The Priest's House

Holcombe Rogus, Devon

Overview

A survivor from 1500, the Priest's House was half village hall and half inn. Parish feasts would have been held here on saint’s days, and hospitality was offered to guests. 

  • CotCot
  • Fire or StoveFire or Stove
  • Logs availableLogs available
  • Parking AvailableParking Available
  • Bath with ShowerBath with Shower
  • DishwasherDishwasher
  • MicrowaveMicrowave
  • Waitrose DeliveryWaitrose Delivery

Beds 1 Single, 1 Twin, 1 Double

Sleeps
5
3 nights
£332 equivalent to £22.13 per person, per night

The Church House

The Priest’s House should really be called the Church House, because that is what it was, acting as half village hall and half inn. Probably built around 1500; it has fine moulded beams and a cooking hearth across one end, with another large open fire dominating the cosy, oak-lined sitting room.

By some lucky chance it was never converted to another use, but dwindled instead into a parish store. The reason probably lies in its position, squeezed between the garden of Holcombe Court (a fine Tudor house), the stony church lane and the churchyard.

Reinstated oak partitions and stone floors

Several old windows survived and inside, where there was evidence to show they had existed, we put back oak partitions and laid a stone floor so that the main rooms have much the same character as they did when used for village gatherings.

Holcombe Rogus is a village in a beautiful part of Devon, close to the Somerset border, where ancient lanes take you to unexpected but always rewarding places. The church has a good tower, a chiming clock and the memorable pew of the Bluett family who lived at Holcombe Court until the last century.

‘We planned to eat out each night, but after we arrived found we no longer wanted to, so lit the fire and cooked for ourselves.’

From the logbook

Floor Plans

Map & local info

The Priest’s House lies between the garden of Holcombe Court, the stony church lane and a churchyard, in Holcombe Rogus, a small, beautiful and rural part of Devon, close to the Blackdown Hills and the Somerset border.

Cleeve Abbey is a haven of peace and tranquility, said to contain the finest cloister buildings in England. Although the abbey church was destroyed by Henry VIII during the dissolution of 1536, the beautiful cloister buildings still survive today.

 Sheppys Cider Farm is just 30 minutes in the car from The Priest's House, where you can learn about 200 years of cider making in the same family. 

Don't miss out on Hestercombe Gardens, a unique combination of three centuries of garden design all beautifully restored and maintained. Look out for particular lectures, guided walks and children's activities held throughout the year. 

For more ideas and things to do during your stay at The Priest's House, take a look at our  Pinterest  map.

Please Note: The Landmark Trust does not take any responsibility and makes no warranties, representations or undertakings about the content of any website accessed by hypertext link. Links should not be taken as an endorsement of any kind. The Landmark Trust has no control over the availability of the linked pages.

Clear directions
FAQs

    What you need to know about this building

  • Does the property allow dogs?

    No.
  • How is the property accessed?

    From the main road.
  • What is the nearest railway station and how far away is it?

    Tiverton Parkway – 4 miles.
  • Is there car parking specifically for Landmark guests?

    No – but there is usually parking spaces available towards the village end of the access road.
  • What type of heating does the property have?

    There are electric panel heaters and a stove
  • How can I get fuel for the open fire or stove?

    Logs may be purchased at the local shop at garage in the village.
  • What are the kitchen facilities?

    The kitchen is fully equipped with all plates, cutlery, fridge etc. There is an electric cooker and a dishwasher.
  • What are the bathroom facilities?

    There is one bathroom with a shower over the bath.
  • Does this Landmark have steep, narrow or spiral stairs?

    The stairs are not particularly steep.
  • Is there a garden or outside space?

    There is no garden at this property.

    Booking and Payment

  • What happens if I can’t get to the Landmark due to bad weather?

    If the weather is bad, please contact our booking office who will be able to tell you whether the Landmark is accessible. If the housekeeper can safely get to the building to prepare it then we consider that it is open and available for guests. However if we cannot undertake a changeover then we will do our utmost to transfer your stay to another Landmark, depending on what we have available. It may not be of a similar size or in the same part of the country as your original booking. If the building is accessible but the customer cannot travel due to poor weather in his/her local area then please be aware that Landmark will not provide a refund. However the customer may be able to claim on his/her own travel insurance. We recommend that all guests take out travel insurance when they first secure a booking.
  • How can I pay?

