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Witherhill Farmhouse and Adjoining Front Garden Walls

A Grade II Listed Building in High Bickington, Devon

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Latitude: 50.9672 / 50°58'1"N

Longitude: -3.9763 / 3°58'34"W

OS Eastings: 261320

OS Northings: 120498

OS Grid: SS613204

Mapcode National: GBR KV.M8H7

Mapcode Global: FRA 26KK.8PB

Plus Code: 9C2RX28F+VF

Entry Name: Witherhill Farmhouse and Adjoining Front Garden Walls

Listing Date: 16 February 1989

Grade: II

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1146976

English Heritage Legacy ID: 91705

Location: High Bickington, Torridge, Devon, EX37

County: Devon

Civil Parish: High Bickington

Traditional County: Devon

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Devon

Church of England Parish: High Bickington

Church of England Diocese: Exeter

Find accommodation in
High Bickington


SS 62 SW
5/90 Witherhill Farmhouse and adjoining
- front garden walls


Farmhouse and adjoining garden walls. Late C15 or early C16 house, altered probably
in the late C16 and further altered and enlarged (possibly partly rebuilt) in the
early C17. Further late C19 alterations and additions. Rendered cob on stone rubble
plinth. C17 addition with coursed stone rubble ground floor and renderd cob first
floor. Internal cob dividing walls. Welsh-slate roof, gable-ended to right and
hipped to left (probably formerly thatched). Stone rubble lateral stacks (hall stack
with brick top stage) and late C19 red brick end stack. C19 stone rubble addition at
rear with red brick dressings and brick end stack. C19 stone porch with lean-to
slate roof. Snecked dressed stone garden walls with red-brick dressings.
Plan and development: Three-room and through-passage plan, facing south-west (ground
falls to left). Outshut at rear of left-hand end. The late Medieval house probably
only consisted of the hall with through passage to its left, both open to the roof
and heated by an open hearth, and the service room to the left of the passage,
probably with a first floor but unheated. The open hall was partly floored in the
late C16 with the insertion of a first-floor chamber over the passage and jettied
into the left-hand half of the hall. The new chamber appears to have been open to
the roof (see smoke blackening on the left-hand side of the stud partition). The
hall was eventually completely floored probably in the early C17 when the external
lateral stack was inserted to the front. The right-hand end room with external
lateral stack to the front was probably also added in the early C17, although it
might have replaced a former smaller unheated inner room. Right-hand end room
formerly had a front entrance (see blocked doorway). Late C19 outshut at rear of
service end, passage and left-hand end of hall, with kitchen and scullery, and with
integral end stack to left. The former service room to the left of the passage was
probably divided into the dairy and probable pantry at the same time. Brick integral
end stack, possibly a rebuilding of a C17 stack but also possibly a late C19 addition
(left-hand ground floor rooms remain unheated). Late C19 staircase inserted in the
rear of the hall, rising from the rear of the through passage. Further late C19
additions included the shallow front porch and the walls enclosing the front garden.
Two storeys with one-storey outshut.
Exterior: Pair of large tapered external lateral stacks to front with weatherings and
chamfered offsets (right-hand stack truncated). Asymmetrically-fenestrated front,
with mid to late C19 two and 3-light wooden casements. Recess to right of hall
window, evidence of former doorway (see inside). Ground-floor C19 two-light wooden
casement to left (lighting probable pantry) with wrought-iron bars and internal plank
shutters. Small opening to its right with plank hatch door. Passage doorway to left
of hall stack with C19 boarded door, chamfered wooden frame (possibly old) with
stepped stops, and shallow lean-to slate-roofed porch with wooden bench to left-hand
side. First-floor small 2-light C19 wooden casement in right-hand gable end.
Ground-floor small 2-light C19 wooden window in left-hand end wall (lighting dairy)
with wooden lintel, wrought-iron bars and internal boarded wooden shutters. Outshut
to rear has segmental-headed C19 three-light casement to right and 2-light casement
to left. Lean-to bread oven in right-hand (north-west) end of outshut.
Walled front-garden with low front wall curving round to the right-hand side and high
wall to the left-hand side, adjoining the south-west corner of the house. Wide
pathway to front door with low retaining walls each side and gateway in garden wall.
Interior: Little altered since the late C19. Hall with plaster ceiling and cased
cross beam (bresummer of former internal jetty). Beam appears to be chamfered and
with later adze marks (just visible below the staircase where it is supported by a
reused adzed blackened timber). C17 open fireplace in hall with stone jambs, wooden
lintel with chamfer returning to jambs, probable former spy window to left and bread
oven to right. Bench along right-hand and front walls with C19 matchboarded back.
Round-arched cream hob and probably C17 cupboard with shelf and plain surround (but
without door) also in right-hand wall. Steps up to doorway leading to right-hand
room, with C17 wooden frame and old plank door. Right hand ground-floor room has C17
ceiling frame with large chamfered spine beam and large joists. C17 open fireplace
with stone jambs, wooden lintel and bread oven. Blocked door to right of fireplace,
with wooden lintel, and seats in front and rear windows. Through passage with tiled
floor. Inserted C19 staircase rising from the rear of the passage along the back of
the hall, with closed matchboarded sides and stick balusters to landing. Apparently
C19 stud wall between hall and passage but possibly incorporating remains of old
plank and muntin screen. Left-hand ground-floor (service) room divided axially by
C19 plank partition. Dairy to rear with stone floor, low wooden shelf (or bench)
along end wall and window in end wall with seat and internal boarded shutter to one
light. C19 kitchen in outshut at rear of left-hand end, with L-shaped wooden bench
and fireplace with bread oven and cupboard to right. Former C19 scullery (present
kitchen) to rear of left-hand end of hall, with old lead water pump. C19 plank doors
throughout with beaded wooden frames. First-floor rooms with old floor-boards, and
with step in line of former jetty.
Well-preserved smoke-blackened late-Medieval 2-bay roof over hall and through
passage. Roughly central truss over hall (probably raised or jointed crucks) with
mortice and tenoned cranked collar, mortice and tenoned apex, trenched purlin and
diagonally-set ridge-piece. Smoke-blackened rafters too. The truss is in line with
the later inserted internal jetty and the top of the partition of the inserted hall
chamber is visible in the roofspace, smoke-blackened on both sides. The foot of a
cruck blade is visible in a front bedroom. Also visible is a later probable tie-beam
(obscured by wallpaper at time of survey - December 1987), probably associated with
the partition of the inserted hall chamber. Full-height cob partition walls rising
into roof-space (right-hand one probably former end wall), between hall and right-
hand room and between passage and service rooms to left. Evidence of smoke-
blackening on hall sides of partitions in attic, now obscured by later whitewash.
Hall ridge-piece supported on smoke-blackened post with V-shaped notch, set in cob
partition. C17 two-bay roof over right-hand (upper) end room has central truss
consisting of straight principals with notched pegged apex, double-notched halved
cambered collar, pairs of trenched purlins and diagonally-set ridge-piece. Roof over
the left-hand (lower) end room(s) apparently rebuilt in the late C19.
This house is a notably complete example of a Medieval Devon farmhouse and has been
little altered since the late C19. It forms part of a complete farmstead group, also
including cartshed and trap house (q.v.), linhay (q.v.), barn (q.v.) and stable

Listing NGR: SS6132020498

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