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Owlaborough Farmhouse

A Grade II Listed Building in Knowstone, Devon

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Latitude: 50.999 / 50°59'56"N

Longitude: -3.6664 / 3°39'59"W

OS Eastings: 283162

OS Northings: 123497

OS Grid: SS831234

Mapcode National: GBR L8.K8ZK

Mapcode Global: FRA 366G.X01

Plus Code: 9C2RX8XM+HC

Entry Name: Owlaborough Farmhouse

Listing Date: 20 February 1967

Grade: II

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1107316

English Heritage Legacy ID: 97381

Location: Knowstone, North Devon, Devon, EX36

County: Devon

Civil Parish: Knowstone

Traditional County: Devon

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Devon

Church of England Parish: Knowstone St Peter

Church of England Diocese: Exeter

Find accommodation in
West Anstey


SS 82 SW
3/30 Owlaborough Farmhouse
20.2 67
- II
Farmhouse. Probably early C16, remodelled in late C16, inner room added or rebuilt
in C17, lower end modified considerably in C19 and C20 with late C19 extension at
right end. Unrendered stone rubble facade; cob to rear. Asbestos slate roof to
main range, slate roof with gable end to late C19 extension at right end, and
corrugated iron roof, hipped at left end to lower end. Rendered stack to right end,
axial (formerly gable end) brick stack heating inner room, and axial brick stack
heating hall towards left end of main range.
Plan: unusual modified long-house type plan, with hall, inner room and late C19 2-
storey kitchen extension of 1 room plan beyond the inner room to right, and long
lofted lower end with lower roof level at left end used for housing stock until
1970's, and now used for storage.
Development: the smoke-blackened roof structure indicates the hall was originally
open, the blackening fades over the lower end of the hall, and the close proximity
of the truss to the partition wall between the hall and lower end suggests the
latter has been considerably remodelled at a later date; the original extent of the
lower end, apparently floored or lofted from the outset is unclear and whether its
original function was as a shippon or service end. The hall appears to have been
ceiled and the stack inserted in the late C16; an unusual feature is that the stack
is situated well forward of the partition wall at the lower end of the hall, leaving
enough room for a small winder staircase to be inserted at the rear of the hall
fireplace. The C16 chamfered door surround in the partition wall suggests the
passage may have been sited to the left of the partition wall, but no corresponding
partition survives on tne lower side of the 'passage' tne lower end was probably
therefore altered in the C17 and a main entrance made direct into the hall. At the
upper end of the hall, the solid wall partition and the inner room ceiling beams,
fireplace and roof structure, all suggest the inner room is a later, probably late
C17 addition; however an exposed central timber upright in the solid cob wall and
apparently intended to support the ridge-piece, could possibly suggest a timber-
framed closed partition originally existed (c.f. Bungsland Farmhouse, East Anstey
q.v) and that the inner room was entirely remodelled rather than added in the C17.
The 2 storey kitchen extension beyond the inner room was added in the late C19, and
at the same time, the upper end of the hall was divided to create a cross-passage
giving access to a principal staircase, entirely replaced in C20, in lofted outshut
to the rear of the hall and inner room which incorporated the dairy, salting-house
and apple loft.
Exterior: 2 storeys. 8 window range in all. Main range has C19 fenestration
entirely intact, all 3 light casements to ground floor, and 2 light casements to
upper storey, 6 and 8 panes per light, except to upper storey left end which has C20
casement. All the window lintels have been renewed in C20. 2 C20 doors lower end
has entirely C20 fenestration and 3 doorways, the central doorway wider than those
to each side.
Interior: inner room has chamfered axial ceiling beam and square cut joists.
Chamfered fireplace lintel. Hall has single axial chamfered ceiling beam, the
joists (exposed only in the C19 passage) are also chamfered with pyramid stops.
Hall fireplace has good dressed stone jambs and small arched opening at the base of
the hearth in the rear wall, possibly a raking hole for ashes. Large brick-lined
bread oven. Small steep winder staircase to rear of fireplace. C16 semi-circular
headed chamfered doorway, now blocked, at lower end of hall. Lower end, divided
into stables, and shippon, has stable fittings principally intact. Early C19 raised
and fielded 4 panelled doors largely intact throughout to main range.
Roof structure: 2 trusses over hall, that over centre is certainly a side-pegged
raised jointed cruck, the feet of the other truss close to the lower end of the hall
are boxed in. The central truss has a thin, slightly cambered morticed and tenoned
collar, which has been removed from the second truss; both carry 2 tiers of trenched
purlins and diagonally set ridge purlin. The rafter couples are not halved at the
apex but side-pegged together with large wooden pegs. All the roof members,
including the battens are smoke-blackened, decreasingly so below the inserted stack,
and the medieval roof structure over the hall is surprisingly well preserved below
the C20 superimposed one. The heavy inner room purlins are supported entirely on
the partition walls, and are clean. C19 roof structure over kitchen extension,
lower end entirely reroofed in late C20.
Despite the superficially altered exterior, Owlaborough is a farmhouse of
considerable interest, retaining an unusual plan form, a medieval roof structure and
some good quality internal fittings.

Listing NGR: SS8316223497

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