Also known as Tiddy House, Old Tudor House is a building of historic importance. This Grade 2 listed property can be found on Tudor Street, Exe Island. It is one of the last of the old buildings to survive in this street. The building is an enigma as the date of when it was built remains a mystery. English Heritage date it to the late 16th century without providing evidence, whist independent research provides contradictory evidence that it was built before this time.
A grand coat of arms is found on the left side of the Tudor House. Unlike English Heritage, Researcher Jacqueline Warren’s research asserts that the house was constructed in the 1630s. The original deeds of the house state that it was built by “Isaac Burche the Elder,” a maltster, who died in 1683. The house passed on to the Gubbs family in the 1670’s, before Burche died. John Gubbs married Elizabeth Leach in September 1670, which accounts for the Leach coat of arms on the right side of the house. The centre coat of arms relates to the Gubbs family. The left-hand coat of arms may be those of the Northmore family, owners in the 18th century.
The property eventually came into ownership of Robert Trewman, owner of the Exeter Flying Post, a local weekly newspaper. In the mid-18th century, Thomas Smith and his sisters who owned the house were forced to sell it through the debts of their father. The new owner had a daughter who married Robert Trewman, and the rest was history. Trewman’s grandson sold the house in 1861 and it then began its slow decline.
A delight for anyone interested in architecture and history, this large four storey house is around 4.500 square feet and built using timber-framed construction methods and materials. The house has six reception rooms, six bedrooms and five bathrooms. The ground floor consists of stone, with local red brick used for the side walls. According to Pevsner, an architectural authority on sites with historical importance, this is the earliest use of brick in an Exeter building on a ‘significant scale.’ The top floor has two gabled half-dormers. All the windows have leaded lattice casements. The 17th century cut slate hanging of the first floor is a prominent feature of the building, with three heraldic coats of arms enclosed in wreaths, attached to the first-floor façade.
Up until 1820 the whole of the front was covered in slate. There is a single newel post that rises through the four floors. It is said that when it was restored, a musket-ball was found embedded on one of the beams!
Prior to its conversion back to a dwelling, the building was “The Tudor House Restaurant”, and previous to this was an electrical wholesale shop.