Description: Kings Nympton Park
Date Listed: 9 June 1952
English Heritage Building ID: 97300
OS Grid Reference: SS6728119549
OS Grid Coordinates: 267281, 119549
Latitude/Longitude: 50.9600, -3.8912
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KINGS NYMPTON KINGS NYMPTON PARK
3/124 Kings Nympton Park
Country house. 1746 - 50 by Francis Cartwright for James Buller, with minor C19
additions. Red brick east front in English bond with ashlar dressings, the other
elevations are local stone rubble with brick bands and moulded stringcourses, the
house was probably originally (or intended to be) stuccoed. Asbestos tile pyramid
hipped roof with a leaded finial and weathervane at the apex. The 2 symmetrically
situated rendered axial stacks have been rebuilt.
A Palladian villa based on Marble Hill (1728) in Twickenham.
Plan: double depth almost square plan. On the west entrance front there is the
large stairhall at the centre to the left of which is the servant's stair and to the
right a parlour. Behind the stairhall a larger hall facing the main east garden
front, with a library to the right and parlour to the left. The services and
kitchen were in the cellar end the principal rooms were probably on the first floor.
In circa mid C19 a portico was added to the main west entrance and in the late C19 a
small single storey wing was built on the north side probably as a cloakroom. In
the C20 the roof was repaired and modified by carrying it over tne blocking course
to an eaves gutter.
Exterior: 2 storeys, attic and basement, the first floor a piano nobile. The
principal east garden front 1:3:1 bays, the centre 3 bays broken forward with a
rusticated ashlar ground floor with giant Ionic engaged columns on the first and
second floors supporting an entablature with a pulvinated frieze and large pediment
containing the Buller arms (the pediment has been rebuilt). A deep ashlar frieze
below the first floor windows and a modillion eaves cornice, its blocking course
above removed when the roof was repaired. All the original sash windows with thick
glazing bars, 9 panes on the ground floor, 12 panes on the first floor and 6 panes
on the second floor; the first and second floor outer windows are in moulded stone
architraves, the first floor with pulvinated friezes and cornices. The 3 central
windows in the rusticated ground floor have very large key-stones and tne central
opening has the original glazed garden double doors.
The left-hand (south) and right-hand (north) elevations are similar to each other, 3
symmetrical bays of original sashes. The outer windows on the north side are blind,
the first floor has a brick frieze and moulded stone stringcourses and the window
openings have flat arches with projecting keystones. The right-hand (north)
elevation has a small late C19 single storey flat roof addition with a moulded
cornice and sash windows.
The west entrance front has a symmetrical 1:3:1 bay elevation, the centre 3 bays
advanced; all original sash windows with thick glazing bars; this elevation is built
of stone rubble with bands of red brick, the wide first floor band (frieze) has
stone stringcourses; the window openings have flat stone arches with keystones.
Central doorway in a rusticated stone Gibb's surround and probably C19 glazed double
doors. The large portico is probably also C19; it has Tuscan columns and piers
supporting an entablature which breaks forward at the centre with a pediment; the
sides of the portico have wrought iron lattice spandrels.
The basement area is covered but has light wells over each each window and steps
down to the side of the main entrance portico; there is a reused C16 window at the
bottom of the steps which has 2 4-centred arched ights.
Interior: was not inspected but it is apparently virtually unaltered. The entrance
hall has a fine stone cantilevered staircase with a wrought iron balustrade and a
modillion cornice. The hall has 2 pairs of Tuscan columns. The parlour to the
right-hand side of the entrance (south-west) has dado panelling and an original
moulded chimneypiece. The library is fitted out with original shelves. There is no
large first floor saloon but references are made in the building accounts to a cube
room whicn was not carried out. The suite of first floor rooms on the north side
are complete and have chimneypieces, the north-east room was Mr Buller's bedchamber.
The second floor bedchambers are also complete and have simple box cornices. What
is now the kitchen on the north-east corner of the ground floor was the
housekeeper's room next to the back stairs which has an original framed staircase;
but the cantilevered stone flight down to the cellar has a later wooden balustrade.
The cellars are intact and virtually unaltered; the brick groin vaults are on square
piers with stone imposts; incorporated into the cellars are 2 C16 moulded stone
doorframes, one with carved spandrels; the kitchen has a large fireplace, smoking
chamber and bread ovens, each with keyblocks to their segmental arches.
The former list refers to 'some nice contemporary fireplaces" and many other
interior features not described here are most likely to have survived intact.
Historical note: Kings Nympton Park was formerly known as New Place; it was the
seat of the Bullers who bought it from the Northcotes. The park was first enclosed
by Sir Lewis Pollard in the late C15, but the earlier house, situated nearby, no
longer exists except for a few fragments reused in the cellar of the present house.
Francis Cartwright, the architect, based his design on Roger Morris's Marble Hill
(circa 1728), the plan and form of whicn it closely resembles. A piece of lead
taken from the roof during repairs has an outline of a hand and intials and date CK
Sources: Colvin H., Biographical Dictionary of British Architects, 1600 - 1840,
page 201. Hoskins, W.G. Devon, page 240. Information on the interior provided by
Listing NGR: SS6728119549
Source: English Heritage
Listed building text is © Crown Copyright. Reproduced under licence.