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Description: Venton House
Venton Manor and Venton House Including Garden Boundary Adjoining South
Date Listed: 9 February 1961
English Heritage Building ID: 101086
OS Grid Reference: SX7506460515
OS Grid Coordinates: 275064, 60515
Latitude/Longitude: 50.4312, -3.7604
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SX76SE Venton Manor and
1/171 Venton House including
garden boundary adjoining
South Venton Manor
(formerly listed as
Remains of courtyard mansion. Remains of circa late C15 hall; early C16 and late
C16/early C17 lodging ranges; remains of circa early C16 gatehouse; early-mid C19
partly rebuilt and extended. Local limestone rubble with some granite, red sandstone and Beerstone windows and doorframes. Steeply-pitched Welsh slate roof with gabled ends, left end half-hipped, right end higher roof; roof over early-mid C19 extension to north west is hipped.
PLAN: Ranges on four sides of courtyard. Long south range facing north onto courtyard is lodging range, the early C16 part of ten rooms on two floors and later C16 part to west contained twelve rooms on three floors; extended to west circa 1840s. The hall range was located on the west side of the courtyard, an end hall, its fireplace remaining in situ on north side of lodgings range, but hall and lower end to north reconstructed as farm building in about early C19. On north side of courtyard remains of gatehouse at centre with carriageway through, the outer arch reset, the inner arch relocated in south lodgings range. The east range reconstructed in C19 as a barn.
EXTERIOR: 2 storeys. The north front elevation of lodgings range facing the
courtyard is asymmetrical. To left and chamber above have moulded 2-light windows
with 3-centred heads to the lights, the ground floor window a volcanic stone with a label, the chamber above red sandstone. Window to the right is 2-light with ovolo moulded frame with a label, and the chamber above has a late C17 or early C18 3-light wooden casement with leaded panes and a timber lintel. To the left a large reset carriage entrance with a double chamfered granite 3-centre arch with chamfered and stopped jambs and projecting impost; a small single-light sandstone window to left and a large stone window frame above partly blocked and a late C17 to early C18 3-light wooden casement inserted with glazing bars and stanchion bars. The south elevation of lodgings range is a long asymmetrical 8-window range plus 1-window to left of the mid C19 cross wing. Various C20 casements set in old openings. First floor right a reset roll-moulded sandstone 2-light window with 3-centred arch lights. The ground floor window of room to right has a moulded single light window. An ovolo moulded stone 2-light window to centre of the ground floor is now a doorway and the mullion and cill have been removed. Various irregularly arranged C20 windows in the left-hand lower end. The mid C19 addition at the lower left end projects and has a low hipped roof and 12-pane sashes. The projecting lateral stack has set offs and a truncated corbelled shaft to the left. The axial stack to right is granite ashlar with a
moulded cap and weathering.
The courtyard has a long single storey range on the right west side, former hall range and lower service end rebuilt as cart-sheds and stables now partly blocked between round stone rubble piers. The north front range of the courtyard is also
single storeyed and has a carriageway through with moulded granite jambs and segmental arch on the outside. At the east left end enclosing the east left side of the courtyard a large barn which is not attached at the opposite south end to the main range of the house; it has been converted into living accommodation but retains its external stone stairs to the first floor on the courtyard side and has various C20 windows on its outer north gable end a 4-light moulded granite window with a king mullion and 4-centred arch lights with iron stanchion and saddle bars. The outer east side has C20 windows and doorways inserted into old openings including wide barn doorways; the first floor doorway to the left has a moulded timber lintel which is probably a reused door jamb with a sort of vase-shape stop. The eaves have a chamfered timber wall plate. The 1840s extension at the north west end of the main range is rendered and has a low pitched hipped slate roof, irregular elevations with sash windows with glazing bars and on the north side a window with the date 1845 scratched on a pane.
INTERIOR: Large ground floor room in south range [formed from two rooms] has a
granite rear lateral fireplace with a double roll moulding and Tudor arch; the ceiling is plastered and there are remains of a newel stair on the right of the front wall. The wall between this room and the east room is solid masonry and rises to the apex of the roof. The east room has a chamfered joists and an axial fireplace with moulded granite jambs and a chamfered large slate lintel. The fireplace in the chamber above has chamfered granite jambs and a later unchamfered slate lintel, and a reused moulded granite corbel above the fireplace. Large former hall fireplace on the front wall of the right end in rebuilt hall range has a moulded Tudor double roll and hollow arch, one jamb missing, the lintel has recessed spandrels and a row of 6 shields in a frieze of quatrefoils. The west end extension of lodgings range has a fireplace with chamfered granite jambs, a cambered slate arch and a stone oven. The roof at this end and ceiling beams have been entirely replaced. Some C18 or early C19 panelled doors and early-mid C19 fireplace survive on the first floor of the main range and mid C19 staircase to attic.
ROOF: the roof over east end of lodgings range has a principal rafters with short
cranked feet, threaded purlins (and possibly a threaded ridge) and morticed collars. The roof over remainder of lodgings range has straight principal rafters the feet of which may originally have been similarly cranked, but if so have been cut off; these principals also have threaded purlins but the collars are lapped and pegged. Including garden walls adjoining the south and south east; circa C17, possibly with earlier fabric, local limestone rubble walls forming boundaries to irregular-shaped gardens to the south and south east of
Venton Manor, attached to the house at the south east corner.
Venton was the seat of the Ventons or Fentons from at least 1242 until 1392, when it passed to the Gibbes, who held it until 1570, when it passed to the Woottons, who sold it to the Glanvilles circa early C17. The Gibbes were notorious local insurgents, who maintained a small private army from about 1501 to 1549.
It has been subdivided into 2 properties, Venton Manor occupies most of the main range and the courtyard ranges, while Venton House occupies the lower west end of the main range and the 1840s extension.
SOURCES:  Alcock, N. 1976, 'Dartington Houses, Dartington rural Archive.  Lord Hunsdon, 1925 'A History of Gibbes of Fenton' [privately published, copy in
Westcountry Studies Library, Exeter].  Waterhouse, R.E. [forthcoming 2003]
Keystone Barton, Sherford; proceedings of the Devon Archaeological Society.
A most interesting example of a late Medieval courtyard house with lodging ranges for accommodating retainers.
Listing NGR: SX7506460515
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.