Originally a hall-house
Margells was originally a hall-house, open to the roof and probably built in the late 15th century. The frame is a very early construction, the cruck coming at first floor level. There would have been a sleeping gallery at first floor level reached by a ladder type stair, probably from the sitting room side using the rounded door, which now goes into the painted bedroom.
About a hundred years later the present first floor was put in, making two big bedrooms. The fine coffered ceilings are typical of this period and there is a similar, though not such a good one in another Landmark - No. 2 Hawker’s Cottages at Coombe. The spiral stair would have been added at this time. It is made of solid blocks of chestnut, except for the top two treads which are oak, as is all the rest of the wood used in the house. At about this time the two fireplaces were added, with the chimneys built on to the outside of the house.
The quality of such a small cottage has led some people to suggest that Margells was the cross-wing of a larger house. The doorway, which is clearly visible in the wall of the bedroom above the kitchen certainly suggests this. The door from the kitchen into the bathroom was at one time bigger than it is now and that it was an important door is shown by the decoration in red-ish paint that can still be seen on the beam. The village of Branscombe contains a remarkable number of good houses of 16th and 17th century date and as the church records show, it housed a number of minor gentry. Margells almost certainly belonged to one of these families.
Since the 16th century Margells has been altered very little. It looks as though at one time the wall onto the road had to be rebuilt. This would explain why the timber frame at that end is different from the rest; it does not come down to the first floor and the wall painting has disappeared from that end of the bedroom. It was probably when this was being done that the big fireplace in the sitting room was made deeper.
There were a few superficial additions and alterations. Outside a small porch was added and a galvanised iron lavatory. Inside, a staircase was put into what is now the kitchen. In the sitting room the big fireplace was partially bricked up and ceilings were put into the bedrooms. They have now been taken out, but you can see indentations where the rafters were laid on top of the partition between the middle bedroom and the passage. The old floors on the first floor were boarded over in softwood and the east window in the bedroom above the kitchen was blocked up.
For a short history of Margells please click here.
To read the full history album for Margells please click here.
To download the children's Explorer pack for Margells please click here.
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A changeover day is a particular day of the week when holidays start and end at our properties. These tend to be on a Friday or a Monday but can sometimes vary. All stays run from one changeover day until another changeover day.
Monday 13th February 2014