Heritage Category:
Listed Building
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Statutory Address:

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

Mid Devon (District Authority)
National Grid Reference:
SS 95399 12571



SS9512 ST PETER STREET, Tiverton 848-1/6/307 (East side) 12/02/52 Great House of St George


Large and historically important town house, said to have been built by George Slee (qv Slee's Almshouses, St Peter's Street, the adjoining range to the south). Later used as a doctor's surgery, used as council offices since 1974. The house is believed to have incorporated guild facilities as well as functioning as Slee's residence and place of business. c1613 with later alterations, particularly following a fire of 1731. MATERIALS: purple slatestone rubble with freestone dressings, heavily repaired on the front elevation, some of the dressings replaced with concrete; natural slate roof; stacks with rendered shafts with coved cornices and terracotta pots; cast-iron rainwater goods. PLAN: 3 room and cross passage plan range, on a north south axis, fronting west onto the street, cross passage to left of centre. Outer rooms heated by end stacks, centre room now divided between parlour at the front with a front corner stack and stair hall to the rear. Rear right wing at right angles heated from lateral stack on south wall. The house has a rear courtyard (now a garden) and access to Fore Street at a low level round the south end of the adjoining almshouses. The house was evidently refurbished in the early C18 and the stair is a C20 replacement. The position of the original kitchen is unclear: the room to north of the cross passage, technically (although not topographically) the lower end, is over a cellar but the rear wing seems a better candidate. This has an axial passage running along the north side, linked to the stair hall and a separate doorway into the passage from the rear courtyard. The partition to the passage incorporates a Tudor arched doorway. The north wall has a shallow gabled projection, possibly a former stair or closet. There have been considerable C20 alterations to the house, including re-roofing and it is possible that some of the internal features, particularly plank and muntin partitions, are not in their original positions. EXTERIOR: 2 storeys and attic with cellar under north end. The front (west) elevation is symmetrical above the ground floor, apart from the left of centre front stack, which rises behind the parapet. Deep plinth with coped gables to front left and right, with kneelers. Coped parapet between the gables rises in centre with nowy head. Round-headed doorway to through-passage to left of centre, with moulded dripmould; 2-leaf arched timber door. Moulded strings at first floor sill and lintel level, the upper string forming a continuous dripmould to the first-floor windows. Stone ovolo-mullioned windows with hoodmoulds and king mullions, glazed with square leaded panes. All windows 6-light except ground floor left, which is 4-light; ground-floor windows have relieving arches. 2-light stone mullioned attic windows, one to each gable and one one-light stone window in the centre. North end of rear (east) elevation gabled to the rear. Classicised rear passage doorway with moulded piers (very repaired) with capitals and egg and dart moulding and lion's head. To north of the passage doorway there is a separate entrance to the ground floor room at the north end and a doorway with steps down to the cellar - both doorways with continuous hoodmoulds and relieving arches and the cellar doorway with a 2-light stone overlight. First floor room is lit by a very large 5-light stone mullioned window with high transoms to the outer pairs of lights and an arched central light. Stair window to the south is also stone mullioned with a high transom. The north elevation of the wing has a small gabled projection in the centre with a coped gable with kneelers and small 2 and one-light stone windows. To its right (east) there is a Tudor arched doorway containing a C19 or C20 studded door with a 4-light stone mullioned window alongside, sharing a continuous hoodmould; both openings have relieving arches; 6-light mullioned window to first floor. To right of the projection the wall is blind. The end wall of the wing is gabled with one ground and one first floor stone mullioned window with relieving arches. A second small first-floor window and the attic window in the gable are probably secondary additions. The rear elevation of the wing is partly obscured by foliage and the yard to the rear of Slee's almshouses. It has a Beerstone band at the sill level of the ground-floor windows; an internal shouldered stack; 2 first floor stone mullioned windows and a C20 attic dormer and probably C20 ground-floor window to the right. The coach house, at the east end of the wing has been renovated and joined to it in the last ten years. It retains the arms of the Owen family, who were wool staplers and provided two mayors of Tiverton and who occupied the house. INTERIOR: retains important fittings from the C17 and C18, which have survived remarkably well for a town house, including attractive detail (eg window furniture with vertical rods linking the opening mechanism.) The following is not a comprehensive list of all the items of interest. The through-passage has a flagged floor and is lined with plank and muntin screens, now painted, the north side screen truncated. The muntins are moulded with scroll stops and a 5-petal motif, a folk magic symbol, is inscribed below several of the stops. The roof is carried on moulded crossbeams with scroll stops. The north side has a Tudor arched doorway with carved spandrels and a 2-leaf door and a lead rainwater hopper has been re-sited over the doorway. It is dated 1614 with the initials I S, probably for Joan Slee, George Slee's wife. The south side of the passage has 2 similar Tudor arched doorways, one blocked, with plain and stud doors. The north end room, which occupied the full depth of the range, has been modernised and is plain - the fireplace, if it exists, to the north end stack, is concealed. The first floor room over has been subdivided and panelled in the late C19 or C20 but was originally one early C18 room, judging from the ceiling. The cellar has a pitched stone floor and a round-headed volcanic archway. The small parlour in the centre front has a Jacobean chimney-piece with carved terms and a date of 1622 and late C17 or early C18 panelling. The south end room in the front range has a boxed-in crossbeam; early C18 panelling an C18 grey and white marble chimney-piece with an integral overmantel painting of John the Baptist. C20 stair open well stair with a flat-handrail and slender turned balusters, simple plaster rose to stair hall ceiling. The rear wing retains C17 scroll-stopped chamfered crossbeams and the axial passage on the north side is a plank and muntin screen incorporating a Tudor arched doorway. The fireplace to the large south side stack is not visible, but may be concealed behind later wall plaster. The first floor of the wing has moulded beams to the passage and some moulded beams to the rooms off. The attic storey of the wing has small rooms, probably servants' rooms in the C18, with some 2-panel doors and fielded panelled cupboards. Roofspace of C20 roof construction. The first floor ceiling of the north room has been lowered and an early C18 plaster cornice and ceiling roundel survive in the attic. SUBSIDIARY FEATURES: tall stone rubble walls to rear garden are included in the listing HISTORY: George Slee born about 1555, died 1613, was the son of a yeoman farmer of Coldridge and is buried in the chancel of the Church of St Peter. He was related by marriage to the other major wool merchants with Tiverton links. He married Joan Chilcot (qv Chilcot's School, St Peter's Street) who was the niece of Peter Blundell (qv Blundell's school). The Great House is of national importance as a good example of an early C17 town house in a provincial market town. It is of especial importance to Tiverton as the only surviving house in the town erected by one of the wealthy wool merchants who ran Tiverton in the C17 and who are known from charitable buildings they founded.

Listing NGR: SS9539912571


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

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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: 11 Jan 2006
Reference: IOE01/15075/18
Rights: Copyright IoE Mr Norman Hopkins. Source Historic England Archive
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