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Latitude: 50.6279 / 50°37'40"N
Longitude: -3.8259 / 3°49'33"W
OS Eastings: 270948
OS Northings: 82498
OS Grid: SX709824
Mapcode National: GBR QD.7T1L
Mapcode Global: FRA 27WD.TJ6
Entry Name: Lower West Coombe Farmhouse
Listing Date: 4 February 1987
Source: Historic England
Source ID: 1097138
English Heritage Legacy ID: 85185
Location: North Bovey, Teignbridge, Devon, TQ13
Civil Parish: North Bovey
Traditional County: Devon
Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Devon
Church of England Parish: North Bovey St John the Baptist
Church of England Diocese: Exeter
NORTH BOVEY WEST COOMBE
SX 78 SW
4/251 Lower West Coombe Farmhouse
Longhouse. Early C16 with C17 and C18 alterations. The building is constructed
partly of granite ashlar and partly of granite rubble. Most of the granite ashlar
work survives on the shippon extending over approximately half the gable end and
most of the north-west front. There is also some ashlar work on the front of the
inner room although the house part has been rendered. Slate roof to house,
corrugated iron to shippon, gable ended. 3 chimney stacks, left-hand axial stack is
small, granite rubble stack with shallow granite capping. Middle axial hall stack
is a larger granite rubble stack with dripmoulds and tapering granite capping
stones. The right-hand gable end stack is stone at the base with a dripmould, then
a brick shaft.
Originally basic longhouse plan of shippon through passage, hall and inner room.
The original gable end arched doorway to the shippon is an unusual feature in a
longhouse whose purpose is unclear; possibly it served to muck out the shippon -
facilitated by its height above the ground level. The inner room was originally
unheated with a chamber above jettied into the open hall, with a closed truss at the
1st floor partition. The hall originally had a central hearth from which the smoke
drifted up into the roof and the fact that the shippon also has a smoke-blackened
truss suggests that the partition between house and shippon either was not full
height or was not solid. The cross passage also was presumably divided from the
hall by a low partition. Probably in the early C17 the hall was at least partially
floored over. This stage of development is confused by the construction of the hall
ceiling which has a richly moulded cross beam with joists to the higher side of it
which are similarly moulded, whereas those to the lower side are more widely spaced
and simply moulded. One explanation for this might be that the hall was ceiled in 2
stages forming a further internal jetty in it. There is, however, no evidence for
this either in the form of a 1st floor partition or in the roof construction. The
other alternative might be that the difference in joists represents the differing
status of lower and upper end of the hall with a higher status 'dais' end. The
stack and hall fireplace are contemporary with the ceiling in the hall. Probably at
a later stage in C17 the front and rear walls at the centre of the building were
rebuilt thinner necessitating the use of corbels to carry the hall ceiling.
Probably in the C18 one bay of the shippon adjoining the house was converted to
domestic use forming a parlour on the ground floor and bedroom above with a solid
wall inserted to divide them from the shippon. A chimneystack was incorporated into
this wall with fireplace in the parlour. Probably in the C19 an outshot was added
at the rear of the hall as a scullery/wash-house.
2 storeys. Asymmetrical 2-window front to house with shippon at left-hand, lower
end in the same line, 2- and 3-light late C19/early C20 casements with glazing bars.
Small single light and pane window to front of inner room at right. Almost central
doorway to passage with late C19/early C20 plank door above which is C20 gabled
porch roof supported on wooden posts. Shippon has doorway to ground floor integral
with the ashlar stonework. At the shippon gable end is a round-headed granite
arched doorway, chamfered with pyramid stops, integral with the ashlar stonework.
At the rear the shippon has a ground floor doorway to the left opposing the one at
the front. To its left the house has an outshut behind the hall and passage which
is of granite rubble with corrugated iron roof. To the higher gable end is a
further cow shed.
Good interior which contains a number of high quality early features and 5 original
roof trusses. Over the house the principal rafters have triangular strengthening
blocks beneath each apex, the open trusses all have curved feet. The closed truss
framing the partition to the inner room chamber is smoke-blackened on the hall side.
This smoke-blackening extends as far as the shippon central truss. There are only
vestigial traces of the 2nd and 4th trusses which have been cut off by the hall and
lower end stacks. The third truss over the lower end of the passage survives
virtually intact. It has threaded purlins and has a slightly cambered collar
morticed into the principal rafters. The ridge has been removed but was diagonally
set, resting in a V-notch at the apex of the trusses. The roof truss surviving in
the shippon has threaded purlins but no strengthening block and the morticed collar
has been removed. On the ground floor the shippon has 2 heavy cross beams with worn
chamfers. At the upper end of the hall is an internal jetty consisting of curved
and chamfered joists projecting into the hall carrying a cross beam. The hall
ceiling is of a particularly good quality for a moorland farmhouse and consists of 1
main cross beam with ovolo and fillet mould square stopped, with to its higher side
ovolo moulded joists with hollow step and notch stops. To the lower side of the
beam the joists are chamfered with the same stops, with trimmer joists in front of
the fireplace which might possibly represent some sort of heat hatch to the room
above. The hall fireplace has a monolithic granite jamb to the right and the left-
hand jamb is re-built, re-using dressed stone which consists of granite blocks with
a roll moulding on top and the lintel set back from the front; the whole projects
further forward than the right-hand jamb. The lintel is partly concealed and
charred but a mortice in its soffit suggests that it also is re-used. The partition
between hall and inner room is a solid wall, the doorway has a heavy square-headed
wooden frame with chamfered jambs whose run-out stops come before they reach the
lintel which is also chamfered with masons mitres and to the left this chamfer
extends beyond the jamb. This suggests that the timbers have been re-used possibly
from a wooden screen.
This house is an important, relatively unaltered survival of a high quality
longhouse with a complex structure history and several unusual and puzzling
features. With the number of surviving longhouses on Dartmoor much diminished it is
important that this house, exemplifying a further development of the basic longhouse
form, should be preserved with its features intact.
Sources: John Schofield, extract from 'Brief report of structural condition of Lower
West Coombe' and outline development of Lower West Coombe by P. Child & M.
Listing NGR: SX7094882498
This text is from the original listing, and may not necessarily reflect the current setting of the building.
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