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Devizes, 20 Long Street, Wiltshire

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Feature Sets (2)

Description

In the fireplace of the ground floor lounge and in the cellar there are a series of reused carved 12th century stones from Devizes Castle. 

History

Devizes, a borough by prescription, lies almost exactly in the centre of the county. Deemed a hundred in itself in Richard I's reign, a part of Cannings hundred in 1280, and a part of Bishop's Rowborough hundred in 1316, it has since 1592 been claimed as a liberty within the hundred of Potterne and Cannings. Speed, however, marked it (1610) within Swanborough hundred and the boundary of that hundred, as he traced it, was considered to have some authority even in 1839.

Devizes is a distinguished example of a medieval town whose defences were integral with those of the castle abutting it. At an unknown date a bishop of Salisbury, perhaps Osmund, built a castle upon certain boundaries (divise), which gave the castle and adjacent town their name. The fortified area, as a document of 1149 shows, was carved out of the manor of Bishop's Cannings. Devizes castle is first mentioned in 1106, when Robert of Normandy was imprisoned in it.

A town grew up below the castle walls and by 1141 was called a 'borough'.  To this in course of time town lands were added. Presumably it was the combination of castle, town, and town lands that formed the lordship of Devizes, or 'manor' as it is actually called on eight occasions between 1217 and 1248.

Features

Loose Sculpture

Cellar

A series of fragments are incorporated into the west and south walls of the cellar.

1        South wall – a piece decorated with imbricated pattern. 0.48m wide, 0.20m high.

2        South wall - a piece decorated with imbricated pattern. 0.29m wide, 0.14m high.

3        South wall – a piece of stone with a chevron pattern. 0.25m wide, 0.17m high.

4        South wall - a piece of stone with a chevron pattern. 0.50m wide, 0.14m high.

5        West wall - a piece decorated with imbricated pattern. 0.12m wide, 0.14m high.

6        West wall – a piece of stone with a chevron pattern. 0.28m wide, 0.18m high.

7        West wall – a piece decorated with imbricated pattern. 0.48m wide, 0.20m high.

8        West wall - a piece decorated with imbricated pattern. 0.20m wide, 0.17m high.

Fireplace

In the lounge on the ground floor of the house, a series of 12th century fragments has been incorporated into the fireplace.

1        Left side of fireplace – An eroded stone probably with an imbricated pattern. 0.20m high, 0.13m wide.

2        Rear wall of fireplace – left side, a piece of chevron.  0.22m wide, 0.19m high.

3        Rear wall of fireplace – near top, a piece of chevron.  0.29m wide, 0.17m high.

4        Rear wall of fireplace – near top, a piece of imbricated pattern. 0.42m wide, 0.13m high.

5        Rear wall of fireplace – centre of wall, a piece of chevron. 0.29m wide, 0.19m high.

6        Rear wall of fireplace – bottom of centre of wall, fragment including a 0.10m diameter shaft. 0.26m wide, 0.15m high.

7        Rear wall of fireplace – right side, a fragment decorated with chevron.  0.30m, wide, 0.16m high.

8        Rear wall of fireplace – right side, an eroded fragment decorated with chevron. 0.30m wide, 0.19m high.

9        Right wall of fireplace – a piece of chevron. 0.14m wide, 0.17m high.

Comments/Opinions

The fragments found in houses in Devizes seem to originate from the castle. They include a lot of surface decoration, mainly a shallow chevron pattern and an imbricated pattern, the latter being similar to the pattern found in the chancel of St John’s church. This suggests that the castle built by Bishop Roger was lavish, like the buildings he erected at Old Sarum and Sherborne.

Bibliography

  • DCMS Listing Description

  • N. Pevsner. Buildings of England:¬†Wiltshire.¬† Penguin 1985

  • Victoria County History of Wiltshire Volume X

Location

Site Location
Devizes, 20 Long Street
National Grid Reference
SU 005 611 
Boundaries
now: Wiltshire
pre-1974 traditional (England and Wales): Wiltshire
Diocese
medieval: Old Sarum
now: Salisbury
Dedication
medieval:
now:
Type of building/monument
Private house  
Report authors
Allan Brodie, Liz Humble 
Visit Date
26 April 1996