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Mid Devon (District Authority)
National Grid Reference:
ST 10294 13562


CULMSTOCK THE CLEEVE, Culmstock ST 11 SW 10/46 Craven Cottage, Cleeve Cottage - and Cobblestones - II

3 cottages, formerly 4 cottages made by subdivision of a single house. Late C16 - early C17 house, rearranged and enlarged in the late C17 when divided into cottages, all modernised between circa 1970 - 86. Plastered walls, parts are cob on stone rubble footing, some is all stone rubble; stone rubble and cob stacks topped with C20 brick; thatch roof. Plan and development: 3 adjoining cottages in a complicated building. It is basically an H-plan building facing south, a short main block with crosswings each end. Cobblestones occupies the rear part of the left (western) crosswing. It has a 2-room plan with a large former kitchen gable-end stack. There is a probably C19 extension behind and a C20 service room projecting out the side. Cleeve Cottage occupies the front part of the crosswing. It has a 3-room plan with 2 rooms in the crosswing proper and a secondary third room projecting out (west) of the front. The third room has a stack on the outer side. The larger of the 2 rooms is the rear one and it has a lateral stack backing onto the main range (Craven Cottage). The rest of the building is occupied by Craven Cottage which has united 2 of the late C17 cottages. The main block has a through passage to right of 2 rooms divided by an axial partition. The larger front room has an end stack backing onto the one in Cleeve Cottage. The right (east) crosswing does not project forward. It is 2 rooms deep with a staircase between. Both these rooms have outer lateral stacks. Because of the later alterations it is difficult to work out the layout of the original house. Nevertheless it is possible to interpret the main block as the hall with through-passage at the lower end and fireplace at the upper end. Since a cruck foot descends in front of the rear wall it seems that the rear wall has been moved back, probably in the late C17 subdivision of the property. The axial partition is an original screen but has probably been reset here. The hall could have been open to the roof up to the late C17. The right crosswing is also original. The rear part (Cobblestones) was evidently the kitchen. The newel stair here however was probably built in the late C17. The front part (Cleeve) appears to have been a large heated room of unknown function, maybe the parlour. The fireplace and newel stair here are thought to be original. This wing was floored from the beginning. The third room of Cleeve Cottage was added as part of the late C17 subdivision. The eastern crosswing (Craven Cottage) seems to be a complete late C17 rebuild, and then a self-contained cottage entered from the passage through the main block. The fireplace in the rear room here may be a C19 insertion. All 3 cottages are 2 storeys. Exterior: because of the late C17 extension Cleeve Cottages faces forward (south) and has an irregular 3-window front of mostly late C17 casements containing rectangular panes of leaded glass but 2 have been replaced by C20 casements with glazing bars. Doorway left of centre contains a C20 door behind a contemporary shingled porch. The roof is hipped to right and half-hippped to left. Set back Craven Cottage has a symmetrical 3-window front of late C17 casements, most lights still containing a part-glazed 6-panel door behind a C20 gabled porch. The passage front doorway is central and contains rectangular panes of leaded glass. The symmetry is upset by the gabled end of the right crosswing but this adds interest to this pretty building. Cobblestones is at the back and faces west. It has a 2- window front of circa 1980 replacement casements some of which retain late C17 iron casements containing rectangular panes of leaded glass. The doorway is into the C20 service extension. Interior: the basic structure of the main block (Craven) and west crosswing (Cobblestones and Cleeve) is original. The roof is supported on a series of side- pegged jointed cruck trusses. In the crosswing both the original rooms had 3-bay ceilings carved by soffit-chamfered crossbeams with straight cut stops. The former kitchen fireplace (Cobblestones) is very large. It is built of volcanic ashlar and there is the blocked doorway of a large oven in the back. The soffit-chamfered oak lintel is carried over across what is now an entrance lobby but what was originally a walk-in curing chamber. In the front (Cleeve) the oak lintel of the blocked fireplace is exposed and the newel stair has crank-headed oak door-frame on the first floor. The former hall fireplace (in Craven) is blocked. The reset partition here is an oak plank-and-muntin screen with plain-finished muntins and containing a crank-headed doorway. The wattle-and-daub partition on the first floor above is probably late C17. The late C17 carpentry detail, where it shows is plain. The roof of the eastern crosswing (Craven) is carried on a series of A-frame trusses with pegged dovetail-shaped lap-jointed collars (a late example of this detail). Most joinery detail is C19 but there is, in Cobblestones, an attractive late C17 door to the newel stair; 2 fielded panels, the top one nowy-headed. This group of cottages, by tradition weavers' cottages, make up a very attractive building and it is very unusal for so many early windows to survive. They also form part of a group of attractive buildings in the vicinity of the Church of All Saints ( q.v). These cottages have been inspected by Commander EHD Williams whose interpretation of the building is much the same as that above. Source: Description and plan by Commander EHD Williams in NMR.

Listing NGR: ST1029413562


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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

Images of England

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Date: 07 Aug 2003
Reference: IOE01/10725/16
Rights: Copyright IoE Mr Peter McLaren. Source Historic England Archive
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