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Higher Brownsham Farmhouse and Barn Adjoining to North-West

A Grade II* Listed Building in Hartland, Devon

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Latitude: 51.0073 / 51°0'26"N

Longitude: -4.4454 / 4°26'43"W

OS Eastings: 228536

OS Northings: 125946

OS Grid: SS285259

Mapcode National: GBR K6.JX9C

Mapcode Global: FRA 16KG.5Y9

Entry Name: Higher Brownsham Farmhouse and Barn Adjoining to North-West

Listing Date: 20 February 1958

Grade: II*

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1333156

English Heritage Legacy ID: 91227

Location: Hartland, Torridge, Devon, EX39

County: Devon

District: Torridge

Civil Parish: Hartland

Traditional County: Devon

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Devon

Church of England Parish: Hartland St Nectan

Church of England Diocese: Exeter

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Listing Text

SS 22 NE

2/161 Higher Brownsham Farmhouse and
barn adjoining to north-west.


House formerly farmhouse. Early C17 with later C17 and probably later C18
additions. Stone rubble walls rendered at the front. Gable-ended natural rag slate
roof to house, asbestos to barn. Brick axial stack and large rubble stack at left
gable-end with brick shaft.
Plan: original plan is unclear since in its present form the house does not cnform
to any standard plan types. It now consists of a larger roan to the left heated by
a fireplace at its left end and through which the house is entered with a smaller
room to its right heated by an axial stack which divides the 2 rooms. This room is
actually in 2 parts and it is evident that its right-hand part was taken out of the
adjoining barn which was probably added in the circa late C18. At the front of the
left-hand room is a narrow wing which judging from a 1st floor doorframe is a later
C17 addition - probably for service purposes. A C19 2-storey porch was built at the
rear of the left-hand room and the right-hand room has been built out slightly at
the rear and a staircase inserted behind the stack. Evidently this house has
undergone a complex development and any interpretation of its plan form can only be
tentative but one possible theory is that the house originally extended further to
the left with a passage and lower room end and what now survives is the hall and
inner room of a 3-room-and-through-passage plan house which was then further
extended. There is some possible evidence of rebuilding at this lower gable-end but
only an archaeological survey would reveal the original extent of this house.
Exterior: 2 storeys. Asymmetrical 3-window front with barn attached at right-hand
end and narrow wing projecting from left-hand end. On 1st floor to left is 3-light
C20 small-paned casement, 12-pane early C19 hornless sash at centre and later C19
taller one to the right which is a half dormer. Below it is a taller C20 2-light
casement and a fixed small-paned light to the centre. To the left is a C20 panelled
and part-glazed door under slate hood. Extending in the same line to the right of
the house is the barn which has a wide cart entrance at its left end with flanking
buttresses and a smaller building projecting from its right-hand end. Wing
projecting from left-hand end has 2 C19 12-pane sashes on the first floor and 2-
light circa early C20 casements below. Irregular rear elevation has barn to left
with small wing projecting from its end, single storey section to its right and
gabled 2 storey porch projecting to right of centre. Mainly C19 sash windows with
stair window with marginal glazing bars to left of porch. Entrance to porch is in
its right-hand side. Probably circa early C20 single storey wing projecting to
right of porch. The wide barn doorway re-uses 2 C17 ovolo-moulded ceiling beams on
its lintels.
Interior: on the ground floor there are few early features visible although
fireplaces are probably covered up. Doorway into right-hand room has ovolo-moulded
C17 wooden frame raised and hollow step stops. Chamfered ceiling beam with ogee
stops in right-hand room. On the first floor of the narrow front wing is a blocked
doorway with apparently C17 chamfered frame which has masons mitres.
The most important feature of this house is the very fine decorative plaster ceiling
in the chamber over the left-hand room dating circa 1620 - 40. It is designed in a
pattern of 2 concentric circles of hearts formed by enriched ribs with running vine
pattern. There are 4 hearts at the centre and 8 around the outside and in the 4
panels where the outer and inner hearts adjoin are 4 bowls of fruit in high relief -
one of apples, one of oranges, one of lemons and one of pears. At the inner point
of each heart is a spray of flowers, the one towards the rear wall also incorporates
a human face. At the centre of the whole design is an unusual plaster pendant with
4 identical mens faces around it. A plaster frieze runs along the 2 end walls of
the room, in a fragment on the front wall, with a design of heralidc shields and
beasts. Over the outside end wall frieze is a moulded plaster cornice. The roof
truss in this room consists of straight principals with a crossed apex and collar
halved on with notched lap joint.
This is not an easy building to understand but despite its confusing plan and
development it survives in a fairly unspoilt state retaining a traditional external
appearance and with a surprisingly high quality plaster ceiling. The house forms
part of an unspoilt and picturesque hamlet.

Listing NGR: SS2853625946

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

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