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Lee Abbey, with Walls and Gateway

A Grade II Listed Building in Lynton and Lynmouth, Devon

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Coordinates

Latitude: 51.2279 / 51°13'40"N

Longitude: -3.8661 / 3°51'57"W

OS Eastings: 269798

OS Northings: 149283

OS Grid: SS697492

Mapcode National: GBR L0.2SGZ

Mapcode Global: VH4M8.YD0L

Entry Name: Lee Abbey, with Walls and Gateway

Listing Date: 3 September 1973

Last Amended: 9 June 1995

Grade: II

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1201135

English Heritage Legacy ID: 376473

Location: Lynton and Lynmouth, North Devon, Devon, EX35

County: Devon

District: North Devon

Civil Parish: Lynton and Lynmouth

Traditional County: Devon

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Devon

Church of England Parish: Lynton St Mary the Virgin

Church of England Diocese: Exeter

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Listing Text


LYNTON AND LYNMOUTH

SS64NE LEE ABBEY
858-1/1/64 Lee Abbey, with walls and gateway
03/09/73
(Formerly Listed as:
LYNTON
Lee Abbey)

GV II

House, now residential centre for Christian community. Mid
C19, with additions c1920, and entrance tower 1968. Rendered,
some exposed rubble in walls and gatehouse, tile roofs.
PLAN: a complex of buildings; the first unit of the 1850s laid
out around 3 sides of a large courtyard, with an entrance
porch to the N, and a prominent octagonal music room to the
SW. In the 1920s a new range including dining room extended S,
and in 1968 a new 4-storey entrance tower (in exposed textured
concrete) added to the S of this range, by Scarlett, Burkett
Associates. The first plan had a large open-well staircase
immediately to the E of the N porch, and there is a second
principal staircase adjacent to the music room. The entrance
tower links, right, to a very high retaining or boundary wall
running to the S, which has at its outer end, immediately
adjacent to the road, a square gatehouse, also of the 1850
construction period.
EXTERIOR: ranges are mainly 3-storey, with basement to the
earliest part. Windows are generally 2- or 3-light casements
with transoms, many of them late C20 replacements; to the
second floor they are usually contained in small face gables.
The entrance (S) front has the octagonal room to the left,
with crenellated parapet, and a lower square porch with
matching parapet to a wide 4-centred arch. Set back, to the
right, is a 3-storey range of the original building, the top
windows under face gables, and the bays divided by pilasters;
the ground floor steps forward, with a flat roof and
crenellated parapet.
Returning to the right is a 7-bay range in similar detail,
with dividing and corner buttresses and a central 2-storey
porch to crenellated parapet, all of the 1920s, but but
copying detail from the earlier range. The return gable
includes a 2-storey canted bay, and attached right is the 1968
tower with a further entrance under projecting concrete
canopy.
The W front, facing down to the bay, has a major 3-storey
'hall' range with steep gabled roof to central and end chimney
stacks with octagonal shafts, and a slightly lower range
connecting to the music room, which has a pinnacled buttress
to each of the external angles, and has 3 tall 3-light windows
with flat 4-centred heads to the lights, and with a transom
band in tracery incorporating shields; facing W is a blind
panel, backing the fireplace, and to the left are 2 smaller
windows with similar 'tracery' in the ground floor, with a
4-centred doorway to the left, between paired buttresses and
under a hood.
The N front has a gabled 2-storey porch to the right, with
plank doors in a pointed arch, the original main entry to the
first building, which backs against the high gable of the
'hall' range, facing W. To its left is a 5-bay range,
including a lofty 2-light staircase window with transom.
The courtyard has been partly filled by later building, and is
mainly enclosed across the E side by later C19 additions; at
the junction between E and S sides is a 4-storey square tower,
clearly seen in early views, but nearly concealed by later
constructions.
INTERIOR: the areas of principal interest are the music room
with adjacent staircase and loggia, and the principal
staircase in the N range. The music room has a ceiling with 8
timber ribs with multiple cusping and pierced spandrels and a
central castellated suspended boss, and there are 4 shields
probably concealing ventilators. The ribs are carried on
clustered Batty Langley-type colonnettes with capitals, and
bases continued as a skirting. The W wall has a large stone
fireplace with 4-centred opening and spandrels with fine
carved leaf decoration, and paired diagonal pilasters to a
floret frieze. The E side has a lofty glazed panel with 2
doors, matching the detail of the windows. Adjacent is a
straight-flight staircase with square newels and splat
balusters to a plain string, through a 4-centred arch with
panelled intrados on corbels; the upper floor flights are in
an open octagon.
From the N side of the music room a Gothick doorway leads to a
long gallery in 3 bays, possibly an open-fronted loggia in the
original plan, with 3 open arches on steps to the right,
opposite the windows. The gallery has a compartmental ceiling
with cusped diagonal ribs and drops, and tiled floor, the
tiles possibly reused medieval ones. The inner room has a
fireplace with 4-centred opening. Beyond is a square salon
with a 9-compartment ceiling with moulded ribs, and a fine
decorative wood fire surround to a rich scrolled frieze on
paired columns.
In the N range is a fine large square open-well staircase with
quarter-landings, and a wrought-iron balustrade with Gothick
detail to a swept handrail. The first and second floors have
Batty Langley slender iron columns, with a 4-compartment
ceiling to moulded ribs. Treads are in stone, with scrolled
intrados. In the top floor of this wing, adjacent to the
staircase, is a simple chapel with collar roof in 6 bays.
Many original doors in 6-panels with moulded architraves
remain throughout the building. In the basement is a series of
segmental barrel vaults on thick walls, with a central cross
passage.
SUBSIDIARY FEATURES: the square gatehouse is in 3 storeys,
with corner buttresses, a string course and plain coping. The
entry arch is in moulded brick to a wide pointed arch, above
which is a 3-light casement with diamond panes in cast-iron;
to the right is a boundary wall, containing a 3-light
casement, and extending approx 30m. The N archway is similar
to the outer one, under a 2-light casement, and the W-facing
wall includes a blocked archway. Connecting this gatehouse to
the late C20 tower is a very lofty rubble wall, with square
buttresses, in 4 panels approx 5m high and 4-and-a-half approx
7m high.
HISTORICAL NOTE: the site was originally owned by the
Cistercians at Forde Abbey, but passed to Nicholas Wichehalse,
a merchant from Barnstaple, in 1559. There was a farmhouse
here, repaired in 1628. The property belonged to a John Short
in 1713, and John Knight in 1730. In 1841 it was purchased by
the Bailey family, who remained in residence until 1921 when
it became a hotel, at which time the main extensions were
built. During the Second World War it became a boys' school,
and in 1945 was acquired by the Christian Fellowship, who
continue to run the property. The additions of 1968 received a
Civic Trust award.


Listing NGR: SS6979849283

This text is from the original listing, and may not necessarily reflect the current setting of the building.

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