Heritage Category:
Listed Building
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Statutory Address:

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

North Devon (District Authority)
Bishop's Nympton
National Grid Reference:


SS 72 SE 6/37 20.2.67

BISHOP'S NYMPTON AVERCOMBE Great Avercombe Farmhouse (formerly listed as West Avercombe Farmhouse)


Farmhouse. Circa late C16/early C17 origins, later C17 extension at west end, C18 refurbishment and possibly a remodelling or extension at the east end. Colourwashed rendered cob and stone rubble; thatched roof, hipped at ends; back-to-back fireplaces in an axial stack, 2 projecting lateral stacks on the rear (north) wall. Plan: A long single-depth range, 5 rooms wide, on an east-west axis, the north wall (presumably originally the rear), parallel to the road. In the present arrangement the rooms are as follows, left to right (west to east): a potato store, 2 small parlours heated by back-to-back fireplaces, a wide cross passage with an entrance from the south, facing a stair, a large parlour heated by a lateral stack, a short passage with an entrance from the rear (north) with a wide stair facing the entrance, kitchen at the right (east) end. The core of the house is late C16/early C17: hall to the right (east), lower service end to the left (west). The lower end may have been unheated originally as the axial stack fireplaces look C18 at the earliest and could be later. A C17 oak plank and muntin partition forms an axial passage taken out of the back (north) end of the small parlour left (west) of the wide passage. The right (east) end of the house appears to be a remodelling of the C18, possibly an extension and refashioning of a late C16/early C17 inner room. This remodelling has provided a second entrance from the rear (north) and the present kitchen. The house is rich in C18 joinery and includes an C18 axial passage on the first floor. Thus the C18 work seems to have upgraded and modernized the old higher end and provided a new entrance and stair, the old lower end perhaps used for servants' accommodation and storage, making use of the old entrance on the south side which is divided between a dairy and a porch. Exterior: 2 storeys. Asymmetrical 7 window south (garden) elevation with an approximately central thatched porch with a C20 front door, flanked by C20 timber windows. To the right, a C20 conservatory adjoining the kitchen, to the left a C20 French window with small panes and, at the extreme left a plank door to the potato store. The north elevation, facing the road, has a lean-to outshut at the left, enclosing the left hand axial stack with a corrugated asbestos roof and a C20 aluminium door flanked by C20 windows. The right end of this elevation is blind except for a small 4-pane window lighting the axial passage on the ground floor; a 12-pane C19 sash lighting the stair and a blocked, probably C18, 2-light timber mullioned window to first floor right. There is a GR letter box in the rear wall. Interior: Visible pre C18 features on the ground floor include hollow-chamfered axial beams to the potato store and the adjacent small parlour. The oak plank and muntin screen to the ground floor axial passage has chamfered stopped muntins on the passage side: the screen may not be in situ and could have been moved from the original entry. The large parlour, heated by the rear lateral stack, has a boxed-in crossbeam, said not to have a fine finish (information from owner). Both the fireplaces to the lateral stacks are partly blocked, earlier jambs and lintels may survive. There are no exposed ceiling beams in the kitchen. The house preserves a fine series of C18 2-panel doors and C18 fitted cupboards with fielded panels, and C18 panelling survives below the stair window of the higher end stair. Roof: Not inspected from end to end at time of survey but the side-pegged jointed cruck trusses over the centre of the house appear not to be smoke-stained, indicating that the present structure has always had chimney stacks. The truss over the east end is C18 in character, an A frame with an X apex and principal rafters visible in the room over the potato store also appear to be straight, suggesting a late C17 or later date. An impressively large traditional house, preserving its thatch, an interesting plan form and unusually rich in C18 joinery.

Listing NGR: SS7660123261


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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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