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Grade-II listed Devon mansion and mill included in dereliction hall of shame

By This is Devon  |  Posted: May 10, 2011

Blackborough Hall near Cullompton in Devon is among those in need of TLC PICTURE: Danny Simmonds

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A scruffy £1 million mansion in a "spectacular state of dereliction" is among four historic buildings in the Westcountry named as ripe for rescue from irreversible damage.

The buildings, which include a thatched cottage in a Devon village and a former Sunday school overlooking Bodmin Moor, have been highlighted by heritage conservation group SAVE.

On June 1, the organisation publishes Take a Chance on Me, a catalogue of buildings at risk of falling into ruin now at the centre of a plea for would-be developers to come forward.

SAVE president Marcus Binney said many of the buildings in the spotlight simply needed some TLC.

He said: "On offer are properties in cities, towns and villages and in leafy country too. Many of them, so far from being blighted by some ugly neighbour, are in remarkably unspoilt surroundings."

One of the buildings highlighted by SAVE is Blackborough Hall, near Cullompton.

According to SAVE, the spectacular Grade-II listed building in the edge of the Blackdown Hills is "in an equally spectacular state of dereliction".

The hall was built in 1838 by the fourth and last Earl of Egremont and intended to be a vast Italianate palace. However, financial woes curtailed the grandiose plans and a smaller house was built instead and then split into two residences.

The architecture has unique maritime references reflecting the Earl's position as a captain in the Royal Navy.

However, the modern history of the house is one of gradual decline as in the last century it became a school, a home for "wayfarers", the base for a religious group and an internment camp for conscientious objectors during the war.

With only parts of the interior able to be safely accessed, the building is currently on the market for £1 million. It is believed to be partially occupied but surrounded, and according to SAVE, "compromised" by scrap metal yards.

In Devon, The Old Thatched Inn at Station Road, Bovey Tracey, which was gutted by fire in 2008, is highlighted by SAVE as a building whose future remains unclear.

Meanwhile in Cornwall, St Luke's Church and Sunday School, at St Neot, occupying a "truly stunning site" on the southern edge of Bodmin Moor makes the group's list. Permission has been granted to convert it for residential use and it is expected to go on the market shortly.

The organisation also throws a spotlight on Loggans Mill in Hayle, a derelict former flour mill built in the early 19th century.

The six-storey building is now owned by Cornwall Council and is currently up for sale.

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