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IoE Number: 88639
Photographer: N/A
Date Photographed: N/A
Date listed: 11 November 1952
Date of last amendment: 11 November 1952
Grade II*

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SX 98 NEWOODBURYNUTWELL ROAD, Lympstone1/126Nutwell Court11.11.52-II*

SX 98 NE WOODBURY NUTWELL ROAD, Lympstone 1/126 Nutwell Court 11.11.52 - II* Substantial country house. The manor belonged to the Dinhams; of their late medieval house parts of the chapel remain (there is a record of a licence in 1371, but there appears to have been a chapel here in the early C14, a date that accords well with the style of the remaining glass); the house was rebuilt by Lord Dinham (later Henry VII's Treasurer) in the 1480s; this in turn was drastically remodelled in the 1750s by Sir Francis Drake who demolished the gatehouse at great expense and converted the chapel into a library thereby destroying part of the medieval roof. The house was largely rebuilt for the 2nd Lord Northcote in 1802 to plans by Samuel Pepys Cockerell. A major restoration was undertaken in the 1940s by George Northcott. The chapel is of sandstone ashlar; the remainder of the house is clad in yellow mathematical tiles in Flemish bond fixed to laths; these are hung to resemble bricks in Flemish bond. Gabled-end and hipped roofs, those to the house concealed by balustrade. Plan: principal rooms ranged around the central rear stairwell with entrance hall to left-hand (north) side; service rooms occupy a rear wing that runs parallel to the chapel, with service accommodation in the attic. A ballroom is placed in the basement (south-west). 2 storeys and basement throughout, the central part with attic storey; the austere exterior,combined with an imaginative disposition of internal spaces,is reminiscent of Soane. Exterior: all windows have hornless sashes which, with the exception of the attic storey, have lost their glazing bars. Plat band between basement and ground floor, throughout. Entrance front (north): symmetrical, 6 bays; balustrade. Unadorned sash windows to 1st floor. Ground floor with 2-bay entrance; 2 Ionic columns with plain cornice under segmental arch with plain recessed tympanum; steps with stone balustrade and square-section newel. 2 tall windows to either side of entrance with small balustrades to sills; plain basement windows. Garden front (west): 1:3:1 bays, symmetrical, the central bays projecting with attic storey above moulded cornice originally with a hipped roof. Plain sash windows to these bays except to basement which has French windows. Side bays with balustrade; tripartite window to 1st floor; large tripartite window to ground floor, under segmental arch and depressed tympanum, giving onto balconies with railings which are not part of Cockerell's scheme; lunette to basement. South front: simple 5-bays with balustrade. Chapel: recessed slightly from the south front and extending east. The fabric of the chapel appears to be medieval (see especially the north wall), but it is difficult to be certain about the authenticity of the detailing; although some looks convincingly C14, the chapel has undergone drastic restorations in the C18, C19 and C20. South side, 4 bays, that to the west an entrance bay; external flight of steps leading to the door at 1st floor level with segmental arch, under 3 trefoil-headed windows with transoms, and a simple hood mould. Crypt with three 2- light, square-headed windows with C20 replacement ovolo moulded surrounds and mullions. Above these, to the chapel proper, 3 Perpendicular C19 pointed windows, of 3-, 4-and 3-lights respectively, under hood moulds and block labels. Crenellated parapet; each merlon contains weathered arms which look C14 and include those of the Dinham family. East end: corner turrets with heavily crocketed finials, corbelled out above parapet string course, and with canopied niches containing figures of St George (south-east corner facing south) and the Archangel Michael (north-east corner facing north): they are much weathered and probably late C14. Gable wall coping with crockets; 5-light C19 or early-C20 Perpendicular window. North side: Crenellated parapet (on south) extends part way along. The fabric has been much disturbed, with blocked medieval pointed window, and evidence of doors at 1st floor level giving into parts of the house now destroyed. One ground floor door, square-headed, with concave moulding, step stopped; square-headed crypt window, C14 or C15. 2 cinquefoil headed lights, under hood mould, medieval north arched doorway to crypt approached by 3 steps down. Rear: 4 irregular storeys, all except C20 window under depressed arches. Rear wing with crenellated parapet, C19 and C20, with three 2-light square headed windows to north with garages below. Apex of gable wall with octagonal bell turret, with pretty Gothic bell-openings. Interior: vestibule with 1940s glazed doors; coffered barrel vault. Main entrance hall with Ionic columns set axially, chequered marble floor and wall medallions. North-east room with richly coffered ceiling, the panels octagonal, with elaborate cornice. North-west room sparer in detail, with central plaster oval and cornice. Open-well semi-oval cantilever staircase, stone treads and risers, wrought-iron balusters and wreathed rail; stair-landing bressumers with Greek key motifs; doorcases with entablatures and architraves, panelled reveals and doors; circular skylight set in dome with fan motifs; Adamesque mural decoration. Drawing room (west), central plaster octagon, columns with Composite capitals. Basement, ballroom (south), with large plaster rectangle to ceiling containing strapwork and shells; elaborate cornice with dentils and acanthus. Chimneypiece with Ionic marble columns, frieze of entablature contains half relief of Cupid. Antechamber also with cornice. Internal panelled shutters throughout. Chapel: antechamber, window contains C14 glass, 3 figures (Elijah, Daniel, Zachariah), good quality with some canopy work, possibly from the original chapel. Chapel with 7-bay roof which may in part be medieval; principals on stone corbels, moulded arch braces, crenellated collars, trenched purlins, arcaded wall struts, wall plate with fleurons. C19 fitted bookcases. Side windows with C19 coloured glass in head light tracery. East window with good glass of circa 1900 showing scenes from the life of Sir Francis Drake. Crypt: no medieval detailing survives. 4 square section granite piers with moulded capitals divide the space axially; brick groined vault. Chamfered window arches.

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