Heritage Category:
Listed Building
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Date first listed:
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Statutory Address:

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

South Hams (District Authority)
National Grid Reference:
SX 81196 41729


STOKENHAM SX84SW Widdicombe House 8/179 25.10.51 GV II*

Country house. A circa 1720-5 rebuilding of an earlier house extended in circa 1820. Dressed and coursed slate wing partly stuccoed. Slate hipped mansard roof with lead rolls to ridge and lips and moulded wooden eaves cornice. Axial stacks, some with rebuilt brick shafts. Plan and Development: The 1720-5 house is L shaped on plan; its main front range has a central entrance hall and an open-well staircase in a stair tower at the back in the angle with the rear left hand wing. Behind the relatively small front rooms there are axial passages at the back, the right hand contained the servants staircase and therefore this side of the house was probably the service quarters especially as the room to the right of the entrance hall seems to have been the china room. The large room (now called the gallery) in the rear left hand wing must have been the principal room of the house. In circa 1820 the house was extended by the addition of a wing on the left (east) side containing drawing room at the front library in the middle and a large saloon at the back; and behind the rear wing another stairwell was added. The 2 storey outshut on the back of the right hand end of the main range is also a C19 addition to extend the service accommodation. The front porch and the dairy on the front right hand corner are probably early C19. In the early C20 an outbuilding at right angles to the new wing was rebuilt as a kitchen wing. Exterior: 2 storeys and attic. Symmetrical 7-window north front with circa 1820 1-window extension on left. Bend at first floor level. Circa early C19 12-pane sashes in openings with flat arches with keystones. Central doorway with C19 stone porch. 5 large dormers with alternating triangular and segmented pediments being rebuilt at time of survey 1988-9. The left hand end bay addition has Venetian window on both floors with early C19 sashes and keystones to central round arch lights. The left hand/east/ return 3:2:3 bays, right hand 3 bays stone, the remainder stuccoed and set back slightly. C19 12-panel sashes with glazing bars, centre and left on ground floor with round arches, the 3 on left in arched recesses in wide segmented bow with balcony above with intersecting case-iron balustrade and hipped canopy. Rear elevation has hipped roof stair tower at centre with round arch window, its frame renewed, and wing to right with circa early C19 tripartite sash on first floor. To left of stair tower 2-storey extension. Interior: Very fine interior with most of the original 1720 joinery and plasterwork intact and with good work of the 1820 period. The entrance hall has acanthus leaf cornice moulded ceiling, fielded dado and C19 marble chimneypiece with fluted consoles with lions heads. Very good 1720 open- well, open string staircase with 3 balusters per tread (fluted and twisted), moulded mahogany handrail ramped up to Corinthian column newels. Fine moulded plaster stairwell ceiling with modillion cornice and oval with acanthus leaf decoration. The landing partition walls to bed chambers are of fielded panelling. Small room to right of stairwell was probably the china room and is lined in cupboards with fielded panel doors and shaped shelves and has moulded cornice and quartrefoil rib moulding to ceiling. To left of stairwell a small room with fielded panelling and C19 marble chimneypiece. Drawing room in front of left hard wing has circa 1820 plaster cornice and Neo-classical chimneypiece. Library behind drawing room has early C19 plaster cornice and C19 marble chimneypiece and bookcases. Saloon at rear of 1820 wing has early C19 marble chimneypiece. The room in the original rear wing (gallery) has circa early C20 panelling but at the back there is a fine early C19 open-we1l staircase with scrolled tread ends, stick balusters and moulded handrail, and vaulted ceiling with cornice. On first floor some C18 back staircase in right (west) end rises to the attic and has moulded string split balusters and moulded handrail. Panelled doors survive in the attic. The roof structure was altered to a mansard in C19 but, the lower sections of the principals have been retained. Historical Note: Widdicombe House was the seat of the Holdsworths Dartmouth merchants. It is said to have been once owned by Captain Cook. The attribution of Capability Brown to the landscaping of the park is unfounded.

Listing NGR: SX8119641729


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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.

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