East Leigh Barton

19 Apr 2005
East Leigh Barton, Coldridge, Mid Devon, Devon, EX17 6AX
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This information is taken from the statutory List as it was in 2001 and may not be up to date.

COLDRIDGE EAST LEIGH SS 60 NE 1/35 - East Leigh Barton - II*

Farmhouse. Probably late C14-early C15, with major C16 and C17 improvements.

Plastered cob on rubble footings; stone rubble and cob stacks topped with C19 and C20 brick; thatch roof.

3-room-and-through-passage plan house facing south-east with inner room at right (north-east) end. Rear passage door is now blocked. Inner room has end stack, hall has axial stack backing onto passage, and front lateral stack to service end room. C19 and C20 outshots to rear. 2 storeys.

Irregular 5-window front of late C19 and C20 casements, all except 2 with glazing bars. Front passage doorway left of centre now contains C20 door behind contemporary porch with monopitch roof of corrugated plastic. Roof is gable-ended to left and hipped to right.

Interior: the ground and first floors show mainly the results of C19 and C20 modernisations but the survival of the late medieval layout suggests that many C16 and C17 or earlier features may survive behind later plaster. No beams are exposed and the fireplaces are blocked by C20 grates. A C17 oak plank-and-muntin screen with chamfered and scroll stopped muntins shows on the hall side of the passage to rear of the cob chimney stack. Another section of an oak plank-and-muntin screen, this one probably C16 with chamfered and step stopped muntins, has been reset to partition the service room. At the upper end of the hall a wide gap has been made through the timber-framed wall there to the inner room. The soffit of a rail has been exposed showing the mortises of close-set studs suggesting that the crosswall is late C16-early C17.

The roof is accessible and of considerable interest. The roof over the inner room, hall and passage is original and probably late C14-early C15 work. It is virtually intact and most impressive. 3 trusses survive. They are true crucks of enormous scantling. They comprise squared tree trunks approximately 400-450mm square and in places bend as they follow the grain of the trees. All have cambered collars with soffit chamfers and central bosses comprising simple cylinder shapes with flat soffits. They are mortised, tenoned and pegged to the principals which reduce in width above. The 2 trusses over the hall and passage have yokes to carry the massive square-set ridge (Alcock's apex type H) whilst that truss over the hall- inner room partition has a large saddle (Alcock's apex type C). At the inner room end the ridge is still carried on the original hip cruck and there is a curving brace between the junction of the two pieces. Only 1 set of trenched purlins appear although there may be a second set at wall plate level. The whole roof including the original common rafters and underside of rye thatch is very heavily smoke-blackened indicating that the original house was open to the roof, heated by an open hearth fire, and divided by low partitions.

Remarkably the original smoke louvressurvives insitu and virtually complete. It is built on top of the ridge over the hall. It is approximately 1 metre long and rises approximately 0.4 metres. It is gable-ended on the same axis as the main roof. The ends are made of oak boards with the edges fashioned to accommodate a pitched roof of louvered boards most of which survive. It owes its survival to the insertion of the hall stack alongside after which the thatch was simply carried over the top of louvre to the chimney shaft.

Over the service end is a C17 roof truss. The lower parts of the principals are now boxed into a first floor partition but the collar is pegged and lap-jointed with dovetail halvings.

East Leigh Barton is a well-preserved late medieval farmhouse with an impressive and unusual roof. The only other of similar contruction and scantling in Devon known to the writer is at Lower Chimsworthy, Bratton Clovelly. It is however the surviving smoke louvre which is the most important feature. It may well by a unique survival.

Listing NGR: SS6967205380


This is part of the Series: IOE01/0990 IOE Records taken by Barbara Hilton; within the Collection: IOE01 Images Of England


© Dr Barbara Hilton. Source: Historic England Archive

People & Organisations

Photographer: Hilton, Barbara

Rights Holder: Hilton, Barbara


Cob, Plaster, Plastic, Rubble, Thatch, Timber, 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