West Chapple Farmhouse

3 Jan 2005
West Chapple Farmhouse, Gidleigh, West Devon, Devon, TQ13 8HP
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This information is taken from the statutory List as it was in 2001 and may not be up to date.


3/183 West Chapple Farmhouse - 3.12.76 GV II*

House, former Dartmoor longhouse. Early C16 with later C16 and C17 improvements, renovated circa 1975. Massive blocks of roughly coursed ashlar on massive boulder footings with a great deal of granite stone rubble patching; granite stacks with granite ashlar chimneyshafts; thatch roof.

Plan and development: T-shaped building. The original part is the main block. This is a 3-room-and-through-passage plan former Dartmoor longhouse facing north-west and built down a gentle slope. At the uphill right end there is a small unheated room, originally the dairy. The hall has a large stack backing onto the passage. The shippon was brought into domestic use circa 1970. Mid C17 kitchen added at right angles to rear of the hall. It has an end stack with a newel stair rising alongside. This is a house with a long and complex structural history. The original early C16 house seems to have been open to the roof from end to end, divided by low partitions and heated by an open hearth fire. Through the later C16 and early C17 the rooms were progressively floored over and the hall stack was inserted. After the addition of the kitchen wing the hall would be the parlour.

Now 2 storeys throughout.

Exterior: irregular 3-window front of C20 casements without glazing bars. The left end window is blocking the former cow door and the left first floor window is blocking the hayloft loading hatch. The passage front doorway is left of centre and now occupied by a C20 door narrower than the original. There is here the remains of a C16 or C17 porch once roofed by a large slab of granite. The main roof is gable- ended. The left end wall (to the shippon) contains 3 slit windows to the shippon.

The central one may have been the dung hatch although there is a larger window in the rear wall. Single vent slit to the former hayloft. Kitchen has similar fenestration to the front and it too is gable-ended.

Good interior containing elements from all its main historic building phases. The earliest feature is the true cruck principal in the roof near the upper side of the passage. Most of the truss has been removed by the insertion of the hall stack.

The surviving fragment is early C16 and smoke-blackened from the open hearth fire.

The rest of the main block roof structure was replaced circa 1975. The inner room was probably the first to be floored and some timbers projecting into the hall might suggest the chamber jettied into the hall. The rubble crosswall below (at the upper end of the hall) is a rebuild and incorporates levelling timbers made up from an old plank-and-muntin screen, maybe the original low partition there. The hall appears to have been floored in the mid or late C16; unusually early for this part of Devon. The crossbeam is set half way between inner room and passage and therefore is close to the chimney breast. Its soffit is richly moulded towards the upper end but only chamfered towards the passage. On the passage side some contemporary soffit-chamfered and step-stopped joists survive. Their arrangement and relationship with the chimney breast seems to suggest that the present stack replaced a mid or late C16 smoke hood as Alcock argues. If so the present large granite ashlar fireplace with hollow-chamfered surround is late C16 or early C17.

On the lower side of the passage there is no longer a crosswall. The hayloft crossbeam is roughly-finished. There is still a granite tethering post at the end.

The kitchen has a roughly-finished crossbeam and a granite fireplace with soffit- chamfered and step-stopped oak lintel and side ovens. The 2-bay roof here is carried on a face-pegged jointed cruck truss.

This is a very interesting example of a Dartmoor longhouse in the attractive hamlet of Chapple which includes several listed buildings.

Source. N W Alcock. Devonshire Farmhouses. Part II. Some Dartmoor Houses. Trans.

Devon. Assoc. Vol 101 (1969) pp 87-92.

Listing NGR: SX6710889084


This is part of the Series: IOE01/1729 IOE Records taken by A J L B Rodwell; within the Collection: IOE01 Images Of England


© Mr A J L B Rodwell. Source: Historic England Archive

People & Organisations

Photographer: Rodwell, A J L B

Rights Holder: Rodwell, A J L B


Ashlar, Granite, Rubble, Stone, Thatch, Medieval Longhouse, Tudor Domestic, Agricultural Dwelling, Dwelling, Monument (By Form), House, Agriculture And Subsistence, Farm Building, Agricultural Building, Dairy, Food And Drink Processing Site, Farmhouse