Exevale Hospital (Devon County Asylum)

All on Devon Gazetteer
  • C19
Local Authority:
OS Grid Ref:
SX 980 880
Map no.:
Landranger 192

Set in vast grounds, and approached past formal lodges by a ceremonial avenue: the Victorian institution at its most imposing. 1842-5 by Charles Fowler, built as the Devon County Pauper Lunatic Asylum. Separate sanatorium 1877, fur­ther extensions 1906. The original buildings, remarkably com­plete, are an interesting example of Fowler's practical approach to the asylum design of the time, combining a compact plan and ease of supervision with reasonably spaced living quarters. Tall central block with semicircular service range behind, from which six lower wings radiate. Between them were exercise yards and gardens, enclosed by perimeter walls with lodges (one nw lodge remains). Plainly detailed, the main buildings of red brick with granite dress­ings, windows within round-headed arches. Floors and roof of fireproof construction (laminated tiles on.cast-iron bearers). Cruci­form Gothic chapel by Joseph Neale, 1877, red stone with Bath dressings, lancet windows, bellcote over the crossing. large asylum by Charles Fowler (designer of the conservatory at Syon House, as well as Covent Garden market, the bridge at Totnes, buildings at Powderham  and the Higher Market in Exeter) with unusual design. Although now converted into apartments the central airing court survives, along with the spaces forming the airing courts between the radial wings. One shelter also survives. The Asylum cemetery,with a very attractive lytch gate, is notable. Entrances lodges, avenue, chapel and associated areas of shrubbery appear intact, as well as a sports field which formed part of the asylum facilities.

Exe Vale should be added to the Historic England Register at Grade II.

Listed Buildings

 Exe Vale Hospital is listed Grade II.


Cherry & Pevsner: The Buildings of England – Devon, 1989: 442

Related designers:

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