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.

East Devon (District Authority)
National Grid Reference:
ST 10109 04758



5/56 The Drewe Arms including curved 22.2.51 wall adjoining at north west


Public house, part of the Broadhembury Estate. Late medieval origins, remodelled in the C17, partly rebuilt at the north-west end in the early mid C18, possibly following a fire. Creamwashed rendered cob and stone; main range thatched at the south-east end, half-hipped at left end, gabled at right end; rear wing thatched, half-hipped at end; north west end of main range slated with a lower ridge line gabled at right end. Projecting left end stack with a stone shaft with ashlar quoins, repaired in brick; axial stack at junction between the thatched and slate roof with a brick shaft, projecting right end stack with a brick shaft. Plan: L plan. The single depth main range faces north-east; rear left (south) wing at right angles. The core of the house is a late medieval open hall at the thatched (south-east) end of the main range, the passage and lower end partly rebuilt in the early/mid C18 with different floor levels. The higher (left) end retains one massive smoke-blackened jointed cruck truss with a later roof structure above it, the inner room may always have been storeyed, it retains a fine circa early C16 window on the front elevation and was lined with linenfold panelling. The hall was probably floored in the C17 with a stack introduced backing on to the passage and a ceiling of intersecting beams. The rear wing may have been added at the same time, it retains one principal of a curved foot truss which had a mortised collar. The ground floor of the lower end is now the cellar, with steps down from the through passage and 2 C18 rooms on the first floor, one very large with a massive chimney-piece. A straight stair rises against the rear wall of the lower end from the through passage, a second stair rises adjacent to the passage within the higher end. The inner room has been subdivided axially into 2 rooms, and these 2 rooms, with the C17 hall are the public rooms of the public house and have entirely escaped brewery modernization. The only comparable unspoiled public house interior in Devon is the Drewe Arms at Drewsteignton. Exterior: 2 storeys. Asymmetrical 4 window front with regular fenestration. The eaves thatch is eyebrowed over the 2 left hand first floor windows, lower roofline to the slated lower end at the right. Probably C16 gabled porch to the through passage at the left of the slated block: the porch has a wide segmental arched outer doorway, a cusped slit window on the right return, slate-topped porch seats, a wide moulded, timber inner doorframe with urn stops, a Tudor arch and a large C17 or C18 plank door. The ground floor window left, lighting the former inner room, is a fine C16 stone mullioned window with a moulded frame and mullions, carved spandrels, saddlebars and stanchions. It is glazed with square leaded panes. To the left of the porch, lighting the hall, a tall 4-light casement with square leaded panes with a smaller similar window above, first floor left is a 3-light C20 timber casement with glazing bars. The right hand block, slightly set back, has deep eaves and 2 first floor early/mid C18 paired 18-pane sashes with thick moulded glazing bars, the right hand window with a moulded frame. A fine, possibly C18 wrought iron inn sign incorporates a probably later lamp and armorial bearings crowned with a lion rampant. A probably C18 ramped ashlar stone wall adjoins the pub at the right enclosing the rear courtyard. Interior: The lower side screen of the through passage is probably C19 with chamfered muntins. The C17 hall has an open fireplace, the fireback re-lined in brick, with a chamfered lintel with mason's mitres. The front part of the room has a ceiling of chamfered intersecting beams. The inner room is divided axially into 2 with a cross beam surviving in the rear room only. A disused hatch survives between the 2 smaller rooms. The front room is plain. The lower end rooms, now with public house cellar, are unheated with chamfered crossbeams. A small section of linenfold panelling survives on the partition wall of the higher end stair. On the first floor, the 2 C18 rooms of the lower end have massive chimney-pieces, the right hand room is very large and must have been used for public functions; the chimney-piece has a broken pediment and carved heads, the smaller room has an Adam style chimney- piece with very large-scale detail. Roof: One medieval side-pegged jointed cruck truss of massive scantling survives over the hall. No access to apex at time of survey but there is evidence of a soot crust on the timbers. The front purlins have been truncated to accommodate the window. The rear wing retains the remains of a curved foot truss of circa mid C17 date. The lower end trusses are X apex and probably C18. In 1888 W.H. Hamilton Rogers visited Broadhembury in the course of researching the biography of Toplady, the author of 'Rock of Ages, who was vicar of Broadhembury 1768-78. He described the Drewe Arms, mentioning "an antiquated gateway to the yard in the rear". He and his companion were "ushered through several large rooms into the special parlour for strangers" - evidently the inner room - where they were refreshed with "a dainty spread and sparkling cider, a huge home-made loaf, and a roll of sweet butter, the whole evidently manufactured on the premises". The inner room is described although it is not clear whether it had been subdivided at this date: "Its dimensions are small, but the walls, from floor to ceiling, are wainscotted with multidudinous panels of oak, carved into the well-known linen pattern so much used during the reigns of the 7th and 8th Henrys, and a rich cornice of boldly-carved masks and allegorical devices runs round the top. A large stone window, consisting of a series of narrow Tudor arched openings, and defended from outside intrusion by iron lattice bars of enormous strength, throws a subdued light into the quaint old apartment." It seems likely that most of the linenfold panelling was re-used in Broadhembury House, (qv) when that building was remodelled by Harbottle Reed sometime between 1903 and 1914. An extremely interesting building, not only for high quality medieval origins but also for the C18 partial rebuilding and its very rare unspoiled pub interior. One of 8 closely-spaced medieval houses in the village.

Listing NGR: ST1010904758


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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

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Date: 10 Aug 2006
Reference: IOE01/15795/01
Rights: Copyright IoE Mr David Withey. Source Historic England Archive
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