LEE ABBEY, WITH WALLS AND GATEWAY

Overview

Heritage Category:
Listed Building
Grade:
II
List Entry Number:
1201135
Date first listed:
03-Sep-1973
Date of most recent amendment:
09-Jun-1995
Statutory Address:
LEE ABBEY, WITH WALLS AND GATEWAY

Map

Ordnance survey map of LEE ABBEY, WITH WALLS AND GATEWAY
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Location

Statutory Address:
LEE ABBEY, WITH WALLS AND GATEWAY

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

County:
Devon
District:
North Devon (District Authority)
Parish:
Lynton and Lynmouth
National Park:
EXMOOR
National Grid Reference:
SS 69798 49283

Details

LYNTON AND LYNMOUTH

SS64NE LEE ABBEY 858-1/1/64 Lee Abbey, with walls and gateway 03/09/73 (Formerly Listed as: LYNTON Lee Abbey)

GV II

House, now residential centre for Christian community. Mid C19, with additions c1920, and entrance tower 1968. Rendered, some exposed rubble in walls and gatehouse, tile roofs. PLAN: a complex of buildings; the first unit of the 1850s laid out around 3 sides of a large courtyard, with an entrance porch to the N, and a prominent octagonal music room to the SW. In the 1920s a new range including dining room extended S, and in 1968 a new 4-storey entrance tower (in exposed textured concrete) added to the S of this range, by Scarlett, Burkett Associates. The first plan had a large open-well staircase immediately to the E of the N porch, and there is a second principal staircase adjacent to the music room. The entrance tower links, right, to a very high retaining or boundary wall running to the S, which has at its outer end, immediately adjacent to the road, a square gatehouse, also of the 1850 construction period. EXTERIOR: ranges are mainly 3-storey, with basement to the earliest part. Windows are generally 2- or 3-light casements with transoms, many of them late C20 replacements; to the second floor they are usually contained in small face gables. The entrance (S) front has the octagonal room to the left, with crenellated parapet, and a lower square porch with matching parapet to a wide 4-centred arch. Set back, to the right, is a 3-storey range of the original building, the top windows under face gables, and the bays divided by pilasters; the ground floor steps forward, with a flat roof and crenellated parapet. Returning to the right is a 7-bay range in similar detail, with dividing and corner buttresses and a central 2-storey porch to crenellated parapet, all of the 1920s, but but copying detail from the earlier range. The return gable includes a 2-storey canted bay, and attached right is the 1968 tower with a further entrance under projecting concrete canopy. The W front, facing down to the bay, has a major 3-storey 'hall' range with steep gabled roof to central and end chimney stacks with octagonal shafts, and a slightly lower range connecting to the music room, which has a pinnacled buttress to each of the external angles, and has 3 tall 3-light windows with flat 4-centred heads to the lights, and with a transom band in tracery incorporating shields; facing W is a blind panel, backing the fireplace, and to the left are 2 smaller windows with similar 'tracery' in the ground floor, with a 4-centred doorway to the left, between paired buttresses and under a hood. The N front has a gabled 2-storey porch to the right, with plank doors in a pointed arch, the original main entry to the first building, which backs against the high gable of the 'hall' range, facing W. To its left is a 5-bay range, including a lofty 2-light staircase window with transom. The courtyard has been partly filled by later building, and is mainly enclosed across the E side by later C19 additions; at the junction between E and S sides is a 4-storey square tower, clearly seen in early views, but nearly concealed by later constructions. INTERIOR: the areas of principal interest are the music room with adjacent staircase and loggia, and the principal staircase in the N range. The music room has a ceiling with 8 timber ribs with multiple cusping and pierced spandrels and a central castellated suspended boss, and there are 4 shields probably concealing ventilators. The ribs are carried on clustered Batty Langley-type colonnettes with capitals, and bases continued as a skirting. The W wall has a large stone fireplace with 4-centred opening and spandrels with fine carved leaf decoration, and paired diagonal pilasters to a floret frieze. The E side has a lofty glazed panel with 2 doors, matching the detail of the windows. Adjacent is a straight-flight staircase with square newels and splat balusters to a plain string, through a 4-centred arch with panelled intrados on corbels; the upper floor flights are in an open octagon. From the N side of the music room a Gothick doorway leads to a long gallery in 3 bays, possibly an open-fronted loggia in the original plan, with 3 open arches on steps to the right, opposite the windows. The gallery has a compartmental ceiling with cusped diagonal ribs and drops, and tiled floor, the tiles possibly reused medieval ones. The inner room has a fireplace with 4-centred opening. Beyond is a square salon with a 9-compartment ceiling with moulded ribs, and a fine decorative wood fire surround to a rich scrolled frieze on paired columns. In the N range is a fine large square open-well staircase with quarter-landings, and a wrought-iron balustrade with Gothick detail to a swept handrail. The first and second floors have Batty Langley slender iron columns, with a 4-compartment ceiling to moulded ribs. Treads are in stone, with scrolled intrados. In the top floor of this wing, adjacent to the staircase, is a simple chapel with collar roof in 6 bays. Many original doors in 6-panels with moulded architraves remain throughout the building. In the basement is a series of segmental barrel vaults on thick walls, with a central cross passage. SUBSIDIARY FEATURES: the square gatehouse is in 3 storeys, with corner buttresses, a string course and plain coping. The entry arch is in moulded brick to a wide pointed arch, above which is a 3-light casement with diamond panes in cast-iron; to the right is a boundary wall, containing a 3-light casement, and extending approx 30m. The N archway is similar to the outer one, under a 2-light casement, and the W-facing wall includes a blocked archway. Connecting this gatehouse to the late C20 tower is a very lofty rubble wall, with square buttresses, in 4 panels approx 5m high and 4-and-a-half approx 7m high. HISTORICAL NOTE: the site was originally owned by the Cistercians at Forde Abbey, but passed to Nicholas Wichehalse, a merchant from Barnstaple, in 1559. There was a farmhouse here, repaired in 1628. The property belonged to a John Short in 1713, and John Knight in 1730. In 1841 it was purchased by the Bailey family, who remained in residence until 1921 when it became a hotel, at which time the main extensions were built. During the Second World War it became a boys' school, and in 1945 was acquired by the Christian Fellowship, who continue to run the property. The additions of 1968 received a Civic Trust award.

Listing NGR: SS6979849283

Legacy

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

Legacy System number:
376473
Legacy System:
LBS

Legal

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

Images of England was a photographic record of every listed building in England, created as a snap shot of listed buildings at the turn of the millennium. These photographs of the exterior of listed buildings were taken by volunteers between 1999 and 2008. The project was supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Date: 12 Aug 2002
Reference: IOE01/08593/14
Rights: Copyright IoE Mr Brian R. Screaton. Source Historic England Archive
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