Rudge Farmhouse

31 Aug 1999
Rudge Farmhouse, Morchard Bishop, Mid Devon, Devon, EX17 6NG
Photograph (Digital)
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This information is taken from the statutory List as it was in 2001 and may not be up to date.

MORCHARD BISHOP SS 70 NW 4/120 Rudge Farmhouse - GV II*

Large farmhouse. Late C14-early C15, late C16-early C17 improvements and extensions, modernised and refurbished circa 1852. Plastered rubble with some C19 brick patching and plastered cob on rubble footings to extensions; rubble stacks with mid C19 brick chimney shafts; slate roof (thatch before 1852). Much altered 3- room-and-through-passage plan house facing south with former service room at left (west) end. Late C16-early C17 single room block at right angles off rear corner of former service room, comptemporary stair block to rear of hall and contemporary dairy at right angles to rear of inner room. End stacks to former service and inner rooms and rear lateral stack to hall. Now 2 storeys throughout. Symmetrical 5 window front of circa 1852 comprising central and end tripartite sashes and between are sashes over each of the 2 front doors. All sashes, including central parts of the tripartite sashes have 12-panes under segmental arches. Both doors are 4-panel with overlights, have panelled reveals, doorcase and flat hoods on pairs of shaped brackets. Stucco quoins each end and plinth. Eaves carried on series of shaped brackets. Roof is gable-ended. Dairy rear block includes a late C16-early C17 3- light oak window frame with ovolo-moulded mullions and includes a central iron casement with shaped catch and leaded glass.

Interior: very good; athough the house was thoroughly refurbished circa 1852. Some early fabric remains and more probably remains hidden by Victoria plasterwork. From former hall (now eastern entrance hall) to former inner room there is a thick cob partition to first floor level with framing above. At lower (western) end of hall part of a C16 oak plank-and-muntin screen is exposed on former passage side (now a small pantry lobby). The posts are chamfered, the sill is of unusually large scantling and a blocked doorway appears to be shoulder-headed (the frame is obscured). Across the putative passage, the pantry/lobby, is a richly moulded C16 oak axial beam which does not extend into the service room. The service room, now a kitchen, has a large, probably C17, stone fireplace with plain oak lintel and there are 2 sections of reset small-field panelled oak waiscotting on the walls. The sunken star motifs along the frieze are thought to represent the emblem of the Leigh family occupants of Rudge from at least 1546 to the late C18. The panelling is C17 despite an inscribed date of 1776.

From the rear of the putative passage an originally external door with early-mid C17 oak doorframe with moulded surround and exaggerated late step stops gives access to a straight flight of stairs in a narrow extension behind the hall. The top landing incorporates part of a presumably earlier newel turret. First floor has only Victorian features exposed. The roof however is one of the finest and most completely preserved late C14-early C15 domestic roofs in Devon. The roof was raised to accommodate slate in the mid C19 and the builder chalked 'W. Coles Crediton re raftering roof March 23 1852'. He left the old roof largely intact. It is of 5 bays and employs oak timbers of massive scantling. The trusses are an unusual type of jointed cruck in which the principals are scarfed to the posts and held togethewr by 4 face pegs and buried slip tenon. The posts rest on templates just below first floor level. Each truss has a cranked collar, arch-braces and a large yoke carrying a square-set ridge (Alcock's Type H apex). They take 2 sets of diagonally set purlins, the larger lower purlins are butt purlins, the upper are threaded. Each bay includes a single pair of windbraces which survive intact on the rear (north) side, but some have been removed from the front. A distinctive feature of the roof is the pegging; both the numbers used to fix the joints (e.g. 3 each side securing the collars) and the effect of leaving the pegs projecting and untrimmed. The roof was originally half-hipped each end. At the west end a half thickness truss against the end wall carried a now removed hip post but the east end counterpart has been removed. Another unusual feature of the roof is the common rafters which have collars resting on the upper purlins, except over the eastern bay. The roof appears to have been originally open from end to end but the smoke- blackening at both ends may be disputed. However there are no closed trusses. The west end and eastern truss have chamfered arch-braces, the rest carry a roll moulding. The divisions in the roof space are early but probably not original. The western end bay is divided from the rest by a section of framing a little east of the truss. The frame rests on a crosspiece set between the lower purlins. It appears not to have descended further down and may have been a smoke screen, that is to say a device to confine the smoke from an open hearth fire to the central hall section where the central bay retains evidence of a smoke louvre. At the eastern end the remains of a large frames full height partition are positioned over the hall-inner room cross wall.

Interpretation of the development of this most important house is difficult from the roof. It could be argued that originally the upper end was at the west and was later turned round. The owners and occupiers back to Pater the Rugge in 1330 are known.

Sources. C Hulland. Devonshire Farmhouses Part V. Trans. Devon Assoc. 112 (1980), pp.128-136.

Listing NGR: SS7446007607


This is part of the Series: IOE01/2255 IOE Records taken by Michael Woodhead; within the Collection: IOE01 Images Of England


© Michael Woodhead. Source: Historic England Archive

This photograph was taken for the Images of England project

People & Organisations

Photographer: Woodhead, Michael

Rights Holder: Woodhead, Michael


Brick, Cob, Plaster, Rubble, Slate, Thatch, Medieval Farmhouse, Domestic, Agricultural Dwelling, Dwelling, House, Agriculture And Subsistence, Farm Building, Agricultural Building, Cross Passage House, Monument <By Form>, Cruck House, Timber Framed House, Timber Framed Building, Open Hall House, Hall House