Lion Inn in Barnstaple.

Oliver, B. W., 1917, The early Seventeenth-Century Plaster Ceilings of Barnstaple, 193-5, pl. 9, 13, 14 (Article in Serial). SDV342394.

The Golden Lion Hotel, Boutport Street. On the ground floor is a ceiling with an elaborate design carried out in single rib. The Arms of the town occur, and flying horses enrich the plain surface, together with the usual sprays. (Pl.9).

On the first floor is an enriched rib ceiling of 1620. Wild exuberance of design, which is built up with raidating ribs, forming kite-shaped panels, four of each to the complete unit, which is linked to the next by circular panels, the apces left between being enriched with strapwork forming octagonal or circular frames to biblical subjects - The Temptation, Abraham sacrifying Isaac, the Annunciation, and the Adoration. Rose sprays occupy the radiating panels, the fan-shaped ones having a bird added. In the circles are birds of heraldic character, and the remaining spaces are occupied by various animals. Of coved type, and in the centre the radiating ribs curve downward at their centre, from hich spring three important pendants of skeleton form, composed of iron clothed with plaster. Two small plaster figures in the two end pendants give the date "July 9th" and "1620", (Pl. 13).

A third enriched rib ceiling is in a bedroom, less ornate.

Roberts, J., 1970, The Armada Lord Leiutenant, 82 (Article in Serial). SDV349389.

This inn was formerly the town house of the 3rd Earl of Bath, William Bourchier, in the 16th century.

Department of Environment, 1973, Barnstaple, 10 (List of Blds of Arch or Historic Interest). SDV89941.

Bone, M., 1973, Barnstaple's Industrial Archaeology, 25 (Monograph). SDV78228.

The perfectly proportioned building next to the Royal Fortescue Inn was formerly the Golden Lion, a coaching inn.

Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings, 1996, 62 Boutport Street, Barnstaple (Correspondence). SDV351290.

No objections in principle to conversion of building to Restaurant/Bar. Several points for consideration in the interests of the building's future care and conservation detailed.

North Devon District Council, 1996, Listed Building Application Proposed Conversion of Former Building Society Offices to form Restaurant/Bar (Correspondence). SDV351289.

Child, P., 1996, Proposed Restaurant/Bar, 62 Boutport Street, Barnstaple (Correspondence). SDV351288.

62 Boutport Street contains decorative plaster work which is of primary importance in this Devon tradition. A benefit of the scheme would be that it would enable this plasterwork to be seen by more members of the public than when the building was previously used as a building society offices.

Ordnance Survey, 2012, MasterMap (Cartographic). SDV348725.

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

62 Boutport Street (Formerly Listed as Boutport Street (east side) no 62 National Westminster Bank).
Formerly known as: 61a Boutport Street. House, later hotel, now building society offices. 1620, re-fronted in early 19th century. Rendered front. Hipped, slated roof, red-brick chimney on right-hand side wall. L-shaped plan, 2 rooms wide at the front with 2 large rooms in rear wing to right. Axial chimney between the 2 wing rooms. 4 storeys. 3-window range, the outer windows of 3 lights and set in shallow bows. Ground storey divided into 3 bays, the narrow central entrance-bay flanked by unfluted Doric columns with matching pilaster at each end, these supporting an entablature which breaks forward round the bow windows and entrance. Raised band above each upper storey; moulded eaves cornice. The windows, including those in the ground storey, have barred sashes, all of them 20th century replacements.
Interior: has been considerably altered, but retain 3 fine original ceilings, including one that is probably the best piece of urban plasterwork of its period in Devon and has few rivals even in the country houses. The ceilings were originally in first-floor rooms, until the floors were removed to convert the building into a bank in the 1930s. The best ceiling is at the front end of the wing: barrel-vaulted with broad enriched ribs, the panel filled with birds, animal and biblical scenes. Open-work pendants containing human figures, one inscribed `July 9th' and another `1620'. Coat of arms on end wall belonging to the Company of Merchants trading with Spain, presumably because one of the merchants lived in the house. Original timber frame carrying the ceiling survives. Rear room in wing has another broad rib ceiling, this time with more conventional detail in the panels. It is 3-sided, built under the collars of the roof trusses with the principal rafters showing. Principals decorated with large human figures, these standing on brackets resembling hammer beams. In the front wall of this room (at ground-floor level) is an original stone fireplace with rectangular moulded surround. Right-hand front room (now the office foyer) has a single rib ceiling decorated with winged horses. This was treated as original by Bruce Oliver in 1917, although it seems to contain some much more recent work, possibly by GP Bankart.
Historical Note: before its conversion to a bank, the building was used as the Golden Lion Hotel. According to Bruce Oliver, who converted the building in the 1930s, there was no evidence of original colour on the ceilings, except that the lions' tongues were picked out in red. A fireplace from the house was removed to Fardell Manor, Cornwood. Date listed: 19th January 1951. Date of most recent amendment: 29th September 1999.

