Past Remains

A view of yesterday from today

Dowlands, Devon

A tiny hamlet between Axmouth and Rousdon in East Devon, it consists of Dowlands House, Dowlands farm and two or three residential houses and / or holiday cottages.

Dowlands House is a Grade II listed building. Built in 1847 with a date plaque above the front entrance, it is a stone house with ashlar front consisting of two storeys plus an attic.  There is a gabled cross-wing on the right side and a slate roof covering both, with stone coping at the gable ends, rendered ridge and end chimney stacks.

A gabled stone porch with four centred arch doorway, along with stone mullioned windows in the Tudor Style, gives it the apprearance of a much older building. I puzzled over the date until further research reminded me of the reason why that might be...

On Christmas Eve 1839, the great landslip below Dowlands and Bindon occurred, creating a huge chasm. The farmhouse at the time was untouched but, as the new house was built some eight years later, it is possible that the original structure may have been weakened. What is interesting is that a visitor to my website kindly sent an email to tell me that the gabled cross-wing on the right hand side is the oldest part of the building, and that the frontage to the left was the later part built in 1847. It was also renovated inside in 1987.

One delightful story about the great landslip is that the tenant farmer of the original farm, Mr Chappell, began to charge visitors sixpence each to use the old cart road on his land to reach the natural tourist attraction, after much of his crops had been trampled on by earlier sightseers. It took a little while for the farmers and other locals to catch on, but pretty soon places were open for the sale of tea & snacks, and overnight stays, creating the start of the tourist industry in the area.

According to it's listed building status, Dowlands House was the original farmhouse of the farm, therefore any other buildings which existed at the time were all part of the farm too. The building to the left of the House has a sign to say it's called Dowlands Farm and may have been originally either a farm building, cottages for farm workers or tenants, or it may have been built later. However, the road side gable shows that later windows have replaced earlier ones and that there was once a small gable above the top storey one.


A small walled garden to the front of the house and some grass verges between the buildings and the lane, with stone boundaries to prevent people from parking their cars there.

A  few more photos can be seen in the Photo Gallery album along with these. As always, I'll add more info should I come across it.

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