The Old Manor

14 May 2003
The Old Manor, Talaton, East Devon, Devon, EX5 2RQ
Photograph (Digital)
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This information is taken from the statutory List as it was in 2001 and may not be up to date.

TALATON SY 09 NE 6/190 The Old Manor 22.2.55 GV II*

Former farmhouse. Late C15 - early C16 with major later C16, C17 and early C18 improvements, only superficial modernisations since. Basically the walls are plastered cob on local stone rubble footings but the public sides have been rebuilt (or refaced) with local handmade brick laid to Flemish bond with decorative burnt heads on low stone rubble footings; brick and stone stacks topped with C19 brick; thatch roof.

Plan and development: L-plan house. The main block faces south and has a 4-room- and-through-passage plan and a former carriageway through the right (east) end. At the left (west) end is a small unheated inner room (now an office). Next to it is the former hall (the sitting room) with a front lateral stack. In fact it projects from the left end but the rest of the front is flush with the front of the stack.

Then there is the passage and the other side is the dining room with the main stair behind. It has an axial stack backing onto the kitchen to right which itself has an axial stack, this one backing onto the carriageway that end. The passage is extended back through outshots across the back to right of it. To the left is a doorway to the rear wing; it projects at right angles to rear of the left end, it overlaps the former hall, it also runs along the lane. The doorway leads into a stair lobby. Behind it are 2 rooms and the first one is a large room heated by an axial stack backing onto the small end room.

The layout is essentially that of the early C18. Even so it is a house with a long and complex structural history. The historic core is the centre and left end of the main block. This was a 3-room-and-through-passage plan house, a hall house, open to the roof from end to end. It was divided by low partition screens and was heated by an open hearth fire. Doorways of the passage show that the service end was divided into two by an axial wall (probably then for service use as buttery, pantry, dairy, and the like). An inner room chamber which jettied into the upper-end of the hall was provided at an early stage (whilst the open fire was still in operation). It seems there was then built a newel turret projecting to rear and gained from the upper end of the hall. The evidence for when the front stack was first inserted or when the lower end was first floored has gone, having been rebuilt. The hall was floored over in the late C16 - early C17, at the same time or a little earlier than the rear parlour wing was built; the plasterwork there is dated 1639. In the late C17 the house was refurbished. The service end was rebuilt as a dining room with a new stack, the stair adjoining was built and the public sides (the front and lane side) were rebuilt. At about the same time the rear wing parlour was altered and downgraded, the main parlour seems to have moved to the former hall.

The kitchen at the east end was probably already in operation but it is not easy to relate the development of this end to the rest of the house. For a start it has a smoke-blackened roof structure which is a different build to that of the rest. Thus there was another late medieval building alongside the main house. It, or part of it, was converted to a kitchen some time between the mid C17 and early C18. In the late C17 - early C18 the front of this part (and overlapping part of the dining room) was rebuilt in brick and extended over a new carriageway past the end of the kitchen. The awkward straight join between the 2 sections of brick could indicate that this right section was secondary if the earlier brick of the main house went only so far as a high wall or front service block. House is 2 storeys.

Exterior: the 2 phases of brick on the front are very similar and they contain very similar original windows. Irregular 4-window front. The ground floor windows are flat-faced mullion-and-transom windows under low segmental arches and a fifth ground floor casement at the right end is secondary and blocking a former doorway. The 3 first floor windows to left are oak with ovolo-moulded mullions, the fourth is a flat-faced mullion window. All contain rectangular panes of leaded glass, some of it very old. The front passage doorway is left of centre and contains a C19 panelled door. The carriageway at the left end has a low segmental arch. The roof is hipped to right and half-hipped to left. The rear block also includes several C17 oak-framed windows, most with chamfered mullions but one on the first floor inner side has ogee-moulded mullions. The rear block roof is half-hipped.

Interior: of exceptional importance containing high quality work from all building phases. There are oak plank-and-muntin screens both sides of the passage and another at the upper end of the hall. All three are original low partition screens and all are of large scantling. Those either end of the hall have chamfered muntins with cut diagonal stops and the doorways are 4-centred arches. The lower passage screen is slightly different; its muntins have runout stops and both doorways are shoulder-headed arches. At the upper end of the hall the inner room projects as a jetty. The joists and underside of the jetty and the screen below were painted in the mid -late C16 (before the hall was floored). Although the faces of the muntins were later hacked back the design is otherwise unusually well-preserved and the ancient colours are still bright. It is an attractive and exuberant piece of rustic craftmanship depicting bunches of flowers in a strapwork pattern. The cupboard in the back wall contains the lower steps of the early newel stair. The axial beam is chamfered with pyramid stops. The fireplace is brick and late C17 - early C18. The dining room has a large brick fireplace with a plain oak lintel, the crossbeam is chamfered with scroll stops and on the rear wall is late C17 stair entrance, a timber round-headed arch with key block and a box cornice which is carried over a cupboard with shaped shelves. The stair rises round a solid well and has square newel posts, moulded flat handrail and turned balusters. The kitchen has a chamfered crossbeam with cut diagonal stops and the fireplace here is stone rubble including some dressed conglomerate blocks and its oak lintel is chamfered; there is a stone arch doorway to the oven.

The rear block stair is missing its balustrade but it is thought to be C18 or C19.

The main downstairs room is relatively plain. The crossbeam is boxed in and the fireplace looks C18; brick with a plain oak lintel. However the upper chamber (now divided) has a fine ornamental plasterwork ceiling; a single rib design with unusual moulded motifs and on both end walls deep friezes featuring decorative panels which includes the date 1639 and a coat of arms. The crosswall to the stair includes an overlapping oak plank screen. The chamber over the hall has the remains of a moulded plaster cornice. Throughout the house there are some C17 chamfered oak doorways and several old doors.

The original roof survives virtually intact over the 3-room-and-through-passage section of the main house. It is carried on a series of large scantling side-pegged jointed cruck trusses and there were hip crucks each end (the inner room end one is missing). The whole roof structure is smoke-blackened from the original open hearth fire. Both the jetty crosswall and the infil of the truss over the lower passage screen are both smoke-blackened on the hall side only. The 2-bay roof over the kitchen is a different structure on a lower level. However it too is carried on a side-pegged jointed cruck truss and the structure is smoke-blackened from another open hearth fire. The rear wing roof is also carried on side-pegged jointed cruck trusses but these are C17 and clean.

The Old Manor is an exceptionally well-preserved multi-period house which has had a minimum of modernisation since the early C18. The present owner, Mr Dixon, has carefully repaired the structure and much of the detail since 1976. Also the house forms part of a picturesque group of listed buildings in the vicinity of the Church of St James (q.v).

Source: Good photographic record by RCHM in NMR.

Listing NGR: SY0680499670


This is part of the Series: IOE01/2100 IOE Records taken by Robert Vickery; within the Collection: IOE01 Images Of England


© Mr Robert Vickery. Source: Historic England Archive

This photograph was taken for the Images of England project

People & Organisations

Photographer: Vickery, Robert

Rights Holder: Vickery, Robert


Brick, Cob, Plaster, Rubble, Stone, Thatch, Timber, Medieval Building, Tudor Unassigned, Elizabethan Buttery, Agriculture And Subsistence, Food And Drink Processing Site, Agricultural Building, Farmhouse, Domestic, Agricultural Dwelling, Dwelling, House, Farm Building, Dairy, Cross Passage House, Monument (By Form), Cruck House, Timber Framed House, Timber Framed Building, Open Hall House, Hall House, Carriageway, Transport, Road, Road Transport Site, Office