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Farm Building Immediately West of Cropple How Farmhouse

A Grade II* Listed Building in Muncaster, Cumbria

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Latitude: 54.3677 / 54°22'3"N

Longitude: -3.3428 / 3°20'34"W

OS Eastings: 312854

OS Northings: 497744

OS Grid: SD128977

Mapcode National: GBR 5K3Y.21

Mapcode Global: WH718.MGDZ

Entry Name: Farm Building Immediately West of Cropple How Farmhouse

Listing Date: 27 February 2009

Grade: II*

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1393157

English Heritage Legacy ID: 504663

Location: Muncaster, Copeland, Cumbria, CA18

County: Cumbria

District: Copeland

Civil Parish: Muncaster

Traditional County: Cumberland

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Cumbria

Church of England Parish: Muncaster St Michael

Church of England Diocese: Carlisle

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Listing Text


328/0/10013 Farm building immediately west of Crop
27-FEB-09 ple How Farmhouse

A farmhouse of mid to late C16 origins with C18 and C19 alterations that retains significant original and early features.

MATERIALS: It is built of granite rubble with evidence of former rendering beneath slate roofs.

PLAN: The building is linear in plan with added outshots to the rear.

EXTERIOR: Roof trusses and cross-walls divide the building into seven bays of which the eastern two have always served agricultural purposes whilst the remainder have domestic origins latterly adapted to agricultural purposes. There are three timber doors, one of which is new, to the front north elevation all beneath simple stone arches. Ground floor windows are beneath simple stone arches while upper floor windows are topped with plain timber lintels. There is a small fire window adjacent to the west door whilst the upper floor has a blocked window to the central room, a timber lintel indicating the former presence of a window to the west room and narrow ventilation windows to the east and west rooms. There is a butt joint between the west and central rooms with a short square stone axial chimney stack above. The east elevation is plain. The rear south elevation has an upper floor timber door at its east end and two small plain windows. A door gives access into the outshot. The outshot has two small plain windows in its rear wall and is built up against a steeply-sloping wooded bank. The western room of the outshot is unroofed. The west end of the rear elevation has a plain window at ground floor level. The west elevation has a centrally-placed timber lintel to the upper floor beneath which a large opening has been infilled and a modern timber door inserted.

INTERIOR: The modern west door leads into a cobble-floored room with a square unglazed mullion and transom oak window in the rear wall. A doorway leads off into a small room containing a fireplace with what is thought to be the only completely intact surviving wattle-and-daub smokehood in Cumbria. There is a stone reredos to the rear of the smokehood with a heck, or fixed screen that acts as a baffle, at one side of the fireplace. Other features include a fire window and alcoves for a wall cupboard and small oven. There is also a chamfered and stopped oak bressumer with extensive traces of ochre colouring to the room face and soffit, together with heavy oak cantilevers and bearers supporting the stone superstructure of the smokehood. At the rear of this room there is a partially blocked doorway in the heck that led to a rear passage at the end of which is an early oak-plank door of fully pegged construction hung on oak hinges being formed from a pin turning inside a wooden staple pegged to the door frame. The central ground floor room now contains animal pens and a brick-blocked doorway in one corner that originally gave access into the rear passage. Within this room there is a window that retains its original mullion-and-transom oak window frame complete with diamond glazing bars. There is a rear central doorway giving access into the east room of the rear outshot. The ground floor east room is entered by a front stable door with strap hinges. It contains animal pens. Many ground floor ceiling beams are chamfered and walls are whitewashed. The west upper floor room contains the upper part of the smokehood with a series of slate off-sets, designed to shed rainwater, surviving within the present roof. Part of the flooring to this room has been removed and there is a modern timber door in the west gable wall. The central room has a chimney breast and an alcove for a wall cupboard at the west end, a blocked fireplace at the east end and a rear timber plank door. Early timbers include tie-beam trusses and fragments of two cruck blades and an associated purlin. A stair position may be indicated by recesses at first floor level and by brick patching on the ground floor. The east room is plain. The rear outshot has a ground floor entrance into the building's corridor from its west room. The outshot's east room was partially of two storeys with part of the upper floor in situ.

HISTORY: The farm building immediately west of Cropple How farmhouse is a former farmhouse which is thought to be of mid to late-C16 origins. It was originally a cruck-built structure of longhouse or hearth-passage plan of one storey plus an attic with a smokehood built of timber and wattle-and-daub heating a hall in the western end of the building. It forms part of what was until recently a single steading but which appears formerly to have been a small hamlet. In the early C18 the external walls of the building east of the smokehood were dismantled virtually down to the footings and the farmhouse was rebuilt on two full storeys and extended further east. This C18 house was confined to the central section of the rebuilt structure with the east bay being used for agricultural purposes. The domestic element was designed with a central entrance and was served by a fireplace and chimney built against the back of the smokehood reredos. The original window openings survive on the front elevation including two narrow blocked windows, one on each floor, against the inserted chimney stack. Access between the two floors was by an internal staircase now removed. After this rebuilding the former original hall at the western end of the building appears to have been utilised as a `downhouse' or kitchen. Three small outshots, one of which is unroofed, were added to the rear of the building at an unknown date or dates, and latterly there was a stair in the eastern outshot giving access to the upper floor of the building. This stair has subsequently been removed. At a later date in the C18 or perhaps early C19 a cross-wall was inserted on the ground floor only, partitioning off a small room incorporating the smokehood hearth which remained in use, whilst the remainder of the western bay was made over to agricultural use on both floors. The date at which the building fell out of domestic use has not been identified with certainty although the present owner suggests it may have been during the 1820s. Since ceasing to provide a domestic function the ground floor rooms were used for stabling and stock housing until about 1980. The building has had some of its ground floor ceiling and roof timbers replaced at an unspecified date during the C20. The building was made weatherproof about 2002 and tidied internally. A small part of the north elevation was removed and rebuilt to stabilise the structure at this time. The building is currently partially used for storage only.

SOURCES: Susan Denyer, Traditional Buildings and Life in the Lake District (1991) 21. London: Gollancz/National Trust.
Adam Menuge, Farm building (former house) immediately west of Cropple How Farmhouse. Notes based on an inspection on 9 June 2008.

REASONS FOR DECISION: The farm building immediately west of Cropple How farmhouse is listed at Grade II* for the following principal reasons:
* It is a rare surviving example in the Lake District of a small mid-to late C16 farmhouse. The building's accumulated alterations clearly illustrate the development of a small farmhouse over successive centuries from its mid-to late C16 origins
* It contains two exceptionally rare surviving original internal features: Cumbria's only known mid-to late C16 totally intact wattle-and-daub smokehood complete with reredos and heck, and what is thought to be a contemporary door to the rear of the smokehood heck that is entirely of oak construction with even the hinges being formed from an oak pin turning inside an oak staple pegged to the door frame. No comparable door has been identified.

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

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