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.

Torbay (Unitary Authority)
Non Civil Parish
National Grid Reference:
SX 88585 60991



SX8860 KIRKHAM STREET 1947-1/5/41 (South side) 13/03/51 Kirkham House (Formerly Listed as: KIRKHAM STREET Kirkham House (Priest's House))


House, now in guardianship. C15 origins with 1520-1560 alterations, major scheme of repair in the 1950s by the Ministry of Works. MATERIALS: Local red breccia; slate roof; stacks with stone shafts and rhomboidal caps. PLAN: Single-depth 3-room and through-passage plan with passage to left of centre. Hall to right, still open with a C16 first-floor room jettied into it over a spere truss; unheated service room or shop (separate entrance onto street) at the far right end. High quality parlour to the left. First floor consists of a superior room over the parlour, a small unheated C16 chamber above the part-floored hall and a second heated chamber at the right end with garderobe. Rear outshut with C16 gallery over, gallery providing access to 2nd heated first-floor chamber, formerly reached by separate stair. Kitchen consists now of ruinous walls (separately listed) to rear. Superior detail inside suggests a high status user for this house. EXTERIOR: 2 storeys. Asymmetrical front with 4 windows on the ground floor and 3 on the first. Gabled slate roof with slightly sprocketed eaves. Front door to left of centre with moulded timber-frame, ogee-arched head and a C20 plank and stud door. Tudor style mullioned windows, some preserving moulded lintels, date from the Ministry of Works renovation of the house except the left-hand first-floor window which is an C18 casement with flat-faced mullion. Blocked doorway to right of centre. Rear elevation has timber-framed gallery, reconstructed by Ministry of Works. INTERIOR: Passage retains cobbled floor and wide segmental stone arch to rear doorway chamfered on one side with a pyramid stop. Plank and muntin screens to both sides of the passage; unusually wide shoulder-headed doorway to hall. Hall fireplace, heated from rear lateral stack, has unusual brattished stone mantelshelf. C16 jettied room into hall at lower end is supported on a moulded beam. Parlour has a C15 fireplace; C16 moulded beams. Alcove adjacent to fireplace may represent position of C15 stair. Present C20 stair reached through ogee arched doorway in rear wall. Shoulder-headed doorway from hall to unheated room which has rough carpentry. Hooded fireplaces to both first-floor end chambers. The gallery, a rare survival, is of jointed cruck construction. A remarkable feature of the interior is the provision for domestic piscinas. There were originally 2, one in the hall and one in the parlour with some evidence that they were fed from lead tanks in the outshut. Unfortunately, in 1910 it was decided that there were of ecclesiastical origin and they have been removed, one to the vestry of the parish church of St John the Baptist, the other to the parish church of Goodrington. The one in St John the Baptist has a carved boss surrounding the water pipe. Roof: consists of 2 types of trusses. Some A-frame trusses, the principals with short curved feet. The others, unusual for Devon, have ashlar pieces and sole plates. HISTORY: This is a fine and unusual example of a small-scale but high-quality medieval house with unusually grand provision for eating and washing. There is no documentary evidence to confirm the supposition that it was a priest's house. The repair works on behalf of the Ministry were exemplary of their time. Fine architects' drawings of the 1950s are retained by English Heritage, Properties in Care. (Keystone Historic Buildings Consultants: Revised Guide to Kirkham House: 1989-; Buildings of England: Cherry B and Pevsner N: Devon: London: 1952-1989: 841).

Listing NGR: SX8858560991


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

Legacy System number:
Legacy System:


Books and journals
Keystone Historic Buildings Consultants, , Revised Guide to Kirkham House, (1989)
Pevsner, N, Cherry, B, The Buildings of England: Devon, (1989), 841


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: 30 Jun 2001
Reference: IOE01/06363/26
Rights: Copyright IoE Mr Dennis Coote. Source Historic England Archive
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