History in Structure

Welltown Farmhouse

A Grade II* Listed Building in Walkhampton, Devon

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Latitude: 50.512 / 50°30'43"N

Longitude: -4.0591 / 4°3'32"W

OS Eastings: 254101

OS Northings: 70050

OS Grid: SX541700

Mapcode National: GBR Q0.K17J

Mapcode Global: FRA 27DP.SL0

Plus Code: 9C2QGW6R+R9

Entry Name: Welltown Farmhouse

Listing Date: 14 June 1952

Grade: II*

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1171620

English Heritage Legacy ID: 92871

ID on this website: 101171620

Location: Walkhampton, West Devon, PL20

County: Devon

District: West Devon

Civil Parish: Walkhampton

Traditional County: Devon

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Devon

Tagged with: Farmhouse

Find accommodation in


SX 57 SW
13/141 Welltown Farmhouse
- II*

Farmhouse. Circa 1500 with extensive C17 alterations and additions. Granite rubble
walls, gable ended slate and asbestos slate roof of differing ridge height and
pitches. 3 stone stacks: one axial to left-hand range of granite ashlar with
tapering granite cap which has moulded rim. Axial to right-hand range is partly
rendered stack with dripcourses. At right gable-end is late C20 rebuilt stack.
Plan: Complex development of plan, open to various interpretations. At present the
house is T-shaped: the stem of the 'T' consists of a shippon to the left with
independent access and a large room to its right heated by a stack axial to the
shippon, and with a staircase and entrance lobby to its right. The range at right
angles is entered through this lobby and also has an external doorway in its front
gable end. Both doors lead into a room heated by an axial fireplace and to the
right of this room is a small dairy. Behind these 2 rooms is a large room extending
the width of them both with a fireplace at its right-hand end. To the rear of this
room is a small unheated room to the left and a staircase to the right. Judging
from the evidence of a smoke-blackened truss above the principal room in the stem of
the 'T' this range is the earliest and this room was an open hall with central
hearth. The rear wall is continuous across the shippon suggesting this was the
original lower end with a passage adjoining the hall by whose front door the shippon
is now entered. It is uncertain, however, whether, this has always been a shippon
since on its rear wall it has a granite mullion window, apparently in situ, and
documentary evidence and the lack of an obvious kitchen in the house suggest there
may have been a fireplace in this room. What, if anything, originally existed at
the higher end of the hall is also unclear due to the substantial C17 addition. The
intials carved on the hall fireplace are of Robert and Grace Atwill who occupied the
house from the late C16 to the early C17. This gives an approximate date to the
flooring of the hall and remodelling of the house and - by inference from a similar
style fireplace in the new range - at least part of the addition at the higher end.
This addition took the form of a cross wing but whether it dates completely from the
early C17 or whether it developed in stages throughout that century is more
conjectural. The 2 larger heated rooms, from their features would appear to be
coeval but their purpose is unclear. The larger room to the rear has a higher
quality fireplace but it has an early oven which the plain fireplace in the front
room does not have possibly the rear room adopted the function of hall and the
original hall became a parlour but there is still no obvious kitchen. Another
puzzling factor is that the roof over these 2 rooms in the wing runs in opposite
directions. The small service room and staircase at the rear of the larger room, if
not contemporary, are not later than mid C17 and the stairs are a transitional form
from newel to framed staircase. Probably the most recent part of the house is the
dairy adjoining the principal front room of the wing but this is unlikely to be
later than late C17. On the 1st floor, until the earlier C20 there was no access
from one half of the house to the other suggesting that an early staircase must have
existed in the original range when it was floored, but also raising questions of
occupancy by a divided household.
Modifications were made to the house in the C19 when the lower end was probably
partially rebuilt and converted to a shippon with the passage removed and access to
the hall blocked. A new front door was inserted at the higher end of the hall and a
small entrance lobby created with a framed staircase inserted at the rear.
Otherwise the plan remains unaltered since the C17.
Exterior: 2 storeys. Asymmetrical 3 window front with shippon to left slightly
recessed and projecting gabled wing to right. The central section has a later C19
4-pane sash on each floor with a small single light early C20 casement to the right
on the 1st floor and open fronted C19 porch below with C19 plank door behind. The
shippon has a plank door at its right end with a loading door above and window to
the left. The wing has 2 late C20 casements with glazing bars on its inner face and
one on the 1st floor of its gable end. Below is a C19 gabled porch with C20 plank
and glazed door. At the right-hand side of the gable the roof extends in a catslide
of over dairy which has a single light window with chamfered granite frame on its
front wall. The rear elevation has 2 3-light circa early C17 hollow-chamfered
granite mullion windows with hoodmoulds on the ground floor. The right-hand one has
been blocked. Small C19 stair-light with small panes at left-hand end of on 1st
floor. The 2-window inner face of the wing has late C20 small paned 2-light
caesments except for the ground floor window to the right which is larger with early
C20 casement which has been inserted into a mullion window frame and still has
hoodmould above. The window to its left also shows signs of granite framing. The
opposite outer face of the wing, forming the right-hand end of the house has a gable
to the right with catslide dairy roof to the left. The right-hand window, at an
intermediate level for the stairs, has chamfered granite framing. Below to its
left, is a single granite-framed light. At the centre on the ground floor is a 3-
light granite mullion window whose central mullion has been removed. The window
above it - a 2-light C20 small-paned casement - also0 has granite framing. The dairy
window to the left on the ground floor is probably C18 2-light with central square
section mullion and no glass. This side of the house is built into the bank with
its lower windows at ground level.
Good interior with features from various periods, some of a high quality.
The inserted fireplace in the hall is of granite with hollow and roll moulding to
Jambs and lintel which is slightly cambered and has the roll moulding rising in a
raised semi-circle with the intials "R.A. G.A." carved in high relief. An almost
indentical fireplace survives in the larger room of the wing but with a stylized
plant instead of initials in the semi-circle. The room has 2 C17 square-headed
wooden doorframes with ovolo-mould leading to the adjoining service room and
staircase. The staircase has stone treads for the first flight, then wood, rising
around a solid core, and with a cupboard below lit by a small granite-framed
window. The front room of the wing has a square-headed hollow chamfered granite
fireplace. Adjoining it to the left is a chamfered 4-centered granite doorway and
the room is entered from the lobby by a 4-centred granite doorway with roll moulding
and foliage carved spandrels rebated in a roll-moulded frame. The 3 principal 1st
floor rooms all have a granite-framed C17 fireplace, each different and the one at
the rear of the wing has a similar carved lintel to the room below. There is a C17
doorframe leading from the chamber above the hall into that above the shippon.
Roof: Over the original hall one smoke-blackened truss survives, of heavy scantling
and well-finished, with curved morticed collar, diagonal ridge, morticed apex and
trenched purlins. Over the larger rear room in the cross wing 2 C17 fairly rough
trusses survive with mortices for threaded purlins and curved collars pegged a set
slightly into the trusses. This building stands on an early site first mentioned in
1381 and continuously occupied by the Attwell Family (who took their name from the
site) until about 1780. The Attwells rose to be gentry by the early C17 and were an
arms-bearing family of some importance in the locality, making their money through
No doubt the rise of the family is reflected by the rise in status of the house in
the early C17 and its high quality remodelling. The importance of this house lies
in a combination of the survival of the medieval fabric (unusual in West Devon) and
the remodelling of the building to small manor-house quality with a number of good
C17 features. Equally remarkable is the fact that the unusual plan-form has been
virtually unaltered since the C17 with no later additions.

Listing NGR: SX5410170050

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