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St John's Vicarage

A Grade II Listed Building in Bovey Tracey, Devon

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Latitude: 50.5876 / 50°35'15"N

Longitude: -3.6773 / 3°40'38"W

OS Eastings: 281359

OS Northings: 77776

OS Grid: SX813777

Mapcode National: GBR QM.H8YK

Mapcode Global: FRA 375J.55V

Entry Name: St John's Vicarage

Listing Date: 5 August 2014

Grade: II

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1420763

Location: Bovey Tracey, Teignbridge, Devon, TQ13

County: Devon

District: Teignbridge

Civil Parish: Bovey Tracey

Built-Up Area: Bovey Tracey

Traditional County: Devon

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Devon

Church of England Parish: Bovey Tracey St John with Heathfield

Church of England Diocese: Exeter

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Bovey Tracey


St John's Vicarage, built circa 1851, its design based on plans by Charles Fowler.


Vicarage, built circa 1851 for the Reverend Charles Leslie Courtenay, its design based on plans by Charles Fowler.

MATERIALS: the house is built of squared rubble-stone, with granite dressings, and corbels to the eaves. The pitched roofs are of slate, with painted wooden bargeboards; the staged ashlar stacks have slate capping. The majority of the windows retain their original sash and casement frames, though there have been some replacements. The granite sills have runnels to throw off water.

PLAN: the building stands on a west/east axis, and has a broadly rectangular, though irregular, footprint, composed of a number of separately-roofed ranges. Two parallel ranges run west/east, with a flat-roofed section in between; a third range runs west/east to the west, and a central range runs west/east through the centre, projecting to the north. Most of the original single-storey service wing which extended northwards from the main house has been demolished, and there are now late-C20 garages in this area.

EXTERIOR: the house is built over two storeys. The west-facing, entrance elevation has a projecting, gabled, stone porch, within which is set a timber door with three panels below and glazing above, lit by a window to the north. To the left of this, a gabled single bay, in which the windows have been replaced. Left again, the central range is set back; in the corner, facing west, is a subsidiary door, giving access to the kitchen, with six panels, and a twisted iron knocker. To the right of the porch, a taller block, forming the south-west corner of the house, which on this elevation has a broad external stack, with offsets, separating two narrow windows. On the south-facing, garden front, this block has an opening incorporating glazed doors with a window to the left, under a broad relieving arch. Above this, a window. At the centre of this elevation, a canted bay window under a slated hood, with a window in a gable above. To the right, a double-height canted bay window, apparently a later addition. The east elevation has an external stack rising to the centre of the gable, with a narrow window to either side at ground-floor level. To the right of this, the northern range, with the ridge running from west to east, is set back; in the corner, opening to the north, a door with chamfered panels below and glazed above. To the right, the north projection of the central block, with a single window to each storey on the east elevation. The north face of this block has a central external stack. Attached to the lower part of this block, and extending northwards, the C20 garages.

INTERIOR: the porch opens into a lobby, with a window to left and a bench set into a niche to right, with a second pointed-arched door, having chamfered panels below and glazing above, leading into the house. The square hall has an alcove to the left. Ahead, the stair hall, with the dog-leg stair rising from the east, lit by a glazed panel in the flat roof; the balustrade has straight balusters and chamfered newel posts with pyramidal finals, and matching pendentives. A second section rises eastwards from the half-pace landing. Opening from the hall, large room, probably originally the dining room, lit by the panelled French doors, which has a stone chimneypiece with a Tudor-arched opening, and complex moulded brackets to the mantelshelf; there are encaustic tiles to the hearth. To the east, two arched recesses, one containing a door leading to the drawing room. In the drawing room, lit by the bay window, a smaller chimneypiece with a moulded, segmental-arched opening, and an original grate. The eastern section of the house, accessed through an opening at the east end of the stairs hall, forms a discrete area with a lobby entered through the eastern or back door, allowing the vicar to receive visitors separately from the family house. In the south-west corner of the house, the study, reached through a pointed doorway, with a timber chimneypiece in C18 style, with bolection-moulded surround and concave frieze; this room has a small recessed bookcase. To the north, a lavatory. In the northern part of the central range, the kitchen, accessed from the external door in the north-west corner, as well as internally, and by a back stair leading to the eastern landing. The kitchen has a firesurround of moulded brick

On the first floor, at the east end, a private chapel with scissorbeam roof has a small window facing east. The space is otherwise unadorned. Overlooking the garden in the south-east corner, with the canted bay window, a bedroom, which has a small cast-iron chimneypiece; beside it is a dressing room. The bedroom in the centre of the south elevation also has a cast-iron chimneypiece. The bedroom in the south-west corner, with windows on two aspects, has a stone chimneypiece with chamfered jambs and its original grate. A door to the north of the western landing gives access to the back stair, with the former maids' rooms to either side. Throughout, the house retains its original joinery, including chamfered doorframes, and doors with chamfered panels.

SUBSIDIARY FEATURES: the rubble wall with granite capping to the west, separating the house from the road, contains a pointed opening with a boarded timber gate. A lower section of wall, to the north, has gate piers banded with brick and granite, having pyramidal tops; these may have been added at the time St John's Cottages were built. The wall is similar to that enclosing the churchyard opposite.


In 1849 the Reverend Charles Leslie Courtenay was appointed vicar of the Church of Saints Peter, Paul, and Thomas, at Bovey Tracey. Courtney decided to build a new church, dedicated to St John the Evangelist, to serve as a chapel of ease to the parish church, and a piece of land on an area to the south of Bovey Tracey was obtained. The church, now listed at Grade II*, was built to the designs of R C Carpenter in 1851-3. The existing vicarage was found to be considerably dilapidated, and a new vicarage, standing immediately to the east of the new church, was built at about the same time. Plans were commissioned in 1850 from the architect Charles Fowler (1792-1867) who had a long connection with the Courtenay family; he made extensive alterations to Powderham Castle for Wiliam Courtenay, tenth Earl of Devon, in 1837-48. The house as built differs considerably from the plans he submitted in 1850. Fowler retired from practice in 1853, and it may be that the plans were altered, and the erection of the building overseen, by Carpenter or another architect; stylistic similarities between the house and the church hall, attached to the north side of the church, suggest that Carpenter may have been responsible.

The house originally had a single-storey service range to the north range; this was demolished at some time after 1939. The map evidence suggests that by 1905 an addition had been made to the house, filling in the south-east corner of the house; this apparently indicates the addition of a canted bay. There are now garages against the north side of the house, thought to have been erected in the late C20.

To the north of the vicarage is a row of cottages, known as St John's Cottages (Grade II), which are thought to post-date the church and vicarage by a few years, apparently built to accommodate the schoolmistress, organist, and choirmaster.

Reasons for Listing

St John's Vicarage, built circa 1851, its design based on plans by Charles Fowler, is listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons:

* Architectural: as a well-planned vicarage built in a restrained Gothic manner, associated with two distinguished architects, Charles Fowler and R C Carpenter;
* Historical: for its relationship with the Church of St John the Evangelist, designed by Carpenter for the Reverend C L Courtney of the influential local Courtney family;
* Intactness: the house has lost its single-storey range, but is otherwise remarkably complete, and the integrity of the design, with consistent external detailing, and the retention of original features, remains apparent;
* Interior: the historic vicarage plan is legible, including a private chapel, and a discrete area for the vicar to work and consult; the interior retains good-quality features including fireplaces and joinery;
* Group value: the vicarage is part of a historical group which includes the Grade II* listed church, St John's Cottages, and St Mary's, a former country house, also listed.

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