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Bowringsleigh, West Alvington

Description: Bowringsleigh

Grade: I
Date Listed: 25 October 1951
English Heritage Building ID: 100876

OS Grid Reference: SX7176944422
OS Grid Coordinates: 271769, 44422
Latitude/Longitude: 50.2858, -3.8013

Location: West Alvington, Devon TQ7 3LL

Locality: West Alvington
Local Authority: South Hams District Council
County: Devon
Country: England
Postcode: TQ7 3LL

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Listing Text

WEST ALVINGTON
SX 74 SW
5/179 Bowringsleigh
25.10.51
GV I

Country house. C15 heavily remodelled with considerable internal refitting
throughout the C17 and with further alterations and additions of the later C19.
Originally the home of the Bowering family, later felling into the hands of the
Ilberts who undertook much restoration work on it in 1868 - 73 by the architect
Richard Coad. Walls mainly of rough coursed slatestone rubble. Gabled natural
slate roofs with decorative Victorian ridge tiles and stone coping. Numerous
stone rubble stacks, mostly with moulded caps.
Plan: complex plan and development which has evolved over many generations.
Entrance into screens passage with lofty hall to left which is probably on site of
medieval hall but was remodelled in early to mid C17 with fireplace on its rear
wall. Beyond is a room which has been a parlour at least from the late C17 or
early C18 when it was refitted. To its left is a cross wing which is probably a
heavy C19 remodelling of an earlier range (at least at the front) and extends to
the rear with the Victorian kitchen and service rooms. To the right of the
screens passage is a room also with a rear lateral fireplace beyond which is
another cross-passage which leads at the front to the tower with chapel on its
lowest storey. Undoubtedly this is of C15 origin but heavily restored and its
upper half rebuilt in the restoration. A fire is recorded in 1843 which
apparently destroyed the east wing of the house and this may account for the
pronounced Victorian character of the end rooms and the restoration of the tower.
Behind this row of rooms is an axial passage which has smaller narrower rooms to
the rear terminating in a large C19 billiard room at the east end. At the back of
the screens passage is a C17 staircase and there is a similar stairwell in the
angle with the kitchen wing. Between these two is a room immediately behind the
hall of uncertain date: it has early C16 windows but these may have been re-used
and the room added when the C17 alterations were effected. A rear service
courtyard is formed by various C19 buildings on the 2 sides opposite the house.
Exterior: 3 storeys. Asymmetrical 7 window crenellated front with gabled cross
wing at the left end and tall crenellated tower to the right which has a further
range beyond it. Stone mullion and transomed windows of 3, 4 and 6-lights, the
larger ones to hall and parlour are C17, the others probably restored in the C19.
Gabled 2 storey porch to right of centre with segmental arch-moulded doorway which
has hoodmould over. This and the roll-and-hollow moulded inner doorway are made
of volcanic stone. C17 panelled door inside porch. The tower has a 5-sided stair
turret on its west side lit by slits. The other windows are single or 2-light
stone mullions with cinquefoil heads, some of which retain the C15 tracery, but
others have been restored. Doorway behind the turret has a round voussoir arch.
On the east side of the tower is the 3-light chapel window which is a complete
restoration in Perpendicular style. To its right is another stair projection.
Beyond the tower is a Gig range with mullion and transom windows and bay on its
end wall. Behind it and the billiard room is a separate one-storey gabled range.
Between the two ranges is a section of wall incorporating a C17 granite arched
doorway and there is a similar doorway with a restored head behind the billiard
room. The tall rubble wall extends in a curve towards the east approximately 50
metres terminating in a C19 Jacobean style gazebo. At the rear the house is
arranged around a courtyard and the main range incorporates two early C16 stone
mullion windows with segmental heads. To the right is a stair projection with a
possibly C17 12-light mullion and transom window.
Further to the left are two C19 cinquefoiled stair lights. The wing projection to
the right ends in a C19 pyramidal roof kitchen block and has an outshut running in
front of it.
Interior good early - mid C17 screen between passage and hall, more decorative
on hall side with arcaded panels, strapwork and fluted Corinthian columns. Simple
plaster ceiling in hall may be slightly earlier and has single ribs in a
geometrical design with a central pendant. Early C17 granite lateral fireplace
has roll and hollow moulding which rises to a peak at the centre of the lintel.
In the higher end wall is a late C17 timber doorcase with bolection moulded
surround and surmounted by an open pediment with large armorial shield at centre.
The room beyond the hall has complete late C17 bolection moulded panelling with 2
pedimented doorcases similar to that in the hall. The plain marble fireplace is
considerably later. The good plaster ceiling, however, is contemporary with the
panelling and has an octagonal panel with the figure of Fame blowing her trumpet
in the centre, and surrounding this are various military devices in high relief
with foliage decoration around the outside. The room behind the hall has a late
C17 wooden chimneypiece with heavy cornice and projecting central panel. Behind
the screens passage is a C19 open well staircase with squared newels which have
plain caps, closed string and barleytwist balusters. A segmental headed granite
doorway leads from the passage into the room off its right which has a granite
fireplace similar to that in the hall. All the joinery in this room and the room
beyond is late C19 of a good quality in Cl7 style. The chapel incorporates a C15
rood screen from the ruined South Huish church (q.v.). The C19 kitchen at the
back of the house has an open timber roof, 3 fireplaces made of dressed stone and
a large built-in dresser. The landing at the top of the stairs has a C17 plaster
cornice. The bedroom at the top of the stairs has a bolection moulded dado and
wooden chimneypiece. In one wall is a good circa early C18 shell headed cupboard.
The room to its right is fitted with C17 panelling, partly renewed in one corner
and has a contemporary granite fireplace with wooden overmantel above. There are
numerous late C17 bolection moulded 2-panel doors upstairs and further along one
bedroom has bolection moulded panelling and another has probably slightly later
fielded panelling. Opposite these two rooms is a late Cl7 staircase similar to
the other and the two bedrooms are reached from it by tall doorways with segmental
pediments over. The roof structure to the house is entirely late C19.
This is a house which maintained its importance until the late C19 and this is
reflected in the quality of its features throughout; it was not much altered in
the C20.

Sources White's Directory of Devon 1878.


Listing NGR: SX7176344424

This text is a legacy record and has not been updated since the building was originally listed. Details of the building may have changed in the intervening time. You should not rely on this listing as an accurate description of the building.

Source: English Heritage

Listed building text is © Crown Copyright. Reproduced under licence.