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Poltimore Farmhouse

A Grade II* Listed Building in Farway, Devon

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Latitude: 50.7675 / 50°46'3"N

Longitude: -3.1688 / 3°10'7"W

OS Eastings: 317672

OS Northings: 97089

OS Grid: SY176970

Mapcode National: GBR PB.H1XM

Mapcode Global: FRA 4771.Z63

Entry Name: Poltimore Farmhouse

Listing Date: 22 February 1955

Grade: II*

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1333319

English Heritage Legacy ID: 88738

Location: Farway, East Devon, Devon, EX24

County: Devon

Civil Parish: Farway

Traditional County: Devon

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Devon

Church of England Parish: Farway St Michael and All Angels

Church of England Diocese: Exeter

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Listing Text


3/67 Poltimore Farmhouse

Farmhouse. Probably mid-late C15 with major C16 and C17 improvements, one of them
dated 1583, some C19 modernisation and a new parlour wing. Exposed local calcareous
stone and flint rubble with some cob to rear and the rear block is partly timber-
framed; stone rubble stacks, cob and brick stacks, all topped with C19 and C20
brick; thatch roof.
Plan and development: basically a T-plan building. The main block is the historic
core of the building. It is built down a gentle hillslope and faces south-south-
east, say south. Uphill at the right (east) end is an unheated inner room, a former
dairy. Next to it is the hall which has a projecting front lateral stack and
projecting rear newel stair turret. Between this hall and the passage there is a
narrow room, a former buttery or cider store. At the left (west) end there is a
kitchen with a gable-end stack. To rear of the kitchen a service block projects not
quite at right angles. It contains 2 small unheated rooms, and, on the outer (west)
end, is a bakehouse/kitchen in a leanto, its cob stack backing onto the former
kitchen. In front of the kitchen the C19 parlour wing with gable-end stack projects
forwards at right angles.
This is a house with a long and complex structural history. The development here is
much as it was interpreted by Commander Williams (see Sources, below). The original
house occupied the present hall, passage and former kitchen. At this time hall and
passage were open to the roof and heated by an open hearth fire and separated from
the second room by a closed truss. Williams argues that this second room was a
service room with solar chamber above even though the original roof structure here
is also smoke-blackened. His argument is certainly strong although it relies on the
top section of the closed truss being left open at first and the first floor beam to
the putative solar refashioned with new chamfers and stops in the late C16-early
C17. The top section of the closed truss was closed whilst there was still an open
hearth fire since the hall side is heavily sooted (although the former kitchen/solar
side is far from clean). Might there have been 2 open hearth fires originally?
Although there surely were some alterations before 1583 no evidence shows of any.
At this time the hall was floored over, it and the new chamber were given fireplaces
in a new stack and the stair turret was built. The lower end was refurbished as a
kitchen in the late C16-early C17. For the most part the contemporary features here
look more C17 than C16 although a newly-uncovered chamber fireplace is very much
like the one dated 1583 over the hall. The rear service block appears to be
contemporary with the kitchen refurbishment although the kitchen/bakehouse leanto
and stack is later (probably C18). The inner room dairy was probably added about
the same time. In the C19 the front parlour wing was added and at this time the
main block kitchen became the dining room.
House is 2 storeys with outshots rebuilt in 1985 to rear of the main block.
Exterior: irregular 4-window front of mostly C19 and C20 casements with glazing
bars and one of the latest containing rectangular panes of leaded glass. At the
left end the former kitchen has a late C16-early C17 oak 6-light window with ovolo-
moulded mullions and central king mullion; the left light is blocked by the front
parlour wing. The passage front doorway contains a C20 door. The hall stack has a
chamfered Beerstone plinth. The rear of the main block includes mostly late C16-
early C17 oak-framed windows. Behind the outshot the dairy has a 4-light window
with external oak and internal ovolo-moulded mullions. The 2 contemporary first
floor windows have chamfered mullions; one of them is blocked. Over the passage
rear doorway is a late C17 flat-faced mullion window. The inner room dairy end wall
of the main block has a first floor doorway and external flight of stone steps. At
the other, the kitchen (west) end there is a wide segmental-headed aperture with
crude dripmould over; this is thought to be an original window which was blocked by
the stack there in the late C16-early C17. The rear block includes some more late
C16-early C17 oak windows on the inner (east) side. The 2 first floor windows here
have ovolo-moulded mullions and both were originally 5 lights but have missing
mullions. Nevertheless the rectangular panes of leaded glass in the outer lights of
the left one are very old, some of them tinged with green. The roof of this block
is half-hipped; the other roofs are gable-ended.
Good interior: the interior carpentry and other features have been described in
considerable detail (often accompanied by measured drawings) by Commander Williams
(see Sources, below). There are 3 oak plank-and-muntin screens, one each side of
the passage and another between buttery and hall. The crosswall at the upper end of
the hall is cob and stone rubble with an original tie beam truss on top filled with
wattle and daub. All the crossbeams in the main block have deep chamfers with step
stops. The hall has a large Beerstone ashlar fireplace with an oak lintel, its
soffit cut away but apparently had a low Tudor arch. It has a chamfered surround
with urn stops. The chamber fireplace above is smaller but similar, it is built of
Beerstone ashlar and contains a frieze with the date 1583 and the initials TH
(thought to be one Thomas Haydon) GH and AH. There is another plain version over
the kitchen. The main block kitchen itself has a large fireplace with plain
chamfered oak lintel and side oven. The hall stair has its original thick oak
treads. Some of the original roof survives over the main block including an arch-
braced face-pegged jointed cruck and a closed truss although the section over the
hall was replaced with side-pegged jointed crucks in the late C16.
There is a late C16 - early C17 oak-framed wall between the main-block kitchen and
the rear block. It seems that, on the outer (west) side, the frist floor close-
studded wall jettied over the now-demolished ground floor wall, a rare example of
external timber-framing in rural Devon. This block has a side-pegged jointed cruck
roof truss. Several of the doorways throughout the house are late C16 - early C17
and have cranked heads.
Poltimore is a remarkable survival, it is one of the best examples of a traditional
lowland Devon farmhouse in East Devon. Furthermore it is sited in a most attractive
valley and forms a group with its farmbuildings. Williams lists all documentary
references to the place, the earliest of which is 1170.
Source: Commander EHD Williams, Poltimore Farmhouse, Farway Trans. Devon. Assoc.
106 (1974) pp. 215 - 229. This excellent article contains measured plans,
elevations and details along with a detailed description of the farmhouse and
discussion of its development.

Listing NGR: SY1768697105

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

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