The Old Vicarage


Heritage Category:
Listed Building
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:
Date of most recent amendment:
Location Description:
Spreyton, West Devon, Devon


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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

Location Description:
Spreyton, West Devon, Devon
West Devon (District Authority)
National Grid Reference:


An early-C19 former vicarage with a possible earlier core, extended in the late-C19 and early C20, with an early-C19 rear wing clad in cast-iron tiles patented by Elias Carter of Exeter.

Reasons for Designation

The Old Vicarage, Spreyton, West Devon, is listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons: * Architectural interest: a good example of a polite early-C19 villa, which retains a significant proportion of C19 fabric and probably an earlier historic core; * Materials: the rear wing is covered in early-C19 cast iron tiles, patented by Elias Carter of Exeter, and is a rare example of such tiles in situ; * Intactness: a good amount of early-C19 internal joinery, as well as some earlier internal features to the rear of the building; * Group value: the vicarage forms a good group with other listed buildings and structures in Spreyton, including the associated gateposts (Grade II, NHLE 1171990), the Church of St Michael (Grade II, NHLE 1171836) and the nearby C16 Barton farmhouse (Grade II*, NHLE 1171977).


The building was constructed in the early C19 as a vicarage, and may incorporate an earlier core to the north. It appears on the Tithe Map (circa 1840), with an L-shaped footprint; the front range running north to south, and the longer rear range running west to east. Later alterations include a small late-C19 extension to the south of the rear wing and a 1970s flat-roofed porch on the front elevation. In the late C20 a fire broke out in the kitchen resulting in the replacement of a number of the original timber elements in this room. The vicarage originally stood within sizeable grounds, including a cobbled courtyard to the east with surrounding agricultural buildings. Most of the former barns and stores on the north and east side of the yard have either been demolished or converted into accommodation. The cobbled yard and a C19 coach house on its south side remain in the ownership of the main house. A walled garden attached to the south side of the vicarage also survives.

To the rear is an attached single-storey service wing, dating from circa 1830, which has an unusual roof, clad with interlocking cast-iron tiles. They are stamped 'Carter Patent 1827 Toll End’ and were designed by Elias Carter of Exeter. On the tithe map of 1840 this wing is shown to have connected to a L-shaped range extending along the south side of the rear yard; by the late-C19 the service wing had been truncated to the east. The veranda on the north side of this wing appears to be a later construction. The 2nd Edition Ordnance Survey Map (1905) depicts a covered structure attached to the north side of this wing; the construction of the veranda may be contemporary with the removal of this structure and its upright posts probably replaced the walls of an enclosed internal corridor. The use of Carter’s tiles is principally on ecclesiastical buildings in Devon, including the Church of St Leonard, Exeter (1833, demolished 1867). However, they were also used on the crescent entrance range to the former Gloucester County Lunatic Asylum (1823, Horton Road Hospital, listed Grade II*), following a fire in the 1830s; this is understood to be the only other known example with the tiles still in situ.


An early-C19 former vicarage with a possible earlier core, extended in the late-C19 and early C20, with an early-C19 rear wing clad in cast-iron tiles patented by Elias Carter of Exeter.

MATERIALS: the earliest walls are cob with later extension in stone and brick; all rendered. The stacks are rendered brick and rise from a slate roof. The rear service wing has an unusual cast-iron tile roof.

PLAN: a L-shaped footprint, on an east to west alignment with a service wing extending to the rear.

EXTERIOR: the building is two storeys with a hipped roof and a cellar under the south-west corner. The front elevation (west), has three bays; on the ground floor a central 1970s flat roof porch with French windows flanked by bays with six-over-six sashes, and on the first floor three, three-over-six sashes with venetian shutters. The north elevation has two bays with two tripartite sashes on each floor. The south elevation of the front range consists of canted bay with late-C19 casement windows, a contemporary first-floor window and a lateral stack on the east return. To the right is the south elevation of the rear range which has two bays including a door, two sashes and a C21 timber window. The east elevation has two first-floor casement windows. The hipped slate roof has a stack over the centre of east to west range and another rising from the north pitch. A rear service wing is attached to the east side. It has three cast-iron windows with diagonal casements on the south elevation overlooking the walled garden, a timber veranda on the north side facing onto the yard and a shallow pitched cast-iron tile roof on a timber frame which appears to be a later construction; two of the internal rooms are divided by good quality waney edged boarding. There is a row of three, panelled, doors beneath the veranda and a set of double panel doors at the west end leading through to the main house. A single-storey lean-to is attached to the north of this wing, including an enclosed well, wood-store, and outdoor toilet, all under a clay-tile cat-slide roof. A stone wall and set of gate posts with ball finials are attached to the right of these outbuildings.

INTERIOR: the early-C19 plan of the building remains largely unchanged. The central hallway, leading from the main west entrance, contains an open string stair with stick balusters, mahogany handrail and curtail steps. A lot of the joinery in the house is early to mid-C19, including several four and six panel doors, architraves, skirting, alcoves and shutters (most of which have been painted shut). There is an early-C19 style fireplace in the front room to the south of the hall, a later fireplace in the room opposite and a marble fire surround in the rear reception rooms on the north side. The kitchen is to the rear (east side) of the house. The room contains timber cladding and a large granite fireplace with a substantial oak bressemer (probably a C20 replacement). The floor is covered in large stone slabs and there is an enclosed winder stair with timber plank door in the south-east corner. The first floor also retains most of the early-C19 panel doors with moulded architraves, shutters, and some C19 fireplaces including a further marble chimney piece. The plan on this floor is also largely unchanged, although a couple of doors have been blocked. The roof retains a large proportion of early to mid-C19 timbers.


The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

Legacy System number:
Legacy System:


Books and journals
Cox, J, 'Devon Building Group Research Papers Vol 2' in Patent Cast Iron Roof Tiles: An Exeter Invention of 1827 and Other Devon Iron Matters of the Early C19, , Vol. 2, (2006 ), 68-79
Cast Iron Roof Tiles, accessed from


This building is listed under the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 as amended for its special architectural or historic interest.

End of official listing

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