Heritage Category:
Listed Building
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Date first listed:
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Statutory Address:

The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

West Devon (District Authority)
Bratton Clovelly
National Grid Reference:
SX 46431 93885


BRATTON CLOVELLY SX 49 SE 7/2 Chimsworthy 22.2.67 GV II*

Farmhouse, originally longhouse. C15 with late C15 addition, altered and remodelled in late C16/early C17. Some C19 modifications were made and the house was modernised in the late C20. Rendered stone rubble with some cob where the walls of the main block have been raised and also some in the crosswing. Slate roof, hipped to left-hand end, gabled at either end of wing. Main range has rendered rubble axial stack with drip-stones; similar stack at the rear gable end of the wing, at its front gable end is a rubble stack corbelled out on the first floor with a brick shaft. The building was originally a longhouse but on a modified version of the basic longhouse plan with some significant differences, which raise problems of interpretation. The principal of these is the existence of 2 small rooms between the hall and shippon instead of the customary through passage. The higher of these rooms, adjoining the hall, has a door at the front and its rear wall is considerably thinner due to some form of rebuilding which suggests that there might originally have been a doorway there making this the through passage. At its lower end is a solid partition wall which rises to head height but may not necessarily be original. The lower of the 2 rooms, adjoining the shippon has a doorway to the rear. Its purpose may have been a dairy or some form of service room. Dividing it from the shippon is a solid wall likely to be original, which extends up to eaves height but seems originally to have contained no doorways, so that access to the shippon was only external. At its higher end the shippon had a doorway on front and rear walls. These rooms comprised the original range although the arrangement of the 2 central rooms may have been subsequently altered; the hall had an open hearth and from evidence of smoke-blackening on the roof trusses which exists throughout but considerably lessening towards the shippon, there were no full-height partitions in the original building. In the later C15 a high quality, cross-wing was added at the high end of the hall, which, from the evidence of smoke-blackening on its roof timbers also had an open hearth. The original extent of this wing to the rear is uncertain as its present rear wall was rebuilt in the C17 for the insertion of a chimney stack and staircase and its dimensions may have altered at this stage. Its front wall still survives, encased by a C17 addition, showing that the wing was considerably set back from the front of the main range. In the late C16/early C17 the process of inserting floors and chimneys began, starting possibly in the original hall with a stack inserted backing onto the passage. The pronounced curved recess in the wall to the front of the stack suggests that a newel stair may have been built here when the hall was floored which has since been removed. The cross-wing was heavily remodelled in circa early C17 when a small unheated room was added at the front, projecting slightly from the main range and the rear wall was reconstructed to incorporate a gable end stack with an adjoining dog-leg staircase which was reached from the rear of the hall. The gable end fireplace in the first floor room at the front of the wing may have been inserted slightly later in the C17. Few alterations were made to the fabric of the house until the late C20 apart from the rebuilding of the lower end wall of the shippon in the C19. In the late C20 modernisation the shippon was converted to domestic accommodation and an internal doorway made in its higher end wall to connect it to the rest of the house. 2 storeys. Asymmetrical 5-window front with cross-wing at right-hand end projecting slightly to the front. Mainly C20 casements with glazing bars - 2-lights to the left and right on first floor with single light window to the left of centre and otherwise 3-light. On the ground floor the left-hand window to the main range is 2- light while that to the right is a C19 3-light casement with H-L hinges. It is set in a granite frame from which the mullions have been removed. Giving access to the former shippon is a C20 French window towards the left-hand end. A part-glazed C20 door to the right of centre leads into the putative passage. The cross-wing has a 2-light C20 casement on the first floor with a 3-light circa early C17 granite framed window below which has hollow-chamfered mullions. The main range is set down a noticeable slope. The cross-wing also projects to the rear where it has a similar 3-light granite mullion window, with possibly its original leaded glazing on its inner face which is set at an intermediate level as it lights the stairs. The rear elevation of the main range has a 3-light probably C18 casement, also with leaded lights. Otherwise there are irregularly spaced C20 wood casements with glazing bars. There are 2 C20 glazed doors one towards the left end into the rear of the hall and 1 into the shippon towards the right-hand end. To the right of centre is a C20 part-glazed, door which has stone steps to its left leading to what may originally have been a granary above the dairy/service room. Good interior preserves features from principal builds. The roof of the main range preserves all five of the original trusses of mainly true cruck construction. These are all of massive scantling and fairly rough construction, becoming, towards the shippon, increasingly more crude and wany. The truss at the higher end of the shippon is a face-pegged jointed cruck and the truss over the hall has a similar jointed cruck at the front. Otherwise, where the feet of the trusses are visible, they extend in 1 timber to oak pads set approximately 1½m above ground level; the front cruck over the shippon does not rest on a pad as it has a forked foot. All the trusses have pegged lap-jointed collars, those at the lower side of the putative passage and lower side of the hall from which the collars have been removed. The trusses over the upper end had notched halvings to the collars. At the apex of each truss is a yoke holding the principals each side of a square-set ridge (Alcock's type H); the yoke on the truss over the shippon is held by tusk tenons. The single purlins have now been mainly removed but were also quite wany, scarfed together and pegged onto the back of the trusses with very long pegs. Some of the purlins were trenched and there is evidence that one was clasped. At the upper end the principals and collar are chamfered - the collar on top as well as on the soffit. Of the roof over the late C15 cross-wing 2 bays survive with noticeably more sophisticated carpentry. The truss appears also to be a true cruck with a flat collar that is cranked at the centre to form the apex of a chamfered arch-braced arch with open spandrels. At the apex is a triangular strengthening block beneath a diagonal ridge. 2 sets of butt purlins and single sets of windbraces. Across the centre of each bay is a strengthening collar with central cranks like the main ones. The ridge is supported at the front end by a sooted post set in the solid cross- wall. All the timber s are heavily smoke-blackened. The front of this wing is evidently later judging from the clean common rafter roof. The shippon hayloft was supported on relatively closely-spaced massive wany cross- beams which, if not original, are certainly early. No beams are visible in the other rooms of the main range. The hall fireplace has a roughly chamfered granite jamb to the right and a chamfered wooden lintel with straight cut stops. An oven has been added, probably in the C19, in its left-hand side. The room at the front of the cross-wing has chamfered cross beams with worn step stops visible on one. The room at the rear of the wing has a chamfered wooden lintel to its fireplace with hollow step stops. The fireplace has been built in on its left-hand side in the C18/C19 to provide an oven. The stairs in the wing have C17 splat balusters at the top. The first floor room at the front of the wing has a small C17 fireplace with ovolo-moulded wooden lintel. Despite the conversion of its shippon, this remains a very important building - recognisably of longhouse type. As it is outside the limits of Dartmoor it is a rare example. Apart from its unusual plan forms, which suggests a high quality medieval house, its importance lies in the preservation of its original roof trusses, an uncommon example of true crucks in Devon. Source: Report by Exeter Museums Archeological Field Unit, 1978.

Listing NGR: SX4643193885


The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

Legacy System number:
Legacy System:


Exeter Museums Archaeological Field Unit Report, (1978)


This building is listed under the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 as amended for its special architectural or historic interest.

End of official listing

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