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Alston Farmhouse

A Grade II Listed Building in Malborough, Devon

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Latitude: 50.2528 / 50°15'9"N

Longitude: -3.8007 / 3°48'2"W

OS Eastings: 271724

OS Northings: 40749

OS Grid: SX717407

Mapcode National: GBR QG.6MC1

Mapcode Global: FRA 28XC.C43

Entry Name: Alston Farmhouse

Listing Date: 26 January 1967

Grade: II

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1108477

English Heritage Legacy ID: 100725

Location: Malborough, South Hams, Devon, TQ7

County: Devon

District: South Hams

Civil Parish: Malborough

Traditional County: Devon

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Devon

Church of England Parish: Malborough All Saints

Church of England Diocese: Exeter

Find accommodation in
South Milton

Listing Text

SX 74 SW
5/29 Alston Farmhouse

Farmhouse, formerly Manor house. Early C18 (partly rebuilt in late C20) with
later C18 addition behind which is a ruined C17 wing, the whole built on an
earlier site. The construction of the house is of particular interest since the
early C18 front block is built mainly of hand-made bricks laid in Flemish bond on
a stone plinth. However, the right-hand side of the front wall on the ground
floor level is built of random stone rubble presumably as a later repair when less
money was available. The extreme right end of the front wall and the complete
right-hand end wall have been rebuilt in the late C20 following the collapse of
that end wall about 10 years ago (i.e. 1979). The rebuilding has been done in
concrete, rendered on the end wall and faced in new bricks for the small area of
front wall affected. The large range at the rear of the house is constructed of
coursed slatestone rubble. Front range has a hipped slate roof, gable-ended slate
roof to rear range. Behind the left-hand end of the front range is a small brick
stack: there is another between the 2 ranges, and another brick stack at the
left-hand end of the rear range.
Plan: the development of the house raises problems of interpretation since the
ruined C17 wing at the rear and the early C18 front block are separated by a later
C18 range. The most likely explanation, considering the importance of the house
and the ancient nature of its site, is one of alternate rebuild. The theory that
the later C18 range is actually a rebuilding of an earlier range is supported by
the fact that it is set behind the early C18 block whereas normally a brand new
addition of this apparent quality would have been built as the new front. The
quality of its facade is somewhat misleading since it must always have functioned
as a service range and presumably replaced an older range which had also been a
service wing to the smart new early C18 front range which consisted only of two
principal rooms and an entrance hall. When this was built on, the older house
must have extended behind it, very much as it does in the nearby farmhouse at
Yarde (q.v.) and this is a common pattern of development of old houses in the
South Hams. The later C18 range is more unusual both in its position and its
function as a very large service wing in comparison to the relatively small front
block of principal rooms. It has a passage running front to back with a large
kitchen to the left at the front and smaller room to the right, then a series of
service rooms behind to the left and a stairhall behind the right-hand room which
serves the whole house. Judging from the lack of C19 alterations or additions
(apart from the windows of the front range) the house began to decline from the
early C19 and this has steadily continued with a deterioration in condition which
led to the Cl7 rear wing becoming ruinous and the end wall of the front range
falling out. Whilst this end of the house was rebuilt, the house now stands in a
somewhat dilapidated condition although in an otherwise unaltered state.
Exterior: front range is 2 storeys, rear range is 3 storeys. Symmetrical 5
window front, first floor window left of centre is blind and painted to simulate
a window. Early C19 12-pane hornless sashes set flush with the outside wall. At
centre is 6-panel door with rectangular fanlight recessed behind panelled
surround. Flat brick string between courses. Coved plaster eaves at front,
overhanging eaves at left-hand end. On this wall are 2 similar sash windows. The
rear range is recessed from the left end of the front one although at the back
they are virtually flush. It has a plain stone parapet at the front concealing
the eaves. Symmetrical 3 window front. On the lower two floors the outer windows
are Venetian sashes with radial tracery in their semi-circular heads; the right-
hand lower one has been restored in the later C20 and the window to its left has
horns which suggests it is C19. The other 2 are C18. At the centre on the first
floor is a circa late C18 16-pane hornless sash, above it is a mid C20 large paned
casement with an C18 Diocletian window to either side. On the ground floor there
are 2 adjacent roundheaded doorways at the centre, the left-hand one is blocked,
the right-hand one has a late C18 fielded 6-panel door. The rear elevation of
this range retains its late C18 hornless sashes, some are paired. At the far end
is the ruined wing, the walls of which are now considerably reduced in height and
the decorative C17 plasterwork mentioned in the original list description has
completely disappeared.
Interior: appears to have been completely remodelled in late C18 and exhibits
numerous 6-panelled doors and panelled shutters. In the front entrance hall is an
acanthus leaf cornice which looks original although the present owner believes it
was done within living memory. There is also a central ceiling rose. Open well
late C18 staircase in rear range has open string, column newels and stick
Alston was built as one of the most important houses in the area, its status
reflected in its unusually early use of brick. Whilst the recent partial
rebuilding and lack of internal features of the front range prevent the house
meriting a higher grade, they do not detract from its inherent historic interest.

Listing NGR: SX7172440749

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

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