Heritage Category:
Listed Building
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:
Statutory Address:


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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 82701 57870


ASHPRINGTON SX85NW Sharpham House 6/3



Country House. Circa 1770 by Sir Robert Taylor for Captain Philemon Pownall, continued by Pownall's daughter Jane after 1780s and completed in 1824 by his grandson John Bastard. Remains of an earlier house are said to exist incorporated at the back. Ashlar with rusticated ground floor slate hipped roof with lead rolls to ridge and hips. Rendered central axial stack. Plan and development: In 1770 Taylor built a Palladian villa onto an earlier house, depicted in a survey illustration of 1749. The old house was presumably used as the rear (west) service wing for the new house since the new addition has no piano nobile over flanking wings to accommodate the services. It is entered on the ground floor through a canted bay at the front into an octagonal entrance hall which leads to a wide oval stair well behind flanked by a dining room on the right and library on the left all contained in a shallow rectangular plan. Pownall died in 1780 but work continued and it might have been then that the plan was deepened by 3 bays on the south side and 2 bays on the north side absorbing move of the earlier house at the back, the remaining evidence of which is only the thick walls of the irregular plan and a reused Tudor doorframe and mullion window. The 3- storey 2-bay range to the west of the south front right incorporate earlier work as it could be entirely early C19 as building continued until about 1824. The lower wings to left and right at the back are late C19 additions and contained a laundry and other services including a coachhouse but were converted into two separate dwellings in the late C20. Exterior: 3 storeys, attic and cellar under part. Rusticated ground floor, string at first floor all level and stone modillion eaves cornice. Astylar elevations. The east front of 1:3:1 bays, the centre a wide full-height canted bay with a Roman Doric portico with paved columns and a balustrade to the balcony alcove. Tall first floor windows all have apron balustrades and alternately are with and without triangular pediments. The small square second floor windows have moulded architraves. The rusticated ground floor also has small square windows but most now have lower sills. The north and south returns are similar but without the canted bay, both originally 3 bays, the north increased by 2 and the south by 3 more bays. 12-pane sashes on the first floor, 6-pane on second floor and ground floor windows are now mostly garden casements. Rear elevation has 3-window centre with 12-pane sashes,set back on left with modillion cornice and wing on sight with porch in the angle which has a roll- moulded Tudor arch stone doorway with monchettes in the spandrels, moulded stone 2-light window with a hoodmould and a round-headed sash above. Low service wings to right and left of rear courtyard, the left hand with wooden cupola over roof. Interior: Very fine interior retains most of its C18 features. The octagonal entrance hall which fits into and is entered through the canted bay at the front has a colonnade of 8 Roman Doric columns inside and a compass design in the floor. Behind the entrance hall is the oval stair-well with niches in the walls, rising the full height of the house to a coffered dome and lantern and with an exceptionally fine cantilevered staircase with a plain stick balustrade incorporating monoframes on the landings. On the ground floor the library has small panels attributed to Angelica Kauffman and classically decorated bookcases. On the first floor the drawing room has figurative medallions, plaques and garlands and a marble chimney-piece. The octagonal saloon also has a fine marble chimney piece with a carved plaque said to be reminiscent of Henry Cheere, but Regency panels have been superimposed on the walls. The principal bedchamber has a coved ceiling with Regency decoration and an early Cl9 white marble chimneypiece. On the second floor 2 groin- vaulted lobbies off the landing and a pair of oval rooms over the octagonal saloon with oval vestibules in the spaces between. Most of the C18 joinery, plasterwork and chimneypieces are intact, including the original servants staircase but there are some early C19 chimneypieces and reeded ceiling boarders. At the back the former laundry and service wings have late C19 arch-braced timber roofs. Historical Note: Sharpham was once the property of the Yarde family of Bradley. It was bought by Philip Cockey in 1748 as a speculation for the timber on the estate rather that for the old house. In 1765 Captain Philemon Pownall bought the estate and in circa 1770 employed Sir Robert Taylor to rebuild the house with a fortune of £64,963 acquired from the capture in 1762 of the Spanish galleon Ermiona in the Seven Years War. SOURCES: Marcus Binney, Country Life, 17th and 24th April, 1969.

Listing NGR: SX8270157870


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

Legacy System number:
Legacy System:


Books and journals
'Country Life' in 24 April, (1969)
'Country Life' in 17 April, (1969)
Register of Parks and Gardens of Special Historic Interest in England, Part 11 Devon,


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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