Heritage Category: Listed Building

Grade: II*

List Entry Number: 1147581

Date first listed: 05-Apr-1966

Statutory Address: AYSHFORD COURT


Ordnance survey map of AYSHFORD COURT
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Statutory Address: AYSHFORD COURT

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

County: Devon

District: Mid Devon (District Authority)

Parish: Burlescombe

National Grid Reference: ST 04829 15233


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Reasons for Designation

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BURLESCOMBE AYSHFORD ST 01 NW 4/16 Ayshford Court - 5.4.66 GV II*

Manor house, now divided into 2 houses. The main historic house was built by various members of the Ashford/Aysford family. Late C15-early C16 with major later C16 and C17 improvements (the parlour wing possibly 1607 according to a secondary datestone) and it includes plasterwork dated 1631, some agricultural additions of circa 1910. The original section has plastered walls, probably cob on stone rubble footings, the early C17 parlour wing is of coursed blocks of local chert with Beerstone detail, C19 extensions of stone rubble and brick, much of it plastered; stone stacks and chimneyshafts, 2 of them Beerstone ashlar; slate roofs. Plan and development: essentially an L-plan house. The main block faces east- south-east, say east. At the left (north) end is a 2-room plan former service extension of circa 1910. There is an axial stack between the 2 rooms and a third room projecting at right angles to rear. Part of this extension was probably servant accommodation but some was in agricultural use and it includes a first floor granary. The rest of the main block is the historic house. Adjoining the extension is a kitchen with its large axial stack backing onto the extension. Next an unheated dairy between the kitchen and through passage. At the right (south) end the former hall with a gable-end stack. Parlour block projecting at right angles to rear of the hall and it has an end stack (the chamber above has an outer lateral stack). To rear the passage was extended through a probably C17 stair block built in the angle of the 2 wings and alongside (behind the dairy) is a small brick extension of circa 1910. Now the house is divided; the main block in one occupation, the parlour wing and stair in another. This is a house with a long and complex structural history. Disregarding the circa 1910 extensions the house is essentially that of circa 1650, maybe even circa 1610, although the stairs were renewed in the C19. The roof of the main block is smoke- blackened from end to end indicating that the late C15-early C16 house was an open nall house divided by low partitions and heated by an open hearth fire. However there is not enough evidence exposed to determine the precise layout of the original house. Nor is there sufficient evidence to chart the evolution of the house to its present form. It may once have been a larger house. Indeed one jointed cruck truss does survive in the circa 1910 'extension' suggesting that part at least was included in the C16 house. The house is 2 storeys with disused attics over the parlour wing. Exterior: the main block (including the extension) has an irregular 5-window front of mostly C19 casements with glazing bars. There is however, just right of centre to the dairy, a Hamstone 3-light window with ovolo-moulded mullions and a hoodmould, mid or late C17 in date. The passage front doorway is right of centre and it contains a C19 6-panel door behind a late C19-early C20 slate-roofed porch containing a round-neaded timber outer arch. The roof is gable-ended. The right gable-end is blind and a straight join shows in the exposed masonry between the main block and parlour wing. The parlour wing is taller and has irregular fenestration; 2 ground floor windows and 3 first floor windows. The ground floor right one has been enlarged to a C20 French window. The rest however are early C17 Beerstone 3- light windows with ovolo-moulded mullions and all except first floor right have hoodmoulds. The lateral chimneyshaft on this side is Beerstone ashlar with a frieze of carved quartrefoils and it is inscribed to the effect that it was built in 1607 and rebuilt in 1910. The roof is steeply-pitched and is hipped each end. The end chimneyshaft is ashlar with moulded coping. The rear elevation includes a couple of late C17 oak flat-faced mullion windows containing rectangular panes of leaded glass (one of them on the stairblock). Also the ground floor window of the kitchen is mid C16 oak 2-light window with moulded mullion, Tudor arch headed lights and sunken spandrels. It also has its original vertical glazing bars and saddlebars. The passage rear doorway (in the stairblock, contains a C19 6-panel door). Alongside it is a stone inscribed with the date 1594. It may date the stairblock but, since it is set close to the ground, it is thought to be reset. Good interior: the oldest feature is the roof of the main block which is carried on a series of side-pegged jointed cruck trusses with cambered collars which is smoke- blackened from the original open hearth fire. The oak arch-headed doorframe in the corridor alongside the dairy may well be original also but is not thought to be in situ. The other structural features exposed are thought to be early C17. The kitchen and dairy have a continuous ceiling, carried on 3 crossbeams of large scantling; all soffit-chamfered with lambstongue stops. The large kitchen fireplace has been altered a little but still has a massive chamfered and step- stopped oak lintel. The hall which was refurbished in the C19 when the fireplace was blocked with a grate. The soffit-chamfered and scroll-stopped crossbeam looks suspiciously like a Cl7-style replacement. The parlour was refurbished about the same time and has been subdivided. The fireplace too has been blocked. The parlour chamber has also been rearranged. Originally it seems there was a closet (a narrow unheated room) across the outer end but this has been enlarged to a bedroom by encroaching on the main chamber. This parlour now has its original fireplace off centre; a pretty Beerstone fireplace with moulded surround and Tudor arch head with sunken spandrels. This room also contains the remains of a good ornamental plasterwork ceiling probably of 1631. It has an enriched rib design around an ornate centrepiece and is enriched with moulded angle sprays. The finest feature of the house is the coved ceiling of ornamental plasterwork in the chamber over the hall. It is a particularly fine example and is dated 1631. Tnere is a projecting moulded frieze around the room. The coved ceiling has a single rib design enriched with moulded patterns in square panels. Above the frieze on each end wall, is a moulded plasterwork arcade featuring the Ashford arms and floral sprays. The fireplace here is blocked but the oak doorframe into the room is contemporary with the ceiling. From the left end of the main block front a tall rubble wall projects forward between the lane and garden. Ayshford was mentioned in a charter dated 958. It is the Domesday manor of Aiseforda. For most of its history it was the home of the Ayshford/Ashford family and. the parlour wing was probably built by Roger Ashford (died 1610) and the plasterwork was probably commissioned by Arthur Ayshford. The refurbished kitchen may be contemporary. The owners have a transcript of a fascinating inventory of the place dated 1689 which shows the great wealth of the family at that time. The description of the rooms suggests that the house was a little larger then. Also it is difficult to identify the rooms mentioned with those there now. Nevertheless identification of the Great parlour and kitchen seems obvious. Much of the fabric is still hidden and great care should be taken during renovation work. The inventory for instance mentions a "painted chamber". Ayshford Court, with its chapel (q.v.) and farmbuildings form a most attractive group of buildings.

Listing NGR: ST0483315228


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

Legacy System number: 95868

Legacy System: LBS

End of official listing