CROSS STREET

So named because the market cross stood at one end of the street.

BELL INN, THE. An old inn - it is said that the ancient oak beam spanning the modern bar once bore carvings of the King's head and that these were mutilated by the Roundheads in the Civil War. Of even greater interest is the 'Painted Room' upstairs. Recently uncovered and restored, the walls of the room are painted with Etruscan-style panels separated by heraldic devices. This work has been attributed to French prisoners of war who were in Moreton in the early 1800s. Certainly the Bell boasted a concert room in 1800, Treleaven writing that 'a ball was held in the concert room, where the young Ladies and Gentlemen made a very neat and decent appearance, and parted about 12 o'clock highly pleased with their evening's entertainment'. It is quite likely that this was the painted room. In 1801 the Bell was one of the inns providing refreshment at the Races on Mardon Down, and it was often used for meetings of local societies. In the 1890s St. Annes Well Brewery in Exeter took over the Inn - see their name on the windows. In 1935 it was the first inn to be connected to electricity.

6 CROSS STREET (PONSFORD HOUSE). Listed by English Heritage (ID no. 85048) as ‘House. Early to mid C18, said to be 1740, and refashioned in early C19 and altered in later C19... Ponsford House was reputedly built for Dr Ponsford's mistress in circa 1740. This substantial early C18 house has most of its internal joinery intact. The exterior has also been largely unaltered since the C19 and is an important architectural element in Cross Street.’

9 CROSS STREET. Originally the site of an inn, The Black Horse. The name was changed in May 1802 to The Golden Lion. Damaged in the fire of 1845, it was rebuilt. It had a wide passageway on the east which led to the brewhouse, stables and yard behind, where a skittle alley was later installed. It was closed by the brewers in 1919. The house later became the printers, Shobrooke & Collier, and now is a private house. The house to the east of the original Black Horse, called Mount Arthur, was also an Inn, linked with its neighbour. The Land Tax entries for 1780 show that both properties were then owned by the Southmead family of Hayne and Wray, and had the same tenant. It is thus not clear if this was 11 Cross Street or has been incorporated into no. 9. By the 1820s the Licence Recognizances show only one landlord, for the Golden Lion, though the newspaper report of the 1845 fire describes the Mount Arthur as 'an Inn with a facade which bore testimony to its antiquity, with its famous marble hall'. [IJFM]

26 CROSS STREET. Listed by English Heritage (ID no. 85050) as ‘Cottage, at one time divided into a pair of cottages, but possibly originally the rear wing of a house which stood on the site of the Wesleyan Chapel (q.v.) Circa early C17... This is an interesting survival of a C17 back range still retaining its thatched roof. The 2 hanging cupboards inside are a most unusual and remarkable survival. Hanging cupboards as furniture in regular use were unknown until the late C18.’

27 CROSS STREET. There was once an inn on this site, The Bishop Blaize (named after the patron of the Woolcombers, an important occupation in Moreton in the 17th century). After a fire in 1845 the site was developed as a blacksmith’s forge by the Hill family, who only gave up the business in 2000. It is still a forge today. [IJFM]

31 CROSS STREET (CROSS TREE HOUSE). Listed by English Heritage (ID no. 85058) as ‘House, circa early C18, possibly a remodelling of an earlier house, and with early C19 alterations.’ Its plan does suggest an earlier date. Included in the Courtenay Survey (circa 1790) where it was occupied by Mr James Fynes. In 1799 John Hancock applied for a licence to open the house of his former master, the Rev’d. James Fynes, as an Inn, to be called the London Inn and Tavern. His application was refused that year, but succeeded in 1800. Two weeks later the bellringing for the anniversary of the King's Coronation was followed by a dinner at the London Inn for the bellringers. From then on, Hancock missed no opportunity to attract attention. He improved the access to the Dancing Tree (already used by Mr Fynes and his friends for musical entertainment), with a flight of steps leading into the tree from his skittle alley and a platform within it to hold musicians, several dancing couples and spectators ! It was popular with the Dutch and French officers on parole in Moreton. The following summer he was one of five innkeepers providing hospitality at the Races on Mardon Down, with a 60 ft. long booth and an impressive repast of cold beef, chicken, pies, tongues, wines and spirits! Balls and suppers were held at the London Inn whenever there was cause for celebration. They were patronised by the gentry and principal persons of the town. In 1806, after the Lord of the Manor, Lord Courtenay, had dined several times at the London Inn, he presented Hancock with a new sign of the Courtenay Arms, and the name of the Inn was changed. However, the days of the Courtenay Arms were short, for in the autumn of 1809 John Hancock left Moreton and disappeared 'from the embarrassment of his affairs'. His poor wife was left to face the music and sell up.

