MDE21273 - 19th Century music room at Woolhanger (Building)


The music room dates to 1894 and has an octagonal plan with lantern.

Please read the Exmoor National Park Historic Environment Record .

Type and Period (1)

Protected Status

Full Description

Music room at Woolhanger. Built at end of 19th Century. Octagonal plan with lantern. Now in poor condition and for sale with permission for conversion. Stained glass removed and sold by auction. Architecture described with photos by brindle . History being compiled for publication in exmoor review. [1] Large free-standing house with attached music room. The house mainly of mid to late C19 with earlier origins; linked to music room of 1894 by corridor/wing, probably also of that date. Rendered rubble, slate roofs. A gabled link, at an angle to the house, connects to the music room, which is in Free Tudor style and has 4 large 4-light windows with stone ovolo-mould members. Each has 2 transoms and flat 4-centred heads to the lights at the upper 2 levels. They are set flush in the walls, and are unglazed (the decorative glass said to have been removed). Above the windows is a simple mould beneath a deep frieze band. On the northwest side is a plain rectangular external stack; the corresponding stack on the opposite side has been cut back to eaves level. To the right (northeast) is a projecting bay, formerly containing the organ. The roof, with swept eaves, is in slate incorporating 2 bands of darker colour, and the lantern, with pyramidal roof, has small-scale square-pane wooden glazing. INTERIOR: The music room has plastered walls, with a dado rail. To each side is a very large stone hooded fireplace over a 4-centred moulded opening. The heavy projecting mantel is carried on corbels, and richly embellished, and on the upper part of the hood is the Carew coat of arms, with the motto NIL CONSCRIRE TIBI. The timber floor is being restored, and the windows are without glass, except to the lantern, where the tinted panes have been carefully restored. The roof is carried on elaborately braced and intersecting flying timber trusses, with curved braces in rectangular panels, and carried down to carved corbels in the corners of the octagon. At the entrance end a concrete block temporary partition has been inserted, and opposite is the plain opening to the former organ gallery, slightly raised from the main floor level. A remarkable enterprise, the form and detail of this music room make it a survival of considerable interest, encountered unexpectedly on the edge of the open moors. At the time of inspection the music room was in course of slow restoration. [2] The music room was visited in 1989 and includes a water powered organ of considerable local interest. The music room is very dilapidated and the roof falling in. It is presumably empty. The wheel has gone and is being restored somewhere in Hampshire. The bellows for the organ were driven by shaft from the water wheel. [3] Built in 1890s; domed inside and crowned by a rectangular lantern. An irregular octagon approached through a long hall, the width of an empty eighth side, opposite the organ platform on a north to south axis. East and west the middle walls of 3 contain massive fireplaces of bath stone, each surmounted by the Carew coat of arms. Each of the walls flanking the fireplaces contains a tall square headed window frame with stone mullions. Original glazing included stained glass portraits of writers and composers. The next owner, in 1907, sold the organ and domesticated the octagon. It 1939 it was requisitioned for the forces. When the war office subsequently decided not to use it, it was let to Pickfords for storage of furniture from bombed houses in Plymouth and Exeter. After the war it was sold again. Circa 1980 lead was stripped from the roof and any saleable plasterwork removed. The stained glass went to Sotheby's. Floorboards reused in pigsties. [4] The music hall features two identical bath stone fireplaces on opposite walls both bearing heraldic crests carved into tall over mantels and are approximately 15 feet high and inscribed 'nil conscine sibi'. The ceiling is domed with a timber lintel beamed ceiling. [5] An octagonal music room formed part of the building complex at Woolhanger. It was built in 1894 and the organ which it contained was powered by a water wheel. [6] The building is depicted on 2020 MasterMap data. [7] This record was enhanced as part of the National Record of the Historic Environment to Exmoor National Park Historic Environment Record data transfer project. [8]

Sources/Archives (8)

  • <1> Archive: Devon County Council. Various. Devon SMR / HER records / parish files - Exmoor records. Oral report and photograph, H Eardley-Wilmot, September 1988.
  • <2> Index: Department of the Environment. List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest . HHR: Lynton and Lynmouth (28 November 1989).
  • <3> Monograph: Thorpe, J.. 1989. North Devon Watermills. North Devon Archaeological Society Report. 5. 57.
  • <4> Serial: Exmoor Society. 1959-present. Exmoor Review. Volume 31 (1990), "Woolhanger Music Room", p33-35 (H Eardley-Wilmot).
  • <5> Archive: Devon County Council. Various. Devon SMR / HER records / parish files - Exmoor records. Particulars of Estate Agents, 1986.
  • <6> Unpublished document: Wilson-North, R.. Field Investigators Comments. RCHME Field Investigation, August 1993.
  • <7>XY Map: Ordnance Survey. 2020. MasterMap data. 1:2,500. [Mapped feature: #41388 ]
  • <8> Digital archive: Historic England. Various. National Record of the Historic Environment (NRHE) entry. 34624, Extant 28 April 2021.

External Links (0)

Other Statuses/References

  • 2012-3 Building At Risk Score (Not visited): 858/1/1/2
  • Devon SMR Monument ID: 34784
  • Devon SMR: SS64NE/23/4
  • Local List Status (Unassessed)
  • National Monuments Record reference: SS 64 NE5
  • NRHE HOB UID (Pastscape): 34624



Grid reference Centred SS 6983 4534 (14m by 31m)
Map sheet SS64NE

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Related Monuments/Buildings (2)

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Record last edited

May 3 2021 10:01PM


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