Gate lodge to Stedcombe House, and gate piers and boundary wall


Heritage Category:
Listed Building
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:
Location Description:
NGR: SY2616192004
Statutory Address:
The Lodge, Stedcombe House, Near Axmouth, Devon, EX12 4BJ


Ordnance survey map of Gate lodge to Stedcombe House, and gate piers and boundary wall
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Statutory Address:
The Lodge, Stedcombe House, Near Axmouth, Devon, EX12 4BJ

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

Location Description:
NGR: SY2616192004
East Devon (District Authority)
National Grid Reference:


Gate lodge to Stedcombe House, built in 1898 for Samuel Sanders Stephens by an unknown architect; and its gate piers and boundary wall.

Reasons for Designation

The gate lodge to Stedcombe House, 1898 built for Samuel Sanders Stephens by an unknown architect, and its gate piers and boundary wall are listed at Grade II, for the following principal reasons:

Architectural interest: * for the influence of WE Nesfield on the unknown architect to produce a C19 building of its time, whilst subtly replicating the form and materials of the C17 Stedcombe House; * for the survival of historic features, including good-quality joinery, and the quality of the late C20 interventions.

Historic interest: * as part of the evolution of the Stedcombe Estate into the C19; * as an expression of Samuel Sanders Stephens’ residence near Axmouth, where he had philanthropic links. Group value: * as the gate lodge, piers and boundary wall to the Grade I-listed Stedcombe House, and its associated farm and walled garden which are listed at Grade II and Grade II* respectively.


Stedcombe House was built in around 1697 by Richard Hallett (d.1747), whose family had owned the estate since 1691. They were a merchant family who traded in Barbados sugar and rum to fund the purchase of the estate and construction of the house. The plan is an exact square with five window bays on each elevation, built of red brick with Beer and Portland stone dressings. A slate hipped roof surrounds a central, brick, square belvedere incorporating the chimney stacks. The Hallett family owned Stedcombe House and its estate until 1890, when it was bought by Samuel Sanders Stephens (d.1910). High Sherriff for Devon and Justice of the Peace and a member of the County Council, Stephens also had philanthropic inclinations, having paid for the removal in perpetuity of the public toll on Axmouth Bridge in 1907.

Stephens had the lodge built at the end of the western entrance drive to the house in 1898. The lodge faces south, and was originally roughly square in plan, with a small walled yard to the north. Up to this date both the house and Stedcombe Farm (to the south of the main house) were accessed from the same entrance off the present day B3172 with the principal drive curving to the north and that to the farm leading directly to the east. It is likely that Stephens also rebuilt the main drive with a new drainage system, with the lodge and its gate piers creating a welcoming entrance to the main house. At some point in the mid-C20 the main road was straightened at the lodge’s location on a bend, and two separate access roads created to the house and farm. This then placed the lodge back from the road. The Stephens family sold the estate in 1960, when it was broken up, and in 1963 Stedcombe House was vacated and abandoned. By the 1970s the house was in a dilapidated state and the owners were forced to sell it in 1987. It is thought that the house and lodge remained in the same ownership between 1960 and 1988 each time that ownership was transferred. Passing to the current owners in 1988, they restored the main house and made alterations to the lodge including the conversion of a small, walled back yard into a third bedroom by flat roofing the yard; and insertion of a fourth dormer window on the northern roof pitch. Iron railings to the south-west boundary wall were removed in the Second World War.


Gate lodge to Stedcombe House, built in 1898 for Samuel Sanders Stephens by an unknown architect; and its gate piers and boundary wall. Red brick with Beer Stone quoins and Bath Stone copings and finials, under a slate-tile pyramidal roof with a bracketed eaves cornice. The lodge is single-storey with an attic storey and is rectangular in plan. Central to the apex of the roof is a brick, square, chimney stack with a moulded brick cap. Each roof slope has a single semi-circular pedimented dormer window, and three of the four windows have stone or composite mouldings in the tympana of their pediments; that to the north was left plain when it was added in 1988-90. At the east side of the south elevation is a pitched-roof single-storey porch supported on timber Doric columns on low red-brick walls, forming a pedimented entrance with stone steps and a tiled landing. The pediment incorporates a stone tympanum with the monogram SSS and the date 1898 below. The south and west elevation each has a canted timber bay window supported on shaped cill brackets. Other windows are timber casements, some with crown glass, within segmental rubbed-brick arches. At the rear (north) of the lodge is a flat-roofed structure, created out of a walled yard.

Internally, the lodge is entered into a small stair hallway, with a sitting room to its west across the south front, a dining room to the north-west, and a kitchen and pantry to the north east. To the north are a bedroom off a small lobby, and a bathroom and utility room within a C20 conversion. In the attic the two bedrooms fill the spaces to the north and south of the chimney. A small bathroom lies to the west. The single-flight staircase is timber with moulded treads.

The principal rooms and original bedrooms have a fireplace with a simply-moulded surround and a cast-iron grate and inner surround (that to the dining room is not contemporary to the lodge). The fire surround to the kitchen is plain, and the fireplace would have contained a small range. The living room and dining room have timber double-height cupboards recessed into the chimney breast, and each room has a timber four-panelled moulded door within a moulded architrave with brass door furniture. Floors are timber-sawn boards, with a quarry-tile floor in the kitchen.

SUBSIDARY FEATURES A pair of square, brick and Beer Stone gate piers flanks the driveway to Stedcombe House, each with a Bath Stone plinth and ball finial. A red-brick wall with Bath stone coping runs around the south-west boundary of the lodge, curved down from a pier at its northern point to create a low, curved wall running to the porch steps. Inset within the wall is a cast-iron Ordnance Survey Benchmark.


Books and journals
Rae-Scott, C, 'The Restoration of Stedcombe House' in Association for Studies in Conservation of Historic Buildings, , Vol. 15, (1990), 31-38
Girouard, M, 'Stedcombe House, Devon' in Country Life, , Vol. 135, (26 December 1963), 1738-1741
Cherry, B, 'Six houses for the Nineties: a perfect restoration' in Country Life, , Vol. 185, (1991), 90-100
Axmouth Church: Churchyard, accessed 19/07/2018 from
Stags Residential Lettings – particulars for Stedcombe Lodge, n/d, accessed 19/07/2018 from
Ordnance Survey (1959) (1:2500)
Ordnance Survey, Devonshire (1889) (1:2500)
Ordnance Survey, Devonshire (1904) (1:2500)
Plans for conversion of walled yard to accommodation (1989).
Tithe Map, Axmouth parish (1842)
Western Times, ‘Axmouth Bridge, Interesting presentation to Mr Sanders Stephens, The Freeing Ceremony’, Tuesday October 1 1907, p4.
Western Times, ‘Seaton’s Benefactor: Death of Mr Sanders Stephens’, Friday 12 August 1910, p5.


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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