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Christmas Farmhouse and Adjoining Outbuilding and Front Garden Walls

A Grade II Listed Building in High Bickington, Devon

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Latitude: 50.9572 / 50°57'25"N

Longitude: -3.9706 / 3°58'14"W

OS Eastings: 261691

OS Northings: 119377

OS Grid: SS616193

Mapcode National: GBR KV.MXMB

Mapcode Global: FRA 26KL.4WT

Plus Code: 9C2RX24H+VP

Entry Name: Christmas Farmhouse and Adjoining Outbuilding and Front Garden Walls

Listing Date: 16 February 1989

Grade: II

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1326593

English Heritage Legacy ID: 91682

Location: High Bickington, Torridge, Devon, EX37

County: Devon

District: Torridge

Civil Parish: High Bickington

Traditional County: Devon

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Devon

Church of England Parish: High Bickington

Church of England Diocese: Exeter

Tagged with: Farmhouse Thatched farmhouse

Find accommodation in
High Bickington


SS 61 NW
9/66 Christmas Farmhouse and adjoining
- outbuilding and front garden walls


Shown on 0.S. map as Gratleigh.
Farmhouse and adjoining outbuilding and garden walls. Late C15 or early C16, altered
probably in the late C16 and further altered in the early C17. Enlarged in the mid
to late C17. Minor late C19 or early C20 alterations with further minor alterations
(mostly internal) in the mid to late C20. Rendered cob on stone rubble plinth,
partly rebuilt in stone rubble. Thatched roof, half-hipped to left. Rendered stone
end stack to left and brick end stack to right. Outbuilding of stone rubble and cob
with C20 corrugated-iron lean-to roof. Stone rubble garden walls.
Plan and development: Three-room and through-passage plan, facing south-east (ground
falls to right). The late Medieval house consisted of the hall, through passage,
former service room to the right and former inner room to the left. The hall (and
probably passage too) was formerly open to the roof, heated by an open hearth but the
former service room and inner room probably always had first floors. The room to the
left of the hall may be a later C16 or C17 addition of a rebuilding or a smaller
former inner room. The open hall was partly floored probably in the late C16 by the
insertion of a first-floor chamber over the passage and jettied into the right-hand
half of the hall. External lateral stack (once truncated) inserted in the front wall
of the hall, possibly before the internal jetty was inserted or at the same time, but
probably in the early to mid C17 (former wooden lintel replaced by brick arch in the
late C19). Projecting full-height square bay to the front of the hall at the left-
hand end next to the stack, probably added when the stack was inserted. The left-hand
side of the hall was probably finally floored in the late C17, possibly even in the
early C18. Further C17 alterations included the addition of an external lateral
stack (since truncated) to the rear of the former service room, and the first-floor
might also have been inserted in this end in the C17. Possible former staircase in
right-hand rear corner (see void to right of rear stack). Probably late C17 one-
roomed addition at left-hand end of house with external end stack and probably late
C17 or early C18 one-room plan dairy wing (now kitchen) at the rear of the through
passage. Mid to late C19 alterations included the inspection of a loft door in the
front wall of the room to the left of the hall, approached by a flight of external
stone steps. The owner reports (January 1987) that the ground-floor room to the left
of the hall (former inner room) became the kitchen in the C19, which probably
explains the pair of blocked doorways in the front wall. The right-hand end wall of
the house was rebuilt in stone in the mid to late C19, with a stone end stack
corbelled out from the first floor, consisting on one flue to a first-floor fireplace
only. Doorway underneath stack in end wall, since blocked. Other late C19
alterations included the insertion of the staircase in the right-hand rear corner of
the hall. Probably C19 former shippon adjoining right-hand end of house, with first
floor removed and roof altered in the C20. The mid to late C20 alterations included
the removal of the first floor in the room to the left of the hall (former inner
room) and the creation of a gallery along the front wall, and the internal division
of the far left-hand ground-floor room. Doorways inserted in the rear walls of the
hall and the left-hand ground-floor room in the C20 too. Probably late C19 low stone
walls enclosing front garden (possibly incorporating some earlier work), retaining
wall to front and return wall to left adjoining house. Two storey house with one-
storey outbuilding.
Exterior: Asymmetrically-fenestrated front; mainly late C19 two-light small-paned
wooden casements. Projecting full-height square bay has casements on each floor
(lower window with weathering above) and truncated external stack to right. High
slate-roofed lean-to bread oven in right-hand angle of stack. Two first-floor
casements and one ground-floor casement to right of stack and 3 ground-floor