32 CROSS STREET (MEARSDON MANOR). Listed by English Heritage (ID no. 85051) as ‘House, now in use as tea room and shop with private accommodation on first floor and at rear. Probably late C15 or early C16, altered later in C16 and early C17, remodelled in circa mid C19 and extended circa early C20... Mearsdon Manor is a substantial late medieval house which in spite of C19 remodelling retains many high quality interior features. Externally the large lateral stack and the old doorway, together with the complete C19 fenestration, are an important feature in Cross Street.’ There are no indications that it has medieval fabric; the assertions to this effect in Heath’s book Sparrowhawk are without foundation. It appears in the Courtenay Survey (circa 1790) where it was occupied by Samuel Nethercott and described as being then ‘several dwellings’. From 1910 it was used by Charles Hey Laycock (1879-1943), author of The Old Devon Farmhouse, for his collection of artefacts used in Victorian houses (now in Torquay Museum). Subsequently was a stove centre; now (2011) it is a private house once more. [IJFM]

34 CROSS STREET (THE RECTORY). The original name of the Rectory was Wintercroft. Listed by English Heritage (ID no. 85052) as ‘Early C19... The exterior of the house is almost entirely intact. It is set well back from the road behind a railed forecourt and this feature is an important element in Cross Street. The internal plan is also interesting having 4 principal rooms with the service rooms at the side, which allows clear access to the garden from the main house.’ Included in the Courtenay Survey (circa 1790) where in the occupation of Mrs Elizabeth Gilbert’s chldren, it formerly being occupied by William Gilbert. The 19th century coach house to the north is also listed by English Heritage (ID no. 85053). [IJFM] 

ALMSHOUSES. Listed Grade I by English Heritage (ID no. 85057) as ‘Block of 8 almshouses, now converted into 2 cottages. Late medieval, remodelled 1637; restored 1938... They were acquired by the National Trust in 1952. They are famous especially for the remarkable arcaded loggia. In spite of C20 alterations the interior features are also largely complete.’ This building was possibly originally the medieval hospital. It is described in the glebe terriers variously as eight or sixteen dwellings. Appears in the Courtenay Survey (circa 1790) as the ‘Workhouse’. One of Moreton’s two Grade I listed buildings (the other being the church). [IJFM]

CROSS TREE COTTAGE. Listed by English Heritage (ID no. 85054) as ‘House, converted into 2 cottages, now one house again. Circa early C18 with circa mid C19 rear wing... Cross Tree Cottage has some interesting early C18 internal joinery and the exterior which has been little altered since the C19 has group value with other listed buildings in Cross Street.’

DANCING TREE. The Cross Tree, Punchbowl Tree or Dancing Tree was a pollarded elm whose branches were at one time trained into the shape of a punch bowl. It has a history going back at least to 1790, when it was already big enough to hold tables and chairs. Click here for more information.

KING’S ARMS. The Jonathan May murder map of 1835 (no. 17) shows this inn lying between Greenhill and Cross Street. In the 1841 Census John Colridge was living hereabouts (5 doors from the Golden Lion), but was described as a carpenter. A later John Colridge again became an innkeeper.

SUN INN. A now-vanished inn that belonged to the Church. An abstract of Church deeds of 1756 says it was bounded to the east by William Courtenay's lands and to the south by Hammick's land.

UNITARIAN CHAPEL. Listed by English Heritage (ID no. 85055) as ‘Unitarian, formerly Presbyterian chapel. Dated 1802... The Presbyterian congregation possibly originated in 1662 when Robert Woolcombe became the first minister. In 1687 a house was converted for use of the meeting. About 1692 a new meetinghouse was built on this site and enlarged in 1718. But it became unsafe and was replaced by the existing chapel in 1802. A fragment of the former building survives as part of the boundary wall (q.v.) to the north-west of the burial ground. Since 1818 the Presbyterians have shared their pastor with the Baptists and support a Unitarian ministry.’ Click here for more details about the graves in the Unitarian Chapel.

WESLYAN CHAPEL. Listed by English Heritage (ID no. 85059) as ‘Wesleyan chapel now in use as an annexe to No. 26 (q.v.) Dated 1817, rebuilt or extensively repaired after a fire in 1866. Closed in 1976... This non-conformist chapel is interesting for the way it overcomes a very constricted site by having the gallery over the passageway which gives access to buildings at the rear. Its conspicuous front with large arched windows is an important feature in Cross Street.’ Currently (2011) empty, having previously been in use for a Christian braille printers.

 

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