Heritage Category:
Listed Building
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:
Statutory Address:


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Statutory Address:

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

South Hams (District Authority)
National Grid Reference:
SX 71724 40749


MALBOROUGH SX 74 SW 5/29 Alston Farmhouse 26.1.67 II

Farmhouse, formerly Manor house. Early C18 (partly rebuilt in late C20) with later C18 addition behind which is a ruined C17 wing, the whole built on an earlier site. The construction of the house is of particular interest since the early C18 front block is built mainly of hand-made bricks laid in Flemish bond on a stone plinth. However, the right-hand side of the front wall on the ground floor level is built of random stone rubble presumably as a later repair when less money was available. The extreme right end of the front wall and the complete right-hand end wall have been rebuilt in the late C20 following the collapse of that end wall about 10 years ago (i.e. 1979). The rebuilding has been done in concrete, rendered on the end wall and faced in new bricks for the small area of front wall affected. The large range at the rear of the house is constructed of coursed slatestone rubble. Front range has a hipped slate roof, gable-ended slate roof to rear range. Behind the left-hand end of the front range is a small brick stack: there is another between the 2 ranges, and another brick stack at the left-hand end of the rear range. Plan: the development of the house raises problems of interpretation since the ruined C17 wing at the rear and the early C18 front block are separated by a later C18 range. The most likely explanation, considering the importance of the house and the ancient nature of its site, is one of alternate rebuild. The theory that the later C18 range is actually a rebuilding of an earlier range is supported by the fact that it is set behind the early C18 block whereas normally a brand new addition of this apparent quality would have been built as the new front. The quality of its facade is somewhat misleading since it must always have functioned as a service range and presumably replaced an older range which had also been a service wing to the smart new early C18 front range which consisted only of two principal rooms and an entrance hall. When this was built on, the older house must have extended behind it, very much as it does in the nearby farmhouse at Yarde (q.v.) and this is a common pattern of development of old houses in the South Hams. The later C18 range is more unusual both in its position and its function as a very large service wing in comparison to the relatively small front block of principal rooms. It has a passage running front to back with a large kitchen to the left at the front and smaller room to the right, then a series of service rooms behind to the left and a stairhall behind the right-hand room which serves the whole house. Judging from the lack of C19 alterations or additions (apart from the windows of the front range) the house began to decline from the early C19 and this has steadily continued with a deterioration in condition which led to the Cl7 rear wing becoming ruinous and the end wall of the front range falling out. Whilst this end of the house was rebuilt, the house now stands in a somewhat dilapidated condition although in an otherwise unaltered state. Exterior: front range is 2 storeys, rear range is 3 storeys. Symmetrical 5 window front, first floor window left of centre is blind and painted to simulate a window. Early C19 12-pane hornless sashes set flush with the outside wall. At centre is 6-panel door with rectangular fanlight recessed behind panelled surround. Flat brick string between courses. Coved plaster eaves at front, overhanging eaves at left-hand end. On this wall are 2 similar sash windows. The rear range is recessed from the left end of the front one although at the back they are virtually flush. It has a plain stone parapet at the front concealing the eaves. Symmetrical 3 window front. On the lower two floors the outer windows are Venetian sashes with radial tracery in their semi-circular heads; the right- hand lower one has been restored in the later C20 and the window to its left has horns which suggests it is C19. The other 2 are C18. At the centre on the first floor is a circa late C18 16-pane hornless sash, above it is a mid C20 large paned casement with an C18 Diocletian window to either side. On the ground floor there are 2 adjacent roundheaded doorways at the centre, the left-hand one is blocked, the right-hand one has a late C18 fielded 6-panel door. The rear elevation of this range retains its late C18 hornless sashes, some are paired. At the far end is the ruined wing, the walls of which are now considerably reduced in height and the decorative C17 plasterwork mentioned in the original list description has completely disappeared. Interior: appears to have been completely remodelled in late C18 and exhibits numerous 6-panelled doors and panelled shutters. In the front entrance hall is an acanthus leaf cornice which looks original although the present owner believes it was done within living memory. There is also a central ceiling rose. Open well late C18 staircase in rear range has open string, column newels and stick balusters. Alston was built as one of the most important houses in the area, its status reflected in its unusually early use of brick. Whilst the recent partial rebuilding and lack of internal features of the front range prevent the house meriting a higher grade, they do not detract from its inherent historic interest.

Listing NGR: SX7172440749


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

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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

Images of England

Images of England was a photographic record of every listed building in England, created as a snap shot of listed buildings at the turn of the millennium. These photographs of the exterior of listed buildings were taken by volunteers between 1999 and 2008. The project was supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Date: 23 Jan 2003
Reference: IOE01/08826/08
Rights: Copyright IoE Kenneth Dent. Source Historic England Archive
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