casements to left of stack, small window lighting former inner room and 2 windows to
left with wooden lintels, both formerly doorways (see straight joints). Wide
through-passage doorway to right of stack has probable late C19 or early C20 plank
door with internal wrought-iron strap hinges and wooden frame and probable C20
rendered porch with half-hipped thatched roof, 2-leaf door and windows to sides.
Inserted loft doorway to former granary over inner room with late C20 glazed door and
approached by C19 external flight of 8 stone steps with corbelled-arched opening
below (possibly former kennel or small lime kiln). Small buttress to left of right-
hand ground-floor window. First-floor C19 two-light small-paned wooden casement to
right of stack in left-hand end wall, with wooden lintel. Straight joint to left of
stack in right-hand gable end and blocked doorway below end stack (see straight
joints and wooden lintel) with later buttress in front supporting stack.
Outbuilding at right-hand end has doorway to front with C20 plank door and red brick
Garden wall adjoining front of house has gateway opposite front door, approached by
steps, and gateway in left-hand side wall.
Interior: Cob walls between hall and former inner room and between passage and
service room, rising up into roof-space. Hall has cased C17 chamfered cross beam and
half-beam along left-hand end wall. Inserted internal jetty in right-hand half of
hall has moulded bressumer with straight cut stops and 2 mortices in front face
(original function unknown). Right-hand end (front wall) of bressumer rests on a
wooden wall plate. Plastered hall ceiling with old meat hook. Tall C17 open
fireplace with dressed splayed jambs, C19 segmental red-brick arch with wrought-iron
straps below, and bread oven to left with C19 segmental brick arch and cast-iron
door. L-shaped bench along left-hand end wall and running into bay, with shaped legs
and matchboarded back (bench shortened at right-hand end). Cupboard recess in left-
hand wall of hall too. Late C19 staircase inserted in rear right-hand rear corner of
hall. Remains of probably C16 oak plank and muntin screen between hall and through
passage with mortices and groove in head beam and grooves in sides of muntins.
Muntin to left of central entrance has the curved chamfered jamb of the former arched
opening (screen apparently had no middle rail). Right-hand ground-floor room (former
service room) has C19 four-panelled door from passage, with wooden lintel. C17
chamfered cross beam with ogee stops. Blocked fireplace to rear and blocked doorway
in right-hand end wall (now with shelves) with moulded architrave. Window seat in
front wall. Passage rear doorway with wooden lintel. Former dairy in rear wing
(present kitchen) has roughly chamfered cross beam. C19 plank door between hall and
former inner room to left. First floor of inner room rebuilt in the mid to late C20
and reinstated (incorporating some reused timbers) as a gallery along the front wall.
Blocked doorway in front wall. Left-hand ground-floor end room (divided in the late
C20) has C17 chamfered cross beam and chamfered half beam along left-hand end wall,
supported on central stone corbel. Tall narrow fireplace with stone jambs and wooden
lintel. Top of C19 staircase with stick balusters and turned newel post. Old plank
door to right-hand first-floor room with C19 lockable latch and C17 pegged chamfered
wooden frame (mitred to chamfer) with ogee stops. Small C19 fireplace in right-hand
end wall of right-hand room. Blocked window in rear wall (see recess, said to retain
old window). C17 cupboard in rear wall has 2-panelled door with H-L hinges. Old
plank door into first-floor room over rear wing has C17 pegged chamfered wooden frame
(mitred to chamfer) with ogee stops. Side window in first-floor room of rear wing has
chamfered internal wooden lintel. Old door between bedroom over hall and C20 gallery
in inner room, with pegged wooden frame.
Roof-space ceiled, and inaccessible at time of survey (January 1988), but largely
visible from first-floor rooms. Circa 1500 roof over hall and inner room. Jointed
cruck truss over hall in line with hall jetty, with mortice and tenoned collar, and
truss over left-hand end of hall with straight principals and mortice and tenoned
collar. Pair of staggered trenched purlins and diagonally-set ridge piece over hall
and inner room. Old plaster ceiling at collar level in bedroom over hall and exposed
purlins etc. with adze marks suggesting they were once cased in plaster. Probable
c.1500 roof over former service end room not visible at time of survey. C17 roof
over left-hand end of house consisting of truss with straight principals halved lap-
jointed collar and notched mortice and tenoned apex, and staggered purlins and ridge-
piece (mostly ceiled above collar). C17 roof over rear (dairy) wing has truss with
straight principals, and staggered purlins.
This farm was formerly known as Gratleigh. The house forms part of a small farmstead
group which also includes a barn and shippon (q.v.)

Listing NGR: SS6169119377

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