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Description: Kerswell Priory Including Walls of Walled Garden
Date Listed: 27 January 1989
English Heritage Building ID: 87082
OS Grid Reference: ST0742506429
OS Grid Coordinates: 307425, 106429
Latitude/Longitude: 50.8500, -3.3164
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ST 00 NE
2/79 Kerswell Priory including walls of
House on the site of a Cluniac Priory, founded in the 1120s and dissolved in 1538.
Although the house "may occupy the site of the north, west and east ranges of the
Priory ... recent stripping of the render from the farmhouse buildings suggests
little or no medieval masonry" (Allan and Griffiths, Sites and Monuments Register,
County Ball). With the exception of a re-sited C12 doorframe, surviving features in
the house indicate a circa late C16 core with C17 and C18 alterations. Rendered,
probably cob and stone; slate roof, hipped at ends of west block, end stacks to west
block, 2 axial stacks to main range.
Plan: Overall U plan, a single-depth range 4 rooms wide on a west/east axis with
south wings at right angles. Complex evolution. The centre range contains an
unheated room to the east, then 2 C17 parlours (the easternmost re-used as a
kitchen). The west room has been re-roofed on a north/south axis, probably as part
of a phase of C18 improvements. The adjacent room in the south west wing appears to
have a pre C18 core but these 2 rooms functioned as the principal entrance block in
the C18 with a passage between them and an C18 stair rising from the passage. The
south east wing is unheated and used for storage. There is a seperate building to
the south (q.v. seperate list description) identified as the frater of the cluniac
complex (Allan and Griffiths, Exeter Archaeology 1984/5). This retained a medieval
roof structure until 1984, although the walls have been largely rebuilt in the C19 or
Exterior: 2 storeys. Nearly asymmetrical 3 window west front with regular
fenestration and a deep hipped roof. Step up to a wide C18 6-panel front door with
fielded panels, the top panels glazed, panelled reveals. Flat-roofed porch on timber
posts. Probably C18 timber 16-pane sash windows except for first floor left and
right which are 20-pane. The left return (north elevation) has 2 C20 windows at the
left end and an C18 or C19 timber sash at the right. In the centre 2 first floor and
2 ground floor late C17 or C18 mullioned windows glazed with square leaded panes.
The south elevation has a single storey lean-to between the wings, one first floor 2-
light mullioned window to ground floor right, now looking into the lean-to. Other
windows are mostly C20 with loft doors into the south end of each wing.
Interior: Resited C12 doorframe from the outshut into the south east wing, stone with
a segmental arched head, zig-zag moulding on the lintel and engaged shafts. Wide 2-
panel door from the lean-to into the right hand heated room. This has a ceiling of
intersecting beams and an open fireplace with a roll-moulded lintel and a bread oven.
The adjoining room to the west has a circa mid/late C17 decorated plaster ceiling
with intersecting moulded beams and rather unusual radiating patterns. The stack
appears to have been rebuilt (altered cornice), C18 cupboard on the south wall. The
2 rooms in the west block have C18 chimney-pieces and panelled shutters. Recent
renovations suggest that the south-west room may be an C18 adaptation of an existing
structure rather than an C18 addition. Attractive C18 stair rises from the passage
between the 2 west rooms: this has an open string, flat-topped handrail and turned
balusters. The south-east wing retains chamfered ceiling beams and a section of
plank and muntin screen. There are numerous C18 6- and 2-panel doors on the ground
and first floor and an early C18 bolection-moulded fireplace on th first floor.
Roof: The remains of a late C16 decorated plaster scheme survives on the east face of
the west axial stack. The 'A' frame roof trusses are probably C17. The roofspace is
floored and was probably used for servants' accommodation.' Walls to the garden to
the north and east are made of probably C18 hand made brick and are included in the
An important house, not only for its C17 and C18 features but for the archaeological
interest of the site.
Listing NGR: ST0742506429
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.