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Higher Shilstone Farmhouse Including Stables and Garden Walls Adjoining to South

A Grade I Listed Building in Throwleigh, Devon

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Latitude: 50.6955 / 50°41'43"N

Longitude: -3.8984 / 3°53'54"W

OS Eastings: 266013

OS Northings: 90151

OS Grid: SX660901

Mapcode National: GBR Q8.JDBR

Mapcode Global: FRA 27Q7.P15

Plus Code: 9C2RM4W2+6J

Entry Name: Higher Shilstone Farmhouse Including Stables and Garden Walls Adjoining to South

Listing Date: 20 February 1952

Grade: I

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1307205

English Heritage Legacy ID: 94740

Location: Throwleigh, West Devon, Devon, EX20

County: Devon

Civil Parish: Throwleigh

Traditional County: Devon

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Devon

Church of England Parish: Throwleigh St Mary the Virgin

Church of England Diocese: Exeter

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1/208 Higher Shilstone farmhouse
- including stables and garden walls
20.2.52 adjoining to south

Farmhouse, a Dartmoor longhouse, with adjoining stable block. Late C15 - early C16
with major later C16 and C17 improvements, one phase dated 1656; only minor
subsequent modernisations. Stable is late C17 or C18. Built of large coursed
blocks of granite ashlar on massive boulder footings. Different building phases are
apparent in the masonry, the earliest, it seems, of massive ashlar blocks. Some
granite stone rubble patching and cob wall topping. Granite stacks, both with
granite ashlar chimney shafts. Thatch roof some of it to the rear replaced by
corrugated iron. The stable block is granite stone rubble with massive, roughly-
shaped quoins and corrugated iron roof (formerly thatch).
Plan and development: This is a house with a long and complex structural history.
The main block is a 3-room-and-through-passage plan Dartmoor longhouse built down
the hillslope and facing south-south-east, say south. The inner room is terraced
into the hillside at the left (west) end. Originally the house was open to the
roof, divided by low partitions and heated by an open hearth fire. Maybe there was
a full height crosswall this early on the lower side of the passage since there is
no trace of smoke-blackening in the shippon roof. The house was progressively
floored over and the chimney stacks were added in the later C16 and C17. The hall
has an axial stack backing onto the passage and the inner room has a projecting
gable end stack. There is a 1-room plan unheated rear block projecting at right
angles to rear of the hall. The plan as it emerged in the late C17 had a parlour in
the inner room and kitchen in the hall. The stair was in the rear block off the
upper end of the hall. The rear block was probably a dairy, pantry and cider store.
The upper end of the shippon is partitioned off from the rest but it is not clear at
what date this happened. The stables were added in the late C17 or C18 projecting
forwards at right angles from the right (eastern) end and slightly overlapping the
end. The house is 2 storeys.
Exterior: Regular but not symmetrical 3-window front, all C17 granite windows with
chamfered mullions; 4 lights with hoodmoulds to the ground floor and 3 lights to the
first. They contain rectangular panes of leaded glass. The passage front doorway
is left of centre. It is round-headed with a broad bead-moulded surround, lugged
spandrels enriched with carved oak leaves. The labels of the hoodmould are carved
with rosettes and immediately above is the datestone inscribed RT 1656. The studded
plank door maybe that old. Alongside to right the cow door is a plainer version of
the main one; round-headed with chamfered surround and plain hood. Right of this a
flight of external stone steps to hayloft loading hatch, and right end is covered by
the stables. The main roof is gable-ended to left and half-hipped to right. The
right end (to the shippon) has a dung hatch and hayloft loading hatch over and a
blocked drain hole. Each side wall includes blocked slit windows. The rear passage
doorway is a rounded segmental arch with chamfered surround. The rear block is more
rubbley than the main block. Its end wall contains 2 ground floor 2-light and 1
first floor 3-light C17 granite-mullioned windows, all containing C20 glass. The
uphill side wall has a blocked stair window. The roof is half-hipped.
Good interior contains the work of all the main building phases and has had only
superficial C19 and C20 modernisations since. The through-passage widens from front
to back since the hall stack is not set at right angles to the side walls. Beyond
the stack there is a timber-framed partition to the hall. It contains a C19
panelled door and is clad but there may be an oak plank-and-muntin screen here. The
hall fireplace is probably late C16 - early C17. It is now blocked but is still
intact and built of granite ashlar with chamfered lintel. The hall was floored in
the C17. The crossbeam is soffit-chamfered, unstopped to front but with crude
scroll derivative stops to rear. The granite rubble crosswall at the upper end of
the hall contains a couple of cupboards; the oldest is very small with plain oak
surround and door. The parlour beyond is larger than the hall. Here the fireplace
is blocked by a late C19 - early C20 grate and the ceiling has been lowered so that
no carpentry shows. There are a pair of C17 door-frames, both with chamfered
surrounds and step stops, from the hall to the rear block; the left one still leads
to the stairs but those there are now are C20. The first floor has plain carpentry
and joinery detail.
The shippon has not been brought into domestic use. Besides the external cow door
there is also a doorway from the passage and it may be an original feature; built of
oak it is a round-headed arch with chamfered surround and contains an old studded
plank door. There is a secondary rubble crosswall near the upper end and what is
left of the hayloft has plain carpentry detail. The drain does not show but the
earth floor looks higher than it would have been.
The main block roof structure is late C15 - early C16 end to end. A truss has been
removed or embedded in the rubble crosswall at the upper end of the hall. At the
inner room parlour end there is a hip cruck and over the hall a true raised cruck
truss with soffit-chamfered cambered collar. There is a plainer version over the
shippon. The shippon roof is clean but the rest is heavily smoke-blackened from the
original open hearth fire, and this includes the purlins, common rafters, battens
and underside of the original rye thatch. Rear block roofspace is inaccessible but
the base of a C17 A-frame truss shows.
The stable contains a pair of doorways with a small window to left and hayloft
loading hatch over the right doorway, all containing plain C19 joinery, on the inner
(west facing) side. The roof is gable-ended and the end wall contains a drain hole,
dung hatch, and at the top, an owl hole. Inside, the hayloft is carried on roughly-
finished crossbeams. The roof is carried on A-frame trusses with pegged lap-jointed
collars, the truss nearest the house of heavier scantling than the other. The rear
passage door of the house leads out into a small service courtyard terraced into the
hillslope, enclosed by a stone rubble wall and including a woodshed and pump house
which contains a large granite trough.
In front of the hall and inner room a small garden is also terraced into the
hillside and it is enclosed by a low granite wall including a high proportion of
squared blocks and with rounded ashlar coping along the right side. The space in
front of the doorways (between the garden and stables) is laid with pitched cobbles.
Higher Shilstone is an outstanding Dartmoor longhouse. First of all it is very
attractively sited and, like many of the older moorland houses, tucked tightly into
the hillslopes. It also forms a group with its associated C17 farmbuildings.
Secondly it is remarkable that such a modestly-sized farmhouse should consistently
be built to such a high standard from its medieval roof to the 1656 front doorway.
Moreover it has had only very superficial modernisations since the C17 and is
therefore remarkably well-preserved. As early as 1935 R. H. Worth recognized the
house as one of the finest surviving examples of the Dartmoor longhouse type. In
short it is a house of national importance.
Source. R. H. Worth The Dartmoor House. Trans. Plymouth. Inst. XVIII (1937) pp
34 -47

Listing NGR: SX6601390151

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