Bradstone Manor, Bradstone, Devon
Site: The site of an ancient defended manor house comprising a very fine group of historic buildings with the gatehouse listed Grade I, the house Grade II*, and three of the other buildings Grade II. The house is essentially the product of a 16th century rebuild of the original with major 17th century improvements. Subsequent modernisations were largely superficial. The impressive gatehouse probably dates from the early 17th century whilst the stable incorporates medieval masonry.
Summary of Project: Documentary research, appraisal of the listed buildings and assessment of the development of the buildings for a new owner. This was followed by a watching brief during modernisation and repair works in the house.
Objective: To inform a programme of repair and modernisation.
Holcombe Court, Holcombe Rogus, Devon
Site: The largest and finest Tudor mansion in Devon. Between 1069 and 1858, Holcombe Rogus was home for 27 generations of the Bluett family. The house has a courtyard plan with the southern front range containing the earliest fabric – a c.1500 open hall house with a magnificent tower-like front porch. The east range dates from the first half of the 16th century (1521–39 according to dendrochronological analysis) providing a heated parlour and master chamber above at the upper end of the hall and a second heated chamber in the east range proper. It is distinguished by the use of Hamstone dressings. The stairblock already existed in the angle of these two wings but it was mostly rebuilt c.1560 when Roger Bluett transformed the front range by building a Long Gallery at second floor level over the hall and chamber and creating a Great Chamber over the service end. This modernisation includes the earliest ornamental plasterwork in Devon and carpentry detail unknown elsewhere outside contemporary royal residences. The Great Chamber was refurbished again in 1591 and the rooms in the front porch were modernised around the same time. There were subsequent 17th and 18th century modernisations but their evidence is limited due to the wholesale modernisation of the place by the Reverend Rayer who bought the place from the Bluetts in 1858. He rebuilt the northern and western ranges using John Hayward, a Devon architect with a national reputation for his role in the 19th century Gothic Revival movement.
Summary of Project: An interested new owner commissioned Charles Fox to research the history of the property. Keystone were brought in to assess and interpret the fabric. We used the ex-Cathedral mason Peter Dare to comment on the stonework and the owner commissioned dendrochronological analysis of the 16th century carpentry. This involved measured survey drawings of the roofs of the south and east ranges.
Objective: The owner wanted to understand his house and publish an account of its history and development.
Cadhay, Ottery St Mary, Devon
Site: A fine Devon mansion, a Grade I listed building, which was apparently rebuilt by John Haydon in the mid 16th century with major improvements in 1617, c.1730 and 1910. The hall roof is the only example outside Exeter of an identified group of high quality late medieval roofs. The Courtyard of Sovereigns featuring all four Tudor monarchs (with Edward alongside Mary) and its polychrome walling of flint, Beerstone, and Hamstone is unique.
Summary of Project: Appraisal of the 1910 subdivision of the upper levels of the east and west ranges and historic roof structures. Previously John Thorp had recorded the Beerstone niches and statues in the court.
Objective: To inform a programme repair, conservation and modernisation for a re-use of the house for weddings and other commercial lettings.