    We accept Maestro (if issued in the UK), Visa, MasterCard, direct transfer and sterling cheques drawn on a UK bank. Cheques should be made payable to the Landmark Trust except for Lundy stays and boat/helicopter tickets which should be payable to The Lundy Company Ltd. All payments must be in sterling.
  • How do I create an account?

    If you have not used the Landmark online booking facility before and you wish to register in advance, you can set up an on-line account by following the instructions below:

    Go to the Landmark home page and click on Gift shop (located at the top of the home page in red).

    Select a gift (e.g. Landmark Handbook or Anniversary Mug) and complete the ‘Amount required’ box. There is no need to complete the purchase but this step is necessary in order to bring up the registration page.

    Click ‘Next Step’ at the bottom of the page.

    This will bring you to the ‘Your details’ page.

    Please complete all the fields (name, address, contact details and create an account). Click on the green ‘Create Account’ button once you have finished.

    At the top of the page headed ‘Your details’ there will be a grey box saying ‘Signed in’ and underneath this it will say ‘you are currently signed in as ….

    Here you will also have the option to ‘Sign out’. Please do so and that is your registration completed.

    Please return to the Landmark home page.

    To check your registration or update your account details at any time please ‘Sign in’ using the icon in the top right-hand corner of the home page.

    If you experience any problems in registering or setting up your on-line account please contact webmaster@landmarktrust.org.uk.
  • How do I pick up the key?

    There are various arrangements for picking up keys. To arrange to get into the Landmark, please contact the housekeeper at least two days before your stay
  • Can I pay a deposit?

    If your stay starts more than three months from the date you make the booking, you are required to pay a deposit of one third of the cost of your stay (or £100 per booking, if greater) at the time of booking. Camping on Lundy must be paid for in full at the time of booking.
  • How can I cancel or change my booking?

    If you wish to cancel or change your booking, please contact our Booking Office on 01628 825925
  • Do you accept payment in other currencies?

    At the moment we only accept payment in sterling.
  • What if I arrive late?

    Please let the housekeeper know if you are going to arrive late and s/he will leave a key for you in a suitable place.
  • How far in advance do I need to book?

    It depends. Some of our most popular Landmarks are booked up a long time in advance, but many can be booked at short notice. We will always have Landmarks free for the coming weekend so it’s always worth checking our availability list.
  • Do you have to be a member to book a Landmark?

    No, Landmarks are available to be booked for anyone.
  • Do I need a Handbook to be able to book?

    No, all the information you need can be found on our website, although we’d like you to buy one anyway as it will be a pleasure to own!

    Staying at a Landmark

  • Are Landmarks accessible for people with disabilities or limited mobility?

    Some of our Landmarks are suitable for people with disabilities or limited mobility. However, many Landmarks have steep or narrow staircases, uneven floors and thresholds, changes of level, low ceilings or beams, as well as indistinct colours on steps and in corridors. We recommend that you call Booking Enquiries on 01628 825925 if you would like to find out the suitability of a particular Landmark for anyone with a specific disability.
  • Are Landmarks only available as self-catering accommodation?

    Yes, Landmarks are only available as self-catering accommodation. We do not offer bed and breakfast.
  • Do you provide catering?

    Landmark does not provide catering, but we can recommend Greycoat Lumleys who can arrange for expert and well-trained staff to cater for one evening or for your entire holiday. Their cooks and chefs are able to work with you to meet your specific requirements
  • Do you allow dogs?

    You may bring up to two dogs to properties where dogs are allowed (please see specific property details for exemptions however dogs are not permitted on Lundy except assistance dogs). They must be kept off the furniture and under proper control.
  • Can I bring a pet?

    Apart from two dogs (see above) no other pets are permitted.
  • What time can I arrive and what time do I have to depart from the Landmark?

    Arrival is from 4pm and departure is by 10am.
  • Am I insured if I break something?

    We do not carry insurance for breakages. However we appreciate that accidents do sometimes happen. If you have a breakage during your stay, please let the housekeeper know and if appropriate we reserve the right to invoice you accordingly.
  • Are Landmarks suitable for children?

