National Park

A medieval stone-built manor house in Devon’s Dartmoor National Park which comprises 243 acres of rich farmland and a fantastic range of outbuildings

Known as “one of the finest quadrangular houses in the country”, Morwell Barton is an imposing Grade I listed house with 10,000 square feet of renovated accommodation. Penny Churchill takes a look.

According to a Financial Times report, people are returning to UK offices in greater numbers since the start of the pandemic, with the average occupancy of workspaces between February 7 and February 11 reaching 23.3% – levels seen for the last time in November 2021, before the outbreak of the Omicron coronavirus variant.

With normal occupancy estimated at 60% for most businesses and office demand currently 7-14% lower than in pre-pandemic years, Mat Oakley, head of European commercial property research at Savills, thinks “occupancy figures will increase as the weather improves”. , and with a little peer pressure. But will it ever return to the levels we’ve seen before? I don’t think that will be the case.”

Although it is still too early to assess the full impact of hybrid working on the country property market, in the West Country, Ed Clarkson of Property Vision buying agents has already seen a quantum shift in the attitude of owners and buyers in recent months:

“It’s no coincidence that the latest Nationwide figures put Taunton at the top of the list for nationwide house price increases over the past year,” he says. “Many country house owners whose families are based here have probably traveled to London four or five days a week in the past; they now find they only need to be there half that time and can comfortably work from home the rest of the week.

With increasingly sought-after coastal homes across the West Country in desperate short supply, Richard Addington of Jackson-Stops in Exeter has seen an increase in buyers seeking peace and seclusion inland, including in and around Dartmoor National Park.

He quotes a guide price of £4.5million for the historic Grade I listed Morwell Barton, near Tavistock, Devon, a restored medieval stone mansion with adjoining courtyard and outbuildings set in 243 acres of farmland rich, woodland and pasture, with far-reaching views towards the Tamar Estuary to the south and Dartmoor to the east.

According to its Historic England List, Morwell Barton, known as Morwell Priory, Morewell Farmhouse and Morwell House, was built in the late 15th century as a country retreat for the Abbot of Tavistock, with wings added to the 16th century to create a courtyard. .

The open hall was covered with parquet flooring and fireplaces were added at the beginning of the 17th century. An attached late 18th century barn was rebuilt in the 19th century, when the interior of the house was also heavily altered. Structurally, the building, with its imposing gatehouse, has been described as “one of the finest quadrangular houses of the day in the county”.

The estate of Tavistock Abbey was among the wealthiest in Devon when, in March 1539, it was ceded to the Crown by Abbot John Peryn. In 1540 Henry VIII granted the abbey and its lands to John Russell, 1st Baron Russell, created Earl of Bedford in 1550. He chose to live near Crowndale and the Morwell Barton estate was leased for several centuries.

In the mid-1800s the Russell family, then Dukes of Bedford, built a series of model farmhouses on their estates and the traditional farm buildings of Morwen Barton probably date from this time. In the mid-20th century, the somewhat neglected main house was sold off the estate, changing hands for only the second time in 800 years.

Since then the mansion has been completely renovated and significantly modified internally to provide 10,000 square feet of living space, including three reception rooms, five bedrooms and an adjoining three bedroom annex, with part of the gatehouse converted into wine cellar and a long barn running along the east side of the courtyard serving as a splendid party venue.

Morwell Barton is currently on the market through Jackson-Stops with an indicative price of £4.5million – see more photos or ask the agent for details.

Tavistock: what you need to know

Location: West Devon, near Dartmoor National Park and just above the Tamar Valley AONB. Plymouth is just under 15 miles to the south and Exeter – plus its international airport – is around 40 miles to the northeast. Train services to Cornwall, London and the North depart from Gunnislake, Calstock, Bere Alson and Plymouth.

Atmosphere: The market town of Dartmoor boasts a thriving community and is the only town in Devon to hold World Heritage status. There are a number of excellent restaurants, cafes, pubs, shops and places to visit, especially its famous Pannier Market.

Things to do: Tavistock Golf Club is close by, but the real charm of this property is its proximity to fantastic walking, cycling and horse riding trails along Dartmoor National Park. A day trip to the coast is also very doable, with a number of beaches dotted around the southwest coast, as well as excellent sailing and watersports opportunities from Plymouth Sound.

Schools: Mount Kelly Prep and Mount Kelly College are well-known independent schools best known for their swimming. Plymouth College, Devonport High School for Boys, Plymouth High School for Girls, and Ivybridge Community College are also good options nearby.

See more properties for sale in the area.


Check out the best country homes for sale this week that have hit the market via Country Life.