Bogan House, which is home to the Fashion and Textiles Museum, is considered the best-preserved late-medieval merchant's house in Totnes. Between the 15th and 17th centuries the exceptional wealth of Totnes, deriving from the sale of sheep and the wool trade, encouraged the construction of high-class houses. The original development along the High Street was of long narrow-fronted plots, with the buildings crammed at the street end. Later the buildings were enlarged by encroaching across the rear gardens and the pavement, as well as by combining adjacent plots to give double-fronted properties.
Bogan House itself originated as a two-storey merchant's house in the 14th or early 15th century and was modified and enlarged to its present size in the late 16th century. In the 17th century the ceiling of the shop bay was raised and the former court was filled by the present kitchen. The former medieval hall on the ground floor retains the mullioned window, and the centre bay of the main house contains the remains of the 16th century newel stair. The front of the building was refaced in the early 19th century. Despite the many modifications to the building over the centuries, it retains a number of medieval features, which contribute to its Grade I listed status.
Bogan House is so called because the initials WB and EB are incorporated in the design of the first floor ceiling. These refer to William Bogan and his wife Elizabeth, commemorating their marriage. Town records contain references to a number of members of the Bogan family in Totnes and the surrounding area during the Elizabethan period and the following century.
By 1970 the building was under threat. A supermarket proposed to gut the ground floor and raise the ceiling level: had this gone ahead, all the historic features would have been lost. Fortunately, it was bought by John Tuckey, a building enthusiast, who unearthed and restored the Tudor features beneath the later Georgian and Victorian alterations. The building faced a further crisis in 1980 when Tuckey decided to sell up, but a local benefactor and former mayor, Douglas Mitchell, stepped in and the building is now owned by the Mitchell Trust. As well as its use as the Fashion and Textiles Museum, Bogan House is also much used by community groups as well as providing residential and business accommodation.