South Yard Farmhouse / South Yarde Farmhouse

11 Jul 2006
South Yard Farmhouse, Rose Ash, North Devon, Devon
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South Yarde Farmhouse, Rose Ash, North Devon, Devon
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This information is taken from the statutory List as it was in 2001 and may not be up to date.


6/101 South Yarde Farmhouse 20.2.67 (formerly listed as South Yard Farmhouse) GV I

Farmhouse. Probably late C15/early C16, remodelled with the hall stack and floor inserted in the circa late C16/early C17, some alterations of the circa mid C19. Cob and stone rubble, whitewashed and rendered, with some brick repair on the rear (north) wall and right (east) end wall; corrugated asbestos roof (thatched until 1953), hipped at the right end, gabled at the left end (formerly hipped); left end stack, axial stack to left of centre, both with rendered shafts.

Plan: South Yarde is the hall range of a high quality and most unusual late medieval open hall house of courtyard plan, a parallel range across a narrow yard to the north almost certainly being the detached kitchen (North Yarde, separately listed). South Yarde originated as a single depth south-facing range, 3 room and cross passage plan, lower end to the left (west). The roof timbers are smoke-blackened from the left end at least as far as the higher (east) end partition of the centre room: there is no access to the roofspace over the right (east) end room. The arrangement was an extremely grand 2-bay hall with uniquely decorated roof timbers in the centre. The lower end, with a plainer but contemporary roof structure, presumably functioned as some kind of service room and may also have been open to the roof timbers or may have been floored but open to the cross passage and hall above first floor level. Without sight of the roof over the inner (right end) room it is not clear whether it was storeyed originally, a stone winder stair from the rear of the hall in a stair projection may have provided access to a first floor chamber over the inner room or may be part of the late C16/early C17 programme of remodelling. This involved an axial hall stack introduced into the cross passage giving a lobby entrance at the front (south). The centre room was floored with a fine intersecting beam ceiling and the stair was either added or adapted at this date to give access to the chamber over the centre room. The lower end may have been floored at the same date: the stack at this end is probably a post C17 addition, the inner room remains unheated. Post C17 modifications to the lower end involved the creation of an axial passage at the back between the hall and the left end wall, probably in the mid/late C19, the date of the chimneypiece of the lower end room which served as a parlour at that date. A small salting house has been taken out of the inner room with a dairy added, outside the wall of the original building, on the north east corner. It seems likely that North Yarde (q.v.) continued to be used as the kitchen in the C17. The plan of South Yarde is unchanged since the C19 and its earlier phases of plan are still evident.

Exterior: 2 storeys. Asymmetrical 3 window south front with a gabled porch to the lobby entrance to left of centre and a C20 front door. A plank door to the inner room to the right replaces a former mullioned window (information from the owner). 3 ground floor and 3 first floor windows, all 2-light C19 or early C20 windows with glazing bars except first floor right which is 3 lights.

Interior: The hall, in the centre, has a fine intersecting beam ceiling forming 9 panels with richly moulded beams, the panels cross-joisted, the joists scratch- moulded on the soffits with roll mouldings to the sides. The stack is stone with a cambered lintel concealed by a C19 mantelshelf with a centrally positioned bread oven. The hall/inner room partition is a screen with a good 4 centred arched chamfered timber doorframe. To the right of the doorframe the screen has been faced with circa mid C17 panelling with a fine shaped bench end to the hall bench. There is a circa late C17.panelled door at the bottom of the stair. The inner room has a chamfered axial beam with only one stop visible at the screen end. The lower end room has no exposed ceiling beams and a C19 chimneypiece. The stone stair has been cased in timber. On the first floor the chamber over the inner room is plain. The chamber over the hall is open to the apex of the roof and is divided from an axial passage parallel to the north wall by a simple head height partition. The room above the lower end has a plaster ceiling.

Roof An extraordinary roof, both for its construction and for an unfinished scheme of carved decoration on the main truss over the hall. 4 jointed cruck trusses, the feet of the crucks descending to the ground (information from the owner), the centre 2 trusses with chamfered arch braces, the chamfers continued on the crucks which have a moulded feature, like a capital, at the springing of the arches. There are three tiers of threaded purlins, richly-moulded, with keeled pyramid stops and 3 tiers of upward curving wind braces, the upper pair removed in the bay into which the stack was inserted (Hulland). The ridge is most unusual, V-shaped in section and therefore appearing to be made of 2 timbers although it has been cut from a single piece, each half moulded and stopped to match the purlins. On the east face of the main hall truss there is an unfinished carving scheme. The intention seems to have been to cover this face of the truss at least with panels of trefoil-headed blind tracery. The carving is only complete on part of the north side of the truss but parts of the remainder show the initial phases of carving before the detail was refined. Trefoiled panels existed on the roof of Colston's House, the home of a Bristol merchant, known from a drawing of 1821 (Wood) but no other comparable scheme is known to date. The truss over the lower end is plainer, the purlins unmoulded and "dropped at their west ends and notched into the framework of the inserted stack" (Hulland). The east end truss is infilled with heavy framing and evidence of smoke staining has been seen under the plaster.

Hulland's article on Yarde refers to owners and tenants of the building. The settlement was owned by Richard de Yerda in 1211 and remained in the Yard family until 1615. Richard Yard, 1450 - c1514 was probably responsible for the present house.

Group value with North Yarde and with a farmyard of traditional farmbuildings to the south. South Yarde is an outstanding building. The medieval roof is a remarkable survival and the unfinished state of its carved decoration provides important evidence of the methods of a late medieval carver. The late C16/early C17 remodelling is also fine and the house has not suffered from any damaging alterations this century while in the hands of the Rolle family.

The method of carving on the east end hall truss is described by A.W. Everett in a letter to the owner, dated 10/4/63 which is partly quoted by Charles Hulland in his account of the house in the Transactions of the Devonshire Association.

Wood, M, The English Medieval House, (pp 1965, 1981 edn), p. 319 Hulland, 'Devonshire Farmhouses Part V, Transaction of the Devonshire Association (1980) vol. 112, pp 127.

Listing NGR: SS7717721230


This is part of the Series: IOE01/1026 IOE Records taken by Norman Hopkins; within the Collection: IOE01 Images Of England


© Mr Norman Hopkins. Source: Historic England Archive

This photograph was taken for the Images of England project

People & Organisations

Photographer: Hopkins, Norman

Rights Holder: Hopkins, Norman


Asbestos, Brick, Cob, Render, Rubble, Stone, Thatch, Timber, Medieval Farmhouse, Tudor Domestic, Agricultural Dwelling, Dwelling, House, Agriculture And Subsistence, Farm Building, Agricultural Building, Courtyard House, Monument <By Form>, Cross Passage House, Cruck House, Timber Framed House, Timber Framed Building, Open Hall House, Hall House, Salting House, Food And Drink Processing Site, Dairy, Yard, Unassigned