Behind the door of Marker's
In the heart of Broadclyst, you'll find a rich medieval history inside a yellow ochre cottage.
The house was built in about 1450. The walls are made of cob and its roof is thatched. It is named after Sarah Marker, who lived here about 200 years ago.
Blackened thatch and timbers
It was built with three high rooms and a cross passage that went right up to the roof. Originally, there was an open fire in the central hall forming the centre of family life. Smoke from the open fire blackened thatch and roof timbers of the central house. This can still be seen today.
Around 1530, a fireplace and chimney were built to confine the smoke. The chimney stack and fireplace were created from volcanic stone quarried at Killerton.
An oak screen separated the central hall from the parlour to its side. In this new smoke-free environment, images were painted onto the oak screen.
There were six panels in total and four remain today. The paintings are a 'grotesque' and extravagant painting style of ancient Roman decorative art. They include a cherub, plus a painting of St Andrew and his cross, with a ship inset. The ship was of a type built between 1470 and 1510 which helped to date the paintings.
When the hall house was divided into two homes, paintings on the parlour side were covered with lath and plaster, helping to preserve them. The panel was rediscovered when we surveyed the property in 1985.
The stair turret was built in the seventeenth century and is very large for a house the size of Marker’s. This suggests it was a statement of wealth. The original staircase had mullions; wooden divides that would have supported glass panes. These were expensive and too a mark of wealth.
A new oak staircase was made for the turret by Killerton estate carpenters so that visitors can enjoy the first floor.
In about 1850, the house was divided between two families. A new front door was put into the parlour. The lower room was divided to make a small sitting room and an out-house. A lean-to was also built next to the lower room. This was used for a cooper to restore and repair barrels as it was a large cider making area.
In the late 1800s and early 1900s, more rooms were built at the back of the house.
Today, you can soak in the history of this special place on your visit, and see the rare paintings in the flesh.
Outside, there's a cob summerhouse that was build in 2000. It was designed by Jill Smallcombe and demonstrates the use of local building materials. The Gothic-shaped windows were created by moulding cob around frames, after which were removed. The plinth was completed by pupils at Broadclyst Primary School. The children created a time capsule inside the cob in the form of messages in jam jars.