Southwest Archaeology, 2013, Greater Barnstaple Area Project Database, BHBS Mapping Area 662 (Un-published). SDV351581.

Friends of Archaeology ND, Unknown, Historic Barnstaple (Leaflet). SDV356772.

Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division, Unknown, SS53SE52 (Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card). SDV349390.

Number 62, Boutport Street, formally the Golden Lion Hotel, four storey building, incorporating 17th century feature.

Sources / Further Reading

SDV18670Article in Serial: Amery, P. F. S.. 1900-1901. A Tour across Dartmoor into North Devon by the Rev. John Swete 1789. Devon and Cornwall Notes and Queries. 1. Unknown. 171.
SDV338879Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 1855-1895. First Edition 1:500 Town Map. First Edition 1:500 Town Map. Map (Digital).
SDV342394Article in Serial: Oliver, B. W.. 1917. The early Seventeenth-Century Plaster Ceilings of Barnstaple. Transactions of the Devonshire Association. 49. A5 Hardback. 193-5, pl. 9, 13, 14.
SDV348725Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 2012. MasterMap. Ordnance Survey. Map (Digital). [Mapped feature: #108682 ]
SDV348729National Heritage List for England: English Heritage. 2012. National Heritage List for England. Website.
SDV349389Article in Serial: Roberts, J.. 1970. The Armada Lord Leiutenant. Transactions of the Devonshire Association. 102. A5 Hardback. 82.
SDV349390Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card: Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division. Unknown. SS53SE52. Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card. Card Index.
SDV351288Correspondence: Child, P.. 1996. Proposed Restaurant/Bar, 62 Boutport Street, Barnstaple. Letter. Digital.
SDV351289Correspondence: North Devon District Council. 1996. Listed Building Application Proposed Conversion of Former Building Society Offices to form Restaurant/Bar. Digital.
SDV351290Correspondence: Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings. 1996. 62 Boutport Street, Barnstaple. Letter. Digital.
SDV351581Un-published: Southwest Archaeology. 2013. Greater Barnstaple Area Project Database. Greater Barnstaple Area Project. Digital. BHBS Mapping Area 662.
SDV356772Leaflet: Friends of Archaeology ND. Unknown. Historic Barnstaple. Leaflet + Digital.
SDV78228Monograph: Bone, M.. 1973. Barnstaple's Industrial Archaeology. Barnstaple's Industrial Archaeology. A5 Paperback. 25.
SDV89941List of Blds of Arch or Historic Interest: Department of Environment. 1973. Barnstaple. Historic Houses Register. A4 Comb Bound. 10.
SDV91852Cartographic: Wood, J.. 1843. Plan of the Town of Barnstaple from Actual Survey. Unknown.

Associated Monuments: none recorded

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events: none recorded

Date Last Edited:Feb 1 2018 3:19PM