The House that Moved, Exeter
History, tourist information, and nearby accommodation
HERITAGE HIGHLIGHTS: One of the oldest timber-framed houses in Devon
The story of how the house came to move is a remarkable one, but let's start with the building itself. Very little is known about its early history, and it has been described as everything from 14th to 16th century. It was most likely built around 1450, which would make it one of the oldest timber-framed houses in Devon. It has a kitchen at the rear, a first floor hall, and a solar, or family bedchamber, on the second floor.
The lot was vacant because a 15th century timber house on that spot had been torn down in the 1940s. That house had been offered to the city council, but the council had not been interested in saving it, so the housebuilding was demolished. Now history was repeating itself, and the council was moving another 15th century timber-framed house to stand in the exact same spot.
The House MovesTo move the entire house was a major project. The building was stripped to its frame, windows removed, then protected by a timber casing. The entire building was jacked up and set on metal wheels. To avoid damage to the historic timbers no iron screws or bolts were used. A framework of timbers was installed to strengthen the building against sideways slippage during the move. The house itself weighed 21 tons and the timber frame another 10 tons.
Starting on 9 December 1961 the building was moved on rails to its new home, a process that took 6 days and was watched by newsreel cameras and a horde of newspaper reporters.
The House that Moved strikes a rather odd note in its current home. The house is exposed on three sides and juts out from its neighbours to a striking extent. It stands across from the medieval church of St Mary Steps, known for its unusual clock, and a pair of timber-framed houses beside Stepcote Lane.
About The House that Moved
Address: 24 West Street, Exeter, Devon, England, EX1 1BA
Attraction Type: Historic Building
Location: At the bottom of Stepcote Lane opposite St Mary Steps church. Signposted from the city centre.
Photo Credit: David Ross and Britain Express
Heritage Rated from 1- 5 (low-exceptional) on historic interest
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Exeter Custom House - 0.2 miles (Historic Building)
Quay House - 0.2 miles (Museum)
Exeter, St Pancras Church - 0.3 miles (Historic Church)
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