    Yes, most of our Landmarks are perfect for children, with gardens to play in and secret places to discover. Our furniture is surprisingly robust and we positively encourage families to stay. However, some of our buildings may not be suitable for small children; for example, some of them have steep or uneven spiral staircases. We recommend that you call the Booking Enquiries team if you would like to find out the suitability of any of our Landmarks for young children.
  • Can I get married in a Landmark?

    Unfortunately, most of our Landmarks are not licensed for weddings. However, you may get married on Lundy.
  • Can I hold a big party in a Landmark?

    All our larger Landmarks are perfect for gatherings of family or friends. You may invite an additional two guests to visit you during your stay, however they must not stay overnight. This is very important because our fire regulations specifically note the maximum number of people in any one building. In addition our properties are prepared, furnished and equipped for the number of people specified and greater numbers cause damage and excessive wear and tear to vulnerable buildings. Should this condition be ignored we shall make a retrospective charge per person per day (whether or not they stay overnight) for each guest over the permitted limit, the charge being pro-rated on the total cost of your booking.
  • Are there televisions in the buildings?

    We deliberately do not provide televisions and find that most people appreciate this.
  • Why are your access tracks sometimes difficult?

    One of the challenges of restoring unloved buildings is gaining access to them. We frequently have to negotiate rights with our neighbours and share tracks with them. In many cases tracks do not belong to us and we have no right to maintain them. Wherever possible we work with our neighbours to provide you with a good quality surface, but where this is a problem then you will be warned at the time of booking.
  • Will there be sockets for my electrical appliances?

    Yes, we have standard electricity sockets for UK appliances. If you are coming from outside the UK, you will need to bring your own adaptor plug(s). If you are visiting one of our European properties we have standard European electricity sockets. If you are visting from the UK, you will need to bring your own adapter plug (s).

    Facilities

  • Are the kitchens and bathrooms restored to a modern standard?

    Sometimes our kitchens and bathrooms have to be imaginatively fitted into the available space in buildings where before there were none, but they are all planned and equipped to a high and modern standard.
  • Is linen provided?

    Yes, Landmarks are fully equipped with sheets and towels. All the beds are fully made up for your arrival.
  • Are the kitchens fully equipped?

    Yes, our kitchens are well equipped with cookers and fridges. There are freezers and dishwashers (in larger buildings) and, where space allows, microwaves as well as a wide and standard range of utensils. A full equipment list is available at time of booking.
  • Do you provide logs for the open fire/stove?

    Logs are provided at many of our Landmarks for an additional cost.
  • Will there be a mobile signal in the Landmark I book?

    Mobile coverage varies. Some Landmarks have an excellent signal, but others have none at all. If you are concerned, you can check with the housekeeper before your arrival.
  • Is there Wi-Fi in your buildings?

    No. At the moment, we have decided not to implement Wi-Fi in our buildings following a consultation with our customers. Many said that they would find it useful, but many also felt that it would somehow damage the experience of staying in a Landmark. As the responses were so split, and as we have so many other initiatives requiring funding, we have decided to put this on hold for the time being.
  • What should I bring with me? Are there toilet rolls, soap, shampoo, milk, teabags, coffee, hairdryer?

    A welcome tray with tea and sugar awaits your arrival and you will find a pint of milk in the fridge. We also provide toilet rolls and a bar of soap per basin, but no other toiletries. We do not provide hairdryers.
History

Built as a church house

The name Priest’s House is misleading as this building was probably built c1500 as a church house, of which more survive in Devon than anywhere else. They were successors to the communal, or Lord’s brew-house, and the predecessor of the village hall. Everything from church feasts and 'ales' to raise money for the parish church, to the feeding and housing of travellers and the poor took place under their roofs.They were built mainly during the 15th and 16th centuries but church ales were outlawed during the Reformation.

In the late 17th/early 18th centuries church houses became inns or poor-houses, or simply houses or cottages. Village tradition has it that it was at one time the priest's house, and hence its present name; this could have risen from a misunderstanding, but it could also be true - two fireplaces were added probably in the 17th century. This may have been done to adapt the building for use as a lodging for the priest before the present vicarage was built in the 18th century. After that, it seems, the house became an outbuilding for Holcombe Court, probably with some sort of agricultural use, and its ownership actually passed from the parishioners to the Lord of the manor. This could have happened very easily when the squire and the parson were united in the person of the Rev. Robert Bluett, between 1725 and 1749.

