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Pencepool Farmhouse Including Service Outbuilding to Rear

A Grade II* Listed Building in Plymtree, Devon

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Latitude: 50.8199 / 50°49'11"N

Longitude: -3.3464 / 3°20'46"W

OS Eastings: 305254

OS Northings: 103122

OS Grid: ST052031

Mapcode National: GBR LQ.XL1L

Mapcode Global: FRA 36WX.VGK

Entry Name: Pencepool Farmhouse Including Service Outbuilding to Rear

Listing Date: 6 October 1987

Grade: II*

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1098136

English Heritage Legacy ID: 86909

Location: Plymtree, East Devon, Devon, EX15

County: Devon

District: East Devon

Civil Parish: Plymtree

Traditional County: Devon

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Devon

Church of England Parish: Plymtree St John the Baptist

Church of England Diocese: Exeter

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Listing Text

ST 00 SE
3/153 Pencepool Farmhouse including
service outbuilding to rear

Farmhouse. Early C16 with major later C16 and C17 improvements, some circa 1980
refurbishment. Plastered cob on stone rubble footings, part of the front wall is
timber-framed and some of the walls of the rear outbuildings have been replaced with
C20 brick and concrete blocks; stone rubble or brick stacks topped with C20 brick;
corrugated asbestos roof, formerly thatch.
Plan and development: the house is built on level ground and the main block faces
south-west. The main block has a 4-room-and-through-passage plan. To right (south-
east) of the passage are 2 service rooms, first a very narrow room (only as wide as
the passage) and at the end a large kitchen with a gable-end stack. A 1-room plan
dairy block projects forward at an angle from the front end of the kitchen. The
passage rear doorway is now blocked. To left (north-west) of the passage is the
hall with an axial stack backing onto the passage. At the left end is a 2-room plan
parlour crosswing which projects to rear. The 2 rooms have been united by removing
the partition between them. The former front room has a projecting gable-end stack
in relation to the main block and the rear room has a rear end brick stack. There
is a stair block to rear of the hall in the angle of the main block and parlour
crosswing. There is a rear courtyard enclosed on 3 sides. Part is enclosed by the
main house but the rear is enclosed by unheated service rooms which make up an L-
plan by continuing the parlour crosswing.then returning across the rear of the
This is a house with a long and complex structural history. The original early C16
house had a 3-room-and-through-passage plan. The inner room was then probably a
little smaller than the present parlour and unheated. The solid cob wall between
the narrow service end room and kitchen was originally the end wall of the house.
It is not clear whether there was a screen on the lower side of the passage to the
unusually narrow service end there. It seems that the original house was open to
the roof from end to end, divided by low partitions and heated by an open hearth
fire, but the roof structure does present a problem of interpretation which might
suggest that the inner room chamber is original. There is an unusually long roof
bay between the hall truss and end wall. This is propped by a king post, the centre
stud of the framed crosswall of the inner room chamber which jetties into the upper
end of the hall. The roof structure is smoke-blackened both sides of the crosswall
but so to is the top part of the king post. This post must have been built with the
jettied chamber but to be smoke-blackened on both sides the upper part of the
crosswall must have been left open to allow smoke to circulate over the cnamber.
The infil at the top is sooted only on the hall side and therefore must be
The hall fireplace was probably inserted in the mid - late C16 and the passage and
service end were floored over at the same time. Some time after this, probably in
the early C17, there was a fire which damaged the lower end. The early C17 rebuild
involved lengthening the inner room slightly and converting it to a parlour. Also
the hall section of the front wall was rebuilt timber-framed and the hall was
floored over. An inferior section of timber-framing over the passage front doorway
suggests that there was a 2-storey porch there then. Around 1700 the parlour end
was refurbished and enlarged with the new crosswing. The stairblock was built at
the same time; so too was the kitchen, dairy wing and outbuildings to rear.
The house and outbuildings are 2 storeys and there are some C19 outshots in the rear
courtyard and a woodshed on the outer side of the dairy block.
Exterior: the main block has a regular 3-window front of C19 and C20 casements with
glazing bars. The passage front doorway is right of centre and it contains a C20
panelled door under a late C19 gabled hood on curving brackets. The dairy block
contains original, that is to circa 1700, oak-mullioned windows on the inner side
and in the end. These contain rectangular panes of leaded glass. The first floor
window in the end wall, however, was introduced circa 1980. The other windows
around the house are C20 casements with glazing bars. The main block roof is
gable-ended and the dairy block roof has a half-hipped end. The parlour block roof
is taller than the rest with hipped ends.
Good interior: the upper (hall) side of tne passage is lined witn an oak plank-and-
muntin screen containing a shoulder-headed doorway; this was an early C16 low
partition. The hall stack backs onto this screen. The fireplace is large, built of
stone rubble with a chamfered oak lintel. At the upper end of the hall is an
original oak large-framed partition. The jetty bressumer is supported on a large
jowl-headed post. There is an upper end bench below and this wall and the front
wall have mid - late C17 small field oak-panelled wainscotting. The axial beam is
chamfered with step stops. The 2 rooms of the parlour crosswing have been trade into
one. Both fireplaces are blocked and only the front room has a beam; it is plain
chamfered. The stair behind the hall is a straight flight with square newel posts
with ball finials, moulded flat handrail and turned balusters. From the stairhead
contemporary (circa 1700) bolection panelled doors hung on H-hinges lead to the
chambers. The chamber over the rear parlour has a contemporary bolection-moulded
chimneypiece. There are no beams exposed in the kitchen. The fireplace here is
brick with a chamfered oak lintel. A large rear oven is blocked and to left is a
curing chamber (which was converted to hold a washing copper in the late C19). To
right of the fireplace is a circa 1700 service winder staircase. The crossbeam in
the dairy is a C20 replacement.
The original roof remains over the hall and inner room parlour. It includes one
side-pegged jointed cruck of large scantling over the hall with cambered collar and
small triangular yoke (Alcock's type L2). The diagonal ridge is of unusually large
scantling. It stops over the passage as a charred stub where the early C17 fire
stopped. A single length of ridge extends from the truss to the inner room parlour.
At the end it includes a mortise from a hip cruck. This structure including the
common rafters and the king post is heavily sooted from the original open hearth
fire. The sooting is far too heavy to have derived from the early C17 fire. The
end of the original ridge is supported over the inner room parlour by a clean early
C17 side-pegged jointed cruck truss with pegged dovetail-shaped lap-jointed collar.
The rest of the roof, over the kitchen, dairy, parlour crosswing and the
outbuildings, dates from circa 1700 and is carried on A-frame trusses with pegged
lap-jointed collars.
Pencepool is an attractive and well-preserved multi-phase Devon farmhouse. It is
notable for including a front section of external timber-framing which is very rare
in rural Devon. It forms a group with its front garden wall (q.v) and nearby barns
(q.v) besides the other traditional houses that make up the attractive village of

Listing NGR: ST0525403122

This text is from the original listing, and may not necessarily reflect the current setting of the building.

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