Weycroft Hall, Axminster

Has been described as a Possible Fortified Manor House

There are major building remains

NameWeycroft Hall, Axminster
Alternative NamesWycroft
Historic CountryDevonshire
Modern AuthorityDevon
1974 AuthorityDevon
Civil ParishAxminster

Early C15, and C16 and C17 with great hall of circa 1400. Restored in C19. The existing house is the greater part of former Manor House. Stone rubble with freestone, dressings and slate roofs. Gabled three storey north east wing with corner buttresses and external stone stack to side. Square tower over porch in the angle with the three storey range. Great hall of circa 1400 to south east with range of three larger three-light stone mullion windows each side, the lower lights have cusped arches. Chimney stack over gable end. Generally stone mullion-windows with dripmoulds and leaded panes. In the tower over the porch is single-light window with cusped arch and the adjoining wing has small window with cusped ogee arch and two-centred arch chamfered doorway. One storey and attic wing to north west with three-light window with reticulated tracery in end gable and two stone mullion windows at side, one with four-centred arch lights, the other ovolo moulded. Interior: The great hall has an open timber roof, a contemporary gallery like a rood-loft and with carved bressummer. Large fireplace at opposite end of hall. Remains of newel staircase. In 1417 the Bishop of Stafford licensed a private chapel the remains of which are probably incorporated into the garden wall, and in 1426 a royal license was granted to crenellate the house and enclose the park. (Listed Building Report)

Gatehouse Comments

The licensed to crenellate and empark was granted to Humphrey, Duke of Gloucester and others, the trustees of Brooke family. This licence was granted after William Bonville of Shute had broken into Thomas Brooke's house at Weycroft, assaulting servants and causing damage, earlier in 1427, Emery suggests the attack by Bonville was because of Brooke's Lollard sympathies, although there seems to have also been some poaching in the already existing deer park. Clearly the defensive value of this licence (a patent letter) was in showing the strength of support Brooke had rather than any crenellation or other defensive features the house may have had. However, this does also demonstrate that resorts to violence did happen and there was reason for medieval houses (with or without licences) to have some defensive features from thieves of all social status.

- Philip Davis

Not scheduled

This is a Grade 1 listed building protected by law

Historic England Scheduled Monument Number
Historic England Listed Building number(s)
Images Of England
Historic England (PastScape) Defra or Monument number(s)
County Historic Environment Record
OS Map Grid ReferenceSY307998
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  • Emery, Anthony, 2006, Greater Medieval Houses of England and Wales Vol. 3 Southern England (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press) p. 577-8, 695
  • Higham, Robert A., 1999, 'Castles, Fortified Houses and Fortified Towns in the Middle Ages' in Kain, R. and Ravenhill, W., Historical Atlas of South-West England (University of Exeter Press) p. 136-43
  • Salter, Mike, 1999, The Castles of Devon and Cornwall (Malvern: Folly Publications) p. 87 (slight)
  • Pevsner, Nikolaus and Cherry, Bridget, 1989, Buildings of England: Devon (Harmondsworth) p. 904
  • Hoskins, W.G., 1954, A New Survey of England: Devon (London: Collins) p. 325
  • Turner, T.H. and Parker, J.H., 1859, Some account of Domestic Architecture in England (Oxford) Vol. 3 Part 2 p. 357, 421 online copy
  • Lysons, D. and S., 1822, Magna Britannia Vol. 6 Devon p. 23 online transcription


  • Higham, R.A., 1988, 'Devon Castles: an annotated list' Proceedings of the Devon Archaeological Society Vol. 46 p. 146
  • Seymour, D.J., 1955 - 1958, 'The Smaller Manor Houses of Medieval Devon' Transactions of the Torquay Natural History Society Vol. 12 p. 16
  • Wilkin, W.H., 1936, 'Axminster Notes: Part 2' Transactions of the Devonshire Association Vol. 68 p. 363-4
  • Wilkin, W.H., 1935, Transactions of the Devonshire Association Vol. 67 p. 309

Primary Sources

  • Maxwell Lyte, H.C. (ed), 1901, Calendar of Patent Rolls Henry VI (1422-29) Vol. 1 p. 400 (licence to crenellate and impark) p. 403 (Commission to investigate the assault) online copy
  • Maxwell Lyte, H.C. (ed), 1927, Calendar of Charter Rolls 5 Henry VI - 8 Henry VIII, AD 1427-1516, with an appendix, 1215-1288 Vol. 6. (HMSO) p. 1 (licence to crenellate and impark) online copy