A single storey waggon shed was added on the south at about this time and it seems likely that the wide openings in the east wall of the Priest's House were also made then. It was these that caused the wall to bulge, so that they were later blocked up, and the buttresses built to prevent collapse, at some time in the 19th century.

By 1858 the Priest’s House was described as 'ruinous', but in 1915 Country Life reported that the then owner, Mrs Rayer, had 'assisted to put in order the old Church House'. But on closer examination an architectural conundrum emerged - was the moulded ceiling nearly original or a recent insertion? It turned out that the first floor frame would only fit the building if the east wall was in its present leaning position; there would not be room for it if the wall was vertical. So was the ceiling itself an addition, but an early one, in that it appears to be of much the same date as the rest of the building? But there was no evidence elsewhere in the building for such an alteration.

So we come to another village tradition, that the floor frame came out of Holcombe Court. This would be perfectly possible, especially if it was done as part of Mrs Rayer's restoration c.1900. But once again there was evidence against this solution. The positions of the original partitions, now reinstated, were clear from the mortices in the undersides of the cross-beams, and they fit in very well with the likely lay-out of the original church house: would that be so if the ceiling came from elsewhere?

Also, in 1868 there was a reference to three rooms - a kitchen, a refectory ('adorned with moulded beams'), and a cellar or store-room - which fits the division of the ground floor, and implies that there were partitions still there. An ornamental ceiling of some sort must therefore have existed then too.

 For a short history of Priest's House please click here.

Restoration

The restoration was relatively simple

Unlike its history, the restoration of the house did not prove complicated, and was completed in only about nine months. This was because the building itself was basically sound. The north gable did have to be taken down, as did the two chimneys, but otherwise the walls only needed some repointing. One half of the roof had been renewed in the 1960's when a tree had fallen on it in a gale, bringing down both part of the west wall as well. As a result, the northern half was covered in Welsh slate, and the southern in local Treborough slates.

The latter were salvaged and used for the stable roof, but the house is now covered with new Delabole slates, which are more in character with the originals. The roof structure itself needed only minimal repair.

The windows were also in good condition, needing only minor repairs, and in some cases a new lintel or cill, and reglazing. All the repairs were made in oak. Three new oak windows were inserted, copied from the originals; one on the west in the doorway to the Court, which, being no longer required, was blocked up; and two on the east in old openings, although to make one, an 18th-century tombstone had to be carefully moved. Inside, the great fireplace lintel and the chimney above it needed some reinforcing with steel ties and bearers, and the lintel itself, which was found to be hollow, has been strengthened by the injection of epoxy resin.

The floor frame itself needed some repair, to the end of beams for example, and one section which was charred has been renewed. The burn mark on the west fireplace was only made quite recently however, while the house was used as a builder's store.

The partitions are entirely new, though in old positions, and copying what was there originally. The oak, like that of the windows, has simply been waxed. The floor is of Hamstone flags, which matched the sandstone in the great fireplace. Much old lime plaster survived on the walls, and this has been patched, and then limewashed to a colour close to what was there before.

The soffits, or undersides of the ceiling boards, have, like the new staircase, been painted a good medieval red. Traces of such a red can just be seen on the oak newel post, which has been left uncovered.

Upstairs new partitions have been inserted - there probably wouldn't have been any originally, since the village feasts would have been held there, with people seated at trestle tables - and also a ceiling. This was necessary because otherwise the bedrooms would have been too high for their size, and the northern half of the roof is in any case undistinguished. The apex of the original roof can be seen through a trap door.

The big chimney breast has been cut back to make extra room. To provide soundproofing and insulation, felt was laid on the existing deal floorboards - which probably date from c.1900 - and then on top, lying crossways, wider elm boards.

In the church house, a type of building which has not existed for some centuries, there took place some of the most popularly imagined scenes of Mediaeval and Tudor life - the stomping of feet, the merry revellers; in this house it is easy to imagine.

Availability & booking

Select a changeover day to start your booking...

What's a changeover day? and Why can't I select other dates?Explain MoreQuestion

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.