MSO10745 - Nos 1 and 2, Rectory Cottage, Selworthy (Building)


A farmhouse thought to be 17th Century in date but may have earlier origins. The plasterwork to the front elevation includes rare incised decoration in the form of fleur-de-lys and a spade or inverted heart. It also has smoke-blackened thatch.

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Type and Period (1)

Protected Status

Full Description

A former farmhouse that is now two dwellings. The farmhouse was originally built in the 17th Century but has been subsequently altered. The plan is not clear without internal inspection but appears to be 3 cell with lobby entry, possibly enlarged right of stack and entrance resited.The dormer on the right is flanked by 2 fleur-de-lys incised in the plaster and painted black, there is a spade or inverted heart below the end dormer on the right. A rare survival of a probably once common form of decoration on vernacular cottages. (Photograph in NMR). [1] A three room cross passage house with rear con lean-to and a 17th Century extension on the east end. The cottages have 17th 'opposed plank' screens [forming the partition between the cottage?] on both the ground and 1st floor. The screens have a wattle and daub infill above. The fleur-de-lys and heart decoration are unique on the Holnicote Estate and generally rare in the Westcountry. Evidence of smoke blackened thatch found whilst re-roofing took place in 1998 suggests that the building may have had an early roof than the current 17th century one. This, along with the cob construction of the rear wall, suggests that the building may in fact been 15th or 16th century in origin. [4] The building was visited in May 2012 as part of the rapid condition survey of Exmoor's Listed Buildings 2012-13. It received a BAR score of 6. [5] A former farmhouse. The Trust’s survey discovered smoke-blackened thatch indicating medieval origins, but from the 17th century was a three-room house with a cross-passage. There is exposed cob on the rear elevation, and a heart and fleur-de-lys motif pargetted into the rendered front. The listing details describe this as “a rare survival of a probably once common form of decoration on vernacular cottages.” A projecting slate-roofed bay with a three-light wooden casement, probably early-mid 20th century, is a former shop. [6] 1 and 2 Rectory Cottage are depicted and labelled on 2020 MasterMap data. [7] The building is discussed in the 2017 Conservation Area Appraisal for Selworthy. [8]

Sources/Archives (8)

  • <1> Index: 2/1/1986. Thirty-fifth List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest, District of West Somerset (Somerset)/Exmoor National Park.
  • <2> Report: Richardson, I.. 2001. Holnicote Estate Archaeological Survey: Part 1. National Trust, The. P. 9.
  • <3> Report: Richardson, I.. 2001. Holnicote Estate Archaeological Survey: Part 2. P. 20-21.
  • <4> Report: National Trust. 1994. Vernacular Building Survey: Numbers 1 & 2 Rectory Cottage.
  • <5> Report: Lawrence, G.. 2014. Exmoor National Park: Rapid condition survey of listed buildings 2012-13.
  • <6> Report: Fisher, J.. 2004. Selworthy: Conservation Area Character Appraisal. 13.
  • <7>XY Map: Ordnance Survey. 2020. MasterMap data. 1:2,500. [Mapped feature: #38371 ]
  • <8> Report: Pratt, N.. 2017. Selworthy Conservation Area: appraisal document. Exmoor National Park Authority. p 7, 21, 29, 30, 53, Figures 19, 29.

External Links (0)

Other Statuses/References

  • 2012-3 Building At Risk Score (6): 1076/26/112/1
  • 2012-3 Building At Risk Score (6): 1076/26/112/2
  • Local Heritage List Status (Rejected)
  • National Park: Exmoor National Park
  • Somerset SMR PRN: 31242



Grid reference Centred SS 9179 4674 (25m by 12m) MasterMap
Map sheet SS94NW

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Record last edited

Nov 3 2022 2:33PM


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