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HER Number:MDV95973
Name:The Golden Lion Tap, Barnstaple


Early to mid 17th century inn, remodelled and enlarged in early to mid 18th century and later. Interior retains 16th- to 18th century features.


Grid Reference:SS 559 330
Map Sheet:SS53SE
Admin AreaDevon
Civil ParishBarnstaple
DistrictNorth Devon
Ecclesiastical ParishBARNSTAPLE

Protected Status

Other References/Statuses

  • North Devon District Council Rescue Archaeology Unit Site Code: ND57
  • Old Listed Building Ref: 485824

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • INN (XVII to XXI - 1601 AD to 2012 AD)

Full description

Ordnance Survey, 1855-1895, Towns 1855-95 1:500 (Cartographic). SDV348147.

Golden Lion Tap marked.

North Devon District Council Rescue Archaeology Unit, 1991, North Devon Archaeological Site Code Index, Site Code ND57 (Report - non-specific). SDV63429.

Sandy subsoil observed in serivice trench during a watching brief in 1986.

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

The Golden Lion Tap Public House (Formerly Listed as: The Square (North side) Mugford's Spirit Vaults).
Inn, now public house and restaurant. Early/mid 17th century building remodelled and enlarged in early/mid 18th century and later; interior seems to include some imitation 17th century work. Solid rendered front with red brick gable set well back. Rear wall of front block is of painted stone rubble; front wall of back block is of painted brick with patches of stone rubble. Added rear range to right is of red brick. Front block now appears to have flat roof; back block has steeply-pitched slated roof at right-angles to The Square. Parallel to it on right is the tiled roof of the added range; in front of latter the room over carriage-entrance is similarly tiled. Red brick chimneys. PLAN: front block has central through-passage with a room at either side; small projecting stair turret at rear of right-hand room. Behind this is a small courtyard (now glazed over) with a one-room-deep back block behind. Linking the 2 blocks on the left side of the courtyard is a gallery in the Devon urban tradition, although it is wide enough to qualify as a small room. There seems to have been a second courtyard behind the back block. To right of the building is a covered former carriage entrance with arcaded openings at either side; at the rear this appears to run under the added brick range roofed at right-angles to The Square.
Exterior: 2 storeys, possibly with a 3rd storey over the back block. Front 4-window range with a 5th window to right, set back over the carriage entrance. Centre doorway with moulded architrave and flat moulded hood on shaped brackets; 3-panelled door, the large single panel at the bottom flush. At either side a flat-roofed canted bay window of 5 lights; plain wood-framed lower lights with 6-paned sashes (all with horns) in recessed box-frames; the larger left-hand window has 2-paned side-lights. Front finished with parapet having a plain coping, probably of concrete. Carriage-arch to right has plank door in a plain wood frame. Above it is a 3-light bow window with top entablature; sash windows with 6-panes in centre light, 2 panes in side lights. Gable of back block, clearly visible from opposite side of The Square, has tall round-arched window (now partly infilled) with BILLIARD inscribed in black and white lettering on the arch. Added rear range (visible from Diamond Street) has round-arched windows with what appear to be later mullioned and transomed wood casements.
Interior: rear of through-passage has mutilated early/mid 17th century wood door-frame; square head, ovolo and hollow mouldings, large urn stops. Inside it a 18th century round wooden arch with panelled spandrels. Room to right has old, plain ceiling beams, room to left has moulded plaster cornices round most of walls and ceiling beam. Right-hand upper-storey room has gable fireplace with 18th-/19th century moulded wood architrave; round-arched cast-iron basket grate. In rear wall, round-arched upper storey window with 4-paned sashes. Back block has at left-hand end of front wall one light of a 16th-/17th century wood-mullioned window with flat-splay mullions and wood glazing bar. Right-hand ground storey gable wall has fireplace with chamfered wood lintel. Carriage entrance to right has 3 large round arches with plain imposts to left (that in middle apparently a dummy backing on to back block); one to right, with the surviving impost of another. Room in added range above has large fireplace with wooden architrave, probably 18th century.

Southwest Archaeology, 2013, Greater Barnstaple Area Project Database, Mapping Area 48 (Un-published). SDV351581.

Sources / Further Reading

SDV348147Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 1855-1895. Towns 1855-95 1:500. Towns 1855-95 1:500. Digital. [Mapped feature: #109886 ]
SDV348729National Heritage List for England: English Heritage. 2012. National Heritage List for England. Website.
SDV351581Un-published: Southwest Archaeology. 2013. Greater Barnstaple Area Project Database. Greater Barnstaple Area Project. Digital. Mapping Area 48.
SDV63429Report - non-specific: North Devon District Council Rescue Archaeology Unit. 1991. North Devon Archaeological Site Code Index. North Devon District Council Report. A4 Stapled + Digital. Site Code ND57.

Associated Monuments: none recorded

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events: none recorded

Date Last Edited:Aug 9 2013 